The Three Billy Goats

Three Billy Goats wish to cross a bridge,

Where the water laps violently

Under a ridge.


The bridge is quite dangerous,

It is guarded by a troll.

And in order to cross,

The goats must pay a toll.


The youngest suggests paying in hay,

But his brothers say:

“No troll would eat hay,

They eat meat,

The Greek meat made from

Our flesh and bone.”


“We can’t betray our own kind,” shouts the youngest.

His brothers just stare and between themselves

they discuss:

“If one of us were to die, and the others live,

Well, is that not fair?”


“No!” Shouts the youngest,

“No one would volunteer to be eaten,

Just as neither of you

would ever want to be beaten.”


The older brothers glare at their little sibling,

They walk away to discuss and begin scheming.

“He always is speaking exactly what he’s thinking,”

One continues to whisper.

“He’s naive, and he won’t fall into line.”

The other soon replies.

“Let him die, then we’ll be fine.”


“You are right young brother,”

The middle lies to the younger,

“We can’t simply give up one or another,”

The oldest keenly lies.

“Indeed, for such a small head and young heart,

You are truly wise.”


The youngest listens,

but he’s not convinced.

He may be young and naive,

and his heart may be too big,

But his sense of emotion, that

is nothing to be underestimated.


The brothers began to cross the bridge,

Watching where they put their feet,

when the ghastly troll swung up from beneath.


The troll had dark and bumpy skin,

And he had long threatening claws,

Where dirt was trapped within.

He had contorted limbs and a twisted nose,

Solitary hairs that curled and bent,

And a protruding brow decorated with little lamb bones.

But most frightening yet,

Was a blank, black, socket

Where a missing eye should have been.

It sank deep into his wrinkled old face –  

A hole that seemingly went through and through.


The oldest shook,

And the middle cried,

But the youngest of them all

looked with determined and wide eyes,

“Don’t worry, we’ll take him on you guys!”

The youngest goat continued to speak

to his sibling’s surprise:


“The three of us can take on

anything that brings on threats,

with our big bellies, hard hooves,

And horns upon our heads,

Nothing, no not one thing,

Will best us yet!”


The siblings of the youngest

Didn’t dare to move.

They were shaking and quaking,

Within their dark hooved shoes.


“Guys? What are you stopping for?,”

The youngest began to fear.

His brothers showed no nerve,

No, not right here.

“We can beat him together,

Trust in me! Trust in us! Please, I swear!”


The little one shook as he saw

that his pleadings were of no use,

But he didn’t let fear paralyze his young heart.

He wouldn’t let his ego bruise.

“Then I’ll save you two, if I can then I’ll try!”

The troll only cackled, “Oh little one,

If you do you’ll surely die.”


The little one rushed anyways,

Even if it was to save those

Whom he knew had lied.


His brothers shouted, “Troll, eat him!

He can be your prize!

He’s dumb and small!

Don’t the helpless ones taste nice?”


The brothers encouraged the troll

to the youngest’s dismay.

But unexpectedly the troll angered,

By the brother’s selfishness he was unhappily amazed.


The little goat looked sadly at his kin,

Now hearing aloud his brothers’ plot.

And meanwhile the troll grew large,

Extending his gruesome legs,

His silhouette replaced the sun with a gruesome blot.


“You fools, do you have no love?

You are much dumber than this little tike,

And no, the best aren’t the small nor innocent,

but those that are bloated with greed or pride,

And those who are conceited,

They’re the best of those I’ve tried.”


The littlest one howled and cried,

“Don’t eat them, they aren’t bad,

They’re just scared. Please spare them,

and I’ll bring you back the best bail of hay,

Maybe even two!

If I can carry that much,

that request I will surely do.”


The troll looked at the small goat,

And back at the siblings two.

Really, he was quite amused.


“Normally I would gobble them whole,

For the trick they’ve played on you,

But hay is valuable for

making camisoles and hats,

And, it’s the color of gold.

I’ll tell you what,

I’ll throw them in the river,

And let them try to swim out,

But before you continue,

first you will hear me,

so your safety I will not doubt.”


Before the youngest could argue,

The troll threw the brothers into the waters high

The brothers howled and plummeted in,

But there lives were actually saved

by the little brother they plotted against,

their brother with his heart so big.


The troll then says,

“Little Goat, you’d defend them after what they did?

Surely, your heart is very big.

Even for your size.

But in this world,

A large heart can get you killed,

You need to look with more than just heart and loving eyes.


Heart needs a partner,

To steer it out of harm,

Something strong and clever,

Something to win over or woo.

Ah yes, I think that

a fine wit would surely do.


You see, I cared for my brothers once too,

See this missing eye?

That is what my brothers did to me.

Because I did not see

As they wanted me to see,

Those trolls made me half blind.


But the knowledge and love of the land I have,

Is greater than even two eyes.

What I mean is this, little goat,

A heart of gold is great,

And wit is a good too,

But a partnership between them,

That is how you will never lose.”


Poetry Terms Demonstrated: 


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