It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Murder and Mayhem, please

Mary reads to the assembled tots. A peaceful little maternal tableau. Our literary choice? The Three Billy Goats Gruff.

You know the tale. Each of three goat-brothers trit-trot over the troll’s bridge, the first two escaping with their hides intact by promising him their older, larger, more succulent brother who follows behind. (A tale of family loyalty, it ain’t.) Then the third goat, the Big Brother, butts the troll into the water. End of story.

Treachery, intimidation, disloyalty, and violence. What more could you want from a children’s tale? Strangely, even with all that, it falls way short of Nigel’s expectations. The boy wants nothing less than carnage.

Mary: so the smallest billy goat gruff goes over the bridge, and the troll jumps up and —
Nigel: And then he EATS him!!!
Mary: No, then he says, “Who’s walking on MY bridge?”

Mary: so the middle billy goat gruff goes over the bridge, and the troll jumps up and —
Nigel: And then he EATS him!!!
Mary: No, remember? He says, “Who’s walking on MY bridge?”

Mary: Then the third billy goat gruff comes, TRAMP, TRAMP, TRAMP —
Nigel: Then the troll EATS him!!!
Mary: No, the goat bumps the troll with his horns —
Nigel: And he dead!!
Mary: No, then he falls in the water —
Nigel: And THEN he dead!!
Mary: No, he just gets wet and cold and —
Nigel: And he DEAD!!
Mary: Not in this version, bud. Sorry about that. He just decides to leave well enough alone and never bothers the three billy goats gruff again.

Short pause. Nigel weighs my input in his mind and find it lacking.

Nigel: And THEN he DEAD!!!
Mary: And then he dead.
Nigel: And that’s the end.

October 2, 2007 Posted by | books, Nigel | 11 Comments