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During our trip to Norway, some info we picked up on Vikings, it seems that the image we have of them is not quite right, in fact its wrong. They travelled in little boats that were often no more than 40 feet long. The Vikings were not giants either, back then about 1000 year ago, people were small, so you average Viking was 5 feet tall or maybe at most 5.5 feet not exactly a giant race. Today we would appear to them to be giants, this is due to better hygiene and richer more varied diet.

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As for the Trolls, have you heard of Billy Goat Gruff? A story written around 1840 by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe about 3 billy goats who tackle a nasty Troll living under a bridge who was very hungry and would eat anyone crossing the bridge.

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The story introduces three male goats, sometimes identified as a youngster, father and grandfather, but more often described as brothers. In other adaptations, there is a baby or child goat, mama goat and papa goat. “Gruff” was used as their family name in the earliest English translation, by Dasent; the original Norwegian version used the name “Bruse”.

In the story, there is almost no grass left for them to eat near where they live, so they must cross a river to get to a meadow or hillside on the other side of a stream in order to eat and fatten themselves up. To do so, however, they must first cross a bridge, under which lives a fearsome and hideous troll, who is so territorial that he eats anyone who tries to cross the bridge.

The smallest billy goat is the first to cross and is stopped abruptly by the troll who threatens to “gobble him up!” However, the little goat convinces the troll to wait for his big brother to come across, because he is larger and would make for a more gratifying feast. The greedy troll agrees and lets the smallest goat cross.

The medium-sized goat passes next. He is more cautious than his brother, but is also stopped by the troll and given the same threat. The second billy goat is allowed to cross as well after he tells the troll to wait for the biggest billy goat because he is the largest of the three.

The third billy goat gets on the bridge, but is also stopped by the hungry troll who threatens to devour him as well. However, the third billy goat challenges the troll and knocks him off the bridge with his horns. The troll falls into the stream and is carried away by the current. From then on the bridge is safe, and all three goats are able to go to the rich fields around the summer farm in the hills, and they all live happily ever after.

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