Billy Goats Gruff

Renata and I just read The Three Billy Goats Gruff, one of my favorite stories as a kid. This version was better than most. The troll was really ugly and nasty, so there were some suspenseful moments during our reading. But the biggest billy goat was a pretty bad dude, and took care of business in a convincing way. I don't really remember this verse from the versions I read as a kid, which the biggest billy goat chants in response to the trolls "I'm coming to gobble you up!"
Well, come along! I've got two spears,
And I'll poke your eyeballs out at your ears.
I've got besides two great big stones,
And I'll crush you to bits, body and bones.
Go, big billy! I don't know much about goat biology, but I can't think of any great big stones besides the obvious great big stones that any great big male carries around. So I like that in my children's stories: hero men being hero men.

After we read it through a couple of times, Renata asked to read it by herself. She flipped through it multiple times, and every time she got the the page where the goat graphically tears the troll apart on the bridge, she would cheer with something like: "Yay, he's killed dead!", "Yay, the goat got him and killed him and teared him apart and threw him in the water!", "Yay, the little goat is safe 'cause the troll's killed by the big goat!"

Finally she added a bit of her own to the story. "Yay, the big goat teared the troll apart and threw him in the river! And the sea dolphins are going to hurt him too! The sea dolphins will get him!"

What can I say to that, except to cheer the dolphins on, as they complete the job the big billy goat Gruff began?


  1. I had a vague memory of someone posting about this once upon a time, and I guessed correctly that it was you. If you look at the last version on this page -- -- I think you'll find support for your third-paragraph hypothesis.


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