Once there was a scraggly, raggedy troll. Every day he would chase the magical animals and try to eat them. On Monday, he chased unicorns. On Tuesday, he chased dwarves. On Wednesday, he chased elves. On Thursday, fairies. On Friday, goblins. And on Saturday, he chased leprechauns.
But because they were magical, and much smarter than the troll, he never caught anything. So after a long day of running and chasing, he’d go back to his bridge and eat pond scum. And maybe a frog. As you might have guessed, he was terribly skinny and always hungry.
All the other magical creatures were tired of being chased. They wanted more time for painting rainbows or counting gold or singing. So one day, they decided to talk to the scraggly, raggedy troll.
It was easy to find the right bridge. It was Sunday, and the troll was sleeping all day. That meant he was also snoring loud enough to shake the trees along the riverbank. The magical creatures stood at a safe distance and shouted. The snoring stopped, and the troll came out from under the bridge.
“Is it Monday all ready?” he asked. He started looking around for unicorns. The unicorns hid behind the elves.
“Stop chasing us around,” one of the dwarves said. “You never catch anything you chase, so you may as well give up. You’re wasting everybody’s time.”
The troll growled. “Well if a few of you were considerate enough to be caught and eaten, I’d stop being hungry quite so often. Then I wouldn’t have to run around quite so much,” he said.
“Well, that’s not going to happen,” the leprechaun said. “This is pointless.”
“So, is it Monday?” the troll asked.
“No, it’s still Sunday,” an Elf said.
“Then leave me alone, I’m trying to sleep,” the troll said. He stomped back to his bridge. The snoring started again.
“We should always just tell him it’s Sunday,” the dwarf said. “He’s dumb enough to believe it.”
“I think he’d catch on eventually,” the elf said. “Or he’d get hungry enough to decide to chase everything on Sundays.”
The magical creatures sighed. Just then, a tiny brownie came skipping through the clearing, carrying a basket. “Hey,” said the leprechaun, “Why doesn’t the troll chase you?”
“What troll?” the brownie asked.
“The troll that chases all the magical creatures,” The elf said.
“Even mermaids?” the brownie asked.
“No,” the leprechaun said.
“Fine,” the leprechaun said. “He just chases us and tries to eat us.”
“That’s terrible,” said the brownie. “How can I help?”
“Well, since he doesn’t want to eat you, maybe you could talk to him for us,” the elf said.
“Of course,” said the brownie. “Where is he?”
“Just follow the snoring,” the dwarf said.
The brownie followed the snoring to the bridge. The scraggly raggedy troll was sleeping in the mud. “Oh, he looks too cold and dirty and hungry to talk about anything,” the brownie said. “Wake up, Mr. Troll.”
“Who’s there? I’ll eat you up,” the troll said.
“Are you hungry?” the brownie asked.
“Yes,” said the troll.
“Then follow me home,” the brownie said.
“And then I’ll eat you?” the troll asked.
“Of course not,” the brownie said. The troll followed him anyways. The brownie shrunk him to fit in his little hole in the attic wall. “If you help me with the chores, I’ll share my porridge,” he said.
“‘What’s porridge?” the troll asked.
“Oh, it’s wonderful. But first you need a bath and a haircut,” the brownie said.
“I don’t like baths or haircuts,” the troll said.
“Baths and haircuts before porridge,” the brownie said.
“It better be very tasty,” the troll said.
“It is,” the brownie said. The troll sat through both bath and haircut, and even agreed to wear clean clothes. He was disappointed when he saw the porridge. It looked worse than pond scum. Luckily, it tasted much better, and it didn’t try to run away.
For the first time in his life, the troll felt warm and full. Doing chores and staying clean was much easier than chasing things he never caught, and much nicer than being hungry. Soon, he was bouncing along behind the brownie, carrying a basket for gathering berries.
The magical creatures were all gathered in the meadow, but the troll didn’t feel like chasing them. He was too busy looking for berry bushes to pay much attention to them at all. “Little brownie,” an elf said. “What did you say to the troll? We haven’t seen him in weeks.”
The brownie stopped so the troll did too. “Here he is,” the brownie said. “We forgot to talk, though. It’s been nice to have a friend to help out. Thanks for introducing us.”
Then the brownie and the troll nodded at the magical creatures and bounced on through the meadow. The magical creatures watched them go, not quite sure what to think.