The Troll's Ride
PEDER LARS, the farmer's son came riding along the highway.
His heart was happy. He was bound for the city to buy a new jacket because that evening he was going a-courting and wanted to look his best. And he felt rather sure that he would not be turned down. However proud and rich Lisa was, and even though Peder Lars was the poorest of all her admirers, she had looked at him kindly. His spokesman had extracted a promise that he and his father might come to her at six that afternoon to state their intentions.
Peder Lars rode across fields through a long deep forest, then he emerged from the forest on to a green meadow. Suddenly he saw something that seemed to be moving in a ditch. He drew nearer, and realized it was a strange-looking woman, crawling along.
She lifted her head and stared at him. He had never before seen anything as ugly and evil-looking as her face. Her small peppercorn eyes were almost hidden in matted dark hair. Her nose looked like a carrot, and her lips were brown as bread crust.
"Will you do me a good turn?" she asked. "I shall reward you for your trouble."
"What is it?" asked Peder Lars.
The woman said that she had hurt her leg wandering in the forest, and had limped this far because, in the next wood closer to the city, near a path that climbed a hill, there grew seven pine trees. A little resin from each of these pines rubbed into her wound would make the pain go away immediately. But before she got very far from the forest she had collapsed, and so was lying here helpless in the ditch. She badly needed someone to collect resin from the wood for her. She would see that he was well rewarded for his trouble. Already, five people had accepted a gold coin from her for saying they would help, but they had probably enjoyed themselves with the money and taken another road home, because she had not seen yet any of them again, although she had been lying in the ditch since early morning.