WHEN Esbern Snare was about building a church in Kallundborg, he saw clearly that his means were not fully adequate to the task. But a Troll came to him and offered his services; and Esbern Snare made an agreement with him on these conditions, that he should be able to tell the Troll's name when the church was finished; or in case he could not, that he should give him his heart and his eyes.
The work now went on rapidly, and the Troll set the church on stone pillars; but when all was nearly done, and there was only half a pillar wanting in the church, Esbern began to get frightened, for the name of the Troll was yet unknown to him.
One day be was going about the fields all alone, and in great anxiety on account of the perilous state he was in; when, tired, and depressed, by reason of his exceeding grief and affliction, he laid him down on Ulshöi bank to rest himself a while. While he was lying there, he heard a Troll-woman within the hill saying these words:--
"Lie stilI, baby mine!
To-morrow cometh Fin,
And giveth thee Esbern Snare's eyes and heart to play with." [a]
When Esbern heard this, he recovered his spirits, and went back to the church. The Troll was just then coming with the half-pillar that was wanting for the church; but when Esbern saw him, he hailed him by his name, and called him "Fin." The Troll was so enraged at this, that he went off with the half-pillar through the air, and this is the reason that the church has but three pillars and a half. [b]
The same is told of a far greater than Esbern Snare. As St. Olaf; the royal apostle of the North, was one day going over hill and dale, thinking how he could contrive to build a splendid church without distressing his people by taxation, he was met by a man of a strange appearance, who asking him what he was thinking about, Olaf told him, and the Troll, or rather Giant (Jätte), for such he was, undertook to do it within a certain time, stipulating, for his reward, the sun and. moon, or else St. Olaf himself Olaf agreed, but gave such a plan for the church as it seemed to be impossible ever could be executed. It was to be so large that seven priests could preach in it at the same time without disturbing each other; the columns and other ornaments both within and without should be of hard flintstone, and so forth. It soon, however, was finished, all but the roof and pinnacle. Olaf; now grown uneasy, rambled once more over hill and dale, when he chanced to bear a child crying within a hill, and a giantess, its mother, saying to it, "Rush, hush! Thy father, Wind-and-Weather, will come home in the morning, and bring with him the sun and moon, or else St. Olaf himself." Olaf was overjoyed, for the power of evil beings ceases when their name is known. He returned home, where he saw every thing completed--pinnacle and all. He immediately cried out, "Wind-and-Weather, you've set the pinnacle crooked! " [c] Instantly the Giant fell witn a great crash from the ridge of the roof, and broke into a thousand pieces, which were all flintstone. [d]
[a] Tie stille, barn min!
Imorgen kommer Fin,
Og gi'er Esbern Snares öine og hjerte at lege med.
[b] Oral. Kallundborg is in Zealand. Mr. Thiele says he saw four pillars at the church. The same story is told of the cathedral of Lund in Funen, which was built by the Troll Finn at the desire of St. Laurentius.
Of Esbern Snare, Holberg says, " The common people tell wonderful stories of him, and how the devil carried him off; which, with other things, will servo to prove that he was an able man."
The German story of Rumpelstilzchen (Kinder and Haus-Märchen, No. 55) is similar to this legend. MM. Grimm, in their note on this story, notice the unexpected manner in which, in the Thousand and One Days, or Persian Tales, the princess Turandot learns the name of Calaf.
[c] Wind och Veder!
Du har satt spiran spedar!
Others say it was.
Bläster! sätt spiran väster!Blester! set the pinnacle westwards!
Slät! sätt spiran rätt!Slatt! set the pinnacle straight!
[d] Afzelius Sago-häfder, iii. 83. Grimm, Deut. Mythol. P. 515