In Norway it was once believed that certain people could assume the form of a wolf or a bear. But, the ability to transform was usually a curse put on them by the Trollmen, or that it was the trolls themselves that were the shapeshifters. Here’s an old legend about trolls, werewolves and a curse.
In a hamlet deep in a forest, there dwelt a cottager named Lasse, and his wife. One day he went out in the forest to chop down a tree, unfortunately he had forgotten to cross himself and say his paternoster (prayer) to ward off trolls, and so poor Lasse was transformed into a wolf by a wicked troll.
His wife mourned him for many long years, but, one Christmas-eve, a very poor and ragged beggar-woman came to the door, and the sympathetic wife of the house took her in, fed her well, and treated her kindly. Right before she left, the beggar-woman said to the wife that she would probably see her husband again, that he was not dead, but was wandering in the forest as a wolf.
Towards nightfall the wife went to her pantry to place a piece of meat in it for the next day, when, on turning to go out, she saw a wolf standing before her. The wolf raised itself with its paws on the pantry steps and regarding her with sorrowful and hungry look. Seeing this she exclaimed, “If I were sure that thou wert my own Lasse, I would give thee a bit of meat.” At that very moment the wolf-skin fell off and her husband stood before her in the clothes he wore on the unlucky morning when she saw him last.
This is perhaps one of my favorite werewolf tales, since it’s the only one I have heard of that involves wicked trolls.