It seems like only yesterday when as a child growing up, if I read a book or was told a story which contained a reference to a troll it immediately caught my attention and guaranteed an open mouthed focus to discover what the troll was getting up to.
I must confess, I didn’t really know what a troll was or where they came from, just that they were ugly in a cute way, mischievous in a way naturally attractive to a young boy, andpossessing of mystical powers that increased as much as my imagination encouraged them to do so.
There was enough mystery shrouding any tale of a troll to ensure my interest in them was kept at a respectful distance.
The origin of trolls as I understood it then, was Scandinavia, probably Denmark. My only recall is that a troll was a mythical nuisance to travellers and could be either a giant or a dwarf (which in itself adds to the mystery of course) but most definitely UGLY.
I remember that many of my friends also read books contains vague references to trolls but none of us really understood them.
I think this was partly due to the obscure nature of whatever Scandinavia was, at least in the eyes of a child, and the relatively few books which even mentioned them.
The acquaintence with trolls therefore seemed to pass me by as a distant and brief encounter whilst growing up.
Some years later, whilst probably about to enter my teenage years, trolls appeared again but in a much more friendly and cuddly form.
It seems that a Danish toy maker hit upon the idea of creating ‘nice’ trolls to appeal to children, and as you can see from the above picture, cuddly trolls with big hair are certainly more friendly looking than ugly traveller scaring dwarfs/giants!
Apparently the Danish toy maker patented the big hair troll design and went on to make himself some money, and lots of children very happy.
You would think from these examples that the word troll would immediately bring to mind images of mysterious creatures or smuding dolls with big colourful hair. However, in these days of instant reaction, obsessive opinion giving, and the anonymity the Internet provides, the word troll generally makes one instantly think of something less pleasant.
It seems like nothing is sacred anymore when it comes to people voicing their opinions in the most hostile and nasty way.
Obviously in most countries freedom of speech gives people the right to express their opinion, but more and more often we see these opinions being given coupled with just sheer downright unpleasantness, which at times continues with a hounding of the individual who is the subject of whatever causes the antagonist to hold a different view.
This practice is carried out by what are universally known now as trolls. Not the mythical scary but enchanting people of children’s fiction nor the smiling faces either the silly bright coloured hair; no, these modern day trolls are frightening in a completely different way.
These trolls take it upon themselves to vent their nasty thoughts and care nothing it would appear, for the consequences of how much hurt their venomous words may cause.
Having a different opinion is apparently not enough for these modern day trolls, they have to virtually hound the person whose opinion they don’t share with cruel and often vicious posts with no regard for what harm they might be causing.
Freedom of speech gone too far? You can be the judge of that, but for me, I would return back to the days when a troll was not so selfishly nasty in a heartbeat.