Hungry Troll wait. Crouch low and comfy, Troll wait for feet sound—clippity-clippity-clippity.
Troll guard bridge. Prince say so. Give Troll shiny hat too small for Troll head. Bring Troll big club called dragon bone and say then to Troll, “This Troll job. Troll watch bridge and no let pass unless pay.”
Troll know what not job. Troll just Troll, but prince say goats menace, eat all grass in meadow and make stone fall down mountain. Prince say also man come, try take what not his. So Troll watch bridge and collect shiny circles in bag for prince.
All pay, or no cross bridge. No pay, Troll hit.
Prince say Troll eat goats if Troll get hungry because goats no pay. Goats no have shiny circles to put in purse because goats.
Troll always hungry. Belly rumble like stone fall down mountain. Goats no come much. Troll wait, watch always for goats so can crush with dragon bone and boil for stew. Troll like stew. Sometimes Troll make stew from man bones, even when man pay shiny circle to prince. Prince no say Troll not eat man. Only say pay shiny circle to cross bridge, and Troll always so hungry.
Being guard hard work. Troll have to eat, have to keep up strength.
Troll hear sound, clippity-clippty-clippity noise, and troll look out from under bridge.
“Stop,” Troll say. “No pass unless pay.”
Little goat stop, just like Troll tell him. “Pardon me, Sir Troll,” say goat. Goat smell smoky, not good smoky, like would smell if Troll roast goat, but bad smoky, like trees on fire. “I’m very hungry, and the grass in the meadow on the other side of the bridge looks so very green. May I cross?”
Goat no talk to Troll about very hungry. Troll always hungry. “You have shiny circle?”
Little goat look at Troll, stare at shiny hat too small for Troll head, then he look down over edge at dragon bone. “My brother carries all our coins. If you wait just a moment, he will be along to pay you for both of us. If you’ll just let me pass…”
Troll not sure. Troll scratch head, make shiny hat almost fall off. Troll think little goat very small. Bones barely big enough to pick Troll’s teeth. Maybe brother goat bigger meal. Troll say, “Pass,” and goat feet clippity-clippity-clippity across bridge.
Troll wait ‘til it is a long time. Troll start to get angry and think goat trick him, but when Troll look to meadow can no see goat. Then again Troll hear clippity-clippity-clippity, and coming up to bridge is bigger goat. Mountain rumble in belly again, and Troll clutch dragon bone tight in fist.
“Stop! No pass unless pay.” Bigger goat smell bad smoky too, make Troll’s nose itch and Troll wipe it on back of arm.
“Good Troll, my brother carries all our coins. He will be along soon, and will gladly pay you for our passage. So if you…”
“Brother goat big?” Troll say.
“Oh yes,” bigger goat tell Troll. “Very big, and the purse he carries holds much gold.”
Prince like gold, but Troll not so much. Shiny circles hurt teeth when Troll try crunch them, and when swallow sit heavy in Troll’s belly. But if brother goat big and carry big bag of gold, Troll get full belly and goat bones for stew and prince get big bag of gold. Everybody happy.
“Okay,” to bigger goat Troll say. “Pass.”
Goat feet clippity-clippity-clippity then twitchy tail disappear into tall meadow grass. Longer time, Troll wait. Sun pass behind trees and go toward mountain to hide for long sleep and Troll belly emptier than ever. So hungry, Troll is, and lying goats gorge on big green grass. Troll think maybe hunt goats down and smash them with dragon bone. Two goats make much stew, but then ground start shaking and Troll peek head out from under bridge to see noise.
Biggest goat Troll ever see stomp to bridge, clompity-clompity-clompity. Goat’s head bigger than Troll’s clenched fist and goat’s body large enough to feed Troll for many times the sun wakes up. Goat so big, Troll take no chances and climb up to stand on bridge and block the way with dragon bone in fist.
Goat come and Troll say, “Stop! Goat no pass.”
Biggest smell so smoky, it make Troll’s eyes water. Goat turn in circle like dance, then kick feet out at Troll. Feet clip Troll in chest and Troll can’t breathe when fall into water under bridge. Troll hit head on rocks below and see shiny skylights in eyes. Overhead biggest goat clompity-clompity-clompity across bridge, and Troll think go, stupid goat.
Troll no want to eat goats anyway. Meat too stringy and leave bad, smoky taste in Troll mouth.
Troll done with job for prince. Maybe when shiny skylights go away, Troll go to upriver and try fishing. Maybe Troll go to castle and eat prince.
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