Posted by: Mark Nielsen | December 14, 2013

Troll the Ancient Yuletide Carol: A Glossary

one of my classic blog posts… we sang some of these songs again at my church’s Christmas party last night. “Deck the halls with branches of …of ?… oh, of Stoli ! I mean of juniper, from which Stolichnaya is made, or boughs of ‘Scotch’ pine bottles, or boughs of Holly Go-lightly… ok, i will shut up now.

Marking Time

After singing “Troll the ancient yuletide carol” at school yesterday, I pictured a small group of trolls going door-to-door, angrily singing holiday songs in their scratchy troll voices, smiling through their disgusting troll teeth, making a bid to undermine their cute cousins the elves in a historic reversal of the grand Christmas myth-making experience.

I thought it was a typo –that it was supposed to be “toll”, like the tolling of a bell– and that’s what I told the students. Then I looked it up at home and my book of Christmas songs said “troll” also. WTF? So I checked Webster’s, and sure enough, there it was: v.t.troll – to sing in a loud, carefree way. I was wrong. It happens.

I suppose I had not noticed the word before because we’re so used to turning off our brains when we sing Christmas carols. With these old songs…

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