There is a rather interesting account of troll or trow like creatures behaving in a rather odd way that I happened upon in the book The Folklore of Shetland and Orkney (1975) by E. W Marwick. Marwick states that in reply to a letter he wrote to a publication of the time he received a correspondence from a Mr W. E. Thorner from Luton Bedfordshire.

In the letter Mr Thorner explains that during World War 2 he spent a couple of years on the Island of Hoy which as readers may know is part of the larger island chain of the Orkneys which are situated just off the northern most tip of Scotland. The islands have a long history and some wonderful remains from the neolithic can be found there. They are also steeped in myths and legends many originating from Norse origins as there has always been a strong Scandinavian influence, as for a time it was settled by vikings.

The letter goes on to say that whilst on Hoy Mr Thorner had an encounter with a troop of creatures that he described as Trows:

“One stormy day in winter I was walking or struggling along the cliff top at Torness. The wind was high and howled about, low-lying, swirling clouds part-enveloped the land in misty rain. At times the pressure was so great that I was forced to bend and clutch at the heather to retain a footing.

On one such occasion, on looking up I was amazed to see that I had the company of what appeared to be a dozen or more ‘ wild men ‘ dancing about, to and fro. These creatures were small in stature, but they did not have long noses nor did they appear kindly in demeanour.

They possessed round faces, sallow in complexion, with long, dark, bedraggled hair. As they danced about, seeming to throw themselves over the cliff edge, I felt that I was a witness to some ritual dance of a tribe of primitive men.

It is difficult to describe in a few words my feelings at this juncture or my bewilderment. The whole sequence could have lasted about three minutes until I was able to leave the cliff edge.”


What struck me was he reported they seemed to be involved in some trible dance and I do wonder if this is in anyway similar to the more gracefull dances said to be conducted by the Trows cousins the Fae as for the reason they appeared to be throwing themselves from the cliff top is anybodies guess, maybe you guys have some thoughts on it? There are many stories of trowls and the ilk from the Orkney and near by Shetland Islands that streatch back in to history. Are they just stories made up to pass the long winter nights or to frighten children or perhaps they are a folkmemory that stretches back into the far reaches of time when we shared the world with other types of humans like Neanderthal man. Or just may be these creatures are really out there in some form and some of us are fortunate enough to get a slight glimps into their world.