Home Entertainment Stephen King’s It Was Inspired By Children’s Tale Three Billy Goats Gruff

Stephen King’s It Was Inspired By Children’s Tale Three Billy Goats Gruff


“Three Billy Goats Gruff” is a very old, influential children’s story from Norwegian oral folklore. It was written down and first widely published in 1841, but the story was likely told to kids far earlier than that. The tale’s about three billy goats who cross a bridge, the smallest going first and the largest going last. The troll under the bridge threatens to gobble up each of them, but the first two goats tell him to wait for the third one, as he’s the biggest meal of them all. So the troll waits for the biggest goat, only for said goat to easily overpower him

“He flew at the troll, and poked his eyes out with his horns, and crushed him to bits, body and bones, and tossed him out into the cascade.”

There are many different versions of this story, each of them varying depending on whatever lesson the narrator wants to teach. Sometimes there are a bunch of monsters under the bridge, sometimes the monster is Death himself, and sometimes the first two billy goats aren’t so lucky. See also: the version of the story taught to kids in the “Harry Potter” universe:

The connections to “It” are pretty clear, too. Not only does King have his monster attack multiple people at different times, but he also leaves the readers with the lesson that the best way to stop It is to fight back. Don’t be afraid of him, don’t try to run away; if you face him head on you’ll have a much stronger chance. It is scary, sure, but much like that over-confident troll, he’s mostly only scary if you think he’s scary. Thoughtless confidence goes a long way.

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