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The three Billy Goats Bruse

This is Norways most known Fairy Tale today, and it is called "Bukkene Bruse".


Once upon a time, three billy goats were walking to a seter to fatten themselves up, and all three were called "Bukken Bruse". On their way there was a bridge across a waterfall, which they had to cross, and below the bridge there lived a big, nasty troll, with eyes as pewter plates and a nose as long as a rake handle.


First came the youngest Bukken Bruse and had to cross the bridge. Trip, trap, trip, trap, it sounded in the bridge.


"Who’s tripping on my bridge?” the troll yelled.

Oh, it’s the smallest Bukken Bruse. I’m going to the seter to fatten myself up,” the billy goat said, it had such a delicate voice.

”Now, I’m coming to take you,” the troll said.

”Oh no, don’t take me, because I’m so small. Just wait a little bit, then the middle Bukken Bruse will come, he’s much bigger.”

All right, then walk” the troll said.

In a small while came the middle Bukken Bruse, and had to cross the bridge. Trip, trap, trip, trap, trip, trap, it sounded in the bridge.


”Who’s tripping on my bridge?” the troll yelled.

”Oh, it’s the middle Bukken Bruse who’s going to the seter to fatten himself up,” the billy goat said; its voice wasn’t quite so delicate.

”Now I’m coming to take you,” the troll said.

”Oh no, don’t take me. Just wait a little bit, then the big Bukken Bruse will come, he’s much, much bigger.”


”All right, then walk” the troll said.


A while passed, and then came the big Bukken Bruse. Trip, trap, trip, trap, trip, trap, it

sounded in the bridge; it was so heavy that the bridge was creaking and clattering below it!

”Who’s stamping on my bridge?” the troll yelled.

It’s the big Bukken Bruse,” the billy goat said, it had such a gruff voice.

”Now I’m coming to take you,” the troll yelled.

”Yes, just you come! I’ve got two horns as spears, with them I’ll gouge your eyes out! I’ve got two big boulders, with them I’ll crush both your marrow and your bones!” the billy goat said.


And then it jumped onto the troll and gouged out his eyes, broke his marrow and bones, and butted him out in the waterfall. Then it went to the seter.

There the billy goats became so fat, so fat that they almost didn’t bother to walk back home, and if the fat hasn’t ran off them, then they’re still as fat.


The end.



Well, that was the version of the fairy tale Bukkene Bruse, at the time when Asbjørnsen & Moe wrote it down. So, what is this story about? What is all this symbolism? Let us dissect the different components, and later accumulate them togheter in a process and a pattern;


The Goats

They are cloved animals. They are manifistations of Pan, the adrenaline, Þórr and his goats, the child, the horned one. These cloved animals are thus symbolically connected to the soil, but also the divine.


Of course there are three goats, like the natural magic three cycles, three stages of a pregnancy, three main festivals, three main stages in nature, 3X3=9 of the solar months length of a pregnancy etc., etc.


The seter

A "seter" is the Norwegian name for a small mountain summer residence and field for the animals to feed up, during the summer season. This is of great symbolism, because the goats are going there to physically eat, meaning outside the womb.


The brigde

The goats have to cross a brigde, the same way you cross the cervix when you are physically born. This brigde is symbolically the same as all the other brigdes in our mythology - Gjallarbrú (the bridgde of high sound/scream), the rainbow brigde (when you see the light for the first time (colours and light)) - Bífröst etc. They all represent the brigde from one state to the other, from life to death (re-born). The same way Bífröst has to be crossed by the Einherjar (the ones that fight alone) to reach the hall of the fallen and re-born, Válhöll (the womb).


The third phase and the Troll

So, at the end of the third phase, the biggest goat kills the Troll and throws it downstream. This Troll is the avatar of the placenta, that has to be killed and overcomed by the child. This Troll even has all the attributes, the long nose (umbilical cord) and eyes as pewter plates (the placenta itself). The child (the goat, Þórr, the horned one etc.) wins over it´s twin, and the old King is replaced by the new.


Now, the horned one for sure will go and fatten up.... re-born in the meadows of green grass.

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