"Three Billy Goats Gruff" (Norwegian : De tre bukkene Bruse) is a Norwegian fairy tale collected by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe in their Norske Folkeeventyr , first published between 1841 and 1844. It has an "eat-me-when-I'm-fatter" plot (Aarne-Thompson type 122E). The first version of the story in English appeared in George Webbe Dasent's translation of some of the Norske Folkeeventyr, published as Popular Tales from the Norse in 1859. The heroes of the tale are three male goats who need to outsmart a ravenous troll to cross the bridge to their feeding ground.
The story introduces three Billy goats (male goats), sometimes identified as a youngster, father and grandfather, but more often described as brothers. In other adaptations, there is a baby or child goat, mama goat and papa goat. "Gruff" was used as their family name in the earliest English translation, by Dasent; the original Norwegian version used the name "Bruse".
In the story, there is almost no grass left for them to eat near where they live, so they must cross a river to get to "sæter" (a meadow) or hillside on the other side of a stream to eat and fatten themselves up. They must first cross a wooden bridge, under which lives a fearsome and hideous troll, who is so territorial that he eats anyone who tries to cross the bridge.
The smallest billy goat is the first to cross and is stopped abruptly by the troll who threatens to "gobble him up!" The little goat convinces the troll to wait for his big brother to come across, because he is larger and would make for a more gratifying feast. The greedy troll agrees and lets the smallest goat cross.
The medium-sized goat passes next. He is more cautious than his brother but is also stopped by the troll and given the same threat. The second billy goat is allowed to cross as well after he tells the troll to wait for the biggest billy goat because he is the largest of the three.
The third billy goat gets on the bridge but is also stopped by the hungry troll who threatens to devour him. The third billy goat challenges the troll and dares him to do so. Then the troll jumps up. The big billy goat gruff knocks him off the bridge with his horns. The troll falls into the stream and is carried away by the current and drowned. From then on the bridge is safe and all three goats are able to go to the rich fields around the summer farm in the hills. The three billy goats Gruff eat lots of grass and live happily ever after.
The troll character is dirty and smelly and everybody is frightened of him, and I think that heightens the pathos of the ending, because it’s a witch hunt, without any evidence.
The Troll by Julia Donaldson with illustrations by David Roberts is a children's story about a troll and some pirates.
Sir George Webbe Dasent, D. C. L. (1817–1896) was a British translator of folk tales and contributor to The Times.
Jørgen Engebretsen Moe was a Norwegian folklorist, bishop, poet, and author. He is best known for the Norske Folkeeventyr, a collection of Norwegian folk tales which he edited in collaboration with Peter Christen Asbjørnsen. He also served as the Bishop of the Diocese of Kristianssand from 1874 until his death in 1882.
Peter Christen Asbjørnsen was a Norwegian writer and scholar. He and Jørgen Engebretsen Moe were collectors of Norwegian folklore. They were so closely united in their lives' work that their folk tale collections are commonly mentioned only as "Asbjørnsen and Moe".
Ashlad is a main character in a number of tales collected in Asbjørnsen and Moe's Norwegian Folktales.
Norwegian Folktales is a collection of Norwegian folktales and legends by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe. It is also known as Asbjørnsen and Moe, after the collectors.
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The Cat on the Dovrefjell is a Norwegian fairy tale collected by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe in Norske Folkeeventyr. It is Aarne–Thompson type 1161, The Bear Trainer and His Cat.
Vesle Åse Gåsepike is a Norwegian fairy tale collected by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe in Norske Folkeeventyr. It has also been translated as Little Lucy Goosey Girl, and classified as Aarne-Thompson tale type 870A.
"About Ash Lad, Who Stole the Troll's Silver Ducks, Coverlet, and Golden Harp" is a Norwegian folktale collected by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe in Norwegian Folktales, translated as "Boots and the Troll" by George Webbe Dasent in 1859.
The Boy Who Had an Eating Match with a Troll is a Norwegian fairy tale collected by Asbjørnsen and Moe. The troll is, as commonly depicted, not very intelligent and has poor vision, while the boy is clever, outwitting the troll to win an eating contest.
White-Bear-King-Valemon is a Norwegian fairy tale. The tale was published as No. 90 in Asbjørnsen and Moe's Norske Folke-Eventyr. Ny Samling (1871). George Webbe Dasent translated it for his Tales from the Fjeld.
"The Three Aunts" is a Norwegian fairy tale collected by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe in Norske Folkeeventyr.
"The Old Dame and her Hen" is the English title given by Dasent to the Norwegian folk tale, Asbjørnsen and Moe’s number 35.
"Boots Who Made the Princess Say, 'That's a Story'" or "The Ash Lad Who Made the Princess Say, 'You're a Liar'" is a Norwegian fairy tale collected by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe in Norske Folkeeventyr.
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The story’s original Norwegian title in full (a bit less snappy than the English one we know) was De tre Bukkene Bruse, som skulde gaa til Sæters og gjøre seg fede which roughly translates as ‘The three Billy-Goats Gruff who were going to mountain pastures to fatten themselves up’. ‘Bruse’, which is the name of the goats, was translated as ‘Gruff’ in the first English version, and this translation has stuck ever since but in fact the word refers to the hairy tuft on a goat’s forehead