Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Troubles of a bridge troll

While walking home a few weeks ago, daydreaming, I saw this pipe by the 10th Street railroad bridge. It's been there a long while, but it was the first time I noticed it... and it sparked this idea of a displaced bridge troll.

Troubles of a Bridge Troll
a short tale by Meagan Eller

It didn't used to be this way. Time was, a young troll could find a vacant bridge and be set for life. Bridges were easy to find. Maybe not much traffic, but humans are slow and scare easily. And their horses, well, horses will spook unless you know how to approach them right.

But those days... those days are gone. 

I thought I had found a perfect bridge. Not too big, a ready place to live underneath. I should have been suspicious. 

Those humans, they're tricky. Like vermin, they spread all over. And engineer (that's one of those fancy human words) a place to suit them. Time was, they were a good kind of vermin, easy pickings. 

I miss those days. I miss the days before they tore down my bridge. No, it was before that, before they stopped using my bridge. 

I had a nice wooden bridge over a stream. Plenty of water, critters to keep me company, the gentle creak of the wooden planks lulling me to sleep at night. My bridge wasn't a very busy bridge, but there were enough humans to keep me in business. 

Then one day it changed. A new bridge was built just up the stream. I watched them build it. At first I wasn't sure what they were building. There was already a bridge here, just a little ways down the stream. But sure enough, it was a new bridge. And they just stopped crossing mine. 

By the time I realized what had happened, a young troll had taken up residence under that new bridge. Business didn't seem to be going well, anyway, what with those fast carts racing over. Maybe it was better they weren't on my nice wooden bridge. My bridge wouldn't have been the same.

Ah, what does it matter? Old bridge, new bridge. My home was worthless. A troll shouldn't have to up and move bridges like that. Not at my age. That should have been my bridge for life.

But move I did. That's how I wound up here. In this tiny cave, under a useless bridge. I'm too old to move again. And chances are I wouldn't find a bridge worth having if I did. I'll just wait out my time, watching the fast cars (that's what the humans call them) go by, groaning as the bridge above my head shakes each time one of those big heavy trains rumbles over my bridge. 

You see, it not be easy for a bridge troll nowadays, but at least I have a bridge. I'll get by. That's what us trolls do.

Building an imaginary world

I like to build jigsaw puzzles; the boys like to build theirs too. Right now they are especially interested in a map puzzle that belonged to my sister and me when we were little. One side is the United States, with each state a puzzle piece. The flip side is the world. They are very into maps right now.

I recently treated myself to the Game of Thrones 4D Puzzle of Westeros. The puzzle consists of 3 layers. The first is a map of Westeros.

Wil helping build layer 1.
The boys thought that was the coolest thing. We had to explain that Westeros was an imaginary world from a series of books. They think it looks like Great Britain.

Completed layer 1.
They were impatient to get to the fun layers, the foam layer 2 and the 3D plastic buildings of layer 3. It took 3 days to finish layer 1. Yes, they did fit a couple of pieces in, but layer 1 was mostly beyond their skill level.

Completed layer 2.
They were able to help a bit more with layer 2. The pieces are bigger, plus they could match some of the locations to the completed layer 1.

Completed puzzle, all 3 layers.
After layer 2 came the fun of layer 3. This was what they had been waiting for! For layer 3, the main locations are cast in plastic, along with generic town and castle pieces and battle and location flags. The foam castles are removed and the plastic ones put in their place.

The boys with the completed puzzle.

Yep, they really liked this puzzle. Now they want similar puzzles for real world locations. I have to admit, that would be a cool idea and a great way to learn history. Imagine the different layers as different time periods and flags to mark important events.