By Denny T.
The goat and the troll.
Once upon a time there lived a troll under and old stone bridge at the edge of town. Of course, no one knew of the troll and the troll did not know of anyone. He only knew to capture, kill, and eat sheep who crossed the bridge. He did it because he needed to eat. He did it because he had to and had no choice. Day by day he lived his life capturing, killing and eating.
One day a sheep came over the old stone bridge with its hoof clacks resonating into the troll’s large years. And up crawled the troll, ever so silently, his massive body tensing and his horns twitching. In one swift motion, he reached over with one furry arm, and held the poor sheep in the air.
The sheep sensed something was wrong, but ran too late. He turned around and saw a gargantuan creature below grasping him in a surprisingly tight grip. Thinking quickly, the sheep cried: “I know what you seek more than nourishment under this gloomy bridge with an abundance of food crossing daily!” So the troll paused, for its ears have not ever heard a voice as eloquent as that of the sheep.
“What is it that I desire the most?” Mused the troll in a low rumble.
“I would be more than glad to tell you when you put me down.”
“And how can I know whether to trust you?”
“Because, I can prove that your speed constant is greater than mine, therefore running nor swimming would not follow as a good idea, and that in a fight of strength, I would certainly not triumph.”
The troll lowered the sheep. Little did he know, the sheep’s flattering words defeated the troll in a clash of wit and will despite his superior speed and strength victories. The troll was, for the first time in his life, confronted by a prey with greater intelligence.
As the sheep raised his head, he spoke in a more calm voice: “What you seek is something novel. Something to take you beyond what you have been all your life. You are looking for knowledge, to achieve what most call wisdom.”
The troll stumbled, for it has never had such large a truth revealed to him at once. He looked inside himself-this was indeed what he has dreamed of all his life. He hooded and bowed down low. “Very well. I will let you live. Teach me this wisdom of yours; consider this humility as well as mercy. I will expect you here every dusk.”
The stunned sheep walked away dazed. Nevertheless, he agreed and trotted away.
Every day from that Summer evening, the sheep arrived at the crumbling bridge. This was a motion of mutual trust; one that the sheep assumed the troll would let him pass the bridge safely, and the troll assumed the sheep would show up to teach.
However, the sheep was careful not to teach everything he knew, for he that was excessively dangerous as he would be no use to the troll. As wise as he was, he was equally cautious, assuming every moment with the troll could be his last. But, he was the teacher, and would attain authority since the troll has given him responsibility over himself.
Seasons passed quickly. One late Autumn sunset, the student and the teacher were seated on crunching leaves, conversing.
“What could an accused say to defend himself if he would be hung if he lied and stoned if he told the truth?” Questioned the wise sheep.
“He could say: I will be hung.” Answered the troll without missing a beat.
“And what is the principle of Wisdom?”
“That ignorance is unconquerable by the conscious mind.”
“Good. I have fought you everything that I know. May I pass?”
“Yes. You are forever welcome on my bridge.”
But then, the troll saw the glint of dishonesty from the eyes of the sheep. Both of them knew that the other was lying. “Farewell,” said the troll. The sheep narrowed his eyes.
None of them said a word as the troll went under the bridge and the sheep continued on his way.
Autumn came and left. No sheep walked over the bridge, they were all indoors. The once-confident troll huddled in his spot under the bridge, shivering violently and starving severely.
On the night of a blizzard, shielded by fog ,swirling columns of snow and, the howling wind, the sheep ventured back across the bridge back to his home. He did not realize that seemingly millions of fathoms underneath him, a shadow was approaching him on the frozen river. Knowledge is indeed power.
Step by step the sheep ventured further and further from the shore ever so slowly and fearfully. His vision was only focused on his side, but did not seem to see the snow-clad figure towering before him.
Animals like us were never meant to get along, teacher, our natures do not line up. From the first day of my pursuit of knowledge, I knew that we were all hiding our own agendas. Since that Autumn day, we were both plotting. I am an idealist. I have wanted a mutual harmony of life every second of thought. But facing danger of myself, for I will both be starved and killed if I do not act. Teacher, this is the only path, and has been for seasons.
With that, the troll reached down and bent the sheep’s neck until he did not move again.