The Trolls of Christmas

A Calling-On for Border Morris

(C) 1995 Lynn Noel for SUMMON THE SUN, Tapestry Folk Arts Center, MN

Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs)

Hang your homes with garlic! The werewolves are abroad

From the last day of November, when vampires roam the road.

Saint Andrew's Day, they call it still, in Romania they say

The spirits of the dead will rise and winter's on its way.

The sun slides into darkness, at midwinter stands it still

And out the trolls of Christmas come from hollow cave and hill.

Since Saturn penned the Titans imprisoned in the earth

The children of the gods return to walk the winter earth.

Shrieking and capering down they whirl

When the veil is thinned to the underworld.

Kari, Frosti, Brim-Thursar come from Sweden's snows afar.

Black frost, snowbank, drifting snow, giants o'er the fields do go.

Mountain wind from hall and town shrieks the winter darkness down.

Shouting and galloping down the sky

Comes Odin's band, the Jolerei.

'Tis Death to see them, thunder rolls

O'er this poor lost band of hungry souls.

See where he comes, the firedrake

King Arthur himself with his Gabriel Rache

The fireghost dogs and the Mari Llywd

Welsh horse of the Hunt King Gwynn Ap Nudd.

The hunt is up and they ride abroad

In search of souls for the underworld.

At Christmas Eve the ghosts come in to hold their revels once again.

At hearth and hall your offerings leave that you your loved ones may not grieve.

Crockery shattered and feasts spoiled sorry

This must be the work of the callicantzari.

From down the Greek mountains these winter trolls scurry

To carry off children born of winter's hurry.

If you'd ward off their mischief, build your Christmas fire big

And hang upon your mantel the jawbone of a pig.

Julnissen, jultomten, Christmas lads

They'll pinch and poke, unruly cads.

Steal your sausage, scatter grain

Snuff your candles, cause you pain.

Beware you boys who ski at night

Old Stalo will steal you in cold moonlight.

But leave a rock into your place

And steal away with winter's haste.

The tomten leave gifts from their packs

But leave with children stuffed in sacks!