Picking Lice from a Troll

When I was born, or so I’ve been told, I was almost handed over to a goblin by the name of Rumpelstiltskin in exchange for a spot of spinning. What my mother didn’t tell me, when we had the ‘woman to woman’ talk, was that her trickery meant I would marry a troll.

I blame everything on my mother, for being weak and allowing my grandfather to lie about her abilities to spin straw into gold – their upward mobility could have been achieved in a more honest way.  But it seems dishonesty runs in the family – like her father, my mother tried to pull the wool over the goblin’s eyes, forgetting how powerful his magic was.

On the day of my marriage to the man of my dreams – handsome, talented and, above all, truthful – the goblin cast a spell to transform my love into a troll as soon as the wedding rings were on our fingers.

Now I sit, every night, picking lice from my husband’s fur. What I haven’t told mother, is that as soon as the lice have been removed and dropped to the ground, they turn into pearls. We have amassed a small fortune, with which to buy my darling’s freedom from Rumpelstiltskin and, as they say, live happily ever after.

Kim M. Russell, 2017


Theodor Kittelsen, The Princess Picking Lice from the Troll, Google Art Project

My response to Jane Dougherty’s Sunday Strange microfiction challenge

Jane says, just for a change, she has given us the title of this painting—‘The Princess Picking Lice from the Troll’—because she doesn’t think that knowing what it’s about will be too much of a limitation. Why a princess is sitting in a darkened room picking lice out of a troll’s fur is up to us.


6 thoughts on “Picking Lice from a Troll

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