Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Toell the Great (Suur Tõll)

Toell the Great (Suur Tõll) in Estonian mythology is a great giant hero who lived and ruled as king on the Baltic Sea island of Saaremaa (Ösel). In Tõlluste village he made his dwelling place as a modest farmer who was in the habit of tossing large rocks at his archenemy Vanatühi or other enemies of the Saaremaa people. He was reportedly so tall that he would walk the distance to the neighbouring island Hiiumaa (Dagö) in easy stride. His walking stick was a 5 fathoms spruce trunk. Toell's life came to an abrupt end when an opposing giant decapitated him in a confrontation with invading Danish hordes. His body, headless and transformed into wood, grasped the foe and annihilated him before taking hold of his own head, impaling it on a sword and walking to his grave. Upon his death, Toell gave a solemn vow to rise from the dead and help his people in case of war. insolent children, however, mocked his promise by circling his resting place and yelling aloud, "Toell, Toell wake up, there is a war in the yard!." Toell rose, gerw angry with them for their trickery and returned to his grave swearing never to return. These circumstances render Toell the Great as an anti-King Under Mountain hero.

The giant's story is celebrated in the 1980 Soviet-era film, Suur Tõll. The full animation can be seen here.

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