The Three Billy Goats Gruff, A Bedtime Story
It's bedtime and I flop down on my three-year old son's bed, against the wall, pushing him close to the edge of the mattress, pretending to crowd him out. I prefer to cuddle with him, but he usually resists vociferously. When he is especially tired, he snuggles up to his red blanket, which replaced his original pink one, lost at a motel long ago, as he asks for a drink of water. Not yet, I remind him. First, the story.
The story has evolved with hundreds of retellings--many elements so familiar, he will not budge on the details. But others he lets me change. To fans of the classic Three Billy Goats Gruff Story, mine may seem a little strange. My version may be called the THREE billy goats gruff, but if you pay close attention, the first thing you will notice is that there are actually four goats in our version of the story.
Often I ask my boy if he would rather hear about the three bears or the three little pigs, or some other story I know. But never--it has to be the three Billy Goats Gruff. So just for fun, I thought I'd share it with you, in its full glory, changes and all.
Once upon a time, there were three Billy goats gruff named Zane and Peter, Andrew, and Joseph. They all liked to play in the meadow, in the sweet green grass across the river and over the bridge. For the grass is always greener on the other side, you see.
But under the bridge lived a big, mean, ugly, scary, hairy, angry old troll named Elaine, and that troll was always hungry.
One day, Zane and Peter Billy Goat Gruff decided to take their soccer ball to the meadow with the sweet green grass, and so they went trip, trap, trip, trap over the bridge.
But suddenly out jumped the big, mean, ugly, scary, hairy, angry old troll named Elaine, and she said "Who's that trip-trapping over my bridge?!!!"
Zane and Peter replied in unison, "It is I, Zane, and I, Peter Billy Goat Gruff, and we want to play in the meadow in the sweet green grass." (for they were small, and if truth be told, the two of them together were about as big as normal-sized Billy goat).
"NOT today you're not!" shrieked the troll, who was very angry, and very hungry. "I burned my cookies and now I have nothing left for my dinner and I'm going to eat you up for my dessert!"
"Oh No!!!!" cried the Billy goats in unison. "Please kind troll, don't eat us up, kind troll!" "We're much too small to make a meal," said Zane "and besides, we don't taste anything at all like cookies!" said Peter.
"Hmmn," said the troll, scratching her chin and stroking her beard. I guess I see your point. Well, hurry along kids, before I change my mind. And the little Billy Goats went trip-trap-trip-trap-trip-trap over the bridge as fast as their little hooves could carry them.
Next, along came Andrew Billy Goat Gruff. Andrew was a medium-sized goat, and he liked to play soccer with his brothers, so he went trip-trapping over the bridge, too.
But suddenly, out jumped the big, mean, ugly, scary, hairy, angry old troll named Elaine. "Who's that trip trapping over my bridge!!!!!!!" shrieked the troll.
It is only I, Andrew Billy Goat Gruff, and I've come to play with my brothers in the sweet green grass in the meadow, and I've brought my soccer ball, too. "Well, not today you're not!" said the troll, because I burned my cookies and I'm going to eat you up for my dessert instead.
"Oh no! Please kind troll, don't eat me up kind troll!" said Andrew Billy Goat Gruff."I don't taste anything at all like cookies, and besides, I'm much too small to make a dessert, let alone a full meal."
"We-ell," said the troll, thinking it over, "I guess I can let you go, but just this once! I have a reputation to protect, you know!"
"And Andrew Billy Goat Gruff went trip-trapping over that bridge, as fast as his little hooves could carry him, before that troll could change her mind.
Finally, around dinner time, Joseph Billy Goat Gruff came along. He was the biggest, bravest Billy Goat of all. He had long shaggy fur that reached to his toes, and long curly horns that wrapped around his head. And when he walked on the bridge, it creaked, and groaned, and groaned and creaked.
But suddenly, from under the bridge jumped the big, mean, ugly, hairy, angry, scary old troll named Daddy (No-mom-Elaine-the troll's name is Elaine! Oh, all right then). And said "Who's that trip-trapping over my bridge!!!!!!"
It is only I, Joseph Billy Goat Gruff, in a confident voice. I have come to fetch my brothers for dinner. My mother made chocolate chip cookies for dessert, and it's time for them to hurry home.
"Well, not today you're not!" said the troll, who was very hungry and very jealous. I burned my cookies and now I'm going to eat you up instead!!!!!
"Oh really?" said Joseph, "I'd.like.to.see.you.try!"
And then the billy goat lowered his horns and ran at the troll, and the troll ran at the billy goat, and the billy goat ran at the troll, until suddenly, *POP*, the troll flew into the air, and landed in the river with a big *SPLASH*. Right on top of the ducks, and geese (and gooses--my son doesn't yet recognize that geese and geese are the same), and swans, and fish, and frogs, and turtles, and hippopotamuses, and zebras. (No!!! Not Zebras, mom! Silly!)
And just as the troll was starting to float downstream, Joseph Billy Goat said, "Hey, troll, now that you've learned your lesson, why don't you come and have some cookies at our house? My mom made plenty to share, and she didn't burn them!"
"Well, OK! said the troll, with a big toothless smile, and they all went to the Billy Goats Gruff's house for dinner. But on the way home, the troll reminded them, "Don't tell a soul, I have a reputation to protect!"
Children's Book Reviews by Wannabwestern
I have written over 40 reviews of my favorite children's books here on HubPages. Please feel to explore some of my favorite children's books listed here!
Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing by Judi Barrett · A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams · Babies by Gyo Fujikawa · Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See by Bill Martin and Eric Carle · Charley Harper's ABCs by Charlie Harper · Christmas Cookies: Bite-Size Holiday Lessons · Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes · Daughter of a King by Rachel Ann Nunes · Excuse Me! By Lisa Kopelke · Gregory the Terrible Eater by Mitchell Sharmat · Harry and The Terrible Whatzit by Dick Gackenbach · Hilda Must Be Dancing by Karma Wilson · I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll · I'd Choose You by John Trent · Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback · King of Kings by Susan Hill · Ladybug Girl by Jacky Davis and David Soman · Lily's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes · Llama Llama Mad at Mama by Anna Dewdney · Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney · Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle · No David! by David Shannon · Olivia by Ian Falconer · Out of the Ocean by Debra Frasier · Snowballs by Lois Ehlert · So Much by Trish Cooke and Helen Oxenbury · Souperchicken by Mary Jane and Herm Auch · The Gingerbread Boy by Paul Galdone · The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle · The King With Six Friends by Jay Williams · The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah by Leslie Kimmelman · The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza by Philemon Sturges · The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell · The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy · The Red Shoes a Fairy Tale by Gloria Fowler and Sun Young Yoo · The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats · Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel · Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White · Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak · Yoon and the Christmas Mitten by Helen Recorvits