“Undereventyr” is the Norwegian name for wondertale. Most of the folktales with troll goes under the type of folktale called wondertale. A wondertale is usually ”a long story”, with one main protagonist who has to solve a quest, travels and get help from good helpers. Personally I would say that Joseph Campbell’s ”The hero with 1000 faces” and the template from that book, would resemble what we call a wondertale. In my experience as a storyteller I would say that a wondertale is popular to tell, but not to listen to. The story has a good discourse or dramaturgy on the ”text” level, but it is hard to tell because of its length and the elements that are repeated. It demands an truly dedicated artist to do it.
What can a wondertale tell us today? The very romantic view you get by reading Bettleheim and the like, is a Freudian psychoanalytic vision on man’s inner powers. A wondertale give us insight about ourselves, it talks the inner symbolic language. Or if you are a jungianer, it speaks the same language as dreams. It’s not quite my style. For me this is like a lullaby for romantics. There is also a laziness in it, why should one adapt a folktale if it looks at man as something static which always will struggle with the same internal forces. Nor am I of those who believe that we should completely modernize a folktale.
But I think that folktale must specify the social and societal context in which it is placed in. It takes place a tragedy in Europe these days, people fleeing drown in the sea because they so desperately wants a life with hope. Some will think it is grotesque that I then think that folktale “The town musicians of Bremen” is currently a topical story. But it addresses some of the same basic elements: you leave your home because you wish for something better. You leave home because you know staying will probably end your own life. What with troll then? Well, the troll has a function within the frame of a story, without the story there is no troll. So depending on the story, the troll could also be contemporary.