Of the Troll King

I wonder how legends of trolls came to be.  Or of boogy-men or elves or minotaurs or unicorns.  There are those who hold out that there once really were unicorns but that they are now extinct.  Frankly, I never put must trust in the judgement of those folks, but wouldn’t it be nice if there had been unicorns?

Not so with trolls.  Trolls are always pictured as being huge, ugly, smelly brutes who live under a bridge or in some dark, dank cave.  I imagine them has having really gross breath from all the dead animals that they eat – and then they use their bones to pick their teeth!  And not only would their breath reek, I doubt that any of them use Dry Idea antiperspirant, either!  And clothes?  Lemon-fresh scent in their laundry machines?  No – trolls don’t have laundry machines, silly!!!!

When we were last in Yosemite, we were returning from a hike to Mirror Lake when we came across this scene on the trail.  The rocks were piled up in such a way that it was a natural cave, of sorts, underneath and through them.  A rather strong breeze came shooting through the “cave”-like structure.  Thankfully, it didn’t smell of troll – it smelled like the Yosemite forest would be expected to smell…wonderful!!!!

Still, I couldn’t help but think that this might be a troll cave.  Maybe it was.  Maybe the troll’s mother had come and cleaned it up so it smelled like the rest of the woods.  Who knows?  Not I!

TrollLairON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1860,  Annie Oakley, possibly the greatest female sharpshooter in American history, was born in Patterson Township, Ohio.

Born Phoebe Ann Oakley Moses, Oakley demonstrated an uncanny gift for marksmanship at an early age. “I was eight years old when I made my first shot,” she later recalled, “and I still consider it one of the best shots I ever made.” After spotting a squirrel on the fence in her front yard, the young Oakley took a loaded rifle from the house. She steadied the gun on a porch rail, and shot the squirrel through the head, skillfully preserving the meat for the stew pot.

She was never a stereotypical Wild West woman who adopted the dress and ways of men. To the contrary, Oakley prided herself on her feminine appearance and skills. She embroidered nearly as well as she shot, liked to read the Bible in the evenings, and favored gingham dresses and demure sunbonnets.

Oakley eventually married Frank Butler, and in 1885, the couple joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show. A typical show consisted of Oakley shooting a cigarette out of her husband’s mouth or a dime from his fingers. She also did backward trick shots where she sighted her target only with a mirror. Her ability to shoot holes through playing cards led Americans of the day to refer to any free ticket to an event as an “Annie Oakley,” a reference to the holes that were often punched in the ticket for validation. When the great Sioux war chief Sitting Bull briefly traveled with the show, he grew fond of Oakley and gave her the nickname Watanya Cicilia—Little Sure Shot.

Oakley stayed with the traveling show for more than 15 years, giving performances around the world. In 1901, a head-on collision with a freight train injured Oakley’s back. She returned to performing after a year of rest and toured with several shows for the next decade. In 1913, Oakley and Butler retired, though they continued to give occasional demonstrations for good causes.

In 1921, a devastating auto accident permanently crippled Oakley. She and Butler moved to Greenville, Ohio, her home county, and she lived the remaining years of her life in the quiet countryside. She died there in 1926 at the age of 66

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: In the Dominican Republic is the University of Santo Domingo (established in 1538), the Americas’ oldest university.



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