The Three Billy Goats Gruff
Trolls are never the kind of creatures that you want to meet let alone try to defeat. And this troll was no exception. He lived under a rickety, old bridge in desperate need of repair, always knee deep in freezing, cold muddy water. He sloshed through the water, up and down, always cold and always very grumpy. And why did this troll live underneath the bridge? Hiding. Hiding from the wizard who had turned him into a troll in the first place. He was spellbound here now, underneath a bridge that didn’t seem to be of any importance but was actually pretty magical.
Dark, Dilly and Dolly were three princesses who loved nothing more than caring for their goats in their palace grounds. Each princess had her own flock of goats to care for, and they loved them all very dearly. Each day they would lead their herd of goats to green pastures to graze all day. It was during one of these trips to the green pastures that the three sisters came across a strange, little man with a beard that was cut lopsided and raggedy robes that were mud-stained wearing a pointed little hat with stars and moons on it. Dark asked the little man, “Why are you here sir? Why do you toil here in the green pastures?” The little man spun around, his face a giant frown and angry. Above him big thunderous clouds gathered together and threatened to rain down upon the group. “Go away you silly princesses! Can’t you see I’m in the middle of a spell!” the little man shouted and stamped his foot angrily. Dilly stared up at the clouds. “Are you making it rain? We don’t really need rain today, there is plenty of water in the river.” The little man stamped his foot again angrily. “I don’t care if there is enough water in the river, I’m making a spectacular thunderstorm and no silly princesses are going to stop me”. With that he stomped off in the opposite direction. The princesses shrugged and continued to lead their goats to the green pastures to graze.
Not long after this first encounter, Dark, Dilly and Dolly were once again tending to their goats in the pastures when they had the unfortunate timing to meet the stormy little man. This time he was waving his arms about and chanting lots of words that sounded like nonsense and the wind was swirling around him like a mini cyclone, the leaves almost obscuring him from view. It really was most frightful for the princesses, who were worried about if their goats were going to be scared. Then the fire started, around the little man, a circle of fire blazing, whipping around him into the wind, creating a very hot wind that was ready to sweep them away. Thinking quickly, the princesses ran to the river and grabbed a pail of water and threw it over the flames, dousing them. Smoke arose around the little man, who stood there dripping wet.
The little man drew himself up to his full height and stared at the princesses. “You have ruined my spell! My spectacular spell! You will all pay for my misfortune!” And he waved his hands in the air and sent a magic spell at the three sisters. They slowly began to grow hooves and horns and little tails. They were goats! Billy goats! The wizard laughed and then disappeared into a puff of green smoke. Dark, Dilly and Dolly looked at each other in dismay. How were they going to change back? “Don’t look so sad” said Dark, “Let’s check our library and see if there is a book that can help us.” So off the three goats trotted, trit trot all the way home. Now it is extremely difficult to read a book when you have goat hooves, let alone open the book but the three sisters managed. Dark found the page she was looking for and Dilly read it aloud. “To transform an animal into a human, the animal must walk across a magically enchanted bridge to reverse the spell” “But we don’t have a magically enchanted bridge. Just a drawbridge over a moat filled with pondweed” said Dilly sadly. Dark had a think. “I know! Let’s try that little bridge over the river. I’ve heard stories of a troll living under there. That must mean there is magic around there.” So off they went to find the bridge.
Dark was the first to try and cross the bridge. Trip trap trip trap. But just as she reached halfway across the bridge an ugly troll leapt onto the bridge snarling. “Who’s that trip trapping over my bridge?” Dark peered over the edge of the bridge carefully. “I’m Dark, the big billy goat gruff.” The troll squinted at the goat in front of him. “You look like a very funny goat, but I will eat you up anyway.” Dark snorted. “If you try to eat me, I will use my powerful horns to throw you off the bridge. My younger sister is coming, you can try to eat her.” And with that Dark trit trotted across the bridge, but to her dismay, she did not turn back into her princess self. Perhaps the spell will be broken when all of us have crossed the bridge she thought. And so Dilly goat went to cross the bridge, while the troll crouched waiting. The troll smacked his lips in delight as she trip trapped across the bridge. “You look delicious!” cried the troll ready to spring at her. But Dilly stopped and stared at the troll. “If you try to eat me Mr. Troll, I will kick you with my powerful legs so hard that you will have to swim all the way back home. My little sister will be an easy meal for you. Wait for her.” The troll grumbled but let Dilly trip trap past. She did not transform either, so they waited for Dolly to come. The smallest of the goats, the troll almost thought she wasn’t worth eating anyway but he still waited.
But Dolly was too quick for the troll. She jumped over the troll and landed on the other side of the bridge, but to the princesses’ horror and dismay, they did not transform back into their princess selves. Instead they remained their billy goat selves. Dilly and Dolly began to cry. But not Dark. She looked at the troll and looked at her sisters. “This bridge is not magic my sisters. The troll simply lives here. We must confront the evil wizard who created this spell. And I know just how we will find him.” She trit trotted over to the very hungry troll. “Tell me why I shouldn’t eat you now” he grumbled. “Because I know that you are under a spell too. You have the same bell that we all wear which is the wizard’s signature. If we all work together, we can defeat the grumpy wizard”. The troll finally smiled. “I know where he lives. But his spell means that I cannot leave this bridge until the spell is lifted. He lives in a crooked house on a crooked hill just upstream. He likes it there because he can make all his storms in peace and quiet.”
So Dark, Dilly and Dolly trip trapped back over the bridge and headed to the crooked house on the crooked hill by the stream. It was easy to find because of all the storm clouds that swirled around it and the lightning bolts that struck the ground around it, making the ground black and smoky. But Dark used her strong horns to head butt the door down and there they found the wizard creating a snowstorm inside the house, getting ready to send the storm into the rest of the kingdom. His face nearly turned purple with rage. “You three again! How many times must I get rid of you so I can torment everyone with my lovely storms!” With that, he sent the snowstorm billowing towards them. The three goats held their ground, swishing the snow away with their horns and tails, as the wizard made for the stairs to his tall tower. The three billy goats chased him all the way up the winding stairs, despite the lightning bolts and torrential rain that flooded the stairs. They all finally reached the top. “Nowhere to go Wizard!” said Dilly as the three goats blocked the door. “Then I will change you all into frogs!” cried the wizard. But just as he started chanting, all three billy goats charged at the wizard and using their horns, head butted the wizard out of the window and he fell down into the stream.
Moments later as they watched, he was swept downstream towards the troll’s bridge. There the troll lay waiting, hungrier than ever. And when the wizard came floating by, the troll didn’t hesitate to leap down and gobble up the wizard! In that moment, a peculiar glow appeared on the goats in the tower and in a thrice they were princesses again. The troll was also changed back into his old self, a boy who was a goatherd for the neighbouring kingdom. And so they all lived happily ever after, with no more strange storms.