HELGA'S DOWRY: A TROLL LOVE STORY by Tomie dePaola
"Helga was the loveliest Troll in three parishes." But she was an orphan, so she was also very poor. When Handsome Lars asked for her hand in marriage she told him she couldn't marry him because she had no dowry. Lars decided then to marry Plain Inge, who was not pretty, but she had the largest dowry and would make Lars the richest Troll in the land (except for the Troll King). Helga was heartbroken, not only was she about to lose Lars, but also she knew that unmarried Troll Maidens were cursed to wander the earth forever. Helga decided to take control of her fate, asked Lars to wait for her, and embark on a quest to earn herself a dowry. Using her wit, and a bit of Troll magic, Helga was able to gather a dowry comparable to Plain Inge's. She only needed more land and while trying to chop all the wood in a forest that give her that, Helga ran into Plain Inge who was trying to sabotage her efforts. Helga found out then that Lars hadn't waited for her and that he and Plain Inge were getting married the next day. When Lars heard about Helga's new dowry he ran to her and asked her to marry him. But by then Helga had realized her true worth: "I rather be doomed to wander forever than be your wife! [...] I want to be loved for who I am, not for what I've got!" The Troll King overheard Helga and told her that he was ready to marry her instead; he had no need for her riches and he already loved her for who she was. And so Helga became Queen of the Trolls.
HELGA'S DOWRY: A TROLL LOVE STORY is a very entertaining fairy tale. Tomie dePaola's illustrations are delightful and Helga's character is a riot. This is the kind of tale you won't get tired of reading and your kids will be able to tell it themselves during storytelling time.