Herald and Journal, May 24, 1999

Tale of the big, bad, bald, troll


I have always enjoyed reading the fairy tales written by Hans Christian Andersen and The Brothers Grimm.

Recently, I decided to try writing a modern fairy tale. Here it is:

Once upon a time there was big, bad, bald troll that lived under a bridge. The bridge crossed a deep, terrible river. The current was swift and strong. The only way to cross the river was the bridge guarded by the troll.

The troll would ask the traveler one question which they must answer truthfully, or they would be thrown into the river.

One day a state legislator approached the bridge on his way to the State Capitol. He stopped at the foot of the bridge, pondering his options.

Suddenly, the big, bad, bald troll appeared from beneath the bridge. He was a fearsome sight. His head bobbed as he spoke. He snorted and snarled and pawed at the ground.

"Before you cross my bridge you must answer a question!" roared the troll.

The legislator shook in his shoes. He knew that he must answer correctly or face the wrath of the troll. He decided to try to make friends with the troll, because, after all, he wanted to get his bill passed thru the legislature.

"Very well," he said to the troll, "what is your question?"

"Which would you rather have," challenged the troll, "political correctness or honesty?"

"Well, that depends," hedged the politician. "What is your definition of political correctness?"

The legislator's answer enraged the troll. He trashed the politician and threw him off the bridge into the river.

Soon a reporter came down the road to the bridge. He knew the troll had a reputation for disliking media people. His knees knocked as he came to the bridge where the big, bad, bald, troll dwelled.

"Halt! Who goes there?" challenged the troll.

His head bobbed in anger as he spoke. He snarled and snorted and pawed at the ground.

"It's just me, one of the media," said the reporter.

"I don't like you media people," sneered the troll. "I ought to throw you off my bridge right now, without even asking you the question!"

"Question, what question?" croaked the reporter.

"Which would you rather have," roared the troll, "political correctness or honesty?"

"Sir, you are speaking to a member of the media," the reporter answered. "We report only the facts!"

Again the troll flew into a fit of rage. He trashed the reporter and threw him off the bridge into the river.

Before long, a youth wandered down the road. He was just about to set foot on the bridge when, suddenly, the big, bad, bald, troll appeared before him.

The youth did not know what to do. He just stood there staring, spellbound by the troll's terrible charisma.

The troll stared back at the youth. He realized that the youth did not represent a challenge. The troll's head stopped bobbing. He stopped snarling and snorting and pawing the ground.

"You must answer one question before you can cross my bridge," said the troll. "Which would you rather have, political correctness or honesty?"

The youth's face broke into a wide grin. "I didn't come down here to cross your bridge. I'm just looking for a place to smoke a joint and have a few beers," he replied.

As he finished speaking these words, the youth feinted to the left, dodged to the right, and tried to outrun the troll. He scampered halfway across the bridge before the troll tackled him. Then the troll lifted the youth high over the side of the bridge.

Just as the troll was about to pitch him into the river, the youth cried out, "You aren't going to hold a little youthful indiscretion against me are you?"

The troll thought about this as he held the youth high in the air. Finally, he set him down on the bridge.

"I like your style," the troll declared.

Then the troll and the youth exchanged high-fives. The troll even invited the youth back to his place to watch the WWF on television that night.

And did they all live happily ever after? Well, that remains to be seen.

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