Gateway to the Classics: Firelight Stories by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey
 
Firelight Stories by  Carolyn Sherwin Bailey

The Three Billy Goats Gruff

O NCE upon a time there were three Billy Goats, and one was a very large Goat, and one was a middle-sized Goat, and one was a tiny Goat, but the three had the very same name, which was Gruff.

One morning the three Billy Goats started away from home, for they had decided to go far, far to a hillside where there was a quantity of green grass, and they might eat of it and make themselves fat.

Now, on the way to the hillside there ran a brook, and over the brook was a bridge, and under the bridge lived a Troll with eyes as large as saucers, and a nose as long as a poker. And this Troll was fond of eating Billy Goats.

First of all came the youngest Billy Goat Gruff to cross over the bridge. Trip trap, trip trap, his little feet pattered upon the boards.

"Who is that tripping over my bridge?" called up the Troll in a surly voice.

"Oh, it's only I, the tiniest Billy Goat Gruff, going over to the hillside to make myself fat," the Goat called back in a wee, small voice.

"I am coming to gobble you up, Billy Goat Gruff," said the Troll.

"Oh, no, pray do not take me," said the tiniest Billy Goat Gruff; "I am too little, that I am. Wait until the second Billy Goat Gruff comes along. He is ever so much bigger than I."

"Well, be off with you," said the Troll.

Then came the middle-sized Billy Goat Gruff, to cross the bridge. Trip trap, trip trap, his middle-sized feet pattered upon the boards.

"Who is that tripping over my bridge?" called up the Troll.

"Oh, it's only I, the middle-sized Billy Goat Gruff, going over to the hillside to make myself fat," the Goat called back in a middle-sized voice.

"I am coming to gobble you up, Billy Goat Gruff," said the Troll.

"Oh, no, pray do not take me," said the middle-sized Billy Goat Gruff; "I am a little larger than the tiniest Billy Goat, but I am not large enough to make a mouthful for you. Of that I am quite sure."

"Well, be off with you," said the Troll.

Then, last of all, came the great Billy Goat Gruff, to cross over the bridge.

Trip trap, trip trap, his great feet tramped across the boards.

"Who is that tramping over my bridge?" called up the Troll.

"It is I, the great Billy Goat Gruff, going over to the hillside to make myself fat," the Goat called back in a great voice.

"I am coming to gobble you up, Billy Goat Gruff," said the Troll.

"Come along," said the great Billy Goat Gruff.

So the Troll, whose eyes were large as saucers and his nose as long as a poker, came hurrying up to the top of the bridge,—but, ah, this is what happened to him.

There on the bridge stood the great Billy Goat Gruff with his feet firmly planted on the boards and his head lowered, and so soon as the Troll came near—rush, scamper—the Goat tossed the Troll so high with his horns that no one has ever seen a Troll under a bridge from that day to this.

Then the great Billy Goat Gruff went on to the hillside, and the three Billy Goats ate, and ate, and made themselves so fat that they could scarcely walk home again.


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