I am Kurr. I am young at seven hundred seasons.
I am not yet wed, I have caught no manchilds, and the mountain thinks me odd.
But as with many things, when I sit to think on this I see that what is seen as odd is often seen through odd-seeing eyes and that is what I tell myself, that I am not so odd perhaps as the mountain thinks I am, and this I sometimes tell my father and sometimes tell his father and sometimes tell his father too who is over four thousand seasons old for we are an enduring race in more ways than one.
My father’s name is Krull. His father’s name is Barr. His father’s name is Hirka and he is the wisest troll alive.
I say this to them not to argue with my elders but to be true to what I see and how I understand things but they do not understand me or they disagree with me or maybe don’t even listen to me and instead look at me as if I wish to argue with my elders which is not such a good thing to do, and so they say nothing to me in return.
They think me odd, I think.
Mother agrees with the mountain and certainly thinks me odd. Trolls marry at five hundred seasons, she says, or sooner and prods me with her walking stick so hard it hurts or bats me with something near at hand a pan a ladle maybe or a broom so hard it hurts and then leaves me with my ribs or head still smarting and all this so fast I have no time to think of an answer before she looks more hurt than I do as she stomps out and away from me to have such a son that no one wants, ashamed she sometimes tells me that the whole mountain thinks me odd—she is very quick though with that walking stick or that broom, I think. Especially for her age.
But on one thing I agree with her for I too believe she has a son no one wants for the shefolk of the mountain all think me odd as well and few will even talk to me. Fewer still (I can count them on my left thumb) have asked to dance with me at feast and none has ever held my hand. Most shefolk look at me as if I belong with the wolves.
But that does not worry me so much. What worries me is that the mountain laughs at Mother behind her back for having such an odd son who no one wants. That is one thing I worry about and sit to think on often. That Mother is unhappy and that I am the reason.
Father, he does not care, leave the boy be he says, he will marry soon enough but then he is not shefolk and no one will laugh behind his back unless he wishes himself married to the earth for Krull is our chief.
I have caught no manchilds. That is odd for seven hundred seasons says Mother. By now any son of mine she says should have caught at least two, maybe three. Your father, she then almost always adds, had caught four manchilds at your age and she prods me again with her walking stick or something else close at hand, a broom or a ladle, so it hurts.
Father, I think but never have time to finish thinking and then say before she stomps out again, reached my age before the roads grew wide and before the rail arrived when catching manchilds was not very hard. And, I add to myself, but would not tell her even if I had the time, of the four manchilds Krull caught I hear two died of fright when they first saw him and should not count as caughts for they must be alive when we boil them to count as caughts. Also, I think to myself but wouldn’t say that either, Father likes the hunt and I have no thirst for that.
But now I must catch a manchild. I and a shefolk called Hulgur. We were the ones who chose the blue fetching stones.