The Best Toy Ever–Troll-La-La-La-La!

This toy was somehow…different, in small but significantly odd ways. The mind that invented it had to be different. And the minds of the children who fell in love with it were definitely different, too.

We are so glad that a toy was made just for us!

One Christmas, I opened a box to find the best toy ever: A Troll Village.  Perhaps you don’t know what a Troll Village is.

To my surprise, I learned that a Troll Village doesn’t have any trolls.  Instead, it has one-inch-tall plastic cave-men with rigid [stiff] little bodies and fuzzy glued-on hair.


Caveman Tunnel Digger With Blue Hard Hat

No, Not This Kind of Caveman. One Hopes His Hair Is Less Fuzzy and Gluey


Most of the cave-men are naked, except for three:  The first two are twin brothers with some kind of painted-on animal skins, each of whom hides a dangerous-looking blue club behind his back.


Primitive Drawing of Caveman With Club

Photo in B&W to Show More Detail. Note Aggressive Stance: Club Is Held Here in Strike Position.


These brothers apparently don’t get along.


Castor and Pollux Twins Constellation

Unlike These Twins with Weapons, Who Get Along Too Well in a Really Creepy Way


The other cave-man with clothes has a very important-looking orange animal-skin suit, and he wears permanently on one shoulder a rare cave-parrot. 

It was clear that this well-dressed and -parroted man must be the most important man in the village.  When I played, I made him the mayor.

Get ready…here is a picture of the amazing Troll Village:

Troll Village By Marx

The Amazing, Wonderful, Stupendous “Troll Village”, by Marx


WAIT! WAIT! You only THINK it’s not amazing.

Please–take a moment to expand the picture in its own window and zoom in so that you can fully immerse yourself in the awesome, breathtakingly-realistic prehistoric world of the Troll Village.

In the zoom, you can see one of the be-weaponed twins in the lower left foreground, behind the animal pen and below the brown pine tree. The tip of his blue club peeks over one shoulder.

Or wait–Here’s a better picture from Tracy’s Toy’s (She’s also crazy about her village–as who wouldn’t be?):

Troll Village Twins

The Troll Village Jail, Featuring One of Its Most Frequent Occupants, and The Guy Everyone Says “Neener Neener” To


For some reason known only to the Marx company, there were no cave-women included.

The village was similar to a Shaker community in that it had a severely limited future. [Shakers didn’t have sex.]  I corrected this by importing three equally-rigid plastic women troll dolls gotten out of a gumball machine.   Probably not out of this one:


Girl As Gumball Machine

A Beaming Lucca Clifton As a Gumball Machine–Impressive Costume by Impressive Mom, Sara


(You can get full directions for this costume at inchmark journal.)

The three troll women were very popular with the cave-men, who, being cave-guys, hadn’t considered that actual trolls could reside in their Troll Village. 

I let the ladies have the only residence [building to live in], a small grey cave-dome, so that they could enjoy a little privacy.  The other building with bars on its door was clearly the jail intended for those cantankerous [argumentative] twins.

Besides the non-troll citizens, the animals of the Troll Village were another surprise to me.  These were not the ones usually thought of in association with cave-men:

The mayor’s prehistoric parrot, plus camels, giraffes, donkeys, and one bipedal [walking on two feet] elephant.  I don’t remember hearing about one of THOSE in prehistoric times.

Since the elephant stood so comfortably erect, I made him a full-fledged village member.  He always looked happy about this.   The expressions on the faces of the giraffes and camels looked a little sad, as if they wished they were bipedal, too.


Old and Odd Camel Drawings

Talk About Your Sad Camels–Get a Load of THESE!


The more astute [observant] (or less bored) among you may have noticed that the village in the picture has two elephants. Mine had only one. What can I say?

If the fabulous Marx company erred, I don’t fault them for it. Encountering even one prehistoric permanently-perpendicular pachyderm [elephant who always stands up] in a lifetime is more joy than one little girl has any right to expect.

The Marx people were no slackers. Arboreal [tree-like] offerings ran the gamut from bushes to trees, from pines to palms–even a sprinkling of stumps.

The little boys of the village, who were molded in a seated position, I would seat on the stumps to go fishing in the painted pond.

The Marx people had thoughtfully left air bubbles trapped between their knees during the molding process so that the boys could hold toothpick fishing poles in the holes left behind.

Of All the Toothpick Fishing Pole Ideas, This One Is the Cutest!


(See more cute food prep ideas at

The village even had tiny barrels. It is impressive to think that cave-era barrels could be achieved by the industrious application of flint tools to the wood of those early trees. Perhaps the hoops were of plant material.

(One must reject entirely, for lack of any hard evidence–just one speck of red paint indicating rust, for example–Fotheringale’s ridiculous notion that the Iron Age had arrived early in the Troll Village.)

I would pretend that the mayor opened the barrels using his parrot’s beak, and then all the villagers would get drunk.  (Caution:  The upcoming video features professional drinkers–Do not try at home.)



The best part of the toy, besides the cute animals, was the set of rock walls that loomed hugely behind the village.

One of them had a large arch at its top, with a floor upon which you could stand the cave-people.  The other had a shallow cave at the top where you could also stand them. 

Or, if you were my little sister embarrassing me, you could immediately push the walls together to make an deep cavern, like the Marx people intended.

These rock walls (or cavern, if you must be a little five-year-old smart#ss!) had little scattered ledges just large enough to stand a cave-man, a troll woman, or a bipedal elephant. 

The little gray elephant against the immense gray-brown rock was almost invisible. He liked to stand there, discreetly keeping an eye on his cave-community.

Exactly the Way Another Wise Bipedal Elephant Kept An Eye On His Community


The Christmas that I got my village, I played with it for hours. It remained my favorite toy forever afterward, even years later when I no longer played with it. 

Sadly–heartbreakingly–my mom gave my Troll Village away the day I left for college (along with everything else of mine I left at home–but that’s a story for another post!).

Until a couple of years ago, I still had the tiny elephant and one of the camels, both of whom had come with me to college.  Somehow though, a few years ago the elephant departed—probably to join a special prehistoric bipedal quadruped community.  I miss him and his cute little face.

I do still have the one sad little camel, although after all the years he retains only three of his legs. I suspect that, in secret, he is practicing walking on only two of those, and that someday, he, too, will be gone.  

One likes to imagine that the camel and the elephant will become the best of bipedal friends, and that, someday, the camel will no longer be sad.


Happy Beer-Hat Camel

One Happy Camel


(From Know Your

Good grief, this was a long post! For the two of you who stuck with me this far: Have the merriest of Christmases!


Papier Mache Nativity Scene

Here's a Wonderful Creche from Provence With a Happy Donkey to Match Our Theme!


Growing Up Catholic, With Trolls

When I was a little girl, I planned to grow up to become a nun.

I’ll wait. Let me know when the laughing stops.

Nun With Book Sister Babe-adette

Sister Babe-adette

I was in love with God, and loved going to church. For a while, I even voluntarily attended an extra mass on Sundays: a six o’clock service, in addition to the regular nine o’clock family service.

I loved the music, I loved taking Communion, and I really loved saying my rosary. There was such a feeling of peace with each repeated prayer. I still feel this way when I say the Our Father.

Even when I was home, I sometimes thought about church. I made my own little church out of a corrugated cardboard box. It had no top, so that you could see inside. I made little cardboard pews and a cardboard altar. I remember that the altar cloth was just a carefully-draped white Kleenex.

By Mk2010 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

No Disrespect Intended–After All, Kleenex Does Help Us Celebrate The Birth of Jesus With Its Festive Christmas Box!

Graceful Pews I Saw in My Mind...

...Worn, Plain Pews Closer to My Cardboard Model

I even made vestments for my one boy troll doll (don’t ask me how I knew it was a boy—troll dolls are rather featureless down there). I’d play church with him and my girl trolls.

Christmas Trolls from

Couldn't Find Any Priest or Nun Trolls, But These Trolls Are Nice and Christmasy!

After some thought, I’d figured out how to make troll-sized communion wafers by squishing flat a piece of Wonder Bread and cutting tiny circles out of it with cuticle scissors (the hole punch hadn’t worked out). I bet the Wonder Bread people never imagined their wonderful bread could be used for troll communion wafers!

Wonder Bread, the Bread of Miracles

Another great thing about growing up Catholic was that all of our rosaries and holy statues glowed in the dark. How cool is that? Whenever I felt the need of a little lift, I’d withdraw into the closet, stick a towel under the door crack, and sit surrounded by my ghostly glowing treasures. The Jewish kids may have had their eight days of gifts, but we Catholics had our glowing saints and crosses. It all evened out.

Spooky and Yet Comforting, Because You Knew It Was a GOOD Power

One of the really special things about Christmas back then was going to see the outdoor Nativity displays. Often, they were very solemn and beautiful. All of the Catholic families had small tabletop nativities at home, too. Back then, Jesus wasn’t stuck to the manger. He wouldn’t even be in the manger. It was empty. Every day, we children would take a short little piece of straw—the kind like hay, not the kind you drink with—say a prayer for someone, and put the straw into the empty manger. After 24 days of doing this, the manger would be nice and soft with straw, and full of prayers, ready for the baby Jesus.

A Vatican Nativity on Christmas Eve With a Fully Straw-Filled Empty Manger All Ready for Jesus

Christmas morning, when you woke up, you first looked to find Jesus in the manger, and you felt really happy he was there. Then, you’d go to your stockings! We were allowed to pour out our stockings before our parents woke up. We weren’t allowed to open any gifts until after we waited for the sun to finish rising, and then we could pester our parents until we got them to rise, too.

The gift part was pretty much the same as now. And we’d whine about stopping to go to church. But afterward, we felt really happy to be there to celebrate that special, very holy day.


Still all ready for Him.

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