A family of Billy Goat brothers named “Gruff” lived in a valley where they spent their free time dozing in the midday sun and discussing particle physics. One day the Billy Goats Gruff grew hungry and decided to go to the hillside where they could fatten themselves on the dewy sweet grass.
As they approached the hillside, they came to a bridge that was built (presumably by human hooves) to help livestock like these cross over the rushing river below. And underneath that bridge lived a hideous troll, emaciated and desperate for a bite to eat.
As the first Billy Goat Gruff crossed the bridge, the sound of his hooves woke the troll from his slumber. “Who’s that clickety-clacking over my bridge,” the troll screeched.
“It is I, the smallest Billy Goat Gruff,” the little fellow replied in a soft whisper. “And I’m going up to the hillside to get a belly full of grass.”
“Not if I have anything to say about it,” snarled the troll. “For I’m coming up there to get a belly full of you.”
“Oh, you don’t want to eat me,” said the goat. “For you see, my older brother is right behind, and he’ll make a much bigger banquet.”
“Very well, you may pass,” said the troll.
A few moments later, the troll heard a deeper, weightier creaking above him. “Who’s that clickety-clacking over my bridge,” he shouted again.
“It is I, the medium sized Billy Goat Gruff,” the second goat replied in a medium sized voice. “And I’m going up to the hillside to join my baby brother at the feast.”
“Oh, no you’re not,” the troll screamed. “For I’m coming up there to feast on you!”
“I wouldn’t bother,” said the second goat. “Wait for our oldest brother. You’ll get a few more meals out of him for sure.”
“Alright, get lost, then,” the troll sneered, then began waiting in salivating anticipation for the biggest brother to arrive.
But after waiting for three days, the troll starved to death because there were only two Billy Goats Gruff and the second one totally lied to him.
MORAL: Potential prey give unreliable referrals.
Hans Fiene is a Lutheran pastor in Illinois and the creator of Lutheran Satire, a series of comical videos intended to teach the Lutheran faith.