Poor Top-Off my best friend,
I knew ye well till I had a bite.
My favorite dish named; Half-Done,
A relished friend named; All-Gone.
The tale goes that there was once a troll, a beast who dined on human flesh and carved knife-handles out of their bones. Business was good and the troll decided that he needed assistance in his workshop.
One night he stole into a village and took away three sons of a shoemaker. He worked the three in his workshop on drill and lathe and chisel and awl for long hours.
Everyday at dawn he beat them and fed them on scraps of raw flesh. One night, the eldest took one of the knives he had made for the troll and crept in upon him while he slept. But the knife shrieked out loud and would not kill the troll, and the troll awoke and cooked the boy in a pie and forced each of his brothers to eat a slice before he beat them so hard that they were all purple and aubergine.
The second son made a pick so that he could open the lock on the door of the troll’s workshop, and at night he crept to the door and picked the lock. But the troll was waiting behind the door and so he chopped him up and cooked him in a stew which he fed to the youngest son, before beating him so hard that his teeth lay on the floor and his mouth was caked in blood.
The youngest boy worked so hard and so well in the workshop that the monster could find fewer and fewer reasons to beat him, and the knives the boy made were beautifully carved and the troll found that he could sell them for more gold than he ever had before.
One day, the troll came into the workshop and he leaned over the boy’s shoulder as the boy carved the knife handle, and the boy pointed out a detail of the carving. The troll craned closer to look and quick as lightning the boy turned his hand and stabbed the troll in the eye. That was the end of the troll.
The boy wanted to run away, but he turned back and saw that the workshop was now empty. So, he didn’t leave. He ate the troll’s food and slept in the troll’s bed. And now he dines on human flesh, and carves knife handles from the bones.
Business is good. One day soon, he will need assistance.
Changelings who identify as Ogres understand this story. It informs them of who they are. They know that abuse creates abusers, that the victims of brutality can sometimes become brutal themselves. By definition, the Ogres are those changelings who have been shaped by unthinking violence and brutishness defines them.
This is not to say Ogres can’t be gentle, honorable or possessed of restraint. It’s harder for them, but they have a lot of practice.
Ogres found it difficult to leave the hedge because they had to escape vicious captors, through locked basements, chains and manacles, regular beatings and a healthy fear of those beatings. They inevitably had to become as hard as their fae monsters in order to fight their way away from it all.
Ogres must be exceptional to have come so far from something so low. Theirs is a lesson in Wrath and Avarice.