Today Trolls are often the stuff of amusement -- they look at us with quizzical expressions, stomp after heroes with big clubs, or even dance around with brightly colored hair. However, trolls were not always quite so benign or such an easily conquered foe.
In old tales of Europe where the trolls first appeared, they were portrayed as mysterious and monstrous creatures who were quite ugly and not particularly fond of humans. Over time the tales of trolls showed them becoming more grouchy and mean, even eating travelers as they crossed bridges. Fairy tales such as the Billy Goats Gruff demonstrate this type of troll -- grouchy, mean, and hungry, the troll waits under his bridge to eat a passing goat. He is tricked by the smaller goats to wait for the bigger one, until finally the biggest goat comes over the bridge. When the troll tries to catch the goat and eat him, the goat kicks the troll off and into the ravine where he is dashed to pieces.
Other old tales of trolls mention an ability to shapeshift or perform other magics, and living in caves or mounds of earth. Some folklore tell of trolls who turn to stone if sunlight touches them, while others say that they only dislike the light.
While their portrayal has changed over the years, trolls have remained a popular character in stories and tales, just waiting for someone to notice them.