The Folklore of Milk

It’s been a busy day for industrious little writers everywhere.

First of all, here’s the next installment of Blood is Thicker than Water.

I’ve finished the outline of The Troll Story, so now I have some structure. Some things will change as some of these characters develop their personalities, and go places I don’t expect, but I’m pleased with the cast and I think this will help. I’ll return to word counts tomorrow.


The folklore of milk is the most fascinating piece of Scandinavian folklore to me. I think that the cow and milk products must have been an incredibly important food source for these people, because they are VERY concerned about who might be getting their milk. I like this folklore so much, I’m going to use it in the book. And here we go…

Witches are very canny about getting milk from far away. They can milk a cow by plunging a knife into a post, and then milking the knife. Witches had to be careful about how much milk they took, because if they took too much milk, they would milk blood, and the cow would die.

If a witch churned butter, it looked like normal butter, but if you put your knife into it, it would come out covered in blood. Mmmm, mmmm! However, some farmers are reputed to have eaten witch butter, and they survived just fine.

The other surreptitious way witches would steal your milk was to employ a troll cat. This was a small furry ball that would come to your pasture, gorge itself on milk, and then roll itself, full, back to the witch. You could tell your cows were visited by a troll cat if you found troll cat vomit upchucked and left behind by an engorged troll cat.

You could catch the witch by burning a troll cat. The witch would show up sweaty and thirsty, and you’d know it was her. Then you could punish her accordingly.

I suppose that witches had real concerns about osteoporosis, and that might explain their actions.

Our next folklore moment will explore the hulder, as we get into the chapter about the invisibles.


Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

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