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1001 Stories Collection

The Three Billy Goats Gruff

1001 billygoatsgruff
Added on 08th July 2020

Oral tradition Norwegian folktale

Europe Animals Folk and fairy tales
1001 , Audio , Text , Storymap

The well told story of three goats trying to cross a bridge to find tasty fresh grass.

Story

Three hungry billy goats are keen to find a grassy meadow where they can eat. However, to get there they must cross a rickety bridge. Under the bridge lives a terrifying troll who tries to eat the first goat to cross. Can all three goats safely make it to the other side?

Why we chose it

A great story to tell with its repeated refrains and the distinct voices of the troll and the three goats. It was one of the stories in our original audio stories collection and also one of the stories chosen for our World Stories project with St Ebbes School in 2016. The stories were represented on fabric hangings made by artist Ally Baker which can still be found hanging in the museum.

Where it came from

The Scandinavian folktale was first collected by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe in their 1843 collection of Norske Folkeeventyr. These were translated into English by G.W. Dasent in his 1859 Popular Tales from the Norse. Dasent translated the goat’s family name as “Gruff”, a word describing the tuft of hair on a goat’s head.

Where it went next

The Three Billy Goats Gruff has inspired numerous songs, musicals, video games and TV shows, as well as several modern adaptations. The folktale is also hinted at in many other stories. For example, in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series there is a longstanding rivalry between goats and trolls

Associated stories

Asbjørnsen and Moe’s Norwegian Folk Tale collection also includes East of the Sun and West of the Moon and The Giant Who Had No Heart In His Body.

Added on 08th July 2020

Oral tradition Norwegian folktale

Europe Animals Folk and fairy tales
1001 , Audio , Text , Storymap

Story Resources

  • The Three Billy Goats Gruff story map PDF (318.4 KB)
    Download
  • The Three Billy Goats Gruff story text PDF (40.338 KB)
    Download
  • The Three Billy Goats Gruff story text 2 PDF (256.358 KB)
    Download