Here’s Another Book Family I’d Like to Spend Christmas With

When I was a kid, our family had this book:

It had three stories in it. The Three Billy Goats Gruff (which everyone has heard before), The Stone Cheese (less well-known but still a fairy tale with familiar tropes), and The Trolls and the Pussycat.

A hunter is bringing a polar bear to the king of Denmark for a Christmas present. He gets caught in a blizzard and stops at an isolated farmhouse. But when the door opens, he finds the farmer and his family just getting ready to leave.

“Ah! You would not want to stay in this house,” said the farmer. “Every Christmas Eve a pack of trolls come down from the mountain to plague us. They eat our food, they sleep in our beds. We are lucky if they don’t break all our dishes and tables and chairs in the bargain.”

The hunter suggests that he and his bear might be a deterrent to the trolls, and he is right. The trolls surround the house …

Then one of them decides to poke the bear, which he thinks is a “pussy cat” …

With predictable results.

And from that day forward no more trolls came to eat dinner at the farmhouse, for the news about Farmer Neils and his enormous pussycat soon spread far and wide in troll land.”

14 thoughts on “Here’s Another Book Family I’d Like to Spend Christmas With

    1. Longer answer:
      I once read this book about failed civilizations, one of which was the Greenland Vikings because eventually they all starved to death. But before their civilization failed, do you know what these lunatics used to do?

      They would go up the rocky, stormy, perilous-with-currents West coast of Greenland, capture a live polar bear (yes!), tie it up, put it in this tiny rowboat, bring it BACK down that deadly coast, put it on a SHIP, and send it to Scandinavia to be given as a present to the royals of Europe!!!!

      And some of them actually survived this!

      I don’t have enough caps and italics to escalate each of those verb phrases, but man.

      In the children’s book, it just shows the hunter leading the polar bear overland like a huge dog, with a leash.
      In other words, for the story, they had to make the illustration less dangerous than what actually happened.


        1. Not to my knowledge. I’m thinking the royal menagerie polar bears were probably put in cages, not tamed, and perhaps didn’t live very long. But the book I read did not follow the bears past their delivery.

          Obviously there is a book begging to be written, there. Perhaps already has been.

          However … the Russians do train brown bears to ice skate! 😀


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