The main population of trolls today lives in the Northern parts of Europe, most notably in Norway. There are more than 2500 species of trolls in the Scandinavian countries, 2000 of which are native to Norway. Of these, the most prominent ones are the Common Norwegian Forest Troll, the Norwegian Forest Dwarf Troll, the Sea Troll (Draugen), the Bearded Bottleneck Troll and the Obnoxious Norwegian Mountain Troll.
Meeting trolls is never free of danger, but we had prepared well. We brought several mechanical toys, a whole set of flashlights with extra batteries, and a copy of The Da Vinci Code.
Trolls are extremely dangerous creatures. While they might be tricked by riddles, logical paradoxes and faulty prose, it is safest to rely on physical means of defense. Sunlight is, as should be common knowledge, lethal to trolls. Because of this they only venture outside their caves in darkness or during extremely rainy days. Should they be encountered under such circumstances, or even in one of their caves, it is useful to know that trolls are also easily blinded by artificial light (even a simple flashlight will do). Be aware that this will only cause temporary blindness, and as soon as the troll regains full usage of its eyes (or eye, as the case is with the One Eyed Rural Dwelling Troll and the Kykloptical Klutter Klinger Troll) it will chase the subject it most likely believed caused the blindness. Thus another trick is to bring decoys in the shape of model airplanes or other objects that can direct the attention away from yourself.
You should not, under any circumstance, attempt to outrun a troll; or (this should not even be in the book as it is self-evident) engage it in combat. You will lose. (With the possible exception of man-to-troll combats with the Procrastinating Fickle-Flogger Troll. Due to its size and extreme strength it would crush you in an instant, but it will most likely put it off until you can make your escape.)
As we approached the mountains, it was nerve-wracking to say the least to scout towards the skyline to try to make out if any of the mountains were moving. We never drove very close, as this is haphazard to say the least.
Since the Jotunheimen is one of the last natural habitats for the trolls, there are any number of regulations for how the area can be traversed. However, most of the regulations are intended to ensure human safety rather than the survival of the trolls. Caravans are mostly forbidden, since trolls occasionally mistake them for lunchboxes. Paragliding is discouraged, but not forbidden (it would only make it more attractive for the extremists), though tourists and locals alike should be aware of the dangers involved in flying around looking like troll-sized butterflies. Trolls do not like butterflies.
The best way to access a troll bound area is by foot, as this will allow the best possible escape. Humans are tiny compared to most types of trolls, while cars are easy to pick up. Finally, your attire can be what saves your life. Most trolls are trained to identify creatures that are meant to blend into the scenery (as they are highly efficient hunters for wild animals and the occasional sheep), while colours such as hot pink or bright green that isn’t part of the natural colour scheme of their habitat actually are more difficult for them to distinguish. In general, trolls often have relatively poor eyesight, but their sense of smell more than compensates for this. They can smell “Christian blood” (the preferred troll term for “human”) up to twenty miles away.
In the end, we never got to see any trolls. A pity, perhaps, but a part of me is relieved. After all, these are extremely dangerous creatures, and it really is quite foolish to try to seek them out. But, it’s a family tradition. Fortunately this time we came home safely – who knows if we will the next time?
All the excerpts in this text are from Professor Geirr Ådne Ørjesæther’s book, Trolls and their Relatives (not to be confused with the children’s book of the same title).