There was a troll under the bridge. He had olive green skin, was the size of a young elephant, and had hair in places he shouldn't. His lower jaw jutted out and two large yellowing canines stuck up out of his mouth like tusks. His bridge wasn't particularly nice. It covered him when it rained, and it hadn't yet collapsed under the weight of the people entering or exiting the village, but there wasn't anything special about it. It was just wood. The babbling brook that flowed under the bridge supplied the troll with water and enough fish to eat to sustain himself. Occasionally a gruff old billy goat or a pig or other farm animal would wander under the bridge and he'd have a treat, and the villagers would become angry with him, but they were too frightened to ever do anything about it.
The knight had been re-assigned to patrolling the part of the woods that the bridge was in recently, and so he did not know of the troll. One day, he tied his horse to a tree and walked down to the shore of the stream to cool off. He splashed his face with the water and drank a bit. His gaze turned toward the bridge where he saw the troll. He cried out, startled, and stumbled over into the mud.
"Stay back!" he yelled, drawing his sword. The troll sighed and turned away from the knight, withdrawing into the shadows under the bridge. The knight, somewhat surprised that the troll had obeyed him, sheathed his sword. He took a deep breath of relief, and then coughed and gagged. "What is that horrible stench? Is that you?"
"You don't smell like roses either," the troll replied.
"Well, it's not easy to stay fresh in this armor and in this summer heat," said the knight.
"It's about as easy for me to bathe as it is for you," said the troll. "The stream barely covers my ankles."
"Well why don't you go somewhere else then?"
"I can't," the troll murmured. The knight heard something that sounded like the rattling of chains from under the bridge.
"Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize you were locked up."
"I've been here for longer than anyone living in the village has been alive. They have long since forgotten that they're the reason I can't leave. They fear me for no reason at all."
"Why don't you tell them?" the knight asked. "Surely they'd understand."
"Because I've eaten a few animals because I'm starving. They think I'll eat them next if they get too close."
The knight could hear the sadness in the troll's voice, and couldn't but feel sympathy for the monster. He drew his sword and walked up to the troll. He found where the chain was hooked to the bridge and started to hack away at the lock.
"Let's get you out of here, friend," said the knight as he sliced at the chain with all his might. He swung his blade again and again, but he hardly made a dent. He tried until he had no strength left, and collapsed on the shore, peering into the water. "I'm sorry. I tried."
The troll was silent, but he stood and then sat down right behind the knight. As the knight gazed into the sparkling water, he saw something gleaming in the sunlight, half buried in the mud about a foot from him. The knight walked into the water about a yard and pulled the object up. He cleaned it off and found that it was a rusted metal breastplate, not unlike his own.
"How'd this get here?" the knight asked as he felt an enormous hand close around his neck.
"Apparently, they didn't tell you how the last guy lost his job."