Once upon a time, there was a farmer who had three goats. The first one was small, the second one was a little bigger, and the third one was very large. In the summer, the farmer took his goats to the mountain meadow where the young grass was bright green and deliciously juicy.
A river ran along the mountain meadow, and there was a bridge over it. “Don’t go over the bridge, but stay far away from it,” the farmer warned his goats. “But why?” asked the little goats. The grass on the other side looked so much greener and tastier. “A mean troll lives under the bridge!” the farmer warned. “Enjoy the grass on this side. There’s enough here for all three of you.”
Indeed, a ugly and mean troll lived under the bridge. He couldn’t help it. Trolls were just ugly and mean. And trolls used to live under bridges. Even if they didn’t build the bridges themselves, they all thought that the bridge was their property. The three goats had set their sights on the greener grass across the river that day. So they came up with a plan to get to the other side.
The smallest goat bravely stepped onto the bridge. The troll heard the sound of his footsteps and came out of his hiding place. “Who’s walking over my bridge?” he shouted. “It’s just me,” answered the little goat. “I’m going to the other side to eat the green grass.” “Then I’ll come get you and eat you,” said the troll, showing his mean, black teeth.
“No, don’t do that,” said the goat. “My bigger brother is coming. He’s much bigger. Look at me, how skinny I am. I’m just bones and a little skin.” The troll looked at the goat. No, this goat didn’t look really delicious, the troll thought. “So your big brother is coming?” the troll asked the goat. “Yes, he is,” the goat answered. “Then hurry up and go,” said the troll, letting the little goat go.
The troll walked back to his hiding place and heard footsteps on the bridge again. “Who’s walking over my bridge?” growled the troll. “I’m a goat, and I’m going to the other side to fill my belly,” said the middle goat. “Ah, you’re the goat I’m going to eat,” said the troll, jumping out of his hiding place. “Well, if you eat me, you’re really stupid,” the goat replied. “And why is that?” the troll asked. “Because my older brother is also going to cross the bridge. He’s many times bigger and juicier than I am,” the goat said. And that was completely true.
“Okay, but how do I know that your brother will actually cross the bridge?” the troll asked, thinking he was very clever with this question. “Well, that seems pretty logical to me,” said the middle goat. “The grass on the other side is much greener. Of course, he’ll want to eat that grass!” And in the meantime, he made his way across the bridge.
The troll went back to his hiding place and soon heard the heavy footsteps of a large goat. The bridge creaked under his weight. “That will be my dinner tonight,” thought the troll, his mouth watering. “Who’s stomping over my bridge?” the troll asked. “I’m a goat, and I’m going to make my big belly even fuller with the delicious, juicy grass on the other side,” answered the largest goat.
“I think I’m going to fill my belly,” shouted the troll, “and that’s because I’m going to eat you!”
But the troll could never have imagined how big this goat was. He jumped out of his hiding place, and the goat butted him with its large horns, and plop, he fell into the river. The troll couldn’t swim and let himself be carried away by the current. Where he is now? No one knows because he hasn’t been seen since. Other trolls heard what had happened to him and then they all fled. Since then, no troll has lived under a bridge.
From that moment on, the three goats could easily cross to the other side every day to enjoy the delicious grass.