The Three Billy Goats Gruff


On a grassy hillside lived three brother goats with furry coats and bumpy horns – Little, Middle and Big Billy Goat Gruff. All summer long they munched sweet grass and frolicked together in their hilly home.

But when fall came, cold winds began to blow. All the lush green grass turned brown and crunchy. The three Billy goats grew hungry with hardly anything left to nibble. They needed to cross the river to reach more grass on distant hills.

“I’m hungry!” cried Little Billy Goat in his tiny bleating voice. “Let’s cross the bridge to the far hills.”

“Yes, it’s time we find food new,” Middle Billy Goat agreed with authority. “This grass has turned to straw and simply won’t do!”

So the three goats headed down their brown and barren hill toward the long wooden bridge spanning the rushing river below. As they clattered across with their hooves, a terrible troll suddenly popped up his warty head from under the slats!

“Who’s that tramping over my bridge?” The ugly troll growled. “I am the Troll who owns this bridge. No one passes without paying the toll!” He gnashed his sharp yellow teeth at the startled goats.

“Oh please don’t eat us, Mr. Troll!” cried Little Billy Goat Gruff. “We’re just thin little goats seeking fresh grass to eat. We can bring you payment on our way back instead.” Their knobby knees quaked in fear.

The nasty Troll replied “Payment I need right now, not later you’ll see! But your smallest goat doesn’t look tasty – not enough even for a nibble from me. Be on your way then! But you two bigger goats must stay for my stew pot tonight!” He licked his lips hungrily.

Timid Little Billy Goat Gruff scurried safely across the long bridge. When he turned back, he saw the Troll chasing his poor brothers back toward their empty side of the hill! He must help. But how?

The little goat came up with a clever trick. He started gathering round stones from the dirty ground, then trotted bravely back onto the bridge once more. The Troll popped up angrily.

“Silly little goat, why do you dare cross my bridge again when I was so kind as to let you go free? Be off now! I have two fatter goats cornered for eating.” He scowled through the slats.

But Little Billy Goat Gruff stood bravely on his tiny hoof tips. “Wicked Troll, do not eat my sweet brothers! Eat my yummy round candies instead.” And he spilled all the stones and pebbles from his mouth onto the bridge with clutter.

The hungry Troll stopped chasing Big and Middle Billy Goat when he spotted the scatter of “goodies”. He nibbled a pebble and instantly cracked one yellow tooth. As Little Billy bleated and laughed, the Troll howled madly from the pain, clutching his jaw.

Seizing this chance, Middle and Big Billy raced across to safety with Little. They thanked their small but clever sibling. The three hugged in joy at tricking the nasty Troll who only got sore teeth for his trouble.

The reunited goat brothers found a splendid new home on the far hillside blanketed in ripe purple clover blossoms and yellow buttercups. Their tummies stayed full all winter, even when heavy snow buried the old brown grass of their former home across the river.

On clear days when the Billy Goats peered down the snowy slopes, they could spot the bridge spanning the icy river far away. And if they listened very carefully to the whistling wind, the brothers swore they could hear the Troll still grumbling in pain over his broken tooth!

When spring came around again, Big Billy Goat Gruff was munching daisies when an idea popped into his head. “Brothers, our old hill will have fresh grass too by now. Let’s go back for summer and share all that new clover!”

So the three goats ventured back along the riverbank until they faced the long bridge once more. Surely the mean Troll would never expect them to dare cross here again! Bravely they started over.

Halfway across the wooden planks, up popped the warty Troll’s head from below. His jagged teeth glittered with a big gold cap on the cracked one. “Ah, my fat tasty morsels have returned!” the creature exclaimed wickedly. “Come be stew for me!”

But then his beady eyes spied Little Billy Goat Gruff standing there still unafraid. Just before the Troll could grab them, the tiny goat lifted his hairy chin to show off his own solid gold front tooth.

“We’ve come back to live on our old hill, Mr. Troll,” explained Little Billy bravely. “And my gold tooth is prettier than yours any day!” He winked cheekily. The Troll snarled in rage but stayed crouched under the bridge.

After that, any time the goats crossed the river, their hooves would go tramp tramp tramp over that long bridge to remind the cowardly Troll below just whom it belonged to now.

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