A FARMER TRICKS A TROLL
A FARMER, on whose ground there was a little hill, resolved not to let it lie idle, so he began at one end to plough it up. The hill-man, who lived in it, came to him and asked him bow he dared to plough on the roof of his house. The farmer assured him that he did not know that it was the roof of his house, but at the same time represented to him that it was at present equally unprofitable to them both to let such a piece of land lie idle. He therefore took the opportunity of proposing to him that he should plough, sow, and, reap it every year on these terms: that they should take it year and year about, and the hill-man to have one year what grew over the ground, and the farmer what grew in the ground; and the next year the farmer to have what was over, and the hill-man what was under.
The agreement was made accordingly; but the crafty farmer took care to sow carrots and corn year and year about, and he gave the hill-man the tops of the carrots and the roots of the corn for his share, with which he was well content. They thus lived for a long time on extremely good terms with each other. [a]
[a] This story is told by Rabelais with his characteristic humour and extravagance. As there are no Trolls in France, it is the devil who is deceived in the French version. A legend similar to this is told of the district of Lujhman in Afghanistan (Masson, Narrative, etc., iii. 297); but there it was the Shaitan (Satan) that cheated the farmers. The legends are surely independent fictions.