The Three Billy Goats Gracious

A retelling of "The Three Billy Goats Gruff," this story puts a cooperative twist on the traditional Norwegian tale.

Teaching Tolerance illustration of Three happy Billy Goats crossing a bridge, while a beard man eat grapes laying on the grass
Illustration by Alexander Blue

Once upon a time there were three billy goats who were to go up to the hillside to eat, and the name of all three was "Gracious."

On the way up was a bridge over a cascading stream they had to cross, and under the bridge lived a grumpy troll, with eyes as big as saucers, and teeth as long as a billy goat's leg. The youngest Billy Goat Gracious came first to cross the bridge.

"Trip, trap, trip, trap," went the bridge.

"Who's that tripping over my bridge?" roared the troll.

"Oh, it is only I, the tiniest Billy Goat Gracious, and I'm going up to the hillside to eat," he said, in a very small voice.

"Well, I'm coming to gobble you up," said the troll.

"Oh, no! Pray don't eat me. I'm just a kid, that I am," said the billy goat, and he scampered back to his family.

"Trip, trap, trip, trap, trip, trap!" went the bridge.

"Sister and Mother, the troll under the bridge is hungry," cried the little billy goat. "He said it's me he'd eat!"

Sister and Mother and little Son, Billy Goats Gracious all, sat and pondered their fate.

Then Sister sprang up and ran right into a tree. "Bang, crack!," went the tree. Son and Mother Gracious took turns, too.

"Bang, crack! Bang, crack! Bang, crack!" went all three, and down, down, down came the big old tree.

Mother mustered her strength and threw the tree across the stream and after that she walked across it to the hillside.

Sister and Son followed close behind. "Clip, clop, clip, clop, clip, clop."

There the billy goats got so full they were scarcely able to walk home again. But as they did, they offered some food to the grumpy, hungry troll.

Snip, snap, snout. This tale's told out.

Add to an Existing Learning Plan
    "Learning for Justice new fall issue out now."

    Read the Newest Issue of ‘Learning for Justice’ Magazine!

    In promoting diversity and fighting racism, inclusive education programs forged pathways toward building equitable societies. Now, as our nation confronts multiple assaults on democratic values, we hold firm in the fight to protect—and to expand—democracy through social justice education.

    Read Now!