What Really Happened
by Gregors the Troll
Hello. My name is Gregors. Yeah, I’m a troll. As a matter of fact, I’m the troll. You know, the one those goat brothers lied about. Sure they crossed my bridge and I was pissed about it, but I never tried to eat them. I don’t eat goats, or any other kind of meat for that matter. I’m a vegetarian. Don’t look at me like that, trolls make choices too, just like you humans do. It’s not like I have a third eye in the middle of my forehead, or some coloured aura hanging around me.
Another thing, everyone thinks that if trolls get caught in the sun, they turn to stone. That’s just something else you’ve been misled about. Okay, some of us do, but not all of us. That’s obviously not something we have a choice about.
There are just different varieties of trolls is all. But that really has nothing to do with my story, except, well, I guess I have to admit that it allowed some of us to be troublemakers. Most of us just wanted to live our lives.
The troublemakers made a bad name for us all. You know how it is.
Anyway, it all started many years ago. I just wanted some peace and quiet and those goats weren’t about to let me have any. Looking back on the bridge incident, I suppose these goats were just doing what goats do. They knew nothing of the hooligans, or maybe they did and wanted revenge. That big brother…but I get ahead of myself.
Fortunately I’m not one of the trolls who turns to stone in sunlight, but nevertheless, like my ancestors, I sleep all day and come out at night. Which is why I got so angry.
Let me get one thing straight—I never asked for that bridge to be built over the stream so close to my cave. Knowing what was likely to happen, I even thought about protesting it. But what voice did a troll have among humans? So the bridge was built. At first I tried ignoring all the trip-traps of those little goaty hooves. Most of the time, I could. I could even ignore the slap of herdsman’s sandals on the wood. But then the bully came along.
The first little goat—he was just a kid—tripped and trapped so long on that bridge, I thought the sound might bore a hole through my head. I had just gone to bed a few minutes before so I was tired and my temper flared. I tore out of the cave in my night clothes, shouting for that goat to stop tap dancing on my bridge and just leave me alone.
Back then I was too tired and angry to notice, but now when I think back on it—the look on that kid’s face. He was scared to death. He’d probably just been playing, but he ran off that bridge as if someone had lit a fire under his tail. But it didn’t stop there. The kid had a brother.
This guy was a little bigger and not quite as scared. He must have thought he was Gregory Hines the way he tapped and danced across that damn bridge. I had barely pulled the covers up when I heard him. Tap-tap-tap. Tappity-tap.
As a younger fellow, I was pretty hot-headed—even for a troll—and remember I was tired and cranky. Not at my best. He argued with me, telling me it wasn’t my bridge and he could do whatever he wanted on it. Yeah, he was right. I know that now. But what annoyed me even more is that there wasn’t a herdsman in sight to make this goat behave himself.
So, I threatened to eat the little brat if he didn’t get off the bridge. That scared him right proper. It works to our advantage that no one knows some of us are vegetarians. I suppose I’m blowing our cover by telling you…but now I’ve strayed off topic. The night, or rather, the day, only got worse: There was a third brother.
I was once again settling in for the day when I heard what I hoped was the last goat. He crossed the bridge and I thought that was it. I could finally get some sleep. But the next thing I know there’s thumping, stamping, shouting. I jumped out of bed and raced onto the bridge, screaming.
I don’t know what his little brothers had told him, but this guy was huge, with long horns and fury in his eyes. This goat didn’t even flinch. He just stood there watching me, eyeing me like I was something he’d passed through his rear end. It was rather disconcerting.
Now, in the stories you’ve heard, aren’t the goats always the good guys and trolls the bad guys? The goat sticks the mean old troll with his horns and tosses him into the river. Has anyone ever thought to ask what happened to the troll—did he drown or climb out of the water down river somewhere? No. I guess no one’s ever cared.
But the fact is the goat never touched me. Oh, he wanted to. He put his head down and aimed like he was going to head-butt me, but I stopped him. I grabbed those horns of his and we struggled. He pushed, I pushed back. He shouted, I yelled. He pulled…and I fell down.
Sitting there on the wooden bridge, big brother eyeing me like the lunatic he thought I was, I put up my hands and told him this had to stop. I said he and his brothers could cross the bridge all they wanted if they’d only do it quietly.
He laughed and argued that I didn’t own the bridge, I wasn’t his herdsman and that he and his brothers could cross in any manner they chose. I told him that trolls sleep all day and couldn’t he respect that? I asked if he would like it if I came to his barn at night and trip-trapped on the roof. I stood up and did a little dance to demonstrate what I meant, my nightdress flapping around my ankles, my toes slapping the wood.
Then the goat started to laugh. It was a horrible sound, but I stood there waiting to see what was so funny. Finally he stopped, looked me up and down and said, “Is that all you want?”
“I would appreciate it.”
He grunted, eyed me one last time then walked away, still chuckling and snorting.
I managed to get some sleep that day, but do you see now? They told their version of it, making us trolls look mean and horrible, and themselves like poor innocent victims. I thought it was time everyone knew the truth.
Thank you for listening.
Kellee Kranendonk is a Canadian writer, and an editor for Youth Imagination. She has been published in several magazines as well as Flash Fiction Press, including Rural Delivery, 365 Tomorrows, Voluted Tales and Aurora Wolf.