In the agricultural society of old, the creatures and beings of folklore were often interpreted in different ways depending on your geographic location, and their roles were often interchangeable.
The view of the being known as the troll was one such example. The trolls were sometimes creatures capable of great evil, but this was far from the norm. In Norway, the trolls were often gigantic beings with distorted features and bad tempers, somewhat similar to the giants of Old Norse mythology, while in Sweden, the trolls were often of human size and could live relatively peacefully side by side with their human neighbours. The variations between (and sometimes beyond) these extremes were many, however, and what was considered a troll in one parish could be considered a goblin, gnome or ghost in the next. The traditional folk tales told were equally inconsistent in their descriptions, and a tale from one parish, describing an avenging spirit inhabiting an ancient stone formation, could be found in identical form in some neighbouring parish, with the difference that the spirit was now a bitter old troll living under a fallen tree in the woods.