by Evonne Anderson

One of the things we like to look for when we are at our Sons of Norway building is the mural and carved trolls that surround us in the lounge. Arvid Kristoffersen is the artist who painted the murals on the 90 feet of walls, then added more than 20 intricately carved, large trolls. He also carved the Viking ship on the outside of the building and painted the flowers on the ceiling of the conference room. Who was Arvid Kristoffersen? Come to Cultural Night on Tuesday, April 6, at 6:45 and find out. The carving was done shortly after the building was purchased for the Sons of Norway. Carrol Juven, who was on the Corporate Board at the time, remembers Arvid and will tell us more about him.

Troll Lounge image

Troll Lounge image

Arvid created a story about his carved trolls and this was written in an early Kringen publication. Roger Reinhart will read this at the Cultural Night program. Knowing this will make the carved creatures come to life for you. Arvid even named some of the trolls after current Board members at that time.

Trolls are a part of Norwegian lore and can cause all kinds of problems if you don’t treat them right. The trolls who live in the mountains are large, ugly, dirty, mischievous, and stupid creatures. Norwegians believed that if you lived a good clean moral life the trolls wouldn’t bother them. Otherwise, they could cause your crops to fail, the cows to stop giving milk, or cause the food to spoil. These trolls lived in the mountains and stayed hidden during the day because they turned into stone if exposed to sunlight and that is why there are so many large stony crags in the mountains. They had only four fingers on each hand and four toes on each foot. Trolls had long warty noses and troll wives often used their noses to stir the cooking pot when they made stew or porridge. They had a cow’s tail. If a troll girl was able to hide her tail and get a Christian man to marry her, her tail would fall off and she was no longer a troll.

Norwegian fairy tales usually included a troll or two who caused problems for the people until someone, usually Askeladden, was able to outsmart them. The Jule-Nissen is a Christmas troll who lives in the barn. If you treat him right – give him rømmegrøt on Christmas Eve, for example, your cows will give milk and you will have good crops. The Jule-Nissen is smaller than the mountain troll and also brings Christmas presents to the good girls and boys.

Come to the Cultural Night program on April 6 and hear the story about the trolls that are in the Lounge!