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Lake in Minnesota

The Troll of Raven Lake

February 15, 2018

Categories: Nature Notes

By Wolf Ridge Naturalist

The Troll of Raven lake resides in the caves are only accessible on ice, or by canoe by Marshall Mountain. If you have seen a troll before you’ll know that trolls are terrible and unsightly, with a nose like a bumpy carrot, a few hairs on the top of its head that look like algae, tired and small black eyes, and teeth like moldy cheese. You’ll also know that trolls are quite stupid, but dangerous because they have long spindly fingers with sharp chert fingernails, they have a voracious appetite, and take their prey to their grottos in the lake.

Long ago before Wolf Ridge was Wolf Ridge, a young Finnish man fished in Raven Lake on a beautiful autumn day. He was catching walleye, perch, and it seemed like the fish were leaping into his boat. While a line would be in the water, sometimes the man would pull out his violin, and he’d play joyful tunes from his country, and as winter approached he played songs of light in the darkness.

Trolls are in Finland, as well as here at Wolf Ridge. In fact, they live anywhere where there are dark caves, forests of cedar and spruce, and murky water for them to hide in. The man had not met a troll before, but he knew the tales and the tricks they might play. He sensed that something was not quite right at Raven lake, the fish were a little too eager to jump into his boat, and there was something lurking in the water below.

He paddled towards the rocky shore where Marshall mountain loomed overhead. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up as he approached the shaded boulder caves, but the fish kept leaping into his boat, and he was eager to impress his family with his catch and delicious meals ahead. He knew he had paddled too far when he saw the dark water bubbling up and a large boulder-like head with sparse algae hairs on top emerged from the lake.

The Terrible Troll opened his mouth to expose his moldy cheese teeth in a nasty grin, and with wretched breath smelling of rotting fish said to the man, “Who are you to disturb my meal and my home here by this cave?”

“I am simply a man fishing for dinner tonight!” The man quivered as he spoke. He took a deep breath and drew himself up. “Who are you to claim this lake?”

“Why, I am the Terrible Troll!” The troll laughed, “I have lived in this lake for centuries, and have enjoyed eating morsels like you. Fifty years ago I had a full meal of voyageurs, and I’ve been waiting for another like them.”

The man shuddered. He knew that he would have to be clever to avoid being eaten, especially if the Troll had eaten smelly and dirty men like the voyageurs. The last thing he wanted was to be eaten by this disgusting creature, so his mind scrambled to find solutions out of this mess. In his panic, he remembered a tale of a girl who wandered into a dark troll forest, and had escaped by singing troll babies to sleep. It could perhaps work! He pulled out his violin, shaking slightly. “Before you eat me, may I play a song? Music reminds of me of my family and the joys of life, and since you will eat me, I will never experience them again!”

The Terrible Troll thought for a moment, his small eyes screwing up. It seemed like a reasonable request for someone who would be eaten shortly. “Well all right” he replied, “make it quick though, I am terribly hungry!”

The man began playing a sweet lullaby that his mother used to play for him when he was a babe. It was a song of beauty, sadness, and slumber. Soon the trolls small eyes began to droop. The troll yawned, and soon enough he was snoring, and descending back into the grotto.

Once the troll was in the deep dark water, the man transitioned to singing and paddled away as fast as he could to the shoreline across the lake. He left his boat and ran all the way back home with his fish. From then on he told his children, who told the town, who told Wolf Ridge, to always bring a song when you are paddling on Raven or Wolf lake to ward off the Troll. And we sing songs canoeing in class to this day.