There are everything from ashrays (sea ghosts) to wulvers, a sort of werewolf but, alas, no trolls in Scotland. There is however now a splendidly ugly and rather large troll under the bridge over the river below the Mill Pond. How it got there is a story worth knowing, which is why I’m telling you in this letter.
Several years ago, we had a potter in residence here, Justina, for an entire winter, during which she built a most magnificent kiln of a rather frightening size as she was interested in creating life-sized men, women, and other creatures. Most are now in museums and private collections around the world but we kept several including the one of Robert Graves that lives in the Reading Room named after him. More than one visitor has been startled by it late at night while doing research, as it seems to shift location by itself when they’re not looking. Or someone has an odd sense of what’s funny. Whoever is responsible is very fast, and quite strong!
But nothing she did was on the scale of what was contemplated by the Several Annie from Norway who decided the area under the Mill Pond bridge needed a troll. A full-sized troll to be precise, which meant it had to be created in sections, given it would be fourteen feet tall and ten feet across its shoulders. So I had the Steward contact Justina and ask her if she’d like to be here for an extended winter contract. Not surprisingly, she was delighted.
She arrived in late October and set up a studio in the cottage she used years back. The Troll Under the Bridge project she figured would take ’till Candlemas at least. (I think she was looking forward to a long winter of conversations, music, contradances, good food, and reading.) Though she could’ve lived in the cottage, she asked if she could have one of the third floor rooms and the Steward agreed, with a note of amusement in his voice.
Iain lost his entire current crop of Several Annies for a full fortnight while they met with Justina to brainstorm this project. We had the clay needed on the Estate but a considerable amount of other supplies were needed that caused the Steward to become a whiter shade of pale, as a fourteen-foot troll is best constructed of solid weatherproof pieces and that required an even bigger kiln. Justina’s stay would likely be through Beltaine at least. She openly admitted that this was going to be a tricky project with likely several spectacular failures before she and her crew got it right, as she had an idea for it that would make it look truly living.
Ahhh, that was a knock on the door … I see I’m needed in the apiary right now as the lads are moving the hives out to the gardens for the growing season and I need to check over their preparations. I’ll finish the story in the next letter.
With affection. Gus
PS: You’ll find the books on the history of ravens in our folklore you wanted enclosed with this letter. As always, Iain grumbled when I checked them out so please be careful with them!