The Three Billy-Goats Gruff
In the book Favourites Of A Nursery Of Seventy Years Ago; And Some Others Of Later Date is a photograph from around the year 1916, of children acting out a classic Norwegian folk tale. It’s still a story time favorite a hundred years later. I love telling this story with children acting out the parts of the three billy-goats and the troll, and everyone else in the group calling out the words of the bridge “TRIP-TRAP!” very loudly and slapping their hands on their legs.
Here is a version of the story from this old book, written in rhyme, by an anonymous person, probably a teacher. Which part would you like to play?
The Three Billy-Goats Gruff
Three billy-goats, by the name of Gruff, thinking themselves not fat enough, And looking out for a place where sweet Young grass grew plenty for them to eat,
Saw, over the river, a sunny knoll; But the bridge was long, And the stream was strong, And under the bridge lived an ugly Troll.
This Troll was a wicked, long-nosed elf, Who owned the whole of the bridge himself. And when the smallest billy-goat Gruff, – His poor little coat all shabby and rough, – Started to cross, with hoofs tip-tap, The bridge gave the Troll a sign, “TRIP-TRAP!” And the Troll called out, with a surly frown: – “Who’s that tripping, Who’s that skipping Over my bridge? I’ll gobble him down! I’ll gobble him down!”
” ‘Tis I, the tiniest billy-goat Gruff! Oh! Don’t eat me! “Oh! Don’t eat me! For I’m very little and lean and tough, Wait for the other, Wait till my brother, The second billy-goat Gruff goes by. He’s larger and plumper far than I!”
“Run on,” said the Troll, “I’ll see!” And the tiniest billy-goat Gruff ran, trip-trap trip-trap trip-trap very quickly across the bridge.
By and by the second billy-goat Gruff, With his coat of shaggy, long-haired stuff, Stepped with his hoofs on the bridge, tip-tap, And the bridge gave the sign again, “TRIP-TRAP!” And the Troll called out with an ugly frown:- “Who’s that tripping, Who’s that skipping Over my bridge? I’ll gobble him down! I’ll gobble him down!”
” ‘Tis I, the second big billy-goat Gruff, Scarecely the half of a pound in weight If my shaggy, long-haired coat was off! Wait for the other Wait till my brother, The third big billy-goat Gruff goes by; He’s bigger and fatter far than I!”
“Pass on!” said the Troll, “I’ll wait!” And the second billy-goat Gruff ran, trip-trap trip-trap trip-trap very quickly across the bridge.
By and by the great, big billy-goat Gruff Stalked on to the bridge, all burly and bluff; It creaked and groaned, and bent with a snap And gave the sign, “TRIP-TRAP! TRIP-TRAP!” And the Troll roared out with an awful frown: – “Who’s that blundering, Who’s that blundering Over my bridge? I’ll gobble him down! I’ll gobble him down!”
” ‘Tis I, the great, big billy-goat Gruff, Come our from under the bridge and see!” And his voice was heavy and hoarse and rough – “I am the other, I am that brother, The biggest and fattest of all three!”
Then on his horns, all crooked and bare And long, he tossed the Troll in the air, So high that he never came down again. And after that, All grew so fat, With eating the young grass on the hill, That, if they have not grown lean since then, They’re all of them fat still. Anonymous