The Troll and the Toymaker, Part 3

Horace went lightly into the woods. He had been told roughly where to find this troll like creature. As he came near to the spot, he heard a twig snap and before he could turn around he was tackled and thrown to the ground. He struggled to get up but was held fast by large, red muscular arms. Before he could think of what to do he was released. When he was upon his feet and turned around he found himself staring directly into the angry face of an enormous, but just smaller than him, red troll! He had never seen another troll in his life and Horace was beside himself with excitement. His world was changed once again.

"What are you doing in my woods?!" screamed the red troll. "The people of the village told me how they had been terrified and chased from the woods by a magnificent red creature of great size and strength." Horace noticed a slight smile from the red troll as she heard his words. He intended them as a compliment. It quickly vanished as she said, "What on earth have you to do with people? You know and speak peacefully with people? Human people?!" Horace could see all the pain and confusion in her face and he remembered his time of coming to know the village people. He had forever been chased away and even hunted by people. Horace knew that this poor lonely creature was likely subjected to the same treatment and had similar feelings as he once did.

He sat down and offered her some cake that he had brought just in case such a thing as this might happen. Horace told this new red troll face all that had happened to him and what he had done. When he spoke of being chased from a cliff he could see in her eyes the same feeling of fear and anger. When he had finally finished his story and the cake was eaten, this red troll sat back and was silent. She said, "I have never seen another troll in my life. I have always been feared and chased. I have just left the south to find a place where I could live in peace when I was discovered just yesterday. Now, today I see you, another troll, and you tell me that people can be good. People have always been horrible to me. How can I trust what you are saying is true?" Horace said, "I lived in fear of people for long as well, but I have found they are capable of great good. The old woman, the Old Toymaker, showed me that people are very good, but they can become afraid and let anger drive them. I've come to see that I was the same as that. There is much we trolls have in common with people. When they are not fearful, they are full of joy and throw themselves into life, especially the children."

Horace continue to speak of his good fortune with the village people, and that she could have good fortune as well. The red troll was uneasy and did not wish to see the people. Horace felt that what was needed was a visit from the best people he knew, the children and the Old Toymaker. Horace felt that it was time to let this new friend have some time to think and bid his leave. He promised he would return the next day and left.

When he returned to the village, he spoke with the elders and recounted the visit. The people understood now that there was indeed another troll and, while some were concerned for the safety of the village, they trusted Horace and his advice that this red troll could be a friend as he is now. He asked if some children could come and meet this red troll. The elders were afraid, but Horace promised and the Old Toymaker said she would go as well. It was agreed.

The next day Horace returned to the forest and found the red troll once again. This time he came with four children and the old toy maker, all carried upon his shoulders. He called to the red troll, "Come out and see me. I am here, and I have brought friends!" From behind a tree, the red troll face peeped out. "Come and meet these friends of mine. I want to show you how nice they are." He let them all down gently and a small girl walked out slowly to the red troll asking, "Why don't you come out of from behind the tree? I want to show you my doll that Horace made for me." "But who is Horace?" the red troll asked. There were a few giggles from the children as they pointed to Horace. "What's your name?", the little girl asked. The red troll looked down and said, "I haven't got a name." "Well, you need a name", said the girl. "How can you talk with anyone if you haven't got a name? Every one will just call out, "Hey you there!"" At that, there were a few more giggles and the red troll asked, "How do you get a name?" The little girl explained that parents or grandparents usually give the names, but Horace interrupted knowing that the red troll didn't likely know her parents, and explained that he got his name from being as strong as a horse. The children laughed and so did Horace. The red troll asked if she could have a name. Horace said that she had the strength of a gale blowing across the sea when she tackled him, and the Old Toymaker said, "That's perfect! How about Gayle?" The red troll smiled at the thought of having a name, and she did like the sound of Gayle. From that point on, the children called her Gayle.

Gayle agreed to come to the village. The little girl was particularly fond of Gayle and so walked with her most of the way. As they talked of her doll and how it was made, Gayle began to feel lighter. She began to relax and soon forgot that she was approaching a human village. As the village people saw the group approaching, they came out to greet them. Seeing all in good spirits, the people greeted their children. It was clear to them that this red troll was indeed of the same ilk as Horace. It was clear to them that she was in fact a good troll that had been treated badly. Gayle was introduced to the village and it was suggested that a dinner would be had in the square to celebrate her arrival. Horace and the Old Toymaker were very pleased and the look on Gayle's face told them that she was as well.

The dinner was a feast and all ate well. During the meal it began to sprinkle rain and someone remarked a roof over some part of the square for meals would be good. Horace quickly volunteered himself and Gayle to build a roof. Also, Gayle was amazed at all the flavors of the food, especially the dessert. There was the same cake that Horace had shared with her and there was this new thing called "pie". Gayle began to question how pies were made and two of the bakers agreed to show Gayle how to make pies herself.

The next day, Horace and Gayle set to work on building the roof. As the trolls were so large and so strong, they could fell a tree and turn it into lumber very quickly. Horace was strong, but with the two of them the people could not believe how they could lift the huge beams with such ease. The roof over the square was done in two day's time. Horace fell to carving the posts and in a day it was beautiful. Horace had been in high demand before, but when the village people saw how quickly the two trolls built the roof, the favors came pouring in. Mrs. Dell had a fence needing repair. Mr. Stark's barn was falling down. As the trolls worked and did these favors for the people, they felt so good helping the people. The more they worked, the better they felt. They had never lived for anyone but themselves and now they could help others. It should be noted that this help did not go unnoticed and the people who asked for favors repaid the trolls with fine meals and Gayle received new clothes from fine home spun wool. Despite the offers of shoes and boots, the trolls preferred to go barefoot.

During this time, Gayle was able to learn to make pies. She could barely fit into the bakers kitchen, but she quickly grasped how to make a pie. She remembered the plants of the forest used to add flavor to her forest meals, and so she ran quickly to the forest to grab them. She brought back mint, huckleberry and honeysuckle and experimented with pie making late into the evening, so late that the bakers had to turn out the lights to let Gayle know the day was done. Although, during one day as she was tasting a pie, it was so hot that she burned her tongue.  She was so surprised that she jumped and broke a hole in the roof of the kitchen.  Gayle repaired that quickly enough and from then on always waited for the pies to cool before tasting.  

The next day, Gayle spent the entire day making pies. In fact, she had made over a hundred pies! When the village people had finished their work in the fields and shops, they couldn't help but come for Gayle's pies. They were the most delicious pies they had ever eaten. All were surprised how such delicate crust could be made with such large strong troll hands. As they ate, Horace marveled. The Old Toymaker seeing Horace smiled. Yes, it had turned out well. The horrible red terror in the woods was misunderstood, but with some wisdom and some care the village people and the trolls were so much for the better.

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