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Main > Sweden folktales > Fairy tale "The Troll's Ride"

The Troll's Ride

It was his brother. He looked a sight, and his horse was all in a lather.

"You'll be late, you'll be late!" his brother called. And as the two of them galloped on together, he told Peder Lars that he and their old father and the spokesman had been waiting by Lisa's farm-gate for Peder Lars to come, when suddenly the rich miller Jonas, who owned half the village, had pulled up in his carriage. He, too, was going in to ask for the beautiful Lisa's hand. When miller Jonas heard that Peder Lars was turned down, he said, then he was ready to take his place. And so there he sat now, waiting. By the time Peder Lars and his brother met on the road it was a quarter to six and they still had several miles to go.

"Go!" Peder Lars called, urging his horse to the utmost and streaking along the forest path at breakneck speed. It was so dark he could hardly see the road before him. Branches tore at his handsome new jacket, and scratched his forehead until it bled, but he paid no attention. All Peder Lars could think of was that the beautiful Lisa might give her hand to the rich miller Jonas to punish him for being late. That was what you got for having anything to do with trolls.

Soon his horse began to pant and stumbled and trip, and Peder Lars was afraid it might collapse under him. The horse went slower and slower, no matter how much he urged it forward.

Then he felt the reins stiffen and go taut in his hands. The horse lifted its head, and its hooves began to fly over the ground. Something seemed to have brought it back to life, and it went so fast that Peder Lars' cape was billowing behind.

Peder Lars turned round in the saddle. It seemed to him that someone was sitting behind him on the horses' back. No one was there, though, and yet he imagined he saw what looked like a gray bundle slip down over the horse's rump.

The ride became wilder and wilder. Peder Lars no longer felt in control of the reins at all; now the horse no longer followed the road, but turned in among bushes and undergrowth.

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