Helga's Dowry: A Troll Love Story
Story and Pictures by Tomie dePaola
Hey Kiddos! My last Tomie dePaola post was Strega Nona, which is about a magic pasta pot and the mayhem that ensues when it falls into the wrong hands. I have several Tomie dePaola books but none more charming than Strega Nona, that is, until I added Helga's Dowry to my collection. Helga, in particular, has charmed it's way from mommy's bookshelf onto the Boog's. Admittedly, I will pretty much buy anything with his name attached to it, making Mr. dePaola one of my most fave illustrators. (Number one on my list being the late Maurice Sendak) I have gotten quite good at spotting them on my thrifting excursions. Although, after laying eyes on one of his illustrations you will pretty much agree that his work is quite unmistakable.
Helga is the loveliest troll in three parishes but, after being orphaned as a troll child, she was also the poorest. This became a problem for her when handsome Lars asks for her hand in marriage, for it is troll law that Helga must posess a dowry. With moonstruck eyes, Lars tells Helga he will go ask old Rich Sven for some advice.
Sven's Advice? Why, marry his daughter Plain Inge. With 30 Cows, 3 Chests of Gold and a mountain pasture, Plain Inge would make him the richest troll in the land! (with the exception of the troll king of course)
Upon hearing this news, Helga decides to take maters into her own hands! She writes Lars a note asking him to wait for her and she decides to go make her own fortune to supply herself with a suitable dowry."SOME PEOPLE ARE ARE LAZY, SOME PEOPLE VAIN,
SOME PEOPLE ARE GREEDY;
IT'S ALL HELGA'S GAIN!"
She goes into the Land of People and bargains her way into a dowry of 35 Cows, in exchange for laundry, 4 Chests of Gold in exchange for everlasting beauty and, after clearing out the timber, a Pasture of her very own!
Upon learning that Lars was not going to wait for her and had intentions of marrying Plain Inge in her stead, she dismisses him.....
Only to receive a purposal from the Troll King himself, who is no need of riches and certainly in need of a hard working Troll wife!
What is really funny about this story, is that the Troll King has been interested in Helga all along! You can see him hiding within most of the illustrations watching Helga hard at work.
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