Tag Archives: trolls

Looking for Trolls in Iceland

Well, forget the tourist pamphlets, that collect old folktales from the 19th century. Those were created in an attempt to sort out folk stories from the many traditions of Icelandic settlers. Truth is, there are no trolls, not as a non-human, humanoid species.

Skriðuklaustur

There is, however, a human ability to centre landscapes in human form. It is this centring, this inseparability from place, that you will find in Iceland, if you wander there outside of books. The secret of trolls is the secret of recognition, because they are the same thing. Many Icelanders today look to New York or London for their mirrors. Not all. You don’t have to, either. A troll is where you find it. You are where you find yourself. Now, recognizing yourself when you see it, ah, now that’s a trick.

Whispering Sweet Nothings in a Farm Troll’s Ear

This troll is marked on no map, yet so many travellers have found it that access has been blocked — an unusual thing for Iceland, but necessary. I leave it for you to find it yourself. Note the old house site to the troll’s left. Yeah, on the grassy slope, and at its base. People used to live closer to trolls than they do now.

Still, take a look in the troll’s ear to the right above, and then to the goofs chatting in there, as if they were on the set of a silent movie.How can you block access to what doesn’t belong to you in the first place? How can you stop a conversation that has no sound? You can’t, but you can give it space.