trolls

Posted by Ellen

These papier-maché troll masks on display in Seattle's Nordic Heritage Museum were created by Norwegian-born Seattleite August Hansen Werner (1893–1980).

Although troll-themed masks were common articles of Norwegian folk art, these were different. Werner was a professional musician, an instructor at the University of Washington, and longtime conductor of the Norwegian Male Chorus of Seattle. He was also a painter and sculptor, and it is believed that he made these masks for operatic performances.

Posted by Ellen

Some of the trolls in the 1972 masterwork d'Aulaires' Book of Trolls had a dozen heads, each one demanding to be fed first. Other trolls had a single head on their shoulders, just like humans, but perhaps with only a single eye, or else with three eyes. And then there were the trolls pictured here who had to share an eye with their troll associates, taking turns to look through it.

But there's a thing about troll eyes. They've all been pierced by a troll splinter, which skews their vision. What's good looks bad to trolls, and what's right looks wrong.

Whenever a troll explodes, which happens more often than you might think, the splinter in its eye shatters into millions of tiny needles, which are liable to pierce the eyes of people in the vicinity. And that explains why so many of us nowadays see the world all askew, prone to trollish errors of perception and judgment.