The tale of @ThreeBillyGoatsGruff

Once upon a time there were three billy goats, who were planning to go up to the hillside, and the name of all three was ‘Gruff’.

On the way up to the hillside was a bridge over a river and they had to cross it. However, under the bridge lived a great ugly Troll, with eyes as big as saucers, and a nose as long as a teacher’s to-do-list.

So first of all came the youngest billy goat Gruff to cross the bridge.

“Trip, trap! Trip, trap!” went the bridge.

“WHO’S THAT trip-trapping over my bridge?” roared the Troll.

“Oh, it is only I, the tiniest billy goat Gruff; and I’m going up to the hill-side to do some marking in peace,” said the billy goat, with such a small voice.

“No chance. I’m coming to gobble you up you ‘orrible little twerp, just like a multi-academy trust gobbles up a coasting school,” said the Troll.

“Oh, no! Please don’t take me! I’m too little,” said the billy goat. “Wait until the second billy goat Gruff comes, he’s much bigger than me.”

“Hmmm. Okay, I am very hungry. Well, I’ll let you go this time. Be off with you you nasty piece of gristle!” said the Troll and he gave the little billy goat a kick as he let him past, chuckling to himself.

A little while after, the second billy goat Gruff came to cross the bridge.

“TRIP, TRAP! TRIP, TRAP! TRIP, TRAP!” went the bridge.

“WHO’S THAT trip-trapping over my bridge?” roared the Troll.

“Oh, it’s the second billy goat Gruff, and I’m going up to the hill-side to get a better 4G signal for my iPad,” said the billy goat, who hadn’t such a small voice.

“Brilliant. Right you horrible oik. Here’s how things work around here: I’m a troll and I’m going to gobble you up because I don’t like you,” said the Troll.

“Oh, no! Don’t take me – wait a little until the big billy goat Gruff comes. He’s much bigger than me.”

“Hmmm. He sounds tasty… very well, be off with you!” said the Troll, and he gave the billy goat a cuff around the head as he let him walk past. “Hur! Hur! Hur! You bell end!” he laughed.

But, just then, along came the big billy goat Gruff.

“TRIP, TRAP! TRIP, TRAP! TRIP, TRAP!” went the bridge, for the billy goat was so heavy that the bridge creaked and groaned under him.

“WHO’S THAT trip-trapping over my bridge?” roared the Troll.

“IT IS I! THE BIG BILLY GOAT GRUFF. I’M GOING UP TO THE HILLSIDE TO SIT AND READ THE TES,” said the billy goat, who had a powerful voice of his own.

“Haha! Now I’m coming to gobble you up, you big ugly gorilla!” roared the Troll.

“Well, come along! I’ve got some brains,
I refuse to let you call me names;
Your attacks may hurt others,
But it won’t hurt me or my brothers.”

That was what the big billy goat said. As he spoke he flew at the Troll and, refusing to be gobbled up by him, tossed him out into the river. The billy goats Gruff all went up to the hillside and enjoyed the peace and quiet and 4G signal. And when the latest copy of TES arrived, the big billy goat Gruff was happy. He smiled from ear to ear as he sat down to read. He opened up the paper, cleared his throat and looked at the lead story. And he stopped smiling. He rubbed his eyes and looked again, his mouth agape. He read:


I’m a really nice person. Everyone leaves private messages on the bridge to tell me this. So imagine my surprise when I was on the receiving end of some trolling behaviour on bridge that I live on just the other day. As I say, I’m a nice person, so it’s a bit of a shock to be embroiled in these attacks. I was just minding my own business, speaking my mind about some stuff as they tried to cross, and they just attacked me… they trolled me. There were three of them – all goats or neo-goats or something, and I felt violated by them. They made fallacious arguments from authority (“I’ve got some brains”). Honestly, it was like being beaten up in my own home. Literally. Isn’t it about time we set an example and stopped the bullying, the obsessive trolling, the clique-forming and the infighting on bridges? Oh, and thanks to all those who sent me messages of support for how I’ve been treated by these awful, awful goats.

But the big billy goat Gruff could’t read any on further because, just at the moment, a clique was forming on the bridge down below to come and obsessively vent their anger at the billy goats Gruff on the hillside. But, of course, this wasn’t the sort of clique that ‘The Bridge Dweller’ had warned against in his TES piece. No, this was one of those really nice cliques that agree with everything the Bridge Dweller says and will obsessively argue in support of him. As we all know, those cliques are okay.

The billy goats Gruff weren’t going to stay for this, so they just trip-trapped off to the other side of the hill, leaving the TES blowing about in the wind.

One page managed to blow across the bridge, and one of the members of the nice clique picked it up and read the story.

“Hey, there’s a piece here about a wolf who was trolled by a bunch of pigs. I feel so sorry for him. He looks like such a lovely guy…”

Adapted from the original fairy tale by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jorgen Moe (as translated by George Webbe Dasent).


2 thoughts on “The tale of @ThreeBillyGoatsGruff”

  1. I may not have completely understood the original when I was younger but at least I was able to quickly get a simple explanation and hold the thought like ¨wolf in sheep´s clothing¨. That said I am sure there is a moral in this adult tale esp about recycling the TES.

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