The Troll and the Eating Contest

As recalled from the story by our guide on our Briksdalbreen hike and this page.

A farmer with three sons planned to cut wood in a forest he owned in order to pay off his debts.

The oldest son went into the forest chop wood and encountered a troll. The troll told him that if he didn’t stop chopping wood, he would eat him. Frightened, the oldest son ran home.

The second son decided he wasn’t scared of a troll and went into the forest to chop wood for the family. He too was confronted by the troll and became frightened, running home.

The third and youngest son decided he would be able to get the wood for his family, and so grabbed an axe and prepared to go into the forest. However, before the youngest son left, he asked his father for food. The father gave him a bit of cheese in a knapsack. When the youngest son went into the forest to cut the wood, the troll appeared just as it had for the previous brothers. When the troll threatened him, the boy pulled out the cheese. “Do you see this stone?” he asked the troll, and squeezed it until whey came out. When he threatened to crush the troll as he had with the “stone,” the troll offered to help him with the wood-cutting.

The troll suggested that the boy come home with him for a tasty meal. Then he went to build up the fire and sent the boy for water, pointing to two buckets larger than the boy. The boy realized he could not carry the huge buckets. “These buckets are too small,” said the boy. “I can fetch the spring instead.”

The troll, not wanting an entire spring, which would put out the fire, decided to exchange chores. “Why don’t you tend the fire, while I fetch the water?” said the troll.

The troll brought the water, and proceeded to make porridge. When the porridge was finished, the boy suggested an eating match. The troll and the boy ate as much as they could. However, the boy had put his knapsack underneath his shirt, and was pouring more porridge into the bag than into his mouth. When the bag was full, he cut a hole in it and continued to eat.

The troll finally said he could eat no more. The boy, who was still going, suggested that the troll cut a hole in his stomach. He explained, “Then you can eat as much as you like. It doesn’t hurt much.”

The troll did so and died, and the boy took his gold and silver and paid off the family debt and they lived happily ever after.