The Ashlad and the Hungry Troll

Original title
Gutten som kappåt med trollet
Production year
12 min
35 mm colour film
The Boy who Vied with the Troll

The Ashlad and the Hungry Troll is an exuberant story about how Askeladden, the hero of Norwegian traditional fairytales, outwitted the good-natured troll. The introduction to this fairytale features a familiar cast of actors. This time around, one Tallow Peter, played by Norwegian celebrity Claes Gill, recounts the tale. Tallow Peter, who was partial to a drink, would get a shot on the house for telling the other guests at the inn a fairytale, but before doing so, he was first required to eat a tallow candle, hence his name.

During the shoot, Gill was not quite happy with his own performance when he ate the special tallow candle we had concocted for him out of cheese, and which was supposed to be convincing as a proper old tallow candle. So he insisted on no faking. And hence, what we see in the movie really is Tallow Peter eating a candle! The shot he washed it down with was also the genuine article. And one he certainly deserved. Later on he told the crew with a smile that he had spent a good deal of time in the bathroom that evening.

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Plot summary

Eventyrsamleren Peter Christen Asbjørnsen

In a public house in old Christiania, the collector of fairytales, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen heard a tale told. It was the local eccentric, Tallow Peter, who told the story to get a drink out of the barflies.

Per og Askeladden

This was the story of the poor farmer and his three sons. The elder two were both lazy good-for-nothings, while the youngest sat forever by the hearth, raking the ashes and daydreaming. The father had a forest in which he felled timber and earned a living. But he was in debt, and was old and feeble, so he reckoned it was time for the boys to take off into the woods to do the logging. The two elder sons set off reluctantly, but scarpered off home when a great troll came and scared them out of their wits.


The father got mad and said that the troll had never scared him when he was young. When the youngest son said he would go out logging, his brothers made fun of him, but he set off regardless, taking just a hunk of bread and cheese. As he worked, along came the troll.


He said that the forest belonged to him and no one was allowed to log timber in it, OR ELSE... But Ash Lad was not afraid, and said that the forest belonged to his father. Then he took the cheese, squeezed it till the whey spurted out and said that, if the troll didn't leave him be, he would squeeze him to pieces just like he squeezed the water out of this white stone.

Trollet med kniven

The troll believed Ash Lad, was afraid and begged him to spare his life. Ash Lad said he was famished. So was the troll, and so he invited Ash Lad to come back with him to his home in the mountain. Here Ash Lad saw all the gold and silver the troll had stolen. He hatched a plan, and challenged the troll to an eating contest. The troll agreed. But Ash Lad put his knapsack round his belly and ladled the porridge into it without the troll being any the wiser. When the troll could eat no more, Ash Lad told him that all he had to do was cut a hole in his belly like he did - then he could he eat as much as he wanted. Ash Lad then ripped a hole in the knapsack with his knife so the porridge poured out. The troll did likewise and promptly died. But Ash Lad took all the gold and silver he could find so his father could easily pay off his debts.

And so could Tallow Peter, so he got another drink.