The feast of thanks and peace

Here is a troll’s Thanksgiving story by my friend Martin Calderwood

The Feast of Thanks and Peace

As reported by

Grandpa Martin

 

Once upon a time there lived an old troll lady named Hilda.  She had long scarlet hair, the color of the brightest leaves of Autumn and so Fall was her favorite time of year, that is until Winter, Spring and Summer came along.

Hilda lived high in the mountains, her cave overlooking a large meadow filled with trees and beautiful flowers that seemed to last longer than any area around them.  A small stream ran through the middle passing by the remains of an extremely old tree, a tall stump that was as big as some of the nearby pines entire circumference.  Near this tree was a young pine tree that stood as if it had chosen that spot to be near and watch over the remains of its neighbor.  The contrast between the two trees was one of the reasons Hilda had chosen to live here.

Every night, just after the sun set, Hilda would walk through ‘her meadow’ tending the plants, talking with the trees and whenever she could doing what she loved most, caring for the creatures of the region.  The animals would come from miles and miles around, they liked the touch of her healing hands or to partake of the many wondrous potions and salves she had prepared for almost every occasion.  Even the trolls who lived in the region would come to be healed or cared for if needed.

Because of this Hilda had many friends and enjoyed a very happy life.  Even Mother Nature, herself, would come and visit the old troll with the long tail, whenever she could.  On some occasions the two would travel to other regions and areas where Hilda’s special skills could be used of taught.

One day Hilda and her best animal friend Orsee the honey brown bear, were sitting next to the stream.  Orsee was leaning up against the old tree while Hilda lay in the night shade of the young pine.

“We have so much to be grateful for.” said Hilda looking up at the cloudy sky that hid the moon and foretold of the storms that would come to the area soon.

Orsee grunted and growled his answer baring his teeth in a broad grin.

“We should do something before the big snows hit the area.”

The bear’s stomach rumbled and he rumbled a soft hungry sound.

“A feast! What a wonderful idea!  We could invite all our  friends.”

Orsee again rumbled something that sounded like a question.

Hilda paused.  “Yes I know my trolls friends like lots of meat but I believe that no creature should be in danger because of this feast.  We can gather fruits, nuts, roots and vegetables and  I am sure the bees will give of their honey.  I can bake breads and sweets of all kinds.

The bear rumbled something then snorted loudly.

“Yes, I know it is a lot of work but I am an excellent cook and I have my magical pot that holds everything I put into it and cooks it perfectly.  I will make the most wonderful stew.  Maybe we will not even need meat.”

Orsee snorted.

“Yes, I know trolls love  meat but I truly believe it is wrong to take any life for this feast.  We will have to trust Earth Mother and do all we can to be ready.”

She looked at the bear who remained quiet but nodded in agreement,

“I want to hold this as soon as possible before the cold and long nights come but our friends will need time to get here.   We can have the birds and the trees deliver the invitations and we will tell them it will be on the night of the new moon which will be in ten more nights.  That will put it almost exactly between Solstice and Harvest’s End.  I think that will be perfect.  We can celebrate  with our friends and express to Mother Nature our gratitude for all her bounty.  I do think we need to invite her too.”

This time the bear nodded enthusiastically.

Hilda grinned.  “Then it is settled. Oh and we must remember to tell them to bring their own items to eat in or on if they want.  We do not have enough food holders for such a large number of guest.

The bear snorted in appreciation that she had thought of something he never would have considered.

“Then let’s get going, we have lots of work to do!”

Orsee growled and groaned loudly.

‘Meat?  Yes, we still do not have any meat but I am sure it will not matter.  Let’s get to work, we have a lot to do”

And with those words she was off like a shot preparing the plans that had filled her mind as she had talked.

A day passed, then two.  The birds and trees reported that twenty trolls had accepted the invitation and they could not count the number of animals.  Some of the animals were afraid because there were going to be trolls there.  Hilda replied that there would be no animals, even the old and infirm, would be harmed for the feast.  She then waited for an answer.

In the meantime, she began to cook.  She dug a large fire pit and built a hot coal fire into which she placed her magical pot.  She poured in over fifty buckets of water from the stream.  As the onions, beans, carrots and tomatoes came in they went into the pot along with many special spices Hilda had in her cave.  She added a barrel full of dried meat to the stock and then threw in several barrels of potatoes.

She, along with Orsee, also started baking pies and cakes and breads in the stone oven inside her cave.  Pumpkins, apples, peaches and other fruits were turned into dozens of pies while dried fruit and nuts went into breads laced with honey and thick syrup from maple trees miles and miles away.  Other vegetables and fruits were packed into barrels and laid out for random snacks and treats.  Orsee helped because like Hilda he was an excellent cook especially in making the breads and cakes.

Soon the entire area smelled of fresh cooked or cooking food but there was no smell of meat, as Orsee kept reminding Hilda who continued to say nothing except that the feast would be wonderful.

It was late into the next night that Old Woggle, a huge Tom Turkey, came to see his friend.  He had heard of the dinner and came to see if he could help his friend.  The two had talked, joined occasionally by Orsee who was tending his oven, until almost dawn.  They discussed the fact that there was no fresh meat and Woggle assured her that things would be as they should and that if no fresh meat was provided by Mother Nature then that was how it should be and that the the gratitude would be real and genuine no matter what food was provided.

Hilda was not so sure and worried, aloud, for the first time that without the meat for the feast it would not be perfect.  She knew of animals who would give of themselves to fill the need and that by so doing their suffering and pain would end but they were few and she knew she could help them while alive and make any transitions smooth but not now.  Not during the Celebration of Gratitude, as she now thought of it.

Old Woggle had agreed and said he honored her kind heart. He said he remembered hearing of times when Trolls were nasty, cruel creatures who hated the light and all things good.  Trolls that destroyed rather than create.  His ancestors had passed down tales of the gradual change and now here she was doing good.

“The Great Creator and His Earth know what you are doing so be patient and what is supposed to be will come to pass.  Now you best get in and get some rest, you have a busy time coming before the rest of your guests arrive.

Animals began to arrive after two more days and were fed breads and small meals but for the most part they looked after themselves.  The first troll arrived two days before the feast and from then on, they began to trickle in slowly.

Hilda greeted each new arrival warmly and reminded them that this was a feast of gratitude and peace, so the guests were invited to try to remember things they were glad they had or were grateful for.

The morning of the feast arrived warm and comfortable, a blessing from Mother Earth and, as Orsee again reminded her, still no meat.  Orsee had then gone up to the cave to get the last of the pies and sweetbreads.

“What shall I do old friend.” she asked leaning against the old stump after he had left.

“Trust the magic.”  the tree stump said softly.

Hilda leaped back.  “You spoke?”

A pair of eyes opened in the old tree and a large knot became a mouth.  “Yes.”

“Why?  You have never spoke before.”

“Yet you have always treated me as a friend.  My roots are still deep and Mother is coming.

“Will she have the answers I need?  Trolls love meat.  I know it is not really necessary to make a great feast, but I want everyone to be happy.  I do not want anything to ruin the feeling of gratitude.  I have tried not to think of it and to be trusting but the answer has not come.”

“You have not done anything but hope.  Actions are frequently needed to get answers.”  said the ancient tree stump.

Hilda looked confused.  “I was going to ask Mother Nature if she could help when she arrived.”

“Yes, but she, like her creator, does not have to be here to answer questions.  You are a troll and trolls are made of the rock of the Earth.  You, above others, should know what can be done.”  replied the tree softly.

“So I should ask for meat now and expect it to just appear?” asked Hilda.

The smell that filled Hilda’s nostrils in the next second caused her eyes to shoot open as wide as all of outdoors.  The savory aroma of Roast Turkey mixed with spicy bread filling filled the air.

Hilda turned around rapidly and to her great surprise and delight ‘her pine tree’ was covered with plump, steaming turkeys, hanging like great pine cones from the branches of the tree.  The old cook ran two steps and carefully grabbed one pulling it carefully off the tree.  Before she could bite into it another appeared in its place.

Hilda took a big bite (she’s a troll after all, what did you expect?).  The buttery, spicy taste melted in her mouth as did the next bite and the next.

“Orsee.” she called out, “come quickly!”
The bear lumbered out of the cave and was immediately hit by the smells coming from the tree that had been masked by the wonderful bread smells that filled the cave.  Hilda was certain he made it to the tree faster than ever before.

“Taste one.  They are not too hot.  They are perfect!” exclaimed Hilda taking another bite which this time got into the core of the turkey which was filled with spicy bread and rice.

Suddenly she stopped eating.  Looking up she saw a large number of trolls approaching from both directions of the valley.  She recognized the two largest families of the region.  She quickly put down the remaining turkey ‘fruit’ and ran forward hearing Orsee crunching the bones as he finished the lasts bites of his treat.

“Welcome friends!” she cried out in joy and excitement.  “Welcome to OUR Feast of Gratitude and Peace!  Everyone gather quickly around before we eat to express our gratitude for all that we have!”

Tears of happiness filled Hilda’s eyes as she surveyed the crowd.  In her mind she counted over three score trolls.  (It was the largest gathering of trolls she had ever witnessed.)  There were hundreds of animals, small and large, from a few hardy insects to a dozen large bears who had not yet hibernated.

As she stood open mouthed, unable to speak because of the joy she felt, Old Woggle came up and stood beside her as did Orsee.

“This may sound strange coming from me but my kind have been the food of all for years, it is part of our circle of life.  We are honored that the Creator and Mother Earth chose such a universal taste to celebrate this day.  Now I think it is time for you to say something and let these hungry critters eat!”

Hilda blinked as she focused on the crowd.  For a moment she turned and looked at Orsee who grinned so wide all his teeth showed white and gleaming in the evening air.

“Please listen everybody!”

The crowd grew silent as one by one they seemed to sense the importance of this occasion.  Soon only the breeze rustling the trees could be heard through the entire meadow.

“Where is Mother Nature?” asked Orsee in a soft growl.

“All around us and in our hearts.” replied Hilda smiling.  “But she is standing next to our new friend the old tree.

The bear said nothing but gave her a small nod.  Mother Nature nodded back and smiled as she winked at the old tree stump who smiled.

“Go on deary.” said the old stump.  “And thank you for giving the land the life that brought me back from my deep slumber.

Hilda smiled and then turned to face her guests.

“I would like to recite something I created while I was cooking.  When I am done I want all of us to pause in silence for a few moments and think, individually about what you are grateful for.  I will then need a few volunteers to bring down the rest of the food from the cave and the casks of milk, cheese, water and fruit juices we made.  There is even several barrels of honey juice for those who like that.  Orsee and Old Woggle know what to do so if you cannot get to me or hear me check with them.”

A rumbling murmur rolled through the gathering.  The smells and their hunger made it hard to wait but they were wise and they were indeed grateful so they assented in anticipation of both the words and the feast.

Woggle and the others all stepped back leaving her some room so they could all hear her.

For a few moments more Hilda held her peace and then in a gentle, full voice began to speak and though not everyone there would understand the words they could sense the importance of their meaning and the greatness of the heart that spoke them.

Great Creator and Gentle Mother Earth!
As thy children we gather to express our gratitude for all your bounty.
For the elements that make us one
Fire that gives heat and prepares food.
Water to feed and cool all things.
Air that gives all things life.
Earth, the Mother of us all.
For the seasons and the cycle of life
Spring where the cycle starts
Summer where it grows and matures.
Fall where the cycle fulfills its path and gives its most.
Winter where it rests and awaits new birth.
We freely share all these and promise not to waste but to use all your gifts as ordained.
For the life giving food and this wonderful feast,
we say give our thanks and pledge to use the strength it gives to benefit all that lives.
May one of these benefits be peace to all the Earth and all that live within
and may we be vessels of that peace now and forever.
Again we express our gratitude for all your gifts.
Let us enjoy these moments of peace and silence.

For a hundred troll heartbeats there was silence in all the meadow.  The auras of those present seemed to merge and the Earth drew on that power.  Around the globe, for those few minutes, trolls and others close to the Earth sensed a change that would in the years to come alter the care and keeping of the world, all because of one Troll, a large feast and a bond that was created in those few moments of silence as the Creator and Mother Earth received the thanks and honor they would use to help their greatest love: the Planet Earth.

As for the feast, according to all who attended it was by far the most wonderful experience they had ever had and those turkeys, well let it be said they will always be remembered for their magical taste and appearance.  Ever since that first feast, oh so long ago, the trolls and their friends have gathered every year since in the high meadow with Hilda, Orsee and repeated the Feast of Gratitude and Peace and though Hilda no longer cooks and it is Orsee’s great great great grandson that does the cooking the troll world continues to enjoy the once a year magic of the ‘thanks-giving’ tree.  It is no surprise that the word spread and the feast became a standard throughout all trolldom and even though they did not all have the magical turkey ‘fruit’ of the first one great care was always taken to keep Hilda’s intentions and purpose completely fulfilled.  That humans have a similar feast held on the third Thursday of their month of November, is also no surprise, for we are all children of the same Creator and as such are charged to care for the Earth which gives us all sustenance.

 

And Snip, Snap Snout, this tales told out.

Mother Earth visits the feast

 

Grandpa Martin aka Martin Calderwood is the Master Trollogist of the USA. He lives in West Jordan, Utah and has loved trolls all his life. Martin’s grandpa came from Norway in the early 1900’s and loved to tell the grandkids trollstories. Some traditional Norwegian tales, but also some that he made up himself, often linking the trolltradition with their lives in the US. Martin has carried on this tradition and writes trollstories where he combine the traditional trollmythology with today’s life in Norway and the US.

Visit Grandpa Martin’s Troll Cave.

 

 

 

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