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Fantasy Shorts: The Tale of Ser Roger and the Bridge of Woe

A submission to Matthew Fromm's High Fantasy Challenge; high fantasy comedy adventure

By Ian ReadPublished 6 months ago 2 min read
Made by Amanda Starks using Canva Assets

“Whoa,” shouted Ser Roger to his horse.

The horse whinnied to a halt, stamping the earth nervously. Before Roger laid an unassuming stone bridge stretched over a steep gully. By Roger’s recall, this was the place of his quarry. Indeed, Baron Mendacent had seemed most terrified when he beseeched King Faulgrist to send his finest knight here to rid his demesne of some unknown horror that had taken residence.

Roger dismounted, his plate and chainmail making an awful racket as he stood. He unsheathed his sword and crept carefully towards the bridge. The forest was quiet, too quiet.

Only a heartbeat later, a massive terrifying creature lept forth from beneath the bridge’s arch and bounded up the slope. Within seconds, it was standing next to Roger, a monstrous troll.

“HOOM, HOOM, HOOM,” it said, then hacking up a loogie, “sorry, just a moment… HUMAN! Anyone who approaches my bridge must answer…”

Roger held up his hand, “YOUR bridge? This is his majesty’s bridge on his majesty’s land!”

The troll laughed, then grinned mischievously, “Well, last I checked, Metal Man, it was my grand-pappy who built this here bridge with his bare mitts, not no majesties of yours! And anyone who sets foot on my bridge must answer my riddle or pay the toll!”

Roger held his sword en guarde, “What sort of toll, Troll?”

“Your horse.”

“My… horse?”

The troll looked offended, “What? I like horses! Especially roasted over maplewood with a little sage and butter… why?”

Roger gulped awkwardly, “No, I just thought it would be more… human-y, you know…”

“Too stringy…”

“Ah, makes sense… So why would you ask for a riddle?” asked Roger.

“You see, it gets lonely living under a bridge in the middle of the woods. It’s not like there are other trolls around. I like conversation…” said the troll.

Roger nodded, stroking his chin, “Well, how about this? If I answer your riddle wrong, you get to eat my horse and keep your bridge. But if I answer right, then the bridge becomes his majesty's and you become the royal toll collector for the bridge. Do we have a deal?”

The troll looked amused and confident, “On my mother’s grave, yes we do.”

The two shook hands, and thunder rolled in the distance. The oath was made.

The troll spoke, “What walks on four legs at…”

“Man,” Roger immediately spoke.

“Won’t you at least let me finish?” said the troll, forlorn.

“It’s ‘man’, it’s an old riddle.” shrugged Roger.

“My grand-pappy taught it to me…”

Roger officiated the troll on the spot, and gave him a stylish hat that read, ‘Royal Toll Collector’. The troll lived happily ever after in his new job as a toll collector, and never lacked for conversation. Ser Roger went on to other adventures throughout the realm as his fame grew, but that is a tale for another day.

This ends the tale of Ser Roger and the Bridge of Woe.


This piece is submitted as an entry into Matthew Fromm's High Fantasy Challenge.

I owe a special thank you to Amanda Starks for the lovely cover art and for her invaluable editing advice. You can find her submission here:

Did you enjoy this story? You can also check out my full Vocal catalogue below! Don't forget to leave a like and comment here before you do!

Short StoryHumorFantasyAdventure

About the Creator

Ian Read

I am an archaeologist and amateur story-teller. On my profile, you'll be in for fantasy, science fiction, and the occasional thriller. History, horror, whimsy, and adventure lie in wait. Feel free to comment and interact.

From New Hampshire

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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Comments (10)

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  • Stephanie Hoogstad5 months ago

    This was a great story. It had a bit of a Monty Python feel to it (and I love Monty Python). Thanks for sharing!

  • Veronica Coldiron5 months ago

    I absolutely loved the humanity! 😉 GREAT story!!

  • Matthew Fromm5 months ago

    lol you gave me a good laugh, entered into the challenge.

  • Hahahahahahahahhaa this was hilarious! Roger was so mean! He didn't let the Troll finish his riddle! 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 But in the end, it was all a win-win situation so that's okay, lol. Loved your story!

  • Mother Combs6 months ago

    very good and funny. thoroughly enjoyed

  • Amanda Starks6 months ago

    Yes!! Just as funny and delightful as the first time I read it. 💕 Thanks for the shout-out. (:

  • Alex H Mittelman 6 months ago

    Very adventurous! Great work!

  • Celia in Underland6 months ago

    Hillarious and yes very British! I really loved how you crated the dialogue, believable and humourous 🤍 Ididn't even know what high fantasy was until a week ago so I've been waiting for entries to compare with my shoddy attempt :/ I'm loving it and on a mission to read more of it! 🤍

  • Great storytelling ❤️👌💯

  • Lamar Wiggins6 months ago

    Fun entry! At least now the troll has more self-worth, lol.

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