SVEND FAELLING was a valiant champion. He was born in Faelling, and was a long time at service in Aakjaer house, Aarhuus, and as the roads were at that time greatly infested by Trolls and underground-people, who bore great enmity to all Christians, Svend undertook the office of letter-carrier.
As he was one time going along the road, he saw approaching him the Troll of Jels-hill, on the lands of Holm. The Troll came up to him, begging him to stand his friend in a combat with the Troll of Borum-es-hill. When Svend Faelling had promised to do so, saying that he thought himself strong and active enough for the encounter, the Troll reached him a heavy iron bar, and bade him show his strength on that. But not all Svend's efforts availed to lift it: whereupon the Troll handed him a horn, telling him to drink out of it. No sooner had he drunk a little out of it than his strength increased. He was now able to lift the bar, which, when he had drunk again, became still lighter; but when again renewing his draught he emptied the horn, he was able to swing the bar with ease, and he then learned from the Troll that he had now gotten the strength of twelve men. He then promised to prepare himself for combat with the Troll of Bergmond. As a token he was told that he should meet on the road a black ox and a red ox, and that he should fall with all his might on the black ox, and drive him from the red one.
This all came to pass just as he was told, and he found, after his work was done, that the black ox was the Troll from Borum-es-hill, and the red ox was the Troll himself of Jelshill, who, as a reward for the assistance he had given him, allowed him to retain for his own use the twelve men's strength with which he had endowed him. This grant was, however, on this condition--that if ever he should reveal the secret of his strength, he should be punished by getting the appetite of twelve.
The fame of the prodigious strength of Svend soon spread through the country, as he distinguished himself by various exploits, such, for instance, as throwing a dairy-maid, who had offended him, up on the gable of the house, and similar feats. So when this report came to the ears of his master, he had Svend called before him, and inquired of him whence his great strength came. Svend recollected the words of his friend the Troll, so he told him if he would promise him as much food as would satisfy twelve men, he would tell him. The master promised, and Svend told his story; but the word of the Troll was accomplished, for from that day forth Svend ate and drank as much as any twelve. [a]
[a] According to what Mr. Thiele was told in Zealand, Svend Faelling must have been of prodigious size, for there is a hill near Steenstrup on which he used to sit while he washed his feet tnd hands in the sea, about half a quarter of a mile distant. The people of Holmstrup dressed a dinner for him, and brought it to him in large brewing vessels, much as the good people of Lilliput did with Gulliver, This reminds us of Holger Danske, who once wanted a new suit of clothes. Twelve tailors were employed: they set ladders to his back and shoulders, as was done to Gulliver, and they measured away; but the man that was highest on the right side ladder chanced, as he was cutting a mark in the measure, to clip Holger's ear. Holger, forgetting what it was, hastily put up his hand to his head, caught the poor tailor, and crushed him to death between his fingers.