The Best of Times Short Story Competition

Spring 2015 Results

Three Billy Goats

Copyright © Geoff Covey 2015

Once upon a time there were three Billy Goats Gruff. But that was some generations ago; times have moved on and their descendants have been upwardly mobile and become rather pretentious…

Once upon a more recent time there were three Billy Goats d’Grough; Little Billy Goat, Middle Billy Goat and Great Big Billy Goat d’Grough. Every day they walked from their mansion across the bridge to the meadow on the other side of the river to feed.

They always went in order of increasing size (NO I don’t know why). One day as Little Billy Goat d’Grough was crossing the bridge a big troll popped his head up and challenged him (Yes I agree if they went over the bridge every day how come the troll didn’t challenge them before? I don’t know, and if you don’t stop interrupting we will never get to the end of this story!).

AS I WAS SAYING – on this day a big troll stuck his head up and chanted:

I’m a troll, roll-de-poll,

I’m a troll, roll de-poll …

“You’ve already said that,” said Little Billy Goat.

“Look, it’s part of my act,” said the troll testily.

I’m a troll, roll-de-poll

Little Billy Goat sighed loudly (and rather rudely). The troll pretended not to notice.

And I’ll eat you for supper!

“Eat me! Eat meat, and red meat at that!” exclaimed Little Billy Goat. “How are you going to cook me?”

“I’m not,” replied the troll trying to sound fierce, and not quite succeeding. “I’m going to eat you raw!”

“Good heavens,” said Little Billy Goat, “you mean you’re not a vegetarian. How gross! No wonder you’re so fat and unhealthy. You should be a vegetarian like me.”

“Don’t like vegetables,” mumbled the troll.

“Well, if you did you’d be slim like me,” continued Little Billy Goat smugly. “There’s not enough spare flesh on me to make me worth eating.” Little Billy Goat was not just a vegetarian, he was also a snitch. “My brother will be along in a minute. He eats meat, hamburgers and stuff he would make a much better meal than I would. Why don’t you eat him instead?”

“Oh, all right,” grumbled the troll and disappeared back under the bridge.

Little Billy Goat continued on his way and shortly afterwards Middle Billy Goat arrived.

The troll popped his head up again:

I’m troll, roll-de poll

“Yes, yes, I can see you are a troll,” interrupted Middle Billy Goat. “Is roll-de-poll your name?”

“No! it’s just some words to give my chant the right metre, so don’t interrupt!”

I’m troll, roll-de poll

Middle Billy Goat’s mouth began to move but the troll hurried on before he could say anything:


“I don’t think so,” sneered Middle Billy Goat.

“Why not?” asked the troll, “You’re not a vegetarian are you? You’re certainly bigger and fatter than your brother.”

“Bigger maybe, but not fatter! This is all muscle! I work out every day at the gym for two hours. And looking at you I suggest that you should too, then you wouldn’t look so unhealthy and flabby. As it is I’m much stronger than you and if you try to eat me, so much the worse for you! And even if you did you would find me very tough.”

Middle Billy Goat was just as lacking in filial affection as his smaller brother. “No, if you’re hungry you’d be much better to eat my big brother; he eats far too much and NEVER exercises.”

“Oh, all right,” muttered the troll, who was beginning to think he had picked the wrong bridge to live under.

The troll ducked back under the bridge and Middle Billy Goat continued on his way to the gym.

A few minutes later Great Big Billy Goat d’Grough (who really did deserve the descriptor) arrived at the bridge.

Once again the troll popped his head up and chanted:

I’m a troll, roll-de-poll

I’m a …

“You’ve alrea…”

“SHUT UP! And let me finish won’t you,” shouted the troll who was thoroughly fed up with the d’Grough family.

I’m a troll, roll-de-poll

And I’ll eat you for supper.

Great Big Billy Goat d’Grough sized up the situation and decided with his bulk he would be more than a match for the troll. “Well then, you had better come up onto the bridge and do it.”

The troll climbed over the parapet and stood in the middle of the bridge. Great Big Billy Goat d’Grough’s mind filled with visions of tossing the troll over the bridge, over the meadow, over the trees and over the mountain. He lowered his head and charged at the troll. Did you know, it is easier to take the goat by the horns that to take the bull by the horns? Well, the troll took Great Big Billy Goat d’Grough by the horns – and ate him for supper.