juli 27, 2003

Between the stirrup and the ground

She thought, really, that her husband was right. They had no need to take up the troll's child; and so she let the horse take a couple of steps until it was suddenly impossible for her to ride on. "It is a child, in any case" she said. "I can't let it lie here as food for the wolves. You must give me the baby." "I most certainly won't", replied her husband. "It's fine where it is."
"If you don't give him to me now, I know I will have to return this evening and fetch him", said the wife.
"I don' t believe this", muttered the husband. "The trolls have not only stolen my child: they have stolen my wife's wits away". But he picked up the child anyway, and handed it to his wife, for he loved her dearly, and was used to letting her have her way in everything.

The next day, the news of their tragedy was all over the parish, and all the wise and experienced neighbours hurried to the farm to advise them, and to warn them. "If you have been given a changeling, you must beat it with a heavy stick" said an old woman.
"Why should you be so hard on him?" asked the wife. "I know he's ugly, but he hasn't done anything wrong."
"Well, if you beat the troll child until the blood runs down its back, then the troll mother will come running, throw you your child, and take her own away. I know many people who have recovered their children like that."
"Yes, but those children were no longer alive", interrupted another old woman, and the wife thought to herself that this was not a method she could use.

Toward evening, she was sitting alone in the farmhouse with the changeling when she felt such a violent and terrible longing for her own child that she could hardly bear it. "Perhaps I should do what the old woman advised me", she thought; but she could not bring herself to do it.

Just then her husband entered the house. He had a cudgel in his hand, and asked for the changeling. The wife understood that he wanted to follow the wise woman's advice and beat the troll child to get his own son back. "It's just as well that he does it", she though. "I am so foolish. I could never beat an innocent child."
Posted by andrewb at juli 27, 2003 12:50 EM | TrackBack