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Trolls have always fascinated me. Although I live in Africa
I have a notion that there are many a Troll lurking beneath
some rustic bridge in a suburban garden.. Could this be Boorgat? Well, my troll certainly led them a merry dance
right here In Pretoria....so beware, it could happen to you.

Submitted: December 06, 2011

A A A | A A A

Submitted: December 06, 2011



A Troll Named Boorgat


A Short Story


Geoffrey Kennell


Unlike most schoolboys of thirteen, I failed miserably in the important realm of sport. Through no fault of my own, I had become a gangling 6 feet tall youth, and dressed in any type of sport ware looked almost as ridiculous as I felt. In time I learned to avoid any type of sporting activity like the plague. 

This was disappointing to my parents of course, yet I made up for the deficiency in other ways.  I became a keen astrologer, gained honors in mathematics and science, and came top of my class for three years in a row.

Things were going well when my dad, stumped at what to buy me for my thirteenth birthday, decided to install a garden pond in a corner of our half-acre stand.  He equipped it with the necessary filtration plant and also stocked it with a number of snails and a very fine looking golden carp.

I was delighted. “I am going to call him Wally.”  I said

 “You can add to it whenever you like,” said my Dad. “Just keep the pond clean and the carp fed.”

The day after my birthday, my buddy Julius came around to view the pond. “Wow, what a monster of a fish,” he exclaimed.  “They say you can train them to come when you call them.”

“And I suppose they leap out the pond and into your arms huh?” I teased.

“No you idiot, they swim to the side and beg for tit-bits.”

We decided that the pond could do with more décor.  “How about some of those round flat river stones, or perhaps some river weed?”  I suggested.

In no time at all, it was Saturday and we found ourselves beside a stream on the outskirts of town.  Julius knew just where to find the right type of stones.  “Here Geoff, it’s a bit muddy, but look at these smooth round pebbles beneath this rickety old bridge.”

I remember prizing one of the stones loose, and then another and another.  Five in all, then we washed each one carefully before heading back home again. The exercise was a huge success and even my Dad thought the stones an added attraction.

The next day, Julius and I were busy designing a rocket that we hoped might hit the moon one cold winters night.  We checked the new stones in the pond on our way back to the garage.  “Where the heck is Wally?” queried Julius.


“The carp, where is he?”

I got down on my knees beside the clear water, “He….he`s not here. Oh Lord, the neighbours cat, I bet that darned…”

Julius look puzzled, “Do you think the cat shuffled those stones around too.  Look at them, we never piled them up like that.”

I stared in amazement.  The round flat stones had shifted their position.  Now there were two pairs stacked together and a single large stone laying on its side. The golden carp was nowhere to be seen.

Dad was furious.  “Have you any idea how much that wretched fish cost?”  he raged.  “They said it was over a hundred years old and was genetically linked to the Ming Dynasty in China.”

“Sorry Dad, but it looked just like an old fish to me.”

“Well it wasn`t, you`d better get next door to Duxworthy and tell him to keep his cat out of our garden.”

“Yes Dad.”

“And while you are at it…”

“Yes Dad?”

“Tell him I need the hedge shears he borrowed three years back.”

“Yes Dad.”

I wasn`t keen on a confrontation with Mr. Duxworthy because the first rocket I built landed on his glass house.  It fizzed a bit and broke a pane of glass but after that we never saw eye to eye.  I nudged Julius, “Come on ginger kop, lets ask Mr. Duxworthy if Miss. Tibbs went out for dinner last night.”

My neighbour stood at the front door in his shirtsleeves and a pretty pink apron. He blushed and explained. “I am busy baking bread and if you don`t mind…”

Julius spoke first, “Er…we wondered whether your cat is looking extra fat Mr. Duxworthy because we think he ate Geoff`s carp.”


“Yes a golden one, over a hundred years old and…”

“And you think Miss Tibbs would creep into your house and fish the creature out of it`s bowl, is that it?”

“No Mr. Duxworthy, we have a brand new pond in our garden, with water filtration and…and river stones and….and Dad stocked it with a golden carp, a real beauty.” I replied.

“I`d  certainly like to see this pond, in fact I was thinking about getting one a few years back.  A golden carp you say?”

“Yes Sir, and its from China.”

I have never seen Mr. Dux worthy so excited. Still dressed up in his pink apron, we invited him into our garden to see the pond. 

“Over here Mr. Duxworthy,” shouted Julius who had gone on ahead. Then came a shout of dismay.  “Oh no….I don`t believe it.”


Julius pointed towards the clear water in the pond.  “Wally has come back, look there he is, as large as life!”

Naturally, our neighbour was furious. “Any more pranks like this my lad and I will be making a visit to your father.  Miss Tibbs would never tackle a fish of that size, its almost as big as she is.”

“Sorry Mr. Duxworthy.”

Julius and I were really stumped.  How could a fish simply disappear into thin air and come back again the next day?  “Perhaps someone borrowed it, didn`t like it and brought it back.”  Julius suggested.

“I doubt it,”  I said. “Tell you what, I am going to set a trap for the thief, I`ll set fine fishing line all around the perimeter of the pond, then tie the end onto a beer bottle up on the patio roof.  If anyone snags the fish line, I`ll hear the crash and come running.”

My dad peered at me over the top of the Financial Mail.  “Fish don`t just disappear son.  Are you quite certain it wasn`t lurking beneath one of the stones you placed into the pond?”

“No dad, the stones lie flat on the bottom of the pond, someone pinched Wally for the night, and I`m going to find out who it was.”

That evening I set the trap using the finest nylon line I could find, if anyone came anywhere near the pond I was certain to hear the bottle plunge onto the tiled patio below.

I was rather disappointed at sleeping right through the night, but on going down to breakfast in the morning, my Mom greeted me with a neatly rolled up length of fish-line and one of Dads empty beer bottles.  “They were on the back doorstep.”  she explained. “Whatever are you up to now Geoffrey?”

That was the last straw.  I ran to the `phone and called Julius. “Did you come into my garden last night and undo the trap I set?”  I yelled furiously.

“`Course not silly, why would I do a thing like that?” came the reply.

“Well, someone did, my Mom found the fish line all neatly rolled up on the doorstep together with Dads beer bottle.”

Julius jumped on his bike and was with me in less than five minutes.

“Let`s see the line.”  he asked.

I handed him the small bundle of nylon while he thoughtfully scratched the pimples on his chin.  He often did this Sherlock Holmes act with me, and I always had to be Dr. Watson.

“There must be a logical explanation Watson.”  he mumbled.

“How do you fancy a night sleeping under the stars?”


I had a small bivouac tent given me two Christmases ago which seemed to be ideal for the purpose.  Julius and I erected it in less than five minutes, and a foot from the garden pond.

Equipped with my Daisy air-gun, a torchlight and two packets of licorice allsorts,

I was prepared to spend the night waiting for the intruder.

“Are you sure you wouldn`t like to spend the night with me?”  I asked hopefully.

Julius shivered. “I got a cold coming on and…”

It seemed I was on my own in the adventure, and thinking back, perhaps it was just as well.

Mom had brought me a large cup of hot chocolate to drink before I clambered into my sleeping bag and began the watch.

Mr. Duxworthy`s bedroom lights went out around ten, then Dad and Mom`s room around eleven, because they were watching T.V I suspected.  I remember thinking it wasn`t all that dark, and helped myself to another licorice allsorts when I thought I heard a plop in the garden pond.

“A frog.”  I thought knowing that our garden was often invaded by them. 

Then I think I must have dozed off. On coming awake my hand automaticallysearched the bag for another of my licorice allsorts.  My fingers dug and delved into each corner of the plastic bag.  Nothing!  Switching on my pocket torch I took a closer look.  “That’s odd,” I thought.  “I am certain there were still some left before I fell asleep.”

The beam of light from my torch lit the area of the pond quite well.  Was I dreaming, or was it just a trick of the shadows? Rubbing my eyes I stared again. Whatever it was that stood by the pond was busy eating the last of my licorice allsorts!

I scrambled out of my sleeping bag. “Hey, what do you think you`re doing, they are my sweets.”  I yelled.

“Would you sooner I ate the fish then?” said a churlish voice.

Then I`m afraid I panicked. Like some pansy schoolgirl in second grade I called out in a quaky voice, ”Dad…Mom….there`s.…there`s someone here at the pond.”

The voice cackled. ”They can`t hear you boy, they are fast asleep.”

“Who are you?”  I asked.

“First turn that light off, you are blinding me.”

I snapped off the torch.

“Ah, that’sbetter.  I`m Boorgat, I`m a troll.”


“That`s right.”

“A…a troll?”

“You hear quite well for a kid, yes a troll.”

“Why can`t I see you now?” I asked wondering where the thing had gone.

“You can see me, look into the pond….that`s me.”

Wide eyed, I stared into the pond. Wally swam lazily to and fro.  All I saw were the five flat stones.

“I don`t see anything, just Wally and those stones.”

“Then you can see me.”


Wake-up boy, you can see me, see the large flat round white pebble….that`s me.”


“Yes, me.”


“No buts, I can appear or disappear at will.  If you promise to give me the other bag of sweets that you have I`ll appear again for you.”

My heart sank,  I really liked licorice allsorts.  “Half of them, we`ll share.”

“Trolls don`t share boy, all of them or nothing.”

I thought for a moment.  “All right then, I`ll get them.”

Ripping my knapsack open, I grabbed the bag of sweets and was about to take them back when the troll appeared out of nowhere beside me.

Twenty inches tall, the scruffy looking creature was definitely the ugliest thing I had ever seen. A large bulbous nose dominated his face, one eye appeared to be missing, and tufts of white hair sprouted from his large over developed ears. Dressed in a shabby piece of sackcloth draped over its shoulder, the troll snatched the bag right out of my hands.

Tearing the bag apart, Boorgat devoured the lot in twenty seconds flat.

“Better than the fish boy,” he said munching furiously.  “That carp of yours

has no taste at all.”

I gasped.  “You ate Wally?”

“That`s right, and spat him out the following day.  Yuck, goldfish are a hundred times tastier than carp.”

It seemed the answer of Wally`s disappearance had been solved.  What worried me now was Boorgat himself and what to do with him.  I had heard that trolls were not the best of people to make friends with, and left alone he would undoubtedly get me into some kind of trouble.

It was past midnight before I got back to my own bed and fell asleep. Waking the following morning I was more than convinced that the whole thing had been a dream.  “Boorgat, what a ridiculous name,’ I thought.  “As for being a troll, well, that was just laughable.” 

After breakfast I walked to the pond and sat down beside it.  It was a warm spring morning, the sun already high in the sky.  Wally swam to and fro and the flat stones still lay where I had left them.

“Boorgat!”  I cried.  “How stupid can I get?”

I heard the cackle that only a troll could make and my heart sank down to my boots. “Boorgat, I thought…”

“Yes, it`s me, but I am not getting into the sun, the light blinds me.”

“You are still here?”

“Where else would I be, after all, you brought me here.”

“Oh no I didn`t.”

“Oh yes you did, you brought me and my two brothers and two sisters.” The troll replied.

“WHAT?”  I almost screamed.  “Your brothers and sisters?”

“They are still sleeping mind you, but I could soon wake them by turning the stones face uppermost if you wish.”

I sprang to my feet. “Oh no, they…they are alright sleeping thank you.”

The thought of having more obnoxious creatures around was horrifying to say the least.


Julius came round that afternoon and we put the finishing touches to the new rocket that I had designed.  Standing some three feet in height, and powered by a mixture of lighter fuel and a canister of nitrous oxide, Julius and I were pretty certain we would win the science award coming up in a day or two at school.

“I think the launching trajectory is too steep,” argued Julius. “We don`t want it to end up in Mr. Duxworthy`s greenhouse again.

I laughed.  “Not a chance, we will be in the school playground for the grand send-off.  I can`t wait to see it climbing out of sight.”

Julius raised his ginger eyebrows and rubbed his pimply chin, “This baby is going to make science history, mark my words.”

I was in half a mind to tell him about my problem that lived in the pond

when out of the blue he asked, “How is Wally?”

“He`s fine…I think, let`s go and see.” I replied without thinking.

I kept a tin of special carp food beneath a jamjar next to the pond and was about to sprinkle a pinch on the surface of the water when Julius cried out in dismay.

“Hey, you`ve got algae growing on the stones!”

“Algae, can`t be, the snails should have gobbled it all off.”

“See for yourself.”

Gazing through the clear water my blood ran cold.  The stone that I knew was Boorgat the troll was covered in a fine silk like fur that very much resembled Miss Tibbs, the cat that lived next door.”

That night at dinner a very irate Mr. Duxworthy was at our front door.  “Have you seen our cat Miss Tibbs around, she`s been missing for two days.”

Excusing myself from the table, I slipped outside and stood beside the pond.

“Boorgat….are you there?”  I whispered.

He was there, and uglier than ever.  The troll now had a very distended stomach and looked more than grotesque.  I gawked in horror at what the troll was wearing, and blurted out “Oh no! Miss. Tibbs.”

“You like it?”  The troll asked, dancing a little jig

Mr. Duxworthy`s cat made an excellent fur coat for the vile creature..  Her right front leg came up and over Boorgat`s left shoulder, one soft furry paw making a  a makeshift clasp and held the garment together.

“HOW COULD YOU?” I cried, almost in tears. You are wearing Miss. Tibbs, and she was so friendly and warm and wouldn`t harm a fly.”

Boorgat pulled a nasty face and made a hasty retreat back into his stone.  How could I handle a situation that was so unbelievable as this?


A week went by, and strangely I didn`t hear or see the troll.  The furry stone lay dormant in the pond and I felt more than relieved over the vile creatures disappearance.  A day before our school fete` was to take place, I was in the garden polishing the cylindrical body of my rocket when quite unexpectedly my spectacles fell off my nose.  Bending to pick them up I saw Boorgat standing beside the pond.

Mom and Dad were out shopping so I was quite alone. “You are back?” I cried.

“I never went away, what is that?”  he asked, pointing towards my rocket.

“It`s just a science project, a rocket in fact, it`s a hobby of mine.”

Boorgat was interested. “Does it fly?”

“I hope so, in fact I am hoping that it gets to the moon.”

“That is far, but I can help you get it there.”

I knew that trolls have very specialized powers, but whether they could be applied to simple physics I wasn`t really sure.

“You!”  I laughed. “How in the world can a troll help with launching a rocket?”

Boorgat chuckled.  “I`ll show you, watch this………”

The creature turned itself completely upside down and hovered above the pond,

before righting itself and returning to normal.

Defying the laws of gravity was awesome in itself, but this was really weird.

“Bet you can`t do it again.”  I chaffed.

“Ha! I can do better, watch this.”  Boorgat whirled around at a tremendous pace and suddenly appeared on the roof of our house. “See, I`m up here, but watch this.”

There was a whooshing sound and what I thought was a roll of thunder and the troll zoomed out of sight.

“Golly Moses,” I cried, my eyes popping out of my head. ”He`s broken the sound barrier!”

He was back in a flash.  “Give me five minutes alone with your rocket, and it will never be the same again.”

“Alone?” Now I was highly suspicious of the trolls intentions. “What are you going to do exactly?”

Leaning his ugly head to one side, Boorgat`s one good eye winked.  “I`m going to give it zip boy, I`m going to give it zip.”

At that moment Mom called from the kitchen and I was obliged to run to her aid, leaving my rocket alone with the troll. I thought nothing of the incident until Julius came round later to help dissemble the launching ramp ready for reassembly at our school play ground the next day.
That`s funny,”  he said, lifting the rocket off the ramp.  “It feels heavier today.”

“Heavier?”  I queried, “Course it`s heavier I have refueled her, ready for the big send off..”

Excitement kept me from sleeping that night, and I was up bright and early on that Saturday morning.  Julius came to breakfast and we all piled into my Dad`s four-by-four together with my science project. Everyone who was anyone came to the school fete`, including members of the press.  There were coconut shies, an Aunt Fanny,  fortune tellers and a rifle range for the amusement arcade.  Fizzy drinks, ice-cream,  bangers and mash plus hot dogs for refreshment.  Wow, what a spread!

Around three in the afternoon our school principle Mr. Watkins addressed the crowd with his loudhailer. “Ladies and Gentlemen,” he began. “ It is time for the judges to take up their positions and evaluate this years science projects for Form five students.  There are four entries this year.  “Barbara Draper with her Solar Heating Device.  Owen Braknell with his perpetual Motion Engine, Steven Woodcock with a working Crystal Wireless Set, and Geoffrey Kenwood with his Inter-Continental Rocket Launch.”

I was somewhat disheartened at the laughter from the crowd as Mr. Watkins announced my project.  I nudged Julius who was at my side. “We`ll show `em Julius,”  I said proudly. This is going to rock the free world!

The crowds gathered around Barbara`s Solar Heating Device and as luck would have it, the sun slipped behind a cloud rendering the brilliant idea pretty well useless.  “Sorry Barbara, better luck next time.”

Owen Braknells Perpetual Motion Project ground to a stop after just three minutes of motion.  “Sorry Owen, perhaps next year.”

Steven Woodcock`s Crystal set had a cats-whisker problem, and the pair of headphones pressed onto Mr. Watkins ears produced the solemn sound of silence.

It was my chance to show the world what I could do. My rocket was equipped with a ten second fuse before ignition.  I cautioned Mr. Watkins. “Better stand a little further back Sir,” I advised.  “There could be quite a back draught during lift-off.”

The crowd that stood around my project gazed open mouthed as I lit the paper spill. Standing well back, and hoping for the best, I lit the twist of fuse.“At least the fuse is fizzing.” I thought.



The horrendous explosion that took place knocked my spectacles clean off my face.  In a fraction of a second after, like some dreadful horror movie I saw Mr. Watkins hurl himself headlong from the launching ramp. Coming from the school ablution block I heard the sound of tinkling glass and a motorcar security siren screamed from the parking lot. The crowd of some fifty spectators had somehow disappeared leaving me and my buddy Julius standing beside a gaping, smoking crater in the tarmac.

Mr. Watkins brushed the dust off his trousers, straightened his tie and eyed me with more than a little suspicion.“I don`t think a rocket should have done that, do you Kenwood?”

My eyes were focused further a-field, to a mere dot on the horizon, and moving in a northerly direction.  “Could that possibly be my science project, fast moving out of sight? 

“No Sir…er… I`m sorry Sir.”  I gasped. 

Julius grabbed my sleeve. “You saw it too didn`t you Geoff, our rocket has gone far beyond all expectation, its probably over Pretoria by now.”

Mr. Watkins made a further announcement and declared that this years Science project was null and void due to malfunction.

My ginger haired friend disagreed. “Excuse me Sir,” he yelled.  “That`s not fair, Geoff`s rocket is still in orbit, we saw it didn`t we Geoff?”

As usual, I played it safe.  “Naa, it was a bird, stupid.”

Dad hugged me and slapped me on the shoulder, “Better luck next time Geoff, but hey, that was an awesome explosion you made, what a laugh!”

“Yes Dad, it was a laugh, I used nitrous oxide for the propellant…you know laughing gas.”

Getting back home, Dad allowed Julius to stay for supper.  In the general hubbub that went on around the table, I just managed to hear the T.V. news announcer mention  “An unidentified flying object was seen in the night sky flying south of Pretoria, military authorities are investigating.”

Grabbing Julius by his shirtsleeve, I dragged him outside onto the patio.

“Did you hear that, an unidentified flying object seen flying south of  Pretoria.  Julius that was our rocket….it could only be our rocket.”

My friend said a rude word.  “What the heck did you put in the fuel tank Geoff, I thought it felt a bit heavy yesterday.  Hey, is there something you are not telling me?”

Guilt flooded through my brain.  None of this could possibly be my doing, what was it Boorgat had said, `give it zip’.  Well, he certainly did that all right.

It was time for me to come clean and explain how my rocket got super-charged.

“There`s this troll named Boorgat.”  I began.

“Waaa  ha!  ha!  ha!.” Roared my very best friend.  “Troll?  You`ve been watching too much T.V.”

“No, honest Julius, the stones we picked up in that stream for Wally, they were all trolls, and I can prove it.

The sun had already set as we both stood beside the pond.  Wally idled past us in the water as he usually did, but tonight there was something, and I couldn`t quite place what it was until I whispered, “Boorgat, are you there?”

Again, Julius roared with laughter and then asked, ”What happened to the four smaller stones, there`s only one big one in the pond now?”

I stared into the water for a long time.  “That is very odd, y`know the troll told me that they were his brothers and sisters and….”

“Brothers and sisters, you`re crazy Geoff, absolutely crazy.”

Boorgat didn`t show up that night, and it made me feel pretty foolish


The following morning, Dads newspaper lay open on the breakfast table.

“Radar tracks supersonic missile across Africa,” caught my eye as I helped myself to cereals. Horrified, I ran to the `phone.

“Julius, have you read the paper this morning?”

Julius yawned.  “Oh boy, you are really in trouble, my Dad says Syria are blaming Israel for firing an Inter Continental Missile…….there could be war.”



“Oh Lord, we had better tell someone, thing is who would believe us.”

I heard Julius stirring his teacup and take a big gulp. “No-one, so just forget it and think up another project, how about inventing a troll-trap?”

I hung up.  Disillusioned and feeling pretty frightened at the consequences that might come out of my rocket project, I wandered out into the garden and sat beside the pond.

“I have to thank you Geoffrey.” The squeaky voice said.  Boorgat sat opposite me.  He`d come out of his stone and wore a wicked smile.

“Thank me, for what?”

“Transporting my family back to Norway of course, what else?”

“Your family?”

“Don`t tell me you have forgotten already, your zippy rocket took my two brothers and sisters home yesterday.”

Stunned, I sprang onto my feet.  “MY ROCKET DID WHAT?”

“Took them home, just South of Oslo, they`ll be so happy.”

Then the truth dawned. “You mean you placed all four stones into my rocket while I was away, no wonder it felt so heavy.  You could have ruined the whole project.”

The troll did another of his little jigs.  “I did give it zip.”

I sighed. “Zip?”  “You did more than that, the whole world thinks my rocket has a nuclear warhead and is endangering the whole planet!” 

Boorgat suddenly appeared at my side.  I studied his gnarled and wrinkled face, more than curious about his amazing ability to turn into a stone.

“Please tell me how you manage to change yourself into a stone?”

I watched his one eye roll around in its socket. He was thinking.  It steadied and focused on me. “Trolls you see, are made from stone, just as you are made from the earth.”

“Hmm, I understand that.”

“Trolls can sleep for hundreds of years, just as I did before you came and plucked me out the stream.”

“You mean I woke you up?”

Again, he did a little jig.  “Oh dear no, the secret is in which way up I lay as a stone.  If I lay face down…I sleep.  If I lay face up… I come awake.”

“You mean…” Now I was beginning to understand why the trolls brothers and sisters never appeared as trolls, they were all in sleep mode, laying face down.

“You are learning fast boy, so now you know about trolls, I want you to do something for me.”  he said slyly.

“Well, I`ll try.”

“Could you make another rocket, so I could join my family?”

My heart gave a little jump in my chest. If I sent up another of those zipped up missiles, I could have World War .3. on my hands!

Running back to the house, Dad called me into his study. “They are wondering if that rocket over Syria has a nuclear warhead, Geoff.”  he said seriously.

I stopped in my tracks, the whole situation was getting completely out of hand.

“Dad, how should I know, in fact, I don`t want to see another rocket….EVER!

Julius phoned around teatime. “That Inter Continental Ballistic Missile you built

has just landed, I heard it on the news, half an hour ago.”

“Where, tell me where did it land?”  I yelled.
”All right, don`t shout at me, its not my fault.”

“WHERE?”  I yelled again.

“Oslo,’ he said quietly, I think its the Capital of Norway.”

That did it.

As soon as it got dark, I ran to the pond with my high- powered pocket torch and shone its beam right onto the flat furry stone that lay beneath the water.

With one quick move, I scooped the stone out the pond and turned it upside down.


















© Copyright 2018 Geoffrey Kennell. All rights reserved.

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