Friday, July 14, 2006

Mama Says Om - Whimsy

This week, the theme at Mama Says Om is "whimsy".

After being absent for many years, garden trolls (or gnomes or dwarves) are making a comeback here this summer, and they are the very essence of whimsy in their small resin and PVC souls. I am seeing a multitude of garden trolls in my pottering, small magical beings who stand in garden plots and shrubbery and on verandas, holding watering cans, hoes, hatchets, beer steins and in one case, a whole potted geranium. What unites them all is their brightly coloured garb, their pointed hats, their long beards and their placid expressions.

One of my first ventures into the world of reading as a child was The Three Billy Goats Gruff, and I developed an early love for trolls, heading off as soon as I could into Nordic fairy tales, mythology, folklore and the literary genre called paleofiction to learn more about huldrefolk in all their many forms. As a child, I mispronounced all the names without exception, but the journey was a happy one, and it continues to this day, an early fortuitous encounter which gave me my first taste of folklore, fairytales and archetypes and sent me off on a lifelong journey which is brimming with arcane lore and replete with literary adventures.

My clan are of the opinion that the tale of "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" is to blame for sending me off on all sorts of parallel journeys too: wild gardening, woodland rambling, pottering about in the chthonian realms (the fruitful darkness of Joan Halifax) and in the general scheme of things, rooting for underdogs almost every time, although that can probably be traced back through a long line of ancestresses (or foremothers) who were headstrong, wayward, obdurately self-sufficient and cussedly intractable — I thank Herself for each and every blessed one of them.

I still have the troll tales, dolls and figurines of my childhood, and adult books on trolls and related matters abound here - one is always tripping over them as the little blue house in the village is so small, and we really do need several more bookcases. I delight in troll and fairytale films and music too, especially Edvard Grieg's scores for Peer Gynt, but I have managed (so far) to avoid computer gaming. It could become addictive.

Why are there so few female garden trolls about this year?

1 comment:

mary said...

I may need to get myself a magical female garden troll. Great post.