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Project Gutenberg's The Wonderful Adventures of Nils, by Selma Lagerloef This e oo!

is for the use of anyone any"here at no cost and "ith almost no restrictions "hatsoever# $ou may co%y it, give it a"ay or re&use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included "ith this e oo! or online at """#gutenberg#net Title' The Wonderful Adventures of Nils Author' Selma Lagerloef (elease )ate' *ebruary +, ,--+ ./ oo! 01-2345 Language' /nglish 666 STA(T 7* T89S P(7:/;T G<T/N /(G / 77= T8/ W7N)/(*<L A)>/NT<(/S 7* N9LS 666

Produced by )avid Schaal and PG )istributed Proofreaders

.Transcriber's note' The inconsistent orthogra%hy of the original is retained in this ete?t#5 T8/ W7N)/(*<L A)>/NT<(/S of N9LS by


The oy A!!a from =ebne!aise The Wonderful :ourney of Nils Glimminge ;astle The Great ;rane )ance on =ullaberg

9n (ainy Weather The Stair"ay "ith the Three Ste%s y (onneby (iver =arls!rona The Tri% to @land @land's Southern Point The ig utterfly Little =arl's 9sland T"o ;ities The Legend of SmAland The ;ro"s The 7ld Peasant Woman *rom Taberg to 8us!varna The ig ird La!e <lvAsa&Lady The 8omes%un ;loth The Story of =arr and Grays!in The Wind Witch The rea!ing <% of the 9ce Thumbietot and the ears The *lood )unfin Stoc!holm Gorgo the /agle 7n 7ver GBstri!land

A )ay in 8Blsingland 9n Cedel%ad A Corning in Dngermanland Westbottom and La%land 7sa, the Goose Girl, and Little Cats With the La%landers 8ome"ard ound Legends from 8Brjedalen >ermland and )alsland The Treasure on the 9sland The :ourney to >emminghEg 8ome at Last The Parting "ith the Wild Geese FSome of the %urely geogra%hical matter in the S"edish original of the G*urther Adventures of NilsG has been eliminated from the /nglish version# The author has rendered valuable assistance in cutting certain cha%ters and abridging others# Also, "ith the author's a%%roval, cuts have been made "here the descri%tive matter "as merely of local interest# ut the story itself is intact#

THE ELF Sunday, March twentieth# 7nce there "as a boy# 8e "asHlet us sayHsomething li!e fourteen years oldI long and loose&jointed and to"headed# 8e "asn't good for much, that boy# 8is chief delight "as to eat and slee%I and after thatHhe li!ed best to ma!e mischief#

9t "as a Sunday morning and the boy's %arents "ere getting ready to go to church# The boy sat on the edge of the table, in his shirt sleeves, and thought ho" luc!y it "as that both father and mother "ere going a"ay, and the coast "ould be clear for a cou%le of hours# GGoodJ No" 9 can ta!e do"n %o%'s gun and fire off a shot, "ithout anybody's meddling interference,G he said to himself# ut it "as almost as if father should have guessed the boy's thoughts, for just as he "as on the thresholdHready to startHhe sto%%ed short, and turned to"ard the boy# GSince you "on't come to church "ith mother and me,G he said, Gthe least you can do, is to read the service at home# Will you %romise to do soKG G$es,G said the boy, Gthat 9 can do easy enough#G And he thought, of course, that he "ouldn't read any more than he felt li!e reading# The boy thought that never had he seen his mother so %ersistent# 9n a second she "as over by the shelf near the fire%lace, and too! do"n Luther's ;ommentary and laid it on the table, in front of the "indo"Ho%ened at the service for the day# She also o%ened the Ne" Testament, and %laced it beside the ;ommentary# *inally, she dre" u% the big arm&chair, "hich "as bought at the %arish auction the year before, and "hich, as a rule, no one but father "as %ermitted to occu%y# The boy sat thin!ing that his mother "as giving herself altogether too much trouble "ith this s%readI for he had no intention of reading more than a %age or so# ut no", for the second time, it "as almost as if his father "ere able to see right through him# 8e "al!ed u% to the boy, and said in a severe tone' GNo", remember, that you are to read carefullyJ *or "hen "e come bac!, 9 shall Luestion you thoroughlyI and if you have s!i%%ed a single %age, it "ill not go "ell "ith you#G GThe service is fourteen and a half %ages long,G said his mother, just as if she "anted to hea% u% the measure of his misfortune# G$ou'll have to sit do"n and begin the reading at once, if you e?%ect to get through "ith it#G With that they de%arted# And as the boy stood in the door"ay "atching them, he thought that he had been caught in a tra%# GThere they go congratulating themselves, 9 su%%ose, in the belief that they've hit u%on something so good that 9'll be forced to sit and hang over the sermon the "hole time that they are a"ay,G thought he# ut his father and mother "ere certainly not congratulating themselves u%on anything of the sortI but, on the contrary, they "ere very much distressed# They "ere %oor farmers, and their %lace "as not much bigger than a garden&%lot# When they first moved there, the %lace couldn't feed more than one %ig and a %air of chic!ensI but they "ere uncommonly industrious and ca%able fol!Hand no" they had both co"s and geese# Things had turned out very "ell for themI and they "ould have gone to church that beautiful morningHsatisfied and ha%%yHif they hadn't had their son to thin! of# *ather com%lained that he "as dull and laMyI he had not cared to learn anything at school, and he "as such an all&round good&for&nothing, that he could barely be made to tend geese# Cother did not deny that this "as trueI but she "as most distressed because he "as "ild and badI cruel to animals, and ill&"illed to"ard human beings# GCay God soften his hard heart, and give him a better dis%ositionJG said the mother, Gor else he "ill be a misfortune, both to himself and to us#G

The boy stood for a long time and %ondered "hether he should read the service or not# *inally, he came to the conclusion that, this time, it "as best to be obedient# 8e seated himself in the easy chair, and began to read# ut "hen he had been rattling a"ay in an undertone for a little "hile, this mumbling seemed to have a soothing effect u%on himH and he began to nod# 9t "as the most beautiful "eather outsideJ 9t "as only the t"entieth of CarchI but the boy lived in West >emminghEg To"nshi%, do"n in Southern S!ane, "here the s%ring "as already in full s"ing# 9t "as not as yet green, but it "as fresh and budding# There "as "ater in all the trenches, and the colt's&foot on the edge of the ditch "as in bloom# All the "eeds that gre" in among the stones "ere bro"n and shiny# The beech&"oods in the distance seemed to s"ell and gro" thic!er "ith every second# The s!ies "ere highHand a clear blue# The cottage door stood ajar, and the lar!'s trill could be heard in the room# The hens and geese %attered about in the yard, and the co"s, "ho felt the s%ring air a"ay in their stalls, lo"ed their a%%roval every no" and then# The boy read and nodded and fought against dro"siness# GNoJ 9 don't "ant to fall aslee%,G thought he, Gfor then 9'll not get through "ith this thing the "hole forenoon#G utHsomeho"Hhe fell aslee%# 8e did not !no" "hether he had sle%t a short "hile, or a long "hileI but he "as a"a!ened by hearing a slight noise bac! of him# 7n the "indo"&sill, facing the boy, stood a small loo!ing&glassI and almost the entire cottage could be seen in this# As the boy raised his head, he ha%%ened to loo! in the glassI and then he sa" that the cover to his mother's chest had been o%ened# 8is mother o"ned a great, heavy, iron&bound oa! chest, "hich she %ermitted no one but herself to o%en# 8ere she treasured all the things she had inherited from her mother, and of these she "as es%ecially careful# 8ere lay a cou%le of old&time %easant dresses, of red homes%un cloth, "ith short bodice and %laited shirt, and a %earl&bedec!ed breast %in# There "ere starched "hite&linen head&dresses, and heavy silver ornaments and chains# *ol!s don't care to go about dressed li!e that in these days, and several times his mother had thought of getting rid of the old thingsI but someho", she hadn't had the heart to do it# No" the boy sa" distinctlyHin the glassHthat the chest&lid "as o%en# 8e could not understand ho" this had ha%%ened, for his mother had closed the chest before she "ent a"ay# She never "ould have left that %recious chest o%en "hen he "as at home, alone# 8e became lo"&s%irited and a%%rehensive# 8e "as afraid that a thief had snea!ed his "ay into the cottage# 8e didn't dare to moveI but sat still and stared into the loo!ing& glass# While he sat there and "aited for the thief to ma!e his a%%earance, he began to "onder "hat that dar! shado" "as "hich fell across the edge of the chest# 8e loo!ed and loo!edHand did not "ant to believe his eyes# ut the thing, "hich at first seemed shado"y, became more and more clear to himI and soon he sa" that it "as something real# 9t "as no less a thing than an elf "ho sat thereHastride the edge of the chestJ

To be sure, the boy had heard stories about elves, but he had never dreamed that they "ere such tiny creatures# 8e "as no taller than a hand's breadthHthis one, "ho sat on the edge of the chest# 8e had an old, "rin!led and beardless face, and "as dressed in a blac! froc! coat, !nee&breeches and a broad&brimmed blac! hat# 8e "as very trim and smart, "ith his "hite laces about the throat and "rist&bands, his buc!led shoes, and the bo"s on his garters# 8e had ta!en from the chest an embroidered %iece, and sat and loo!ed at the old&fashioned handi"or! "ith such an air of veneration, that he did not observe the boy had a"a!ened# The boy "as some"hat sur%rised to see the elf, but, on the other hand, he "as not %articularly frightened# 9t "as im%ossible to be afraid of one "ho "as so little# And since the elf "as so absorbed in his o"n thoughts that he neither sa" nor heard, the boy thought that it "ould be great fun to %lay a tric! on himI to %ush him over into the chest and shut the lid on him, or something of that !ind# ut the boy "as not so courageous that he dared to touch the elf "ith his hands, instead he loo!ed around the room for something to %o!e him "ith# 8e let his gaMe "ander from the sofa to the leaf&tableI from the leaf&table to the fire%lace# 8e loo!ed at the !ettles, then at the coffee&urn, "hich stood on a shelf, near the fire%laceI on the "ater buc!et near the doorI and on the s%oons and !nives and for!s and saucers and %lates, "hich could be seen through the half&o%en cu%board door# 8e loo!ed at his father's gun, "hich hung on the "all, beside the %ortrait of the )anish royal family, and on the geraniums and fuchsias, "hich blossomed in the "indo"# And last, he caught sight of an old butterfly&snare that hung on the "indo" frame# 8e had hardly set eyes on that butterfly&snare, before he reached over and snatched it and jum%ed u% and s"ung it alongside the edge of the chest# 8e "as himself astonished at the luc! he had# 8e hardly !ne" ho" he had managed itHbut he had actually snared the elf# The %oor little cha% lay, head do"n"ard, in the bottom of the long snare, and could not free himself# The first moment the boy hadn't the least idea "hat he should do "ith his %riMe# 8e "as only %articular to s"ing the snare bac!"ard and for"ardI to %revent the elf from getting a foothold and clambering u%# The elf began to s%ea!, and begged, ohJ so %itifully, for his freedom# 8e had brought them good luc!Hthese many yearsHhe said, and deserved better treatment# No", if the boy "ould set him free, he "ould give him an old coin, a silver s%oon, and a gold %enny, as big as the case on his father's silver "atch# The boy didn't thin! that this "as much of an offerI but it so ha%%enedHthat after he had gotten the elf in his %o"er, he "as afraid of him# 8e felt that he had entered into an agreement "ith something "eird and uncannyI something "hich did not belong to his "orld, and he "as only too glad to get rid of the horrid thing# *or this reason he agreed at once to the bargain, and held the snare still, so the elf could cra"l out of it# ut "hen the elf "as almost out of the snare, the boy ha%%ened to thin! that he ought to have bargained for large estates, and all sorts of good things# 8e should at least have made this sti%ulation' that the elf must conjure the sermon into his head# GWhat a fool 9 "as to let him goJG thought he, and began to sha!e the snare violently, so the elf "ould tumble do"n again#

ut the instant the boy did this, he received such a stinging bo? on the ear, that he thought his head "ould fly in %ieces# 8e "as dashedHfirst against one "all, then against the otherI he san! to the floor, and lay thereHsenseless# When he a"o!e, he "as alone in the cottage# The chest&lid "as do"n, and the butterfly& snare hung in its usual %lace by the "indo"# 9f he had not felt ho" the right chee! burned, from that bo? on the ear, he "ould have been tem%ted to believe the "hole thing had been a dream# GAt any rate, father and mother "ill be sure to insist that it "as nothing else,G thought he# GThey are not li!ely to ma!e any allo"ances for that old sermon, on account of the elf# 9t's best for me to get at that reading again,G thought he# ut as he "al!ed to"ard the table, he noticed something remar!able# 9t couldn't be %ossible that the cottage had gro"n# ut "hy "as he obliged to ta!e so many more ste%s than usual to get to the tableK And "hat "as the matter "ith the chairK 9t loo!ed no bigger than it did a "hile agoI but no" he had to ste% on the rung first, and then clamber u% in order to reach the seat# 9t "as the same thing "ith the table# 8e could not loo! over the to% "ithout climbing to the arm of the chair# GWhat in all the "orld is thisKG said the boy# G9 believe the elf has be"itched both the armchair and the tableHand the "hole cottage#G The ;ommentary lay on the table and, to all a%%earances, it "as not changedI but there must have been something Lueer about that too, for he could not manage to read a single "ord of it, "ithout actually standing right in the boo! itself# 8e read a cou%le of lines, and then he chanced to loo! u%# With that, his glance fell on the loo!ing&glassI and then he cried aloud' GLoo!J There's another oneJG *or in the glass he sa" %lainly a little, little creature "ho "as dressed in a hood and leather breeches# GWhy, that one is dressed e?actly li!e meJG said the boy, and clas%ed his hands in astonishment# ut then he sa" that the thing in the mirror did the same thing# Then he began to %ull his hair and %inch his arms and s"ing roundI and instantly he did the same thing after himI he, "ho "as seen in the mirror# The boy ran around the glass several times, to see if there "asn't a little man hidden behind it, but he found no one thereI and then he began to sha!e "ith terror# *or no" he understood that the elf had be"itched him, and that the creature "hose image he sa" in the glassH"as he, himself#

The boy sim%ly could not ma!e himself believe that he had been transformed into an elf# G9t can't be anything but a dreamHa Lueer fancy,G thought he# G9f 9 "ait a fe" moments, 9'll surely be turned bac! into a human being again#G 8e %laced himself before the glass and closed his eyes# 8e o%ened them again after a cou%le of minutes, and then e?%ected to find that it had all %assed overHbut it hadn't# 8e "asHand remainedHjust as little# 9n other res%ects, he "as the same as before# The

thin, stra"&coloured hairI the frec!les across his noseI the %atches on his leather breeches and the darns on his stoc!ings, "ere all li!e themselves, "ith this e?ce%tionH that they had become diminished# No, it "ould do no good for him to stand still and "ait, of this he "as certain# 8e must try something else# And he thought the "isest thing that he could do "as to try and find the elf, and ma!e his %eace "ith him# And "hile he sought, he cried and %rayed and %romised everything he could thin! of# Nevermore "ould he brea! his "ord to anyoneI never again "ould he be naughtyI and never, never "ould he fall aslee% again over the sermon# 9f he might only be a human being once more, he "ould be such a good and hel%ful and obedient boy# ut no matter ho" much he %romisedHit did not hel% him the least little bit# Suddenly he remembered that he had heard his mother say, all the tiny fol! made their home in the co"shedsI and, at once, he concluded to go there, and see if he couldn't find the elf# 9t "as a luc!y thing that the cottage&door stood %artly o%en, for he never could have reached the bolt and o%ened itI but no" he sli%%ed through "ithout any difficulty# When he came out in the hall"ay, he loo!ed around for his "ooden shoesI for in the house, to be sure, he had gone about in his stoc!ing&feet# 8e "ondered ho" he should manage "ith these big, clumsy "ooden shoesI but just then, he sa" a %air of tiny shoes on the doorste%# When he observed that the elf had been so thoughtful that he had also be"itched the "ooden shoes, he "as even more troubled# 9t "as evidently his intention that this affliction should last a long time# 7n the "ooden board&"al! in front of the cottage, ho%%ed a gray s%arro"# 8e had hardly set eyes on the boy before he called out' GTeeteeJ TeeteeJ Loo! at Nils goosey&boyJ Loo! at ThumbietotJ Loo! at Nils 8olgersson ThumbietotJG 9nstantly, both the geese and the chic!ens turned and stared at the boyI and then they set u% a fearful cac!ling# G;oc!&el&i&coo,G cro"ed the rooster, Ggood enough for himJ ;oc!& el&i&coo, he has %ulled my comb#G G=a, !a, !ada, serves him rightJG cried the hensI and "ith that they !e%t u% a continuous cac!le# The geese got together in a tight grou%, stuc! their heads together and as!ed' GWho can have done thisK Who can have done thisKG ut the strangest thing of all "as, that the boy understood "hat they said# 8e "as so astonished, that he stood there as if rooted to the doorste%, and listened# G9t must be because 9 am changed into an elf,G said he# GThis is %robably "hy 9 understand bird& tal!#G 8e thought it "as unbearable that the hens "ould not sto% saying that it served him right# 8e thre" a stone at them and shouted' GShut u%, you %ac!JG ut it hadn't occurred to him before, that he "as no longer the sort of boy the hens need fear# The "hole henyard made a rush for him, and formed a ring around himI then they all cried at once' G=a, !a, !ada, served you rightJ =a, !a, !ada, served you rightJG

The boy tried to get a"ay, but the chic!ens ran after him and screamed, until he thought he'd lose his hearing# 9t is more than li!ely that he never could have gotten a"ay from them, if the house cat hadn't come along just then# As soon as the chic!ens sa" the cat, they Luieted do"n and %retended to be thin!ing of nothing else than just to scratch in the earth for "orms# 9mmediately the boy ran u% to the cat# G$ou dear %ussyJG said he, Gyou must !no" all the corners and hiding %laces about hereK $ou'll be a good little !itty and tell me "here 9 can find the elf#G The cat did not re%ly at once# 8e seated himself, curled his tail into a graceful ring around his %a"sHand stared at the boy# 9t "as a large blac! cat "ith one "hite s%ot on his chest# 8is fur lay slee! and soft, and shone in the sunlight# The cla"s "ere dra"n in, and the eyes "ere a dull gray, "ith just a little narro" dar! strea! do"n the centre# The cat loo!ed thoroughly good&natured and inoffensive# G9 !no" "ell enough "here the elf lives,G he said in a soft voice, Gbut that doesn't say that 9'm going to tell you about it#G G)ear %ussy, you must tell me "here the elf livesJG said the boy# G;an't you see ho" he has be"itched meKG The cat o%ened his eyes a little, so that the green "ic!edness began to shine forth# 8e s%un round and %urred "ith satisfaction before he re%lied# GShall 9 %erha%s hel% you because you have so often grabbed me by the tailKG he said at last# Then the boy "as furious and forgot entirely ho" little and hel%less he "as no"# G7hJ 9 can %ull your tail again, 9 can,G said he, and ran to"ard the cat# The ne?t instant the cat "as so changed that the boy could scarcely believe it "as the same animal# /very se%arate hair on his body stood on end# The bac! "as bentI the legs had become elongatedI the cla"s scra%ed the groundI the tail had gro"n thic! and shortI the ears "ere laid bac!I the mouth "as frothyI and the eyes "ere "ide o%en and glistened li!e s%ar!s of red fire# The boy didn't "ant to let himself be scared by a cat, and he too! a ste% for"ard# Then the cat made one s%ring and landed right on the boyI !noc!ed him do"n and stood over himHhis fore%a"s on his chest, and his ja"s "ide a%artHover his throat# The boy felt ho" the shar% cla"s san! through his vest and shirt and into his s!inI and ho" the shar% eye&teeth tic!led his throat# 8e shrie!ed for hel%, as loudly as he could, but no one came# 8e thought surely that his last hour had come# Then he felt that the cat dre" in his cla"s and let go the hold on his throat# GThereJG he said, Gthat "ill do no"# 9'll let you go this time, for my mistress's sa!e# 9 only "anted you to !no" "hich one of us t"o has the %o"er no"#G With that the cat "al!ed a"ayHloo!ing as smooth and %ious as he did "hen he first a%%eared on the scene# The boy "as so crestfallen that he didn't say a "ord, but only hurried to the co"house to loo! for the elf#

There "ere not more than three co"s, all told# ut "hen the boy came in, there "as such a bello"ing and such a !ic!&u%, that one might easily have believed that there "ere at least thirty# GCoo, moo, moo,G bello"ed Cayrose# G9t is "ell there is such a thing as justice in this "orld#G GCoo, moo, moo,G sang the three of them in unison# 8e couldn't hear "hat they said, for each one tried to out&bello" the others# The boy "anted to as! after the elf, but he couldn't ma!e himself heard because the co"s "ere in full u%roar# They carried on as they used to do "hen he let a strange dog in on them# They !ic!ed "ith their hind legs, shoo! their nec!s, stretched their heads, and measured the distance "ith their horns# G;ome here, youJG said Cayrose, Gand you'll get a !ic! that you "on't forget in a hurryJG G;ome here,G said Gold Lily, Gand you shall dance on my hornsJG G;ome here, and you shall taste ho" it felt "hen you thre" your "ooden shoes at me, as you did last summerJG ba"led Star# G;ome here, and you shall be re%aid for that "as% you let loose in my earJG gro"led Gold Lily# Cayrose "as the oldest and the "isest of them, and she "as the very maddest# G;ome hereJG said she, Gthat 9 may %ay you bac! for the many times that you have jer!ed the mil! %ail a"ay from your motherI and for all the snares you laid for her, "hen she came carrying the mil! %ailsI and for all the tears "hen she has stood here and "e%t over youJG The boy "anted to tell them ho" he regretted that he had been un!ind to themI and that never, neverHfrom no" onHshould he be anything but good, if they "ould only tell him "here the elf "as# ut the co"s didn't listen to him# They made such a rac!et that he began to fear one of them "ould succeed in brea!ing looseI and he thought that the best thing for him to do "as to go Luietly a"ay from the co"house# When he came out, he "as thoroughly disheartened# 8e could understand that no one on the %lace "anted to hel% him find the elf# And little good "ould it do him, %robably, if the elf "ere found# 8e cra"led u% on the broad hedge "hich fenced in the farm, and "hich "as overgro"n "ith briers and lichen# There he sat do"n to thin! about ho" it "ould go "ith him, if he never became a human being again# When father and mother came home from church, there "ould be a sur%rise for them# $es, a sur%riseHit "ould be all over the landI and %eo%le "ould come floc!ing from /ast >emminghEg, and from Tor%, and from S!eru%# The "hole >emminghEg to"nshi% "ould come to stare at him# Perha%s father and mother "ould ta!e him "ith them, and sho" him at the mar!et %lace in =ivi!#

No, that "as too horrible to thin! about# 8e "ould rather that no human being should ever see him again# 8is unha%%iness "as sim%ly frightfulJ No one in all the "orld "as so unha%%y as he# 8e "as no longer a human beingHbut a frea!# Little by little he began to com%rehend "hat it meantHto be no longer human# 8e "as se%arated from everything no"I he could no longer %lay "ith other boys, he could not ta!e charge of the farm after his %arents "ere goneI and certainly no girl "ould thin! of marrying him# 8e sat and loo!ed at his home# 9t "as a little log house, "hich lay as if it had been crushed do"n to earth, under the high, slo%ing roof# The outhouses "ere also smallI and the %atches of ground "ere so narro" that a horse could barely turn around on them# ut little and %oor though the %lace "as, it "as much too good for him now# 8e couldn't as! for any better %lace than a hole under the stable floor# 9t "as "ondrously beautiful "eatherJ 9t budded, and it ri%%led, and it murmured, and it t"itteredHall around him# ut he sat there "ith such a heavy sorro"# 8e should never be ha%%y any more about anything# Never had he seen the s!ies as blue as they "ere to&day# irds of %assage came on their travels# They came from foreign lands, and had travelled over the /ast sea, by "ay of Smygahu!, and "ere no" on their "ay North# They "ere of many different !indsI but he "as only familiar "ith the "ild geese, "ho came flying in t"o long ro"s, "hich met at an angle# Several floc!s of "ild geese had already flo"n by# They fle" very high, still he could hear ho" they shrie!ed' GTo the hillsJ No" "e're off to the hillsJG When the "ild geese sa" the tame geese, "ho "al!ed about the farm, they san! nearer the earth, and called' G;ome alongJ ;ome alongJ We're off to the hillsJG The tame geese could not resist the tem%tation to raise their heads and listen, but they ans"ered very sensibly' GWe're %retty "ell off "here "e are# We're %retty "ell off "here "e are#G 9t "as, as "e have said, an uncommonly fine day, "ith an atmos%here that it must have been a real delight to fly in, so light and bracing# And "ith each ne" "ild geese&floc! that fle" by, the tame geese became more and more unruly# A cou%le of times they fla%%ed their "ings, as if they had half a mind to fly along# ut then an old mother& goose "ould al"ays say to them' GNo" don't be silly# Those creatures "ill have to suffer both hunger and cold#G There "as a young gander "hom the "ild geese had fired "ith a %assion for adventure# G9f another floc! comes this "ay, 9'll follo" them,G said he# Then there came a ne" floc!, "ho shrie!ed li!e the others, and the young gander ans"ered' GWait a minuteJ Wait a minuteJ 9'm coming#G

8e s%read his "ings and raised himself into the airI but he "as so unaccustomed to flying, that he fell to the ground again# At any rate, the "ild geese must have heard his call, for they turned and fle" bac! slo"ly to see if he "as coming# GWait, "aitJG he cried, and made another attem%t to fly# All this the boy heard, "here he lay on the hedge# G9t "ould be a great %ity,G thought he, Gif the big goosey&gander should go a"ay# 9t "ould be a big loss to father and mother if he "as gone "hen they came home from church#G When he thought of this, once again he entirely forgot that he "as little and hel%less# 8e too! one lea% right do"n into the goose&floc!, and thre" his arms around the nec! of the goosey&gander# G7h, noJ $ou don't fly a"ay this time, sirJG cried he# ut just about then, the gander "as considering ho" he should go to "or! to raise himself from the ground# 8e couldn't sto% to sha!e the boy off, hence he had to go along "ith himHu% in the air# They bore on to"ard the heights so ra%idly, that the boy fairly gas%ed# efore he had time to thin! that he ought to let go his hold around the gander's nec!, he "as so high u% that he "ould have been !illed instantly, if he had fallen to the ground# The only thing that he could do to ma!e himself a little more comfortable, "as to try and get u%on the gander's bac!# And there he "riggled himself forth"ithI but not "ithout considerable trouble# And it "as not an easy matter, either, to hold himself secure on the sli%%ery bac!, bet"een t"o s"aying "ings# 8e had to dig dee% into feathers and do"n "ith both hands, to !ee% from tumbling to the ground#

The boy had gro"n so giddy that it "as a long "hile before he came to himself# The "inds ho"led and beat against him, and the rustle of feathers and s"aying of "ings sounded li!e a "hole storm# Thirteen geese fle" around him, fla%%ing their "ings and hon!ing# They danced before his eyes and they buMMed in his ears# 8e didn't !no" "hether they fle" high or lo", or in "hat direction they "ere travelling# After a bit, he regained just enough sense to understand that he ought to find out "here the geese "ere ta!ing him# ut this "as not so easy, for he didn't !no" ho" he should ever muster u% courage enough to loo! do"n# 8e "as sure he'd faint if he attem%ted it# The "ild geese "ere not flying very high because the ne" travelling com%anion could not breathe in the very thinnest air# *or his sa!e they also fle" a little slo"er than usual# At last the boy just made himself cast one glance do"n to earth# Then he thought that a great big rug lay s%read beneath him, "hich "as made u% of an incredible number of large and small chec!s# GWhere in all the "orld am 9 no"KG he "ondered#

8e sa" nothing but chec! u%on chec!# Some "ere broad and ran cross"ise, and some "ere long and narro"Hall over, there "ere angles and corners# Nothing "as round, and nothing "as croo!ed# GWhat !ind of a big, chec!ed cloth is this that 9'm loo!ing do"n onKG said the boy to himself "ithout e?%ecting anyone to ans"er him# ut instantly the "ild geese "ho fle" about him called out' G*ields and meado"s# *ields and meado"s#G Then he understood that the big, chec!ed cloth he "as travelling over "as the flat land of southern S"edenI and he began to com%rehend "hy it loo!ed so chec!ed and multi& coloured# The bright green chec!s he recognised firstI they "ere rye fields that had been so"n in the fall, and had !e%t themselves green under the "inter sno"s# The yello"ish& gray chec!s "ere stubble&fieldsHthe remains of the oat&cro% "hich had gro"n there the summer before# The bro"nish ones "ere old clover meado"s' and the blac! ones, deserted graMing lands or %loughed&u% fallo" %astures# The bro"n chec!s "ith the yello" edges "ere, undoubtedly, beech&tree forestsI for in these you'll find the big trees "hich gro" in the heart of the forestHna!ed in "interI "hile the little beech&trees, "hich gro" along the borders, !ee% their dry, yello"ed leaves "ay into the s%ring# There "ere also dar! chec!s "ith gray centres' these "ere the large, built&u% estates encircled by the small cottages "ith their blac!ening stra" roofs, and their stone& divided land&%lots# And then there "ere chec!s green in the middle "ith bro"n borders' these "ere the orchards, "here the grass&car%ets "ere already turning green, although the trees and bushes around them "ere still in their nude, bro"n bar!# The boy could not !ee% from laughing "hen he sa" ho" chec!ed everything loo!ed# ut "hen the "ild geese heard him laugh, they called outH!ind o' re%rovingly' G*ertile and good land# *ertile and good land#G The boy had already become serious# GTo thin! that you can laughI you, "ho have met "ith the most terrible misfortune that can %ossibly ha%%en to a human beingJG thought he# And for a moment he "as %retty seriousI but it "asn't long before he "as laughing again# No" that he had gro"n some"hat accustomed to the ride and the s%eed, so that he could thin! of something besides holding himself on the gander's bac!, he began to notice ho" full the air "as of birds flying north"ard# And there "as a shouting and a calling from floc! to floc!# GSo you came over to&dayKG shrie!ed some# G$es,G ans"ered the geese# G8o" do you thin! the s%ring's getting onKG GNot a leaf on the trees and ice&cold "ater in the la!es,G came bac! the ans"er# When the geese fle" over a %lace "here they sa" any tame, half&na!ed fo"l, they shouted' GWhat's the name of this %laceK What's the name of this %laceKG Then the roosters coc!ed their heads and ans"ered' G9ts name's Lillgarde this yearHthe same as last year#G Cost of the cottages "ere %robably named after their o"nersH"hich is the custom in S!Ane# ut instead of saying this is GPer Catssons,G or G7la ossons,G the roosters hit

u%on the !ind of names "hich, to their "ay of thin!ing, "ere more a%%ro%riate# Those "ho lived on small farms, and belonged to %oor cottagers, cried' GThis %lace is called Grainscarce#G And those "ho belonged to the %oorest hut&d"ellers screamed' GThe name of this %lace is Little&to&eat, Little&to&eat, Little&to&eat#G The big, "ell&cared&for farms got high&sounding names from the roostersHsuch as Luc!ymeado"s, /ggberga and Coneyville# ut the roosters on the great landed estates "ere too high and mighty to condescend to anything li!e jesting# 7ne of them cro"ed and called out "ith such gusto that it sounded as if he "anted to be heard clear u% to the sun' GThis is 8err )ybec!'s estateI the same this year as last yearI this year as last year#G A little further on strutted one rooster "ho cro"ed' GThis is S"anholm, surely all the "orld !no"s thatJG The boy observed that the geese did not fly straight for"ardI but MigMagged hither and thither over the "hole South country, just as though they "ere glad to be in S!Ane again and "anted to %ay their res%ects to every se%arate %lace# They came to one %lace "here there "ere a number of big, clumsy&loo!ing buildings "ith great, tall chimneys, and all around these "ere a lot of smaller houses# GThis is :ordberga Sugar (efinery,G cried the roosters# The boy shuddered as he sat there on the goose's bac!# 8e ought to have recognised this %lace, for it "as not very far from his home# 8ere he had "or!ed the year before as a "atch boyI but, to be sure, nothing "as e?actly li!e itself "hen one sa" it li!e thatHfrom u% above# And thin!J :ust thin!J 7sa the goose girl and little Cats, "ho "ere his comrades last yearJ 9ndeed the boy "ould have been glad to !no" if they still "ere any"here about here# *ancy "hat they "ould have said, had they sus%ected that he "as flying over their headsJ Soon :ordberga "as lost to sight, and they travelled to"ards Svedala and S!aber La!e and bac! again over GErringe ;loister and 8Bc!eberga# The boy sa" more of S!Ane in this one day than he had ever seen beforeHin all the years that he had lived# Whenever the "ild geese ha%%ened across any tame geese, they had the best funJ They fle" for"ard very slo"ly and called do"n' GWe're off to the hills# Are you coming alongK Are you coming alongKG ut the tame geese ans"ered' G9t's still "inter in this country# $ou're out too soon# *ly bac!J *ly bac!JG The "ild geese lo"ered themselves that they might be heard a little better, and called' G;ome alongJ We'll teach you ho" to fly and s"im#G Then the tame geese got mad and "ouldn't ans"er them "ith a single hon!#

The "ild geese san! themselves still lo"erHuntil they almost touched the groundH then, Luic! as lightning, they raised themselves, just as if they'd been terribly frightened# G7h, oh, ohJG they e?claimed# GThose things "ere not geese# They "ere only shee%, they "ere only shee%#G The ones on the ground "ere beside themselves "ith rage and shrie!ed' GCay you be shot, the "hole lot o' youJ The "hole lot o' youJG When the boy heard all this teasing he laughed# Then he remembered ho" badly things had gone "ith him, and he cried# ut the ne?t second, he "as laughing again# Never before had he ridden so fastI and to ride fast and rec!lesslyHthat he had al"ays li!ed# And, of course, he had never dreamed that it could be as fresh and bracing as it "as, u% in the airI or that there rose from the earth such a fine scent of resin and soil# Nor had he ever dreamed "hat it could be li!eHto ride so high above the earth# 9t "as just li!e flying a"ay from sorro" and trouble and annoyances of every !ind that could be thought of# AKKA FROM KEBNEKAISE EVENING The big tame goosey&gander that had follo"ed them u% in the air, felt very %roud of being %ermitted to travel bac! and forth over the South country "ith the "ild geese, and crac! jo!es "ith the tame birds# ut in s%ite of his !een delight, he began to tire as the afternoon "ore on# 8e tried to ta!e dee%er breaths and Luic!er "ing&stro!es, but even so he remained several goose&lengths behind the others# When the "ild geese "ho fle" last, noticed that the tame one couldn't !ee% u% "ith them, they began to call to the goose "ho rode in the centre of the angle and led the %rocession' GA!!a from =ebne!aiseJ A!!a from =ebne!aiseJG GWhat do you "ant of meKG as!ed the leader# GThe "hite one "ill be left behindI the "hite one "ill be left behind#G GTell him it's easier to fly fast than slo"JG called the leader, and raced on as before# The goosey&gander certainly tried to follo" the advice, and increase his s%eedI but then he became so e?hausted that he san! a"ay do"n to the droo%ing "illo"s that bordered the fields and meado"s# GA!!a, A!!a, A!!a from =ebne!aiseJG cried those "ho fle" last and sa" "hat a hard time he "as having# GWhat do you "ant no"KG as!ed the leaderHand she sounded a"fully angry# GThe "hite one sin!s to the earthI the "hite one sin!s to the earth#G GTell him it's easier to fly high than lo"JG shouted the leader, and she didn't slo" u% the least little bit, but raced on as before# The goosey&gander tried also to follo" this adviceI but "hen he "anted to raise himself, he became so "inded that he almost burst his breast#

GA!!a, A!!aJG again cried those "ho fle" last# G;an't you let me fly in %eaceKG as!ed the leader, and she sounded even madder than before# GThe "hite one is ready to colla%se#G GTell him that he "ho has not the strength to fly "ith the floc!, can go bac! homeJG cried the leader# She certainly had no idea of decreasing her s%eedHbut raced on as before# G7hJ is that the "ay the "ind blo"s,G thought the goosey&gander# 8e understood at once that the "ild geese had never intended to ta!e him along u% to La%land# They had only lured him a"ay from home in s%ort# 8e felt thoroughly e?as%erated# To thin! that his strength should fail him no", so he "ouldn't be able to sho" these tram%s that even a tame goose "as good for somethingJ ut the most %rovo!ing thing of all "as that he had fallen in "ith A!!a from =ebne!aise# Tame goose that he "as, he had heard about a leader goose, named A!!a, "ho "as more than a hundred years old# She had such a big name that the best "ild geese in the "orld follo"ed her# ut no one had such a contem%t for tame geese as A!!a and her floc!, and gladly "ould he have sho"n them that he "as their eLual# 8e fle" slo"ly behind the rest, "hile he deliberated "hether he should turn bac! or continue# *inally, the little creature that he carried on his bac! said' G)ear Corten Goosey&gander, you !no" "ell enough that it is sim%ly im%ossible for you, "ho have never flo"n, to go "ith the "ild geese all the "ay u% to La%land# Won't you turn bac! before you !ill yourselfKG ut the farmer's lad "as about the "orst thing the goosey&gander !ne" anything about, and as soon as it da"ned on him that this %uny creature actually believed that he couldn't ma!e the tri%, he decided to stic! it out# G9f you say another "ord about this, 9'll dro% you into the first ditch "e ride overJG said he, and at the same time his fury gave him so much strength that he began to fly almost as "ell as any of the others# 9t isn't li!ely that he could have !e%t this %ace u% very long, neither "as it necessaryI for, just then, the sun san! Luic!lyI and at sunset the geese fle" do"n, and before the boy and the goosey&gander !ne" "hat had ha%%ened, they stood on the shores of >omb La!e# GThey %robably intend that "e shall s%end the night here,G thought the boy, and jum%ed do"n from the goose's bac!# 8e stood on a narro" beach by a fair&siMed la!e# 9t "as ugly to loo! u%on, because it "as almost entirely covered "ith an ice&crust that "as blac!ened and uneven and full of crac!s and holesHas s%ring ice generally is# The ice "as already brea!ing u%# 9t "as loose and floating and had a broad belt of dar!, shiny "ater all around itI but there "as still enough of it left to s%read chill and "inter terror over the %lace# 7n the other side of the la!e there a%%eared to be an o%en and light country, but "here the geese had lighted there "as a thic! %ine&gro"th# 9t loo!ed as if the forest of firs and %ines had the %o"er to bind the "inter to itself# /very"here else the ground "as bareI

but beneath the shar% %ine&branches lay sno" that had been melting and freeMing, melting and freeMing, until it "as hard as ice# The boy thought he had struc! an arctic "ilderness, and he "as so miserable that he "anted to scream# 8e "as hungry too# 8e hadn't eaten a bite the "hole day# ut "here should he find any foodK Nothing eatable gre" on either ground or tree in the month of Carch# $es, "here "as he to find food, and "ho "ould give him shelter, and "ho "ould fi? his bed, and "ho "ould %rotect him from the "ild beastsK *or no" the sun "as a"ay and frost came from the la!e, and dar!ness san! do"n from heaven, and terror stole for"ard on the t"ilight's trail, and in the forest it began to %atter and rustle# No" the good humour "hich the boy had felt "hen he "as u% in the air, "as gone, and in his misery he loo!ed around for his travelling com%anions# 8e had no one but them to cling to no"# Then he sa" that the goosey&gander "as having even a "orse time of it than he# 8e "as lying %rostrate on the s%ot "here he had alightedI and it loo!ed as if he "ere ready to die# 8is nec! lay flat against the ground, his eyes "ere closed, and his breathing sounded li!e a feeble hissing# G)ear Corten Goosey&Gander,G said the boy, Gtry to get a s"allo" of "aterJ 9t isn't t"o ste%s to the la!e#G ut the goosey&gander didn't stir# The boy had certainly been cruel to all animals, and to the goosey&gander in times gone byI but no" he felt that the goosey&gander "as the only comfort he had left, and he "as dreadfully afraid of losing him# At once the boy began to %ush and drag him, to get him into the "ater, but the goosey& gander "as big and heavy, and it "as mighty hard "or! for the boyI but at last he succeeded# The goosey&gander got in head first# *or an instant he lay motionless in the slime, but soon he %o!ed u% his head, shoo! the "ater from his eyes and sniffed# Then he s"am, %roudly, bet"een reeds and sea"eed# The "ild geese "ere in the la!e before him# They had not loo!ed around for either the goosey&gander or for his rider, but had made straight for the "ater# They had bathed and %rim%ed, and no" they lay and gul%ed half&rotten %ond&"eed and "ater&clover# The "hite goosey&gander had the good fortune to s%y a %erch# 8e grabbed it Luic!ly, s"am ashore "ith it, and laid it do"n in front of the boy# G8ere's a than! you for hel%ing me into the "ater,G said he#

9t "as the first time the boy had heard a friendly "ord that day# 8e "as so ha%%y that he "anted to thro" his arms around the goosey&gander's nec!, but he refrainedI and he "as also than!ful for the gift# At first he must have thought that it "ould be im%ossible to eat ra" fish, and then he had a notion to try it# 8e felt to see if he still had his sheath&!nife "ith himI and, sure enough, there it hungH on the bac! button of his trousers, although it "as so diminished that it "as hardly as long as a match# Well, at any rate, it served to scale and cleanse fish "ithI and it "asn't long before the %erch "as eaten# When the boy had satisfied his hunger, he felt a little ashamed because he had been able to eat a ra" thing# G9t's evident that 9'm not a human being any longer, but a real elf,G thought he# While the boy ate, the goosey&gander stood silently beside him# ut "hen he had s"allo"ed the last bite, he said in a lo" voice' G9t's a fact that "e have run across a stuc!&u% goose fol! "ho des%ise all tame birds#G G$es, 9've observed that,G said the boy# GWhat a trium%h it "ould be for me if 9 could follo" them clear u% to La%land, and sho" them that even a tame goose can do thingsJG G$&e&e&s,G said the boy, and dra"led it out because he didn't believe the goosey&gander could ever do itI yet he didn't "ish to contradict him# G ut 9 don't thin! 9 can get along all alone on such a journey,G said the goosey&gander# G9'd li!e to as! if you couldn't come along and hel% meKG The boy, of course, hadn't e?%ected anything but to return to his home as soon as %ossible, and he "as so sur%rised that he hardly !ne" "hat he should re%ly# G9 thought that "e "ere enemies, you and 9,G said he# ut this the goosey& gander seemed to have forgotten entirely# 8e only remembered that the boy had but just saved his life# G9 su%%ose 9 really ought to go home to father and mother,G said the boy# G7hJ 9'll get you bac! to them some time in the fall,G said the goosey&gander# G9 shall not leave you until 9 %ut you do"n on your o"n doorste%#G The boy thought it might be just as "ell for him if he esca%ed sho"ing himself before his %arents for a "hile# 8e "as not disinclined to favour the scheme, and "as just on the %oint of saying that he agreed to itH"hen they heard a loud rumbling behind them# 9t "as the "ild geese "ho had come u% from the la!eHall at one timeHand stood sha!ing the "ater from their bac!s# After that they arranged themselves in a long ro"H"ith the leader&goose in the centreHand came to"ard them# As the "hite goosey&gander siMed u% the "ild geese, he felt ill at ease# 8e had e?%ected that they should be more li!e tame geese, and that he should feel a closer !inshi% "ith them# They "ere much smaller than he, and none of them "ere "hite# They "ere all gray "ith a s%rin!ling of bro"n# 8e "as almost afraid of their eyes# They "ere yello", and shone as if a fire had been !indled bac! of them# The goosey&gander had al"ays been taught that it "as most fitting to move slo"ly and "ith a rolling motion, but these creatures did not "al!Hthey half ran# 8e gre" most alarmed, ho"ever, "hen he loo!ed

at their feet# These "ere large, and the soles "ere torn and ragged&loo!ing# 9t "as evident that the "ild geese never Luestioned "hat they tram%ed u%on# They too! no by& %aths# They "ere very neat and "ell cared for in other res%ects, but one could see by their feet that they "ere %oor "ilderness&fol!# The goosey&gander only had time to "his%er to the boy' GS%ea! u% Luic!ly for yourself, but don't tell them "ho you areJGHbefore the geese "ere u%on them# When the "ild geese had sto%%ed in front of them, they curtsied "ith their nec!s many times, and the goosey&gander did li!e"ise many more times# As soon as the ceremonies "ere over, the leader&goose said' GNo" 9 %resume "e shall hear "hat !ind of creatures you are#G GThere isn't much to tell about me,G said the goosey&gander# G9 "as born in S!anor last s%ring# 9n the fall 9 "as sold to 8olger Nilsson of West >emminghEg, and there 9 have lived ever since#G G$ou don't seem to have any %edigree to boast of,G said the leader& goose# GWhat is it, then, that ma!es you so high&minded that you "ish to associate "ith "ild geeseKG G9t may be because 9 "ant to sho" you "ild geese that "e tame ones may also be good for something,G said the goosey&gander# G$es, it "ould be "ell if you could sho" us that,G said the leader&goose# GWe have already observed ho" much you !no" about flyingI but you are more s!illed, %erha%s, in other s%orts# Possibly you are strong in a s"imming matchKG GNo, 9 can't boast that 9 am,G said the goosey&gander# 9t seemed to him that the leader&goose had already made u% her mind to send him home, so he didn't much care ho" he ans"ered# G9 never s"am any farther than across a marl& ditch,G he continued# GThen 9 %resume you're a crac! s%rinter,G said the goose# G9 have never seen a tame goose run, nor have 9 ever done it myself,G said the goosey&ganderI and he made things a%%ear much "orse than they really "ere# The big "hite one "as sure no" that the leader&goose "ould say that under no circumstances could they ta!e him along# 8e "as very much astonished "hen she said' G$ou ans"er Luestions courageouslyI and he "ho has courage can become a good travelling com%anion, even if he is ignorant in the beginning# What do you say to sto%%ing "ith us for a cou%le of days, until "e can see "hat you are good forKG GThat suits meJG said the goosey&ganderHand he "as thoroughly ha%%y# Thereu%on the leader&goose %ointed "ith her bill and said' G ut "ho is that you have "ith youK 9've never seen anything li!e him before#G GThat's my comrade,G said the goosey&gander# G8e's been a goose&tender all his life# 8e'll be useful all right to ta!e "ith us on the tri%#G G$es, he may be all right for a tame goose,G ans"ered the "ild one# GWhat do you call himKG G8e has several names,G said the goosey&ganderHhesitantly, not !no"ing "hat he should hit u%on in a hurry, for he didn't "ant to reveal the fact that the boy had a human name# G7hJ his name is Thumbietot,G he said at last# G)oes he belong to the elf familyKG as!ed the leader&goose# GAt "hat time do you "ild geese usually retireKG said the goosey&gander Luic!lyHtrying to evade that last Luestion# GCy eyes close of their o"n accord about this time#G 7ne could easily see that the goose "ho tal!ed "ith the gander "as very old# 8er entire feather outfit "as ice&gray, "ithout any dar! strea!s# The head "as larger, the legs coarser, and the feet "ere more "orn than any of the others# The feathers "ere stiffI the shoulders !nottyI the nec! thin# All this "as due to age# 9t "as only u%on the eyes that

time had had no effect# They shone brighterHas if they "ere youngerHthan any of the othersJ She turned, very haughtily, to"ard the goosey&gander# G<nderstand, Cr# Tame&goose, that 9 am A!!a from =ebne!aiseJ And that the goose "ho flies nearest meHto the right His 9!si from >assijaure, and the one to the left, is =a!si from NuoljaJ <nderstand, also, that the second right&hand goose is =olmi from Sarje!tja!!o, and the second, left, is NeljB from Sva%%avaaraI and behind them fly >iisi from 7vi!sfjBllen and =uusi from SjangeliJ And !no" that these, as "ell as the si? goslings "ho fly lastHthree to the right, and three to the leftHare all high mountain geese of the finest breedJ $ou must not ta!e us for land&lubbers "ho stri!e u% a chance acLuaintance "ith any and everyoneJ And you must not thin! that "e %ermit anyone to share our Luarters, that "ill not tell us "ho his ancestors "ere#G When A!!a, the leader&goose, tal!ed in this "ay, the boy ste%%ed bris!ly for"ard# 9t had distressed him that the goosey&gander, "ho had s%o!en u% so glibly for himself, should give such evasive ans"ers "hen it concerned him# G9 don't care to ma!e a secret of "ho 9 am,G said he# GCy name is Nils 8olgersson# 9'm a farmer's son, and, until to& day, 9 have been a human beingI but this morningHG 8e got no further# As soon as he had said that he "as human the leader&goose staggered three ste%s bac!"ard, and the rest of them even farther bac!# They all e?tended their nec!s and hissed angrily at him# G9 have sus%ected this ever since 9 first sa" you here on these shores,G said A!!aI Gand no" you can clear out of here at once# We tolerate no human beings among us#G G9t isn't %ossible,G said the goosey&gander, meditatively, Gthat you "ild geese can be afraid of anyone "ho is so tinyJ y to&morro", of course, he'll turn bac! home# $ou can surely let him stay "ith us overnight# None of us can afford to let such a %oor little creature "ander off by himself in the nightHamong "easels and fo?esJG The "ild goose came nearer# ut it "as evident that it "as hard for her to master her fear# G9 have been taught to fear everything in human sha%eHbe it big or little,G said she# G ut if you "ill ans"er for this one, and s"ear that he "ill not harm us, he can stay "ith us to&night# ut 9 don't believe our night Luarters are suitable either for him or you, for "e intend to roost on the bro!en ice out here#G She thought, of course, that the goosey&gander "ould be doubtful "hen he heard this, but he never let on# GShe is %retty "ise "ho !no"s ho" to choose such a safe bed,G said he# G$ou "ill be ans"erable for his return to his o"n to&morro"#G GThen 9, too, "ill have to leave you,G said the goosey&gander# G9 have s"orn that 9 "ould not forsa!e him#G G$ou are free to fly "hither you "ill,G said the leader&goose# With this, she raised her "ings and fle" out over the ice and one after another the "ild geese follo"ed her#

The boy "as very sad to thin! that his tri% to La%land "ould not come off, and, in the bargain, he "as afraid of the chilly night Luarters# G9t "ill be "orse and "orse,G said he# G9n the first %lace, "e'll freeMe to death on the ice#G ut the gander "as in a good humour# GThere's no danger,G said he# G7nly ma!e haste, 9 beg of you, and gather together as much grass and litter as you can "ell carry#G When the boy had his arms full of dried grass, the goosey&gander grabbed him by the shirt&band, lifted him, and fle" out on the ice, "here the "ild geese "ere already fast aslee%, "ith their bills tuc!ed under their "ings# GNo" s%read out the grass on the ice, so there'll be something to stand on, to !ee% me from freeMing fast# $ou hel% me and 9'll hel% you,G said the goosey&gander# This the boy did# And "hen he had finished, the goosey&gander %ic!ed him u%, once again, by the shirt&band, and tuc!ed him under his "ing# G9 thin! you'll lie snug and "arm there,G said the goosey&gander as he covered him "ith his "ing# The boy "as so imbedded in do"n that he couldn't ans"er, and he "as nice and comfy# 7h, but he "as tiredJHAnd in less than t"o "in!s he "as fast aslee%#

9t is a fact that ice is al"ays treacherous and not to be trusted# 9n the middle of the night the loosened ice&ca!e on >omb La!e moved about, until one corner of it touched the shore# No" it ha%%ened that Cr# Smirre *o?, "ho lived at this time in @vid ;loister Par!Hon the east side of the la!eHcaught a glim%se of that one corner, "hile he "as out on his night chase# Smirre had seen the "ild geese early in the evening, and hadn't dared to ho%e that he might get at one of them, but no" he "al!ed right out on the ice# When Smirre "as very near to the geese, his cla"s scra%ed the ice, and the geese a"o!e, fla%%ed their "ings, and %re%ared for flight# ut Smirre "as too Luic! for them# 8e darted for"ard as though he'd been shotI grabbed a goose by the "ing, and ran to"ard land again# ut this night the "ild geese "ere not alone on the ice, for they had a human being among themHlittle as he "as# The boy had a"a!ened "hen the goosey&gander s%read his "ings# 8e had tumbled do"n on the ice and "as sitting there, daMed# 8e hadn't gras%ed the "hys and "herefores of all this confusion, until he caught sight of a little long&legged dog "ho ran over the ice "ith a goose in his mouth# 9n a minute the boy "as after that dog, to try and ta!e the goose a"ay from him# 8e must have heard the goosey&gander call to him' G8ave a care, ThumbietotJ 8ave a careJG ut the boy thought that such a little runt of a dog "as nothing to be afraid of and he rushed ahead# The "ild goose that Smirre *o? tugged after him, heard the clatter as the boy's "ooden shoes beat against the ice, and she could hardly believe her ears# G)oes that infant thin! he can ta!e me a"ay from the fo?KG she "ondered# And in s%ite of her misery, she

began to cac!le right merrily, dee% do"n in her "ind%i%e# 9t "as almost as if she had laughed# GThe first thing he !no"s, he'll fall through a crac! in the ice,G thought she# ut dar! as the night "as, the boy sa" distinctly all the crac!s and holes there "ere, and too! daring lea%s over them# This "as because he had the elf's good eyesight no", and could see in the dar!# 8e sa" both la!e and shore just as clearly as if it had been daylight# Smirre *o? left the ice "here it touched the shore# And just as he "as "or!ing his "ay u% to the land&edge, the boy shouted' G)ro% that goose, you snea!JG Smirre didn't !no" "ho "as calling to him, and "asted no time in loo!ing around, but increased his %ace# The fo? made straight for the forest and the boy follo"ed him, "ith never a thought of the danger he "as running# All he thought about "as the contem%tuous "ay in "hich he had been received by the "ild geeseI and he made u% his mind to let them see that a human being "as something higher than all else created# 8e shouted, again and again, to that dog, to ma!e him dro% his game# GWhat !ind of a dog are you, "ho can steal a "hole goose and not feel ashamed of yourselfK )ro% her at onceJ or you'll see "hat a beating you'll get# )ro% her, 9 say, or 9'll tell your master ho" you behaveJG When Smirre *o? sa" that he had been mista!en for a scary dog, he "as so amused that he came near dro%%ing the goose# Smirre "as a great %lunderer "ho "asn't satisfied "ith only hunting rats and %igeons in the fields, but he also ventured into the farmyards to steal chic!ens and geese# 8e !ne" that he "as feared throughout the districtI and anything as idiotic as this he had not heard since he "as a baby# The boy ran so fast that the thic! beech&trees a%%eared to be running %ast himH bac!"ard, but he caught u% "ith Smirre# *inally, he "as so close to him that he got a hold on his tail# GNo" 9'll ta!e the goose from you any"ay,G cried he, and held on as hard as ever he could, but he hadn't strength enough to sto% Smirre# The fo? dragged him along until the dry foliage "hirled around him# ut no" it began to da"n on Smirre ho" harmless the thing "as that %ursued him# 8e sto%%ed short, %ut the goose on the ground, and stood on her "ith his fore%a"s, so she couldn't fly a"ay# 8e "as just about to bite off her nec!Hbut then he couldn't resist the desire to tease the boy a little# G8urry off and com%lain to the master, for no" 9'm going to bite the goose to deathJG said he# ;ertainly the one "ho "as sur%rised "hen he sa" "hat a %ointed nose, and heard "hat a hoarse and angry voice that dog "hich he "as %ursuing had,H"as the boyJ ut no" he "as so enraged because the fo? had made fun of him, that he never thought of being frightened# 8e too! a firmer hold on the tail, braced himself against a beech trun!I and just as the fo? o%ened his ja"s over the goose's throat, he %ulled as hard as he could# Smirre "as so astonished that he let himself be %ulled bac!"ard a cou%le of ste%sHand the "ild goose got a"ay# She fluttered u%"ard feebly and heavily# 7ne "ing "as so badly "ounded that she could barely use it# 9n addition to this, she could not see in the

night dar!ness of the forest but "as as hel%less as the blind# Therefore she could in no "ay hel% the boyI so she gro%ed her "ay through the branches and fle" do"n to the la!e again# Then Smirre made a dash for the boy# G9f 9 don't get the one, 9 shall certainly have the other,G said heI and you could tell by his voice ho" mad he "as# G7h, don't you believe itJG said the boy, "ho "as in the best of s%irits because he had saved the goose# 8e held fast by the fo?&tail, and s"ung "ith itHto one sideH"hen the fo? tried to catch him# There "as such a dance in that forest that the dry beech&leaves fairly fle"J Smirre s"ung round and round, but the tail s"ung tooI "hile the boy !e%t a tight gri% on it, so the fo? could not grab him# The boy "as so gay after his success that in the beginning, he laughed and made fun of the fo?# ut Smirre "as %erseveringHas old hunters generally areHand the boy began to fear that he should be ca%tured in the end# Then he caught sight of a little, young beech&tree that had shot u% as slender as a rod, that it might soon reach the free air above the cano%y of branches "hich the old beeches s%read above it# Nuic! as a flash, he let go of the fo?&tail and climbed the beech tree# Smirre *o? "as so e?cited that he continued to dance around after his tail# G)on't bother "ith the dance any longerJG said the boy# ut Smirre couldn't endure the humiliation of his failure to get the better of such a little tot, so he lay do"n under the tree, that he might !ee% a close "atch on him# The boy didn't have any too good a time of it "here he sat, astride a frail branch# The young beech did not, as yet, reach the high branch&cano%y, so the boy couldn't get over to another tree, and he didn't dare to come do"n again# 8e "as so cold and numb that he almost lost his hold around the branchI and he "as dreadfully slee%yI but he didn't dare fall aslee% for fear of tumbling do"n# CyJ but it "as dismal to sit in that "ay the "hole night through, out in the forestJ 8e never before understood the real meaning of Gnight#G 9t "as just as if the "hole "orld had become %etrified, and never could come to life again# Then it commenced to da"n# The boy "as glad that everything began to loo! li!e itself once moreI although the chill "as even shar%er than it had been during the night# *inally, "hen the sun got u%, it "asn't yello" but red# The boy thought it loo!ed as though it "ere angry and he "ondered "hat it "as angry about# Perha%s it "as because the night had made it so cold and gloomy on earth, "hile the sun "as a"ay# The sunbeams came do"n in great clusters, to see "hat the night had been u% to# 9t could be seen ho" everything blushedHas if they all had guilty consciences# The clouds in the s!iesI the satiny beech&limbsI the little intert"ined branches of the forest&cano%yI the hoar&frost that covered the foliage on the groundHeverything gre" flushed and red# Core and more sunbeams came bursting through s%ace, and soon the night's terrors "ere driven a"ay, and such a marvellous lot of living things came for"ard# The blac!

"ood%ec!er, "ith the red nec!, began to hammer "ith its bill on the branch# The sLuirrel glided from his nest "ith a nut, and sat do"n on a branch and began to shell it# The starling came flying "ith a "orm, and the bulfinch sang in the tree&to%# Then the boy understood that the sun had said to all these tiny creatures' GWa!e u% no", and come out of your nestsJ 9'm hereJ No" you need be afraid of nothing#G The "ild&goose call "as heard from the la!e, as they "ere %re%aring for flightI and soon all fourteen geese came flying through the forest# The boy tried to call to them, but they fle" so high that his voice couldn't reach them# They %robably believed the fo? had eaten him u%I and they didn't trouble themselves to loo! for him# The boy came near crying "ith regretI but the sun stood u% thereHorange&coloured and ha%%yHand %ut courage into the "hole "orld# G9t isn't "orth "hile, Nils 8olgersson, for you to be troubled about anything, as long as 9'm here,G said the sun#

Monday, March twenty-first# /verything remained unchanged in the forestHabout as long as it ta!es a goose to eat her brea!fast# ut just as the morning "as verging on forenoon, a goose came flying, all by herself, under the thic! tree&cano%y# She gro%ed her "ay hesitatingly, bet"een the stems and branches, and fle" very slo"ly# As soon as Smirre *o? sa" her, he left his %lace under the beech tree, and snea!ed u% to"ard her# The "ild goose didn't avoid the fo?, but fle" very close to him# Smirre made a high jum% for her but he missed herI and the goose "ent on her "ay do"n to the la!e# 9t "as not long before another goose came flying# She too! the same route as the first oneI and fle" still lo"er and slo"er# She, too, fle" close to Smirre *o?, and he made such a high s%ring for her, that his ears brushed her feet# ut she, too, got a"ay from him unhurt, and "ent her "ay to"ard the la!e, silent as a shado"# A little "hile %assed and then there came another "ild goose# She fle" still slo"er and lo"erI and it seemed even more difficult for her to find her "ay bet"een the beech& branches# Smirre made a %o"erful s%ringJ 8e "as "ithin a hair's breadth of catching herI but that goose also managed to save herself# :ust after she had disa%%eared, came a fourth# She fle" so slo"ly, and so badly, that Smirre *o? thought he could catch her "ithout much effort, but he "as afraid of failure no", and concluded to let her fly %astHunmolested# She too! the same direction the others had ta!enI and just as she "as come right above Smirre, she san! do"n so far that he "as tem%ted to jum% for her# 8e jum%ed so high that he touched her "ith his tail# ut she flung herself Luic!ly to one side and saved her life# efore Smirre got through %anting, three more geese came flying in a ro"# They fle" just li!e the rest, and Smirre made high s%rings for them all, but he did not succeed in catching any one of them#

After that came five geeseI but these fle" better than the others# And although it seemed as if they "anted to lure Smirre to jum%, he "ithstood the tem%tation# After Luite a long time came one single goose# 9t "as the thirteenth# This one "as so old that she "as gray all over, "ithout a dar! s%ec! any"here on her body# She didn't a%%ear to use one "ing very "ell, but fle" so "retchedly and croo!edly, that she almost touched the ground# Smirre not only made a high lea% for her, but he %ursued her, running and jum%ing all the "ay do"n to the la!e# ut not even this time did he get anything for his trouble# When the fourteenth goose came along, it loo!ed very %retty because it "as "hite# And as its great "ings s"ayed, it glistened li!e a light, in the dar! forest# When Smirre *o? sa" this one, he mustered all his resources and jum%ed half&"ay u% to the tree&cano%y# ut the "hite one fle" by unhurt li!e the rest# No" it "as Luiet for a moment under the beeches# 9t loo!ed as if the "hole "ild&goose& floc! had travelled %ast# Suddenly Smirre remembered his %risoner and raised his eyes to"ard the young beech& tree# And just as he might have e?%ectedHthe boy had disa%%eared# ut Smirre didn't have much time to thin! about himI for no" the first goose came bac! again from the la!e and fle" slo"ly under the cano%y# 9n s%ite of all his ill luc!, Smirre "as glad that she came bac!, and darted after her "ith a high lea%# ut he had been in too much of a hurry, and hadn't ta!en the time to calculate the distance, and he landed at one side of the goose# Then there came still another gooseI then a thirdI a fourthI a fifthI and so on, until the angle closed in "ith the old ice&gray one, and the big "hite one# They all fle" lo" and slo"# :ust as they s"ayed in the vicinity of Smirre *o?, they san! do"nH!ind of inviting&li!eHfor him to ta!e them# Smirre ran after them and made lea%s a cou%le of fathoms highHbut he couldn't manage to get hold of a single one of them# 9t "as the most a"ful day that Smirre *o? had ever e?%erienced# The "ild geese !e%t on travelling over his head# They came and "entHcame and "ent# Great s%lendid geese "ho had eaten themselves fat on the German heaths and grain fields, s"ayed all day through the "oods, and so close to him that he touched them many timesI yet he "as not %ermitted to a%%ease his hunger "ith a single one of them# The "inter "as hardly gone yet, and Smirre recalled nights and days "hen he had been forced to tram% around in idleness, "ith not so much as a hare to hunt, "hen the rats hid themselves under the froMen earthI and "hen the chic!ens "ere all shut u%# ut all the "inter's hunger had not been as hard to endure as this day's miscalculations# Smirre "as no young fo?# 8e had had the dogs after him many a time, and had heard the bullets "hiMM around his ears# 8e had lain in hiding, do"n in the lair, "hile the dachshunds cre%t into the crevices and all but found him# ut all the anguish that Smirre *o? had been forced to suffer under this hot chase, "as not to be com%ared "ith "hat he suffered every time that he missed one of the "ild geese# 9n the morning, "hen the %lay began, Smirre *o? had loo!ed so stunning that the geese "ere amaMed "hen they sa" him# Smirre loved dis%lay# 8is coat "as a brilliant redI his breast "hiteI his nose blac!I and his tail "as as bushy as a %lume# ut "hen the evening

of this day "as come, Smirre's coat hung in loose folds# 8e "as bathed in s"eatI his eyes "ere "ithout lustreI his tongue hung far out from his ga%ing ja"sI and froth ooMed from his mouth# 9n the afternoon Smirre "as so e?hausted that he gre" delirious# 8e sa" nothing before his eyes but flying geese# 8e made lea%s for sun&s%ots "hich he sa" on the groundI and for a %oor little butterfly that had come out of his chrysalis too soon# The "ild geese fle" and fle", unceasingly# All day long they continued to torment Smirre# They "ere not moved to %ity because Smirre "as done u%, fevered, and out of his head# They continued "ithout a let&u%, although they understood that he hardly sa" them, and that he jum%ed after their shado"s# When Smirre *o? san! do"n on a %ile of dry leaves, "ea! and %o"erless and almost ready to give u% the ghost, they sto%%ed teasing him# GNo" you !no", Cr# *o?, "hat ha%%ens to the one "ho dares to come near A!!a of =ebne!aiseJG they shouted in his earI and "ith that they left him in %eace# THE WONDERFUL JOURNEY OF NILS ON THE FARM Thursday, March twenty-fourth# :ust at that time a thing ha%%ened in S!Ane "hich created a good deal of discussion and even got into the ne"s%a%ers but "hich many believed to be a fable, because they had not been able to e?%lain it# 9t "as about li!e this' A lady sLuirrel had been ca%tured in the haMelbrush that gre" on the shores of >omb La!e, and "as carried to a farmhouse close by# All the fol!s on the farmHboth young and oldH"ere delighted "ith the %retty creature "ith the bushy tail, the "ise, inLuisitive eyes, and the natty little feet# They intended to amuse themselves all summer by "atching its nimble movementsI its ingenious "ay of shelling nutsI and its droll %lay# They immediately %ut in order an old sLuirrel cage "ith a little green house and a "ire&cylinder "heel# The little house, "hich had both doors and "indo"s, the lady sLuirrel "as to use as a dining room and bedroom# *or this reason they %laced therein a bed of leaves, a bo"l of mil! and some nuts# The cylinder "heel, on the other hand, she "as to use as a %lay&house, "here she could run and climb and s"ing round# The %eo%le believed that they had arranged things very comfortably for the lady sLuirrel, and they "ere astonished because she didn't seem to be contentedI but, instead, she sat there, do"ncast and moody, in a corner of her room# /very no" and again, she "ould let out a shrill, agonised cry# She did not touch the foodI and not once did she s"ing round on the "heel# G9t's %robably because she's frightened,G said the farmer fol!# GTo&morro", "hen she feels more at home, she "ill both eat and %lay#G Cean"hile, the "omen fol! on the farm "ere ma!ing %re%arations for a feastI and just on that day "hen the lady sLuirrel had been ca%tured, they "ere busy "ith an elaborate

ba!e# They had had bad luc! "ith something' either the dough "ouldn't rise, or else they had been dilatory, for they "ere obliged to "or! long after dar!# Naturally there "as a great deal of e?citement and bustle in the !itchen, and %robably no one there too! time to thin! about the sLuirrel, or to "onder ho" she "as getting on# ut there "as an old grandma in the house "ho "as too aged to ta!e a hand in the ba!ingI this she herself understood, but just the same she did not relish the idea of being left out of the game# She felt rather do"nheartedI and for this reason she did not go to bed but seated herself by the sitting&room "indo" and loo!ed out# They had o%ened the !itchen door on account of the heatI and through it a clear ray of light streamed out on the yardI and it became so "ell lighted out there that the old "oman could see all the crac!s and holes in the %lastering on the "all o%%osite# She also sa" the sLuirrel cage "hich hung just "here the light fell clearest# And she noticed ho" the sLuirrel ran from her room to the "heel, and from the "heel to her room, all night long, "ithout sto%%ing an instant# She thought it "as a strange sort of unrest that had come over the animalI but she believed, of course, that the strong light !e%t her a"a!e# et"een the co"&house and the stable there "as a broad, handsome carriage&gateI this too came "ithin the light&radius# As the night "ore on, the old grandma sa" a tiny creature, no bigger than a hand's breadth, cautiously steal his "ay through the gate# 8e "as dressed in leather breeches and "ooden shoes li!e any other "or!ing man# The old grandma !ne" at once that it "as the elf, and she "as not the least bit frightened# She had al"ays heard that the elf !e%t himself some"here about the %lace, although she had never seen him beforeI and an elf, to be sure, brought good luc! "herever he a%%eared# As soon as the elf came into the stone&%aved yard, he ran right u% to the sLuirrel cage# And since it hung so high that he could not reach it, he "ent over to the store&house after a rodI %laced it against the cage, and s"ung himself u%Hin the same "ay that a sailor climbs a ro%e# When he had reached the cage, he shoo! the door of the little green house as if he "anted to o%en itI but the old grandma didn't moveI for she !ne" that the children had %ut a %adloc! on the door, as they feared that the boys on the neighbouring farms "ould try to steal the sLuirrel# The old "oman sa" that "hen the boy could not get the door o%en, the lady sLuirrel came out to the "ire "heel# There they held a long conference together# And "hen the boy had listened to all that the im%risoned animal had to say to him, he slid do"n the rod to the ground, and ran out through the carriage& gate# The old "oman didn't e?%ect to see anything more of the elf that night, nevertheless, she remained at the "indo"# After a fe" moments had gone by, he returned# 8e "as in such a hurry that it seemed to her as though his feet hardly touched the groundI and he rushed right u% to the sLuirrel cage# The old "oman, "ith her far&sighted eyes, sa" him distinctlyI and she also sa" that he carried something in his handsI but "hat it "as she couldn't imagine# The thing he carried in his left hand he laid do"n on the %avementI but that "hich he held in his right hand he too! "ith him to the cage# 8e !ic!ed so hard "ith his "ooden shoes on the little "indo" that the glass "as bro!en# 8e %o!ed in the thing "hich he held in his hand to the lady sLuirrel# Then he slid do"n again, and too! u% that "hich he had laid u%on the ground, and climbed u% to the cage "ith that also# The ne?t instant he ran off again "ith such haste that the old "oman could hardly follo" him "ith her eyes#

ut no" it "as the old grandma "ho could no longer sit still in the cottageI but "ho, very slo"ly, "ent out to the bac! yard and stationed herself in the shado" of the %um% to a"ait the elf's return# And there "as one other "ho had also seen him and had become curious# This "as the house cat# 8e cre%t along slyly and sto%%ed close to the "all, just t"o ste%s a"ay from the stream of light# They both stood and "aited, long and %atiently, on that chilly Carch night, and the old "oman "as just beginning to thin! about going in again, "hen she heard a clatter on the %avement, and sa" that the little mite of an elf came trotting along once more, carrying a burden in each hand, as he had done before# That "hich he bore sLuealed and sLuirmed# And no" a light da"ned on the old grandma# She understood that the elf had hurried do"n to the haMel&grove and brought bac! the lady sLuirrel's babiesI and that he "as carrying them to her so they shouldn't starve to death# The old grandma stood very still, so as not to disturb themI and it did not loo! as if the elf had noticed her# 8e "as just going to lay one of the babies on the ground so that he could s"ing himself u% to the cage "ith the other oneH"hen he sa" the house cat's green eyes glisten close beside him# 8e stood there, be"ildered, "ith a young one in each hand# 8e turned around and loo!ed in all directionsI then he became a"are of the old grandma's %resence# Then he did not hesitate longI but "al!ed for"ard, stretched his arms as high as he could reach, for her to ta!e one of the baby sLuirrels# The old grandma did not "ish to %rove herself un"orthy of the confidence, so she bent do"n and too! the baby sLuirrel, and stood there and held it until the boy had s"ung himself u% to the cage "ith the other one# Then he came bac! for the one he had entrusted to her care# The ne?t morning, "hen the farm fol! had gathered together for brea!fast, it "as im%ossible for the old "oman to refrain from telling them of "hat she had seen the night before# They all laughed at her, of course, and said that she had been only dreaming# There "ere no baby sLuirrels this early in the year# ut she "as sure of her ground, and begged them to ta!e a loo! into the sLuirrel cage and this they did# And there lay on the bed of leaves, four tiny half&na!ed, half blind baby sLuirrels, "ho "ere at least a cou%le of days old# When the farmer himself sa" the young ones, he said' G e it as it may "ith thisI but one thing is certain, "e, on this farm, have behaved in such a manner that "e are shamed before both animals and human beings#G And, thereu%on, he too! the mother sLuirrel and all her young ones from the cage, and laid them in the old grandma's la%# GGo thou out to the haMel&grove "ith them,G said he, Gand let them have their freedom bac! againJG 9t "as this event that "as so much tal!ed about, and "hich even got into the ne"s%a%ers, but "hich the majority "ould not credit because they "ere not able to e?%lain ho" anything li!e that could have ha%%ened#

Saturday, March twenty-sixth# T"o days later, another strange thing ha%%ened# A floc! of "ild geese came flying one morning, and lit on a meado" do"n in /astern S!Ane not very far from >itts!Evle manor# 9n the floc! "ere thirteen "ild geese, of the usual gray variety, and one "hite goosey&gander, "ho carried on his bac! a tiny lad dressed in yello" leather breeches, green vest, and a "hite "oollen toboggan hood# They "ere no" very near the /astern seaI and on the meado" "here the geese had alighted the soil "as sandy, as it usually is on the sea&coast# 9t loo!ed as if, formerly, there had been flying sand in this vicinity "hich had to be held do"nI for in several directions large, %lanted %ine&"oods could be seen# When the "ild geese had been feeding a "hile, several children came along, and "al!ed on the edge of the meado"# The goose "ho "as on guard at once raised herself into the air "ith noisy "ing&stro!es, so the "hole floc! should hear that there "as danger on foot# All the "ild geese fle" u%"ardI but the "hite one trotted along on the ground unconcerned# When he sa" the others fly he raised his head and called after them' G$ou needn't fly a"ay from theseJ They are only a cou%le of childrenJG The little creature "ho had been riding on his bac!, sat do"n u%on a !noll on the outs!irts of the "ood and %ic!ed a %ine&cone in %ieces, that he might get at the seeds# The children "ere so close to him that he did not dare to run across the meado" to the "hite one# 8e concealed himself under a big, dry thistle&leaf, and at the same time gave a "arning&cry# ut the "hite one had evidently made u% his mind not to let himself be scared# 8e "al!ed along on the ground all the "hileI and not once did he loo! to see in "hat direction they "ere going# Cean"hile, they turned from the %ath, "al!ed across the field, getting nearer and nearer to the goosey&gander# When he finally did loo! u%, they "ere right u%on him# 8e "as so dumfounded, and became so confused, he forgot that he could fly, and tried to get out of their reach by running# ut the children follo"ed, chasing him into a ditch, and there they caught him# The larger of the t"o stuc! him under his arm and carried him off# When the boy, "ho lay under the thistle&leaf sa" this, he s%rang u% as if he "anted to ta!e the goosey&gander a"ay from themI then he must have remembered ho" little and %o"erless he "as, for he thre" himself on the !noll and beat u%on the ground "ith his clenched fists# The goosey&gander cried "ith all his might for hel%' GThumbietot, come and hel% meJ 7h, Thumbietot, come and hel% meJG The boy began to laugh in the midst of his distress# G7h, yesJ 9'm just the right one to hel% anybody, 9 amJG said he# Any"ay he got u% and follo"ed the goosey&gander# G9 can't hel% him,G said he, Gbut 9 shall at least find out "here they are ta!ing him#G The children had a good startI but the boy had no difficulty in !ee%ing them "ithin sight until they came to a hollo" "here a broo! gushed forth# ut here he "as obliged to run alongside of it for some little time, before he could find a %lace narro" enough for him to jum% over#

When he came u% from the hollo" the children had disa%%eared# 8e could see their foot%rints on a narro" %ath "hich led to the "oods, and these he continued to follo"# Soon he came to a cross&road# 8ere the children must have se%arated, for there "ere foot%rints in t"o directions# The boy loo!ed no" as if all ho%e had fled# Then he sa" a little "hite do"n on a heather&!noll, and he understood that the goosey&gander had dro%%ed this by the "ayside to let him !no" in "hich direction he had been carriedI and therefore he continued his search# 8e follo"ed the children through the entire "ood# The goosey&gander he did not seeI but "herever he "as li!ely to miss his "ay, lay a little "hite do"n to %ut him right# The boy continued faithfully to follo" the bits of do"n# They led him out of the "ood, across a cou%le of meado"s, u% on a road, and finally through the entrance of a broad alle# At the end of the alle there "ere gables and to"ers of red tiling, decorated "ith bright borders and other ornamentations that glittered and shone# When the boy sa" that this "as some great manor, he thought he !ne" "hat had become of the goosey&gander# GNo doubt the children have carried the goosey&gander to the manor and sold him there# y this time he's %robably butchered,G he said to himself# ut he did not seem to be satisfied "ith anything less than %roof %ositive, and "ith rene"ed courage he ran for"ard# 8e met no one in the alleHand that "as "ell, for such as he are generally afraid of being seen by human beings# The mansion "hich he came to "as a s%lendid, old&time structure "ith four great "ings "hich inclosed a courtyard# 7n the east "ing, there "as a high arch leading into the courtyard# This far the boy ran "ithout hesitation, but "hen he got there he sto%%ed# 8e dared not venture farther, but stood still and %ondered "hat he should do no"# There he stood, "ith his finger on his nose, thin!ing, "hen he heard footste%s behind himI and as he turned around he sa" a "hole com%any march u% the alle# 9n haste he stole behind a "ater&barrel "hich stood near the arch, and hid himself# Those "ho came u% "ere some t"enty young men from a fol!&high&school, out on a "al!ing tour# They "ere accom%anied by one of the instructors# When they "ere come as far as the arch, the teacher reLuested them to "ait there a moment, "hile he "ent in and as!ed if they might see the old castle of >itts!Evle# The ne"comers "ere "arm and tiredI as if they had been on a long tram%# 7ne of them "as so thirsty that he "ent over to the "ater&barrel and stoo%ed do"n to drin!# 8e had a tin bo? such as botanists use hanging about his nec!# 8e evidently thought that this "as in his "ay, for he thre" it do"n on the ground# With this, the lid fle" o%en, and one could see that there "ere a fe" s%ring flo"ers in it# The botanist's bo? dro%%ed just in front of the boyI and he must have thought that here "as his o%%ortunity to get into the castle and find out "hat had become of the goosey& gander# 8e smuggled himself Luic!ly into the bo? and concealed himself as "ell as he could under the anemones and colt's&foot# 8e "as hardly hidden before the young man %ic!ed the bo? u%, hung it around his nec!, and slammed do"n the cover#

Then the teacher came bac!, and said that they had been given %ermission to enter the castle# At first he conducted them no farther than the courtyard# There he sto%%ed and began to tal! to them about this ancient structure# 8e called their attention to the first human beings "ho had inhabited this country, and "ho had been obliged to live in mountain&grottoes and earth&cavesI in the dens of "ild beasts, and in the brush"oodI and that a very long %eriod had ela%sed before they learned to build themselves huts from the trun!s of trees# And after"ard ho" long had they not been forced to labour and struggle, before they had advanced from the log cabin, "ith its single room, to the building of a castle "ith a hundred roomsHli!e >itts!EvleJ 9t "as about three hundred and fifty years ago that the rich and %o"erful built such castles for themselves, he said# 9t "as very evident that >itts!Evle had been erected at a time "hen "ars and robbers made it unsafe in S!Ane# All around the castle "as a dee% trench filled "ith "aterI and across this there had been a bridge in bygone days that could be hoisted u%# 7ver the gate&arch there is, even to this day, a "atch&to"erI and all along the sides of the castle ran sentry&galleries, and in the corners stood to"ers "ith "alls a metre thic!# $et the castle had not been erected in the most savage "ar timeI for :ens rahe, "ho built it, had also studied to ma!e of it a beautiful and decorative ornament# 9f they could see the big, solid stone structure at Glimminge, "hich had been built only a generation earlier, they "ould readily see that :ans 8olgersen <lfstand, the builder, hadn't figured u%on anything elseHonly to build big and strong and secure, "ithout besto"ing a thought u%on ma!ing it beautiful and comfortable# 9f they visited such castles as Carsvinsholm, Snogeholm and @vid's ;loisterH"hich "ere erected a hundred years or so laterHthey "ould find that the times had become less "arli!e# The gentlemen "ho built these %laces, had not furnished them "ith fortificationsI but had only ta!en %ains to %rovide themselves "ith great, s%lendid d"elling houses# The teacher tal!ed at lengthHand in detailI and the boy "ho lay shut u% in the bo? "as %retty im%atientI but he must have lain very still, for the o"ner of the bo? hadn't the least sus%icion that he "as carrying him along# *inally the com%any "ent into the castle# ut if the boy had ho%ed for a chance to cra"l out of that bo?, he "as deceivedI for the student carried it u%on him all the "hile, and the boy "as obliged to accom%any him through all the rooms# 9t "as a tedious tram%# The teacher sto%%ed every other minute to e?%lain and instruct# 9n one room he found an old fire%lace, and before this he sto%%ed to tal! about the different !inds of fire%laces that had been used in the course of time# The first indoors fire%lace had been a big, flat stone on the floor of the hut, "ith an o%ening in the roof "hich let in both "ind and rain# The ne?t had been a big stone hearth "ith no o%ening in the roof# This must have made the hut very "arm, but it also filled it "ith soot and smo!e# When >itts!Evle "as built, the %eo%le had advanced far enough to o%en the fire%lace, "hich, at that time, had a "ide chimney for the smo!eI but it also too! most of the "armth u% in the air "ith it# 9f that boy had ever in his life been cross and im%atient, he "as given a good lesson in %atience that day# 9t must have been a "hole hour no" that he had lain %erfectly still#

9n the ne?t room they came to, the teacher sto%%ed before an old&time bed "ith its high cano%y and rich curtains# 9mmediately he began to tal! about the beds and bed %laces of olden days# The teacher didn't hurry himselfI but then he did not !no", of course, that a %oor little creature lay shut u% in a botanist's bo?, and only "aited for him to get through# When they came to a room "ith gilded leather hangings, he tal!ed to them about ho" the %eo%le had dressed their "alls and ceilings ever since the beginning of time# And "hen he came to an old family %ortrait, he told them all about the different changes in dress# And in the banLuet halls he described ancient customs of celebrating "eddings and funerals# Thereu%on, the teacher tal!ed a little about the e?cellent men and "omen "ho had lived in the castleI about the old rahes, and the old arne!o"sI of ;hristian arne!o", "ho had given his horse to the !ing to hel% him esca%eI of Cargareta Ascheberg "ho had been married to =jell arne!o" and "ho, "hen a "ido", had managed the estates and the "hole district for fifty&three yearsI of ban!er 8ageman, a farmer's son from >itts!Evle, "ho had gro"n so rich that he had bought the entire estateI about the StjernsvBrds, "ho had given the %eo%le of S!Ane better %loughs, "hich enabled them to discard the ridiculous old "ooden %loughs that three o?en "ere hardly able to drag# )uring all this, the boy lay still# 9f he had ever been mischievous and shut the cellar door on his father or mother, he understood no" ho" they had feltI for it "as hours and hours before that teacher got through# At last the teacher "ent out into the courtyard again# And there he discoursed u%on the tireless labour of man!ind to %rocure for themselves tools and "ea%ons, clothes and houses and ornaments# 8e said that such an old castle as >itts!Evle "as a mile&%ost on time's high"ay# 8ere one could see ho" far the %eo%le had advanced three hundred and fifty years agoI and one could judge for oneself "hether things had gone for"ard or bac!"ard since their time# ut this dissertation the boy esca%ed hearingI for the student "ho carried him "as thirsty again, and stole into the !itchen to as! for a drin! of "ater# When the boy "as carried into the !itchen, he should have tried to loo! around for the goosey&gander# 8e had begun to moveI and as he did this, he ha%%ened to %ress too hard against the lidH and it fle" o%en# As botanists' bo?&lids are al"ays flying o%en, the student thought no more about the matter but %ressed it do"n again# Then the coo! as!ed him if he had a sna!e in the bo?# GNo, 9 have only a fe" %lants,G the student re%lied# G9t "as certainly something that moved there,G insisted the coo!# The student thre" bac! the lid to sho" her that she "as mista!en# GSee for yourselfHifHG ut he got no further, for no" the boy dared not stay in the bo? any longer, but "ith one bound he stood on the floor, and out he rushed# The maids hardly had time to see "hat it "as that ran, but they hurried after it, nevertheless# The teacher still stood and tal!ed "hen he "as interru%ted by shrill cries# G;atch him, catch himJG shrie!ed those "ho had come from the !itchenI and all the young men raced after the boy, "ho glided a"ay faster than a rat# They tried to interce%t him at the gate,

but it "as not so easy to get a hold on such a little creature, so, luc!ily, he got out in the o%en# The boy did not dare to run do"n to"ard the o%en alle, but turned in another direction# 8e rushed through the garden into the bac! yard# All the "hile the %eo%le raced after him, shrie!ing and laughing# The %oor little thing ran as hard as ever he could to get out of their "ayI but still it loo!ed as though the %eo%le "ould catch u% "ith him# As he rushed %ast a labourer's cottage, he heard a goose cac!le, and sa" a "hite do"n lying on the doorste%# There, at last, "as the goosey&ganderJ 8e had been on the "rong trac! before# 8e thought no more of housemaids and men, "ho "ere hounding him, but climbed u% the ste%sHand into the hall"ay# *arther he couldn't come, for the door "as loc!ed# 8e heard ho" the goosey&gander cried and moaned inside, but he couldn't get the door o%en# The hunters that "ere %ursuing him came nearer and nearer, and, in the room, the goosey&gander cried more and more %itifully# 9n this direst of needs the boy finally %luc!ed u% courage and %ounded on the door "ith all his might# A child o%ened it, and the boy loo!ed into the room# 9n the middle of the floor sat a "oman "ho held the goosey&gander tight to cli% his Luill&feathers# 9t "as her children "ho had found him, and she didn't "ant to do him any harm# 9t "as her intention to let him in among her o"n geese, had she only succeeded in cli%%ing his "ings so he couldn't fly a"ay# ut a "orse fate could hardly have ha%%ened to the goosey&gander, and he shrie!ed and moaned "ith all his might# And a luc!y thing it "as that the "oman hadn't started the cli%%ing sooner# No" only t"o Luills had fallen under the shears' "hen the door "as o%enedHand the boy stood on the door&sill# ut a creature li!e that the "oman had never seen before# She couldn't believe anything else but that it "as Goa&Nisse himselfI and in her terror she dro%%ed the shears, clas%ed her handsHand forgot to hold on to the goosey&gander# As soon as he felt himself freed, he ran to"ard the door# 8e didn't give himself time to sto%I but, as he ran %ast him, he grabbed the boy by the nec!&band and carried him along "ith him# 7n the stoo% he s%read his "ings and fle" u% in the airI at the same time he made a graceful s"ee% "ith his nec! and seated the boy on his smooth, do"ny bac!# And off they fle"H"hile all >itts!Evle stood and stared after them#

All that day, "hen the "ild geese %layed "ith the fo?, the boy lay and sle%t in a deserted sLuirrel nest# When he a"o!e, along to"ard evening, he felt very uneasy# GWell, no" 9 shall soon be sent home againJ Then 9'll have to e?hibit myself before father and mother,G thought he# ut "hen he loo!ed u% and sa" the "ild geese, "ho lay and bathed in >omb La!eHnot one of them said a "ord about his going# GThey %robably thin! the "hite one is too tired to travel home "ith me to&night,G thought the boy# The ne?t morning the geese "ere a"a!e at daybrea!, long before sunrise# No" the boy felt sure that he'd have to go homeI but, curiously enough, both he and the "hite goosey&gander "ere %ermitted to follo" the "ild ones on their morning tour# The boy

couldn't com%rehend the reason for the delay, but he figured it out in this "ay, that the "ild geese did not care to send the goosey&gander on such a long journey until they had both eaten their fill# ;ome "hat might, he "as only glad for every moment that should %ass before he must face his %arents# The "ild geese travelled over @vid's ;loister estate "hich "as situated in a beautiful %ar! east of the la!e, and loo!ed very im%osing "ith its great castleI its "ell %lanned court surrounded by lo" "alls and %avilionsI its fine old&time garden "ith covered arbours, streams and fountainsI its "onderful trees, trimmed bushes, and its evenly mo"n la"ns "ith their beds of beautiful s%ring flo"ers# When the "ild geese rode over the estate in the early morning hour there "as no human being about# When they had carefully assured themselves of this, they lo"ered themselves to"ard the dog !ennel, and shouted' GWhat !ind of a little hut is thisK What !ind of a little hut is thisKG 9nstantly the dog came out of his !ennelHfuriously angryHand bar!ed at the air# G)o you call this a hut, you tram%sJ ;an't you see that this is a great stone castleK ;an't you see "hat fine terraces, and "hat a lot of %retty "alls and "indo"s and great doors it has, bo", "o", "o", "o"K )on't you see the grounds, can't you see the garden, can't you see the conservatories, can't you see the marble statuesK $ou call this a hut, do youK )o huts have %ar!s "ith beech&groves and haMel&bushes and trailing vines and oa! trees and firs and hunting&grounds filled "ith game, "o", "o", "o"K )o you call this a hutK 8ave you seen huts "ith so many outhouses around them that they loo! li!e a "hole villageK $ou must !no" of a lot of huts that have their o"n church and their o"n %arsonageI and that rule over the district and the %easant homes and the neighbouring farms and barrac!s, "o", "o", "o"K )o you call this a hutK To this hut belong the richest %ossessions in S!Ane, you beggarsJ $ou can't see a bit of land, from "here you hang in the clouds, that does not obey commands from this hut, "o", "o", "o"JG All this the dog managed to cry out in one breathI and the "ild geese fle" bac! and forth over the estate, and listened to him until he "as "inded# ut then they cried' GWhat are you so mad aboutK We didn't as! about the castleI "e only "anted to !no" about your !ennel, stu%idJG When the boy heard this jo!e, he laughedI then a thought stole in on him "hich at once made him serious# GThin! ho" many of these amusing things you "ould hear, if you could go "ith the "ild geese through the "hole country, all the "ay u% to La%landJG said he to himself# GAnd just no", "hen you are in such a bad fi?, a tri% li!e that "ould be the best thing you could hit u%on#G The "ild geese travelled to one of the "ide fields, east of the estate, to eat grass&roots, and they !e%t this u% for hours# 9n the meantime, the boy "andered in the great %ar! "hich bordered the field# 8e hunted u% a beech&nut grove and began to loo! u% at the bushes, to see if a nut from last fall still hung there# ut again and again the thought of the tri% came over him, as he "al!ed in the %ar!# 8e %ictured to himself "hat a fine time he "ould have if he "ent "ith the "ild geese# To freeMe and starve' that he believed he should have to do often enoughI but as a recom%ense, he "ould esca%e both "or! and study#

As he "al!ed there, the old gray leader&goose came u% to him, and as!ed if he had found anything eatable# No, that he hadn't, he re%lied, and then she tried to hel% him# She couldn't find any nuts either, but she discovered a cou%le of dried blossoms that hung on a brier&bush# These the boy ate "ith a good relish# ut he "ondered "hat mother "ould say, if she !ne" that he had lived on ra" fish and old "inter&dried blossoms# When the "ild geese had finally eaten themselves full, they bore off to"ard the la!e again, "here they amused themselves "ith games until almost dinner time# The "ild geese challenged the "hite goosey&gander to ta!e %art in all !inds of s%orts# They had s"imming races, running races, and flying races "ith him# The big tame one did his level best to hold his o"n, but the clever "ild geese beat him every time# All the "hile, the boy sat on the goosey&gander's bac! and encouraged him, and had as much fun as the rest# They laughed and screamed and cac!led, and it "as remar!able that the %eo%le on the estate didn't hear them# When the "ild geese "ere tired of %lay, they fle" out on the ice and rested for a cou%le of hours# The afternoon they s%ent in %retty much the same "ay as the forenoon# *irst, a cou%le of hours feeding, then bathing and %lay in the "ater near the ice&edge until sunset, "hen they immediately arranged themselves for slee%# GThis is just the life that suits me,G thought the boy "hen he cre%t in under the gander's "ing# G ut to&morro", 9 su%%ose 9'll be sent home#G efore he fell aslee%, he lay and thought that if he might go along "ith the "ild geese, he "ould esca%e all scoldings because he "as laMy# Then he could cut loose every day, and his only "orry "ould be to get something to eat# ut he needed so little no"adaysI and there "ould al"ays be a "ay to get that# So he %ictured the "hole scene to himselfI "hat he should see, and all the adventures that he "ould be in on# $es, it "ould be something different from the "ear and tear at home# G9f 9 could only go "ith the "ild geese on their travels, 9 shouldn't grieve because 9'd been transformed,G thought the boy# 8e "asn't afraid of anythingHe?ce%t being sent homeI but not even on Wednesday did the geese say anything to him about going# That day %assed in the same "ay as TuesdayI and the boy gre" more and more contented "ith the outdoor life# 8e thought that he had the lovely @vid ;loister %ar!H"hich "as as large as a forestHall to himselfI and he "asn't an?ious to go bac! to the stuffy cabin and the little %atch of ground there at home# 7n Wednesday he believed that the "ild geese thought of !ee%ing him "ith themI but on Thursday he lost ho%e again# Thursday began just li!e the other daysI the geese fed on the broad meado"s, and the boy hunted for food in the %ar!# After a "hile A!!a came to him, and as!ed if he had found anything to eat# No, he had notI and then she loo!ed u% a dry cara"ay herb, that had !e%t all its tiny seeds intact#

When the boy had eaten, A!!a said that she thought he ran around in the %ar! altogether too rec!lessly# She "ondered if he !ne" ho" many enemies he had to guard againstH he, "ho "as so little# No, he didn't !no" anything at all about that# Then A!!a began to enumerate them for him# Whenever he "al!ed in the %ar!, she said, that he must loo! out for the fo? and the martenI "hen he came to the shores of the la!e, he must thin! of the ottersI as he sat on the stone "all, he must not forget the "easels, "ho could cree% through the smallest holesI and if he "ished to lie do"n and slee% on a %ile of leaves, he must first find out if the adders "ere not slee%ing their "inter slee% in the same %ile# As soon as he came out in the o%en fields, he should !ee% an eye out for ha"!s and buMMardsI for eagles and falcons that soared in the air# 9n the bramble&bush he could be ca%tured by the s%arro"& ha"!sI mag%ies and cro"s "ere found every"here and in these he mustn't %lace any too much confidence# As soon as it "as dus!, he must !ee% his ears o%en and listen for the big o"ls, "ho fle" along "ith such soundless "ing&stro!es that they could come right u% to him before he "as a"are of their %resence# When the boy heard that there "ere so many "ho "ere after his life, he thought that it "ould be sim%ly im%ossible for him to esca%e# 8e "as not %articularly afraid to die, but he didn't li!e the idea of being eaten u%, so he as!ed A!!a "hat he should do to %rotect himself from the carnivorous animals# A!!a ans"ered at once that the boy should try to get on good terms "ith all the small animals in the "oods and fields' "ith the sLuirrel&fol!, and the hare&familyI "ith bullfinches and the titmice and "ood%ec!ers and lar!s# 9f he made friends "ith them, they could "arn him against dangers, find hiding %laces for him, and %rotect him# ut later in the day, "hen the boy tried to %rofit by this counsel, and turned to Sirle SLuirrel to as! for his %rotection, it "as evident that he did not care to hel% him# G$ou surely can't e?%ect anything from me, or the rest of the small animalsJG said Sirle# G)on't you thin! "e !no" that you are Nils the goose boy, "ho tore do"n the s"allo"'s nest last year, crushed the starling's eggs, thre" baby cro"s in the marl&ditch, caught thrushes in snares, and %ut sLuirrels in cagesK $ou just hel% yourself as "ell as you canI and you may be than!ful that "e do not form a league against you, and drive you bac! to your o"n !indJG This "as just the sort of ans"er the boy "ould not have let go un%unished, in the days "hen he "as Nils the goose boy# ut no" he "as only fearful lest the "ild geese, too, had found out ho" "ic!ed he could be# 8e had been so an?ious for fear he "ouldn't be %ermitted to stay "ith the "ild geese, that he hadn't dared to get into the least little mischief since he joined their com%any# 9t "as true that he didn't have the %o"er to do much harm no", but, little as he "as, he could have destroyed many birds' nests, and crushed many eggs, if he'd been in a mind to# No" he had been good# 8e hadn't %ulled a feather from a goose&"ing, or given anyone a rude ans"erI and every morning "hen he called u%on A!!a he had al"ays removed his ca% and bo"ed# All day Thursday he thought it "as surely on account of his "ic!edness that the "ild geese did not care to ta!e him along u% to La%land# And in the evening, "hen he heard that Sirle SLuirrel's "ife had been stolen, and her children "ere starving to death, he made u% his mind to hel% them# And "e have already been told ho" "ell he succeeded#

When the boy came into the %ar! on *riday, he heard the bulfinches sing in every bush, of ho" Sirle SLuirrel's "ife had been carried a"ay from her children by cruel robbers, and ho" Nils, the goose boy, had ris!ed his life among human beings, and ta!en the little sLuirrel children to her# GAnd "ho is so honoured in @vid ;loister %ar! no", as ThumbietotJG sang the bullfinchI Ghe, "hom all feared "hen he "as Nils the goose boyK Sirle SLuirrel "ill give him nutsI the %oor hares are going to %lay "ith himI the small "ild animals "ill carry him on their bac!s, and fly a"ay "ith him "hen Smirre *o? a%%roaches# The titmice are going to "arn him against the ha"!, and the finches and lar!s "ill sing of his valour#G The boy "as absolutely certain that both A!!a and the "ild geese had heard all this# ut still *riday %assed and not one "ord did they say about his remaining "ith them# <ntil Saturday the "ild geese fed in the fields around @vid, undisturbed by Smirre *o?# ut on Saturday morning, "hen they came out in the meado"s, he lay in "ait for them, and chased them from one field to another, and they "ere not allo"ed to eat in %eace# When A!!a understood that he didn't intend to leave them in %eace, she came to a decision Luic!ly, raised herself into the air and fle" "ith her floc! several miles a"ay, over *Brs' %lains and LinderEdsosen's hills# They did not sto% before they had arrived in the district of >itts!Evle# ut at >itts!Evle the goosey&gander "as stolen, and ho" it ha%%ened has already been related# 9f the boy had not used all his %o"ers to hel% him he "ould never again have been found# 7n Saturday evening, as the boy came bac! to >omb La!e "ith the goosey&gander, he thought that he had done a good day's "or!I and he s%eculated a good deal on "hat A!!a and the "ild geese "ould say to him# The "ild geese "ere not at all s%aring in their %raises, but they did not say the "ord he "as longing to hear# Then Sunday came again# A "hole "ee! had gone by since the boy had been be"itched, and he "as still just as little# ut he didn't a%%ear to be giving himself any e?tra "orry on account of this thing# 7n Sunday afternoon he sat huddled together in a big, fluffy osier&bush, do"n by the la!e, and ble" on a reed&%i%e# All around him there sat as many finches and bullfinches and starlings as the bush could "ell holdH"ho sang songs "hich he tried to teach himself to %lay# ut the boy "as not at home in this art# 8e ble" so false that the feathers raised themselves on the little music&masters and they shrie!ed and fluttered in their des%air# The boy laughed so heartily at their e?citement, that he dro%%ed his %i%e# 8e began once again, and that "ent just as badly# Then all the little birds "ailed' GTo& day you %lay "orse than usual, ThumbietotJ $ou don't ta!e one true noteJ Where are your thoughts, ThumbietotKG

GThey are else"here,G said the boyHand this "as true# 8e sat there and %ondered ho" long he "ould be allo"ed to remain "ith the "ild geeseI or if he should be sent home %erha%s to&day# *inally the boy thre" do"n his %i%e and jum%ed from the bush# 8e had seen A!!a, and all the "ild geese, coming to"ard him in a long ro"# They "al!ed so uncommonly slo" and dignified&li!e, that the boy immediately understood that no" he should learn "hat they intended to do "ith him# When they sto%%ed at last, A!!a said' G$ou may "ell have reason to "onder at me, Thumbietot, "ho have not said than!s to you for saving me from Smirre *o?# ut 9 am one of those "ho "ould rather give than!s by deeds than "ords# 9 have sent "ord to the elf that be"itched you# At first he didn't "ant to hear anything about curing youI but 9 have sent message u%on message to him, and told him ho" "ell you have conducted yourself among us# 8e greets you, and says, that as soon as you turn bac! home, you shall be human again#G ut thin! of itJ :ust as ha%%y as the boy had been "hen the "ild geese began to s%ea!, just that miserable "as he "hen they had finished# 8e didn't say a "ord, but turned a"ay and "e%t# GWhat in all the "orld is thisKG said A!!a# G9t loo!s as though you had e?%ected more of me than 9 have offered you#G ut the boy "as thin!ing of the care&free days and the banterI and of adventure and freedom and travel, high above the earth, that he should miss, and he actually ba"led "ith grief# G9 don't "ant to be human,G said he# G9 "ant to go "ith you to La%land#G G9'll tell you something,G said A!!a# GThat elf is very touchy, and 9'm afraid that if you do not acce%t his offer no", it "ill be difficult for you to coa? him another time#G 9t "as a strange thing about that boyHas long as he had lived, he had never cared for anyone# 8e had not cared for his father or motherI not for the school teacherI not for his school&matesI nor for the boys in the neighbourhood# All that they had "ished to have him doH"hether it had been "or! or %layHhe had only thought tiresome# Therefore there "as no one "hom he missed or longed for# The only ones that he had come any"here near agreeing "ith, "ere 7sa, the goose girl, and little CatsHa cou%le of children "ho had tended geese in the fields, li!e himself# ut he didn't care %articularly for them either# No, far from itJ G9 don't "ant to be human,G ba"led the boy# G9 "ant to go "ith you to La%land# That's "hy 9've been good for a "hole "ee!JG G9 don't "ant to forbid you to come along "ith us as far as you li!e,G said A!!a, Gbut thin! first if you "ouldn't rather go home again# A day may come "hen you "ill regret this#G GNo,G said the boy, Gthat's nothing to regret# 9 have never been as "ell off as here "ith you#G GWell then, let it be as you "ish,G said A!!a#

GThan!sJG said the boy, and he felt so ha%%y that he had to cry for very joyHjust as he had cried before from sorro"# GLIMMINGE CASTLE BLACK RATS AND GRAY RATS 9n south&eastern S!AneHnot far from the sea there is an old castle called Glimminge# 9t is a big and substantial stone houseI and can be seen over the %lain for miles around# 9t is not more than four stories highI but it is so %onderous that an ordinary farmhouse, "hich stands on the same estate, loo!s li!e a little children's %layhouse in com%arison# The big stone house has such thic! ceilings and %artitions that there is scarcely room in its interior for anything but the thic! "alls# The stairs are narro", the entrances smallI and the rooms fe"# That the "alls might retain their strength, there are only the fe"est number of "indo"s in the u%%er stories, and none at all are found in the lo"er ones# 9n the old "ar times, the %eo%le "ere just as glad that they could shut themselves u% in a strong and massive house li!e this, as one is no"adays to be able to cree% into furs in a sna%%ing cold "inter# ut "hen the time of %eace came, they did not care to live in the dar! and cold stone halls of the old castle any longer# They have long since deserted the big Glimminge castle, and moved into d"elling %laces "here the light and air can %enetrate# At the time "hen Nils 8olgersson "andered around "ith the "ild geese, there "ere no human beings in Glimminge castleI but for all that, it "as not "ithout inhabitants# /very summer there lived a stor! cou%le in a large nest on the roof# 9n a nest in the attic lived a %air of gray o"lsI in the secret %assages hung batsI in the !itchen oven lived an old catI and do"n in the cellar there "ere hundreds of old blac! rats# (ats are not held in very high esteem by other animalsI but the blac! rats at Glimminge castle "ere an e?ce%tion# They "ere al"ays mentioned "ith res%ect, because they had sho"n great valour in battle "ith their enemiesI and much endurance under the great misfortunes "hich had befallen their !ind# They nominally belong to a rat&fol! "ho, at one time, had been very numerous and %o"erful, but "ho "ere no" dying out# )uring a long %eriod of time, the blac! rats o"ned S!Ane and the "hole country# They "ere found in every cellarI in every atticI in larders and co"houses and barnsI in bre"eries and flour&millsI in churches and castlesI in every man&constructed building# ut no" they "ere banished from all thisHand "ere almost e?terminated# 7nly in one and another old and secluded %lace could one run across a fe" of themI and no"here "ere they to be found in such large numbers as in Glimminge castle# When an animal fol! die out, it is generally the human !ind "ho are the cause of itI but that "as not the case in this instance# The %eo%le had certainly struggled "ith the blac! rats, but they had not been able to do them any harm "orth mentioning# Those "ho had conLuered them "ere an animal fol! of their o"n !ind, "ho "ere called gray rats# These gray rats had not lived in the land since time immemorial, li!e the blac! rats, but descended from a cou%le of %oor immigrants "ho landed in CalmE from a Libyan sloo% about a hundred years ago# They "ere homeless, starved&out "retches "ho stuc! close

to the harbour, s"am among the %iles under the bridges, and ate refuse that "as thro"n in the "ater# They never ventured into the city, "hich "as o"ned by the blac! rats# ut gradually, as the gray rats increased in number they gre" bolder# At first they moved over to some "aste %laces and condemned old houses "hich the blac! rats had abandoned# They hunted their food in gutters and dirt hea%s, and made the most of all the rubbish that the blac! rats did not deign to ta!e care of# They "ere hardy, contented and fearlessI and "ithin a fe" years they had become so %o"erful that they undertoo! to drive the blac! rats out of CalmE# They too! from them attics, cellars and storerooms, starved them out or bit them to death for they "ere not at all afraid of fighting# When CalmE "as ca%tured, they marched for"ard in small and large com%anies to conLuer the "hole country# 9t is almost im%ossible to com%rehend "hy the blac! rats did not muster themselves into a great, united "ar&e?%edition to e?terminate the gray rats, "hile these "ere still fe" in numbers# ut the blac! rats "ere so certain of their %o"er that they could not believe it %ossible for them to lose it# They sat still on their estates, and in the meantime the gray rats too! from them farm after farm, city after city# They "ere starved out, forced out, rooted out# 9n S!Ane they had not been able to maintain themselves in a single %lace e?ce%t Glimminge castle# The old castle had such secure "alls and such fe" rat %assages led through these, that the blac! rats had managed to %rotect themselves, and to %revent the gray rats from cro"ding in# Night after night, year after year, the struggle had continued bet"een the aggressors and the defendersI but the blac! rats had !e%t faithful "atch, and had fought "ith the utmost contem%t for death, and, than!s to the fine old house, they had al"ays conLuered# 9t "ill have to be ac!no"ledged that as long as the blac! rats "ere in %o"er they "ere as much shunned by all other living creatures as the gray rats are in our dayHand for just causeI they had thro"n themselves u%on %oor, fettered %risoners, and tortured themI they had ravished the deadI they had stolen the last turni% from the cellars of the %oorI bitten off the feet of slee%ing geeseI robbed eggs and chic!s from the hensI and committed a thousand de%redations# ut since they had come to grief, all this seemed to have been forgottenI and no one could hel% but marvel at the last of a race that had held out so long against its enemies# The gray rats that lived in the courtyard at Glimminge and in the vicinity, !e%t u% a continuous "arfare and tried to "atch out for every %ossible chance to ca%ture the castle# 7ne "ould fancy that they should have allo"ed the little com%any of blac! rats to occu%y Glimminge castle in %eace, since they themselves had acLuired all the rest of the countryI but you may be sure this thought never occurred to them# They "ere "ont to say that it "as a %oint of honour "ith them to conLuer the blac! rats at some time or other# ut those "ho "ere acLuainted "ith the gray rats must have !no"n that it "as because the human !ind used Glimminge castle as a grain store&house that the gray ones could not rest before they had ta!en %ossession of the %lace#

Monday, March twenty-eighth#

/arly one morning the "ild geese "ho stood and sle%t on the ice in >omb La!e "ere a"a!ened by long calls from the air# GTriro%, Triro%JG it sounded, GTrianut, the crane, sends greetings to A!!a, the "ild goose, and her floc!# To&morro" "ill be the day of the great crane dance on =ullaberg#G A!!a raised her head and ans"ered at once' GGreetings and than!sJ Greetings and than!sJG With that, the cranes fle" fartherI and the "ild geese heard them for a long "hileH "here they travelled and called out over every field, and every "ooded hill' GTrianut sends greetings# To&morro" "ill be the day of the great crane dance on =ullaberg#G The "ild geese "ere very ha%%y over this invitation# G$ou're in luc!,G they said to the "hite goosey&gander, Gto be %ermitted to attend the great crane dance on =ullabergJG G9s it then so remar!able to see cranes danceKG as!ed the goosey&gander# G9t is something that you have never even dreamed aboutJG re%lied the "ild geese# GNo" "e must thin! out "hat "e shall do "ith Thumbietot to&morro"Hso that no harm can come to him, "hile "e run over to =ullaberg,G said A!!a# GThumbietot shall not be left aloneJG said the goosey&gander# G9f the cranes "on't let him see their dance, then 9'll stay "ith him#G GNo human being has ever been %ermitted to attend the Animal's ;ongress, at =ullaberg,G said A!!a, Gand 9 shouldn't dare to ta!e Thumbietot along# ut We'll discuss this more at length later in the day# No" "e must first and foremost thin! about getting something to eat#G With that A!!a gave the signal to adjourn# 7n this day she also sought her feeding&%lace a good distance a"ay, on Smirre *o?'s account, and she didn't alight until she came to the s"am%y meado"s a little south of Glimminge castle# All that day the boy sat on the shores of a little %ond, and ble" on reed&%i%es# 8e "as out of sorts because he shouldn't see the crane dance, and he just couldn't say a "ord, either to the goosey&gander, or to any of the others# 9t "as %retty hard that A!!a should still doubt him# When a boy had given u% being human, just to travel around "ith a fe" "ild geese, they surely ought to understand that he had no desire to betray them# Then, too, they ought to understand that "hen he had renounced so much to follo" them, it "as their duty to let him see all the "onders they could sho" him# G9'll have to s%ea! my mind right out to them,G thought he# ut hour after hour %assed, still he hadn't come round to it# 9t may sound remar!ableHbut the boy had actually acLuired a !ind of res%ect for the old leader&goose# 8e felt that it "as not easy to %it his "ill against hers# 7n one side of the s"am%y meado", "here the "ild geese fed, there "as a broad stone hedge# To"ard evening "hen the boy finally raised his head, to s%ea! to A!!a, his glance ha%%ened to rest on this hedge# 8e uttered a little cry of sur%rise, and all the "ild geese instantly loo!ed u%, and stared in the same direction# At first, both the geese and

the boy thought that all the round, gray stones in the hedge had acLuired legs, and "ere starting on a runI but soon they sa" that it "as a com%any of rats "ho ran over it# They moved very ra%idly, and ran for"ard, tightly %ac!ed, line u%on line, and "ere so numerous that, for some time, they covered the entire stone hedge# The boy had been afraid of rats, even "hen he "as a big, strong human being# Then "hat must his feelings be no", "hen he "as so tiny that t"o or three of them could over%o"er himK 7ne shudder after another travelled do"n his s%inal column as he stood and stared at them# ut strangely enough, the "ild geese seemed to feel the same aversion to"ard the rats that he did# They did not s%ea! to themI and "hen they "ere gone, they shoo! themselves as if their feathers had been mud&s%attered# GSuch a lot of gray rats abroadJG said 9!si from >assi%aure# GThat's not a good omen#G The boy intended to ta!e advantage of this o%%ortunity to say to A!!a that he thought she ought to let him go "ith them to =ullaberg, but he "as %revented ane", for all of a sudden a big bird came do"n in the midst of the geese# 7ne could believe, "hen one loo!ed at this bird, that he had borro"ed body, nec! and head from a little "hite goose# ut in addition to this, he had %rocured for himself large blac! "ings, long red legs, and a thic! bill, "hich "as too large for the little head, and "eighed it do"n until it gave him a sad and "orried loo!# A!!a at once straightened out the folds of her "ings, and curtsied many times as she a%%roached the stor!# She "asn't s%ecially sur%rised to see him in S!Ane so early in the s%ring, because she !ne" that the male stor!s are in the habit of coming in good season to ta!e a loo! at the nest, and see that it hasn't been damaged during the "inter, before the female stor!s go to the trouble of flying over the /ast sea# ut she "ondered very much "hat it might signify that he sought her out, since stor!s %refer to associate "ith members of their o"n family# G9 can hardly believe that there is anything "rong "ith your house, 8err /rmenrich,G said A!!a# 9t "as a%%arent no" that it is true "hat they say' a stor! can seldom o%en his bill "ithout com%laining# ut "hat made the thing he said sound even more doleful "as that it "as difficult for him to s%ea! out# 8e stood for a long time and only clattered "ith his billI after"ard he s%o!e in a hoarse and feeble voice# 8e com%lained about everything' the nestH"hich "as situated at the very to% of the roof&tree at Glimminge castleHhad been totally destroyed by "inter stormsI and no food could he get any more in S!Ane# The %eo%le of S!Ane "ere a%%ro%riating all his %ossessions# They dug out his marshes and laid "aste his s"am%s# 8e intended to move a"ay from this country, and never return to it again# While the stor! grumbled, A!!a, the "ild goose "ho had neither home nor %rotection, could not hel% thin!ing to herself' G9f 9 had things as comfortable as you have, 8err /rmenrich, 9 should be above com%laining# $ou have remained a free and "ild birdI and still you stand so "ell "ith human beings that no one "ill fire a shot at you, or steal an

egg from your nest#G ut all this she !e%t to herself# To the stor! she only remar!ed, that she couldn't believe he "ould be "illing to move from a house "here stor!s had resided ever since it "as built# Then the stor! suddenly as!ed the geese if they had seen the gray rats "ho "ere marching to"ard Glimminge castle# When A!!a re%lied that she had seen the horrid creatures, he began to tell her about the brave blac! rats "ho, for years, had defended the castle# G ut this night Glimminge castle "ill fall into the gray rats' %o"er,G sighed the stor!# GAnd "hy just this night, 8err /rmenrichKG as!ed A!!a# GWell, because nearly all the blac! rats "ent over to =ullaberg last night,G said the stor!, Gsince they had counted on all the rest of the animals also hurrying there# ut you see that the gray rats have stayed at homeI and no" they are mustering to storm the castle to&night, "hen it "ill be defended by only a fe" old creatures "ho are too feeble to go over to =ullaberg# They'll %robably accom%lish their %ur%ose# ut 9 have lived here in harmony "ith the blac! rats for so many years, that it does not %lease me to live in a %lace inhabited by their enemies#G A!!a understood no" that the stor! had become so enraged over the gray rats' mode of action, that he had sought her out as an e?cuse to com%lain about them# ut after the manner of stor!s, he certainly had done nothing to avert the disaster# G8ave you sent "ord to the blac! rats, 8err /rmenrichKG she as!ed# GNo,G re%lied the stor!, Gthat "ouldn't be of any use# efore they can get bac!, the castle "ill be ta!en#G G$ou mustn't be so sure of that, 8err /rmenrich,G said A!!a# G9 !no" an old "ild goose, 9 do, "ho "ill gladly %revent outrages of this !ind#G When A!!a said this, the stor! raised his head and stared at her# And it "as not sur%rising, for A!!a had neither cla"s nor bill that "ere fit for fightingI and, in the bargain, she "as a day bird, and as soon as it gre" dar! she fell hel%lessly aslee%, "hile the rats did their fighting at night# ut A!!a had evidently made u% her mind to hel% the blac! rats# She called 9!si from >assijaure, and ordered him to ta!e the "ild geese over to >onib La!eI and "hen the geese made e?cuses, she said authoritatively' G9 believe it "ill be best for us all that you obey me# 9 must fly over to the big stone house, and if you follo" me, the %eo%le on the %lace "ill be sure to see us, and shoot us do"n# The only one that 9 "ant to ta!e "ith me on this tri% is Thumbietot# 8e can be of great service to me because he has good eyes, and can !ee% a"a!e at night#G The boy "as in his most contrary mood that day# And "hen he heard "hat A!!a said, he raised himself to his full height and ste%%ed for"ard, his hands behind him and his nose in the air, and he intended to say that he, most assuredly, did not "ish to ta!e a hand in the fight "ith gray rats# She might loo! around for assistance else"here# ut the instant the boy "as seen, the stor! began to move# 8e had stood before, as stor!s generally stand, "ith head bent do"n"ard and the bill %ressed against the nec!# ut no" a gurgle "as heard dee% do"n in his "ind%i%eI as though he "ould have laughed# Nuic! as a flash, he lo"ered the bill, grabbed the boy, and tossed him a cou%le

of metres in the air# This feat he %erformed seven times, "hile the boy shrie!ed and the geese shouted' GWhat are you trying to do, 8err /rmenrichK That's not a frog# That's a human being, 8err /rmenrich#G *inally the stor! %ut the boy do"n entirely unhurt# Thereu%on he said to A!!a, G9'll fly bac! to Glimminge castle no", mother A!!a# All "ho live there "ere very much "orried "hen 9 left# $ou may be sure they'll be very glad "hen 9 tell them that A!!a, the "ild goose, and Thumbietot, the human elf, are on their "ay to rescue them#G With that the stor! craned his nec!, raised his "ings, and darted off li!e an arro" "hen it leaves a "ell&dra"n bo"# A!!a understood that he "as ma!ing fun of her, but she didn't let it bother her# She "aited until the boy had found his "ooden shoes, "hich the stor! had sha!en offI then she %ut him on her bac! and follo"ed the stor!# 7n his o"n account, the boy made no objection, and said not a "ord about not "anting to go along# 8e had become so furious "ith the stor!, that he actually sat and %uffed# That long, red& legged thing believed he "as of no account just because he "as littleI but he "ould sho" him "hat !ind of a man Nils 8olgersson from West >emminghEg "as# A cou%le of moments later A!!a stood in the stor!s' nest# 9t had a "heel for foundation, and over this lay several grass&mats, and some t"igs# The nest "as so old that many shrubs and %lants had ta!en root u% thereI and "hen the mother stor! sat on her eggs in the round hole in the middle of the nest, she not only had the beautiful outloo! over a goodly %ortion of S!Ane to enjoy, but she had also the "ild brier&blossoms and house& lee!s to loo! u%on# oth A!!a and the boy sa" immediately that something "as going on here "hich turned u%side do"n the most regular order# 7n the edge of the stor!&nest sat t"o gray o"ls, an old, gray&strea!ed cat, and a doMen old, decre%it rats "ith %rotruding teeth and "atery eyes# They "ere not e?actly the sort of animals one usually finds living %eaceably together# Not one of them turned around to loo! at A!!a, or to bid her "elcome# They thought of nothing e?ce%t to sit and stare at some long, gray lines, "hich came into sight here and thereHon the "inter&na!ed meado"s# All the blac! rats "ere silent# 7ne could see that they "ere in dee% des%air, and %robably !ne" that they could neither defend their o"n lives nor the castle# The t"o o"ls sat and rolled their big eyes, and t"isted their great, encircling eyebro"s, and tal!ed in hollo", ghost&li!e voices, about the a"ful cruelty of the gray rats, and that they "ould have to move a"ay from their nest, because they had heard it said of them that they s%ared neither eggs nor baby birds# The old gray&strea!ed cat "as %ositive that the gray rats "ould bite him to death, since they "ere coming into the castle in such great numbers, and he scolded the blac! rats incessantly# G8o" could you be so idiotic as to let your best fighters go a"ayKG said he# G8o" could you trust the gray ratsK 9t is absolutely un%ardonableJG The t"elve blac! rats did not say a "ord# ut the stor!, des%ite his misery, could not refrain from teasing the cat# G)on't "orry so, Consie house&catJG said he# G;an't you see that mother A!!a and Thumbietot have come to save the castleK $ou can be certain that they'll succeed# No" 9 must stand u% to slee%Hand 9 do so "ith the utmost calm# To& morro", "hen 9 a"a!en, there "on't be a single gray rat in Glimminge castle#G

The boy "in!ed at A!!a, and made a signHas the stor! stood u%on the very edge of the nest, "ith one leg dra"n u%, to slee%Hthat he "anted to %ush him do"n to the groundI but A!!a restrained him# She did not seem to be the least bit angry# 9nstead, she said in a confident tone of voice' G9t "ould be %retty %oor business if one "ho is as old as 9 am could not manage to get out of "orse difficulties than this# 9f only Cr# and Crs# 7"l, "ho can stay a"a!e all night, "ill fly off "ith a cou%le of messages for me, 9 thin! that all "ill go "ell#G oth o"ls "ere "illing# Then A!!a bade the gentleman o"l that he should go and see! the blac! rats "ho had gone off, and counsel them to hurry home immediately# The lady o"l she sent to *lammea, the stee%le&o"l, "ho lived in Lund cathedral, "ith a commission "hich "as so secret that A!!a only dared to confide it to her in a "his%er#

9t "as getting on to"ard midnight "hen the gray rats after a diligent search succeeded in finding an o%en air&hole in the cellar# This "as %retty high u%on the "allI but the rats got u% on one another's shoulders, and it "asn't long before the most daring among them sat in the air&hole, ready to force its "ay into Glimminge castle, outside "hose "alls so many of its forebears had fallen# The gray rat sat still for a moment in the hole, and "aited for an attac! from "ithin# The leader of the defenders "as certainly a"ay, but she assumed that the blac! rats "ho "ere still in the castle "ouldn't surrender "ithout a struggle# With thum%ing heart she listened for the slightest sound, but everything remained Luiet# Then the leader of the gray rats %luc!ed u% courage and jum%ed do"n in the coal&blac! cellar# 7ne after another of the gray rats follo"ed the leader# They all !e%t very LuietI and all e?%ected to be ambushed by the blac! rats# Not until so many of them had cro"ded into the cellar that the floor couldn't hold any more, did they venture farther# Although they had never before been inside the building, they had no difficulty in finding their "ay# They soon found the %assages in the "alls "hich the blac! rats had used to get to the u%%er floors# efore they began to clamber u% these narro" and stee% ste%s, they listened again "ith great attention# They felt more frightened because the blac! rats held themselves aloof in this "ay, than if they had met them in o%en battle# They could hardly believe their luc! "hen they reached the first story "ithout any misha%s# 9mmediately u%on their entrance the gray rats caught the scent of the grain, "hich "as stored in great bins on the floor# ut it "as not as yet time for them to begin to enjoy their conLuest# They searched first, "ith the utmost caution, through the sombre, em%ty rooms# They ran u% in the fire%lace, "hich stood on the floor in the old castle !itchen, and they almost tumbled into the "ell, in the inner room# Not one of the narro" %ee%& holes did they leave unins%ected, but they found no blac! rats# When this floor "as "holly in their %ossession, they began, "ith the same caution, to acLuire the ne?t# Then they had to venture on a bold and dangerous climb through the "alls, "hile, "ith breathless an?iety, they a"aited an assault from the enemy# And although they "ere tem%ted by the most delicious odour from the grain bins, they forced themselves most systematically to ins%ect the old&time "arriors' %illar&%ro%%ed !itchenI their stone table,

and fire%laceI the dee% "indo"&niches, and the hole in the floorH"hich in olden time had been o%ened to %our do"n boiling %itch on the intruding enemy# All this time the blac! rats "ere invisible# The gray ones gro%ed their "ay to the third story, and into the lord of the castle's great banLuet hallH"hich stood there cold and em%ty, li!e all the other rooms in the old house# They even gro%ed their "ay to the u%%er story, "hich had but one big, barren room# The only %lace they did not thin! of e?%loring "as the big stor!&nest on the roofH"here, just at this time, the lady o"l a"a!ened A!!a, and informed her that *lammea, the stee%le o"l, had granted her reLuest, and had sent her the thing she "ished for# Since the gray rats had so conscientiously ins%ected the entire castle, they felt at ease# They too! it for granted that the blac! rats had flo"n, and didn't intend to offer any resistanceI and, "ith light hearts, they ran u% into the grain bins# ut the gray rats had hardly s"allo"ed the first "heat&grains, before the sound of a little shrill %i%e "as heard from the yard# The gray rats raised their heads, listened an?iously, ran a fe" ste%s as if they intended to leave the bin, then they turned bac! and began to eat once more# Again the %i%e sounded a shar% and %iercing noteHand no" something "onderful ha%%ened# 7ne rat, t"o ratsHyes, a "hole lot of rats left the grain, jum%ed from the bins and hurried do"n cellar by the shortest cut, to get out of the house# Still there "ere many gray rats left# These thought of all the toil and trouble it had cost them to "in Glimminge castle, and they did not "ant to leave it# ut again they caught the tones from the %i%e, and had to follo" them# With "ild e?citement they rushed u% from the bins, slid do"n through the narro" holes in the "alls, and tumbled over each other in their eagerness to get out# 9n the middle of the courtyard stood a tiny creature, "ho ble" u%on a %i%e# All round him he had a "hole circle of rats "ho listened to him, astonished and fascinatedI and every moment brought more# 7nce he too! the %i%e from his li%sHonly for a secondH %ut his thumb to his nose and "iggled his fingers at the gray ratsI and then it loo!ed as if they "anted to thro" themselves on him and bite him to deathI but as soon as he ble" on his %i%e they "ere in his %o"er# When the tiny creature had %layed all the gray rats out of Glimminge castle, he began to "ander slo"ly from the courtyard out on the high"ayI and all the gray rats follo"ed him, because the tones from that %i%e sounded so s"eet to their ears that they could not resist them# The tiny creature "al!ed before them and charmed them along "ith him, on the road to >allby# 8e led them into all sorts of croo!s and turns and bendsHon through hedges and do"n into ditchesHand "herever he "ent they had to follo"# 8e ble" continuously on his %i%e, "hich a%%eared to be made from an animal's horn, although the horn "as so small that, in our days, there "ere no animals from "hose foreheads it could have been bro!en# No one !ne", either, "ho had made it# *lammea, the stee%le& o"l, had found it in a niche, in Lund cathedral# She had sho"n it to ata!i, the ravenI and they had both figured out that this "as the !ind of horn that "as used in former times by those "ho "ished to gain %o"er over rats and mice# ut the raven "as A!!a's

friendI and it "as from him she had learned that *lammea o"ned a treasure li!e this# And it "as true that the rats could not resist the %i%e# The boy "al!ed before them and %layed as long as the starlight lastedHand all the "hile they follo"ed him# 8e %layed at daybrea!I he %layed at sunriseI and the "hole time the entire %rocession of gray rats follo"ed him, and "ere enticed farther and farther a"ay from the big grain loft at Glimminge castle# THE GREAT CRANE DANCE ON KULLABERG Tuesday, March twenty-ninth# Although there are many magnificent buildings in S!Ane, it must be ac!no"ledged that there's not one among them that has such %retty "alls as old =ullaberg# =ullaberg is lo" and rather long# 9t is not by any means a big or im%osing mountain# 7n its broad summit you'll find "oods and grain fields, and one and another heather&heath# 8ere and there, round heather&!nolls and barren cliffs rise u%# 9t is not es%ecially %retty u% there# 9t loo!s a good deal li!e all the other u%land %laces in S!Ane# 8e "ho "al!s along the %ath "hich runs across the middle of the mountain, can't hel% feeling a little disa%%ointed# Then he ha%%ens, %erha%s, to turn a"ay from the %ath, and "anders off to"ard the mountain's sides and loo!s do"n over the bluffsI and then, all at once, he "ill discover so much that is "orth seeing, he hardly !no"s ho" he'll find time to ta!e in the "hole of it# *or it ha%%ens that =ullaberg does not stand on the land, "ith %lains and valleys around it, li!e other mountainsI but it has %lunged into the sea, as far out as it could get# Not even the tiniest stri% of land lies belo" the mountain to %rotect it against the brea!ersI but these reach all the "ay u% to the mountain "alls, and can %olish and mould them to suit themselves# This is "hy the "alls stand there as richly ornamented as the sea and its hel%meet, the "ind, have been able to effect# $ou'll find stee% ravines that are dee%ly chiselled in the mountain's sidesI and blac! crags that have become smooth and shiny under the constant lashing of the "inds# There are solitary roc!&columns that s%ring right u% out of the "ater, and dar! grottoes "ith narro" entrances# There are barren, %er%endicular %reci%ices, and soft, leaf&clad inclines# There are small %oints, and small inlets, and small rolling stones that are rattlingly "ashed u% and do"n "ith every dashing brea!er# There are majestic cliff&arches that %roject over the "ater# There are shar% stones that are constantly s%rayed by a "hite foamI and others that mirror themselves in unchangeable dar!&green still "ater# There are giant troll&caverns sha%ed in the roc!, and great crevices that lure the "anderer to venture into the mountain's de%thsHall the "ay to =ullman's 8ollo"# And over and around all these cliffs and roc!s cra"l entangled tendrils and "eeds# Trees gro" there also, but the "ind's %o"er is so great that trees have to transform themselves into clinging vines, that they may get a firm hold on the stee% %reci%ices# The oa!s cree% along on the ground, "hile their foliage hangs over them li!e a lo" ceilingI and long&limbed beeches stand in the ravines li!e great leaf&tents# These remar!able mountain "alls, "ith the blue sea beneath them, and the clear %enetrating air above them, is "hat ma!es =ullaberg so dear to the %eo%le that great cro"ds of them haunt the %lace every day as long as the summer lasts# ut it is more

difficult to tell "hat it is that ma!es it so attractive to animals, that every year they gather there for a big %lay&meeting# This is a custom that has been observed since time immemorialI and one should have been there "hen the first sea&"ave "as dashed into foam against the shore, to be able to e?%lain just "hy =ullaberg "as chosen as a rendeMvous, in %reference to all other %laces# When the meeting is to ta!e %lace, the stags and roebuc!s and hares and fo?es and all the other four&footers ma!e the journey to =ullaberg the night before, so as not to be observed by the human beings# :ust before sunrise they all march u% to the %layground, "hich is a heather&heath on the left side of the road, and not very far from the mountain's most e?treme %oint# The %layground is inclosed on all sides by round !nolls, "hich conceal it from any and all "ho do not ha%%en to come right u%on it# And in the month of Carch it is not at all li!ely that any %edestrians "ill stray off u% there# All the strangers "ho usually stroll around on the roc!s, and clamber u% the mountain's sides the fall storms have driven a"ay these many months %ast# And the lighthouse !ee%er out there on the %ointI the old fru on the mountain farm, and the mountain %easant and his house&fol! go their accustomed "ays, and do not run about on the desolate heather& fields# When the four&footers have arrived on the %layground, they ta!e their %laces on the round !nolls# /ach animal family !ee%s to itself, although it is understood that, on a day li!e this, universal %eace reigns, and no one need fear attac!# 7n this day a little hare might "ander over to the fo?es' hill, "ithout losing as much as one of his long ears# ut still the animals arrange themselves into se%arate grou%s# This is an old custom# After they have all ta!en their %laces, they begin to loo! around for the birds# 9t is al"ays beautiful "eather on this day# The cranes are good "eather %ro%hets, and "ould not call the animals together if they e?%ected rain# Although the air is clear, and nothing obstructs the vision, the four&footers see no birds# This is strange# The sun stands high in the heavens, and the birds should already be on their "ay# ut "hat the animals, on the other hand, observe, is one and another little dar! cloud that comes slo"ly for"ard over the %lain# And loo!J one of these clouds comes gradually along the coast of @resund, and u% to"ard =ullaberg# When the cloud has come just over the %layground it sto%s, and, simultaneously, the entire cloud begins to ring and chir%, as if it "as made of nothing but tone# 9t rises and sin!s, rises and sin!s, but all the "hile it rings and chir%s# At last the "hole cloud falls do"n over a !nollHall at onceHand the ne?t instant the !noll is entirely covered "ith gray lar!s, %retty red& "hite&gray bulfinches, s%ec!led starlings and greenish&yello" titmice# Soon after that, another cloud comes over the %lain# This sto%s over every bit of landI over %easant cottage and %alaceI over to"ns and citiesI over farms and rail"ay stationsI over fishing hamlets and sugar refineries# /very time it sto%s, it dra"s to itself a little "hirling column of gray dust&grains from the ground# 9n this "ay it gro"s and gro"s# And at last, "hen it is all gathered u% and heads for =ullaberg, it is no longer a cloud but a "hole mist, "hich is so big that it thro"s a shado" on the ground all the "ay from 8EganBs to CElle# When it sto%s over the %layground it hides the sunI and for a long "hile it had to rain gray s%arro"s on one of the !nolls, before those "ho had been flying in the innermost %art of the mist could again catch a glim%se of the daylight#

ut still the biggest of these bird&clouds is the one "hich no" a%%ears# This has been formed of birds "ho have travelled from every direction to join it# 9t is dar! bluish&gray, and no sun&ray can %enetrate it# 9t is full of the ghastliest noises, the most frightful shrie!s, the grimmest laughter, and most ill&luc!&boding croa!ingJ All on the %layground are glad "hen it finally resolves itself into a storm of fluttering and croa!ing' of cro"s and jac!da"s and roo!s and ravens# Thereu%on not only clouds are seen in the heavens, but a variety of stri%es and figures# Then straight, dotted lines a%%ear in the /ast and Northeast# These are forest&birds from GEinge districts' blac! grouse and "ood grouse "ho come flying in long lines a cou%le of metres a%art# S"imming&birds that live around CA!lB%%en, just out of *alsterbo, no" come floating over @resund in many e?traordinary figures' in triangular and long curvesI in shar% hoo!s and semicircles# To the great reunion held the year that Nils 8olgersson travelled around "ith the "ild geese, came A!!a and her floc!Hlater than all the others# And that "as not to be "ondered at, for A!!a had to fly over the "hole of S!Ane to get to =ullaberg# eside, as soon as she a"o!e, she had been obliged to go out and hunt for Thumbietot, "ho, for many hours, had gone and %layed to the gray rats, and lured them far a"ay from Glimminge castle# Cr# 7"l had returned "ith the ne"s that the blac! rats "ould be at home immediately after sunriseI and there "as no longer any danger in letting the stee%le&o"l's %i%e be hushed, and to give the gray rats the liberty to go "here they %leased# ut it "as not A!!a "ho discovered the boy "here he "al!ed "ith his long follo"ing, and Luic!ly san! do"n over him and caught him "ith the bill and s"ung into the air "ith him, but it "as 8err /rmenrich, the stor!J *or 8err /rmenrich had also gone out to loo! for himI and after he had borne him u% to the stor!&nest, he begged his forgiveness for having treated him "ith disres%ect the evening before# This %leased the boy immensely, and the stor! and he became good friends# A!!a, too, sho"ed him that she felt very !indly to"ard himI she stro!ed her old head several times against his arms, and commended him because he had hel%ed those "ho "ere in trouble# ut this one must say to the boy's credit' that he did not "ant to acce%t %raise "hich he had not earned# GNo, mother A!!a,G he said, Gyou mustn't thin! that 9 lured the gray rats a"ay to hel% the blac! ones# 9 only "anted to sho" 8err /rmenrich that 9 "as of some conseLuence#G 8e had hardly said this before A!!a turned to the stor! and as!ed if he thought it "as advisable to ta!e Thumbietot along to =ullaberg# G9 mean, that "e can rely on him as u%on ourselves,G said she# The stor! at once advised, most enthusiastically, that Thumbietot be %ermitted to come along# G;ertainly you shall ta!e Thumbietot along to =ullaberg, mother A!!a,G said he# G9t is fortunate for us that "e can re%ay him for all that he has endured this night for our sa!es# And since it still grieves me to thin! that 9 did not conduct myself in a becoming manner to"ard him the other evening, it is 9 "ho "ill carry him on my bac!Hall the "ay to the meeting %lace#G

There isn't much that tastes better than to receive %raise from those "ho are themselves "ise and ca%ableI and the boy had certainly never felt so ha%%y as he did "hen the "ild goose and the stor! tal!ed about him in this "ay# Thus the boy made the tri% to =ullaberg, riding stor!&bac!# Although he !ne" that this "as a great honour, it caused him much an?iety, for 8err /rmenrich "as a master flyer, and started off at a very different %ace from the "ild geese# While A!!a fle" her straight "ay "ith even "ing&stro!es, the stor! amused himself by %erforming a lot of flying tric!s# No" he lay still in an immeasurable height, and floated in the air "ithout moving his "ings, no" he flung himself do"n"ard "ith such sudden haste that it seemed as though he "ould fall to the ground, hel%less as a stoneI no" he had lots of fun flying all around A!!a, in great and small circles, li!e a "hirl"ind# The boy had never been on a ride of this sort beforeI and although he sat there all the "hile in terror, he had to ac!no"ledge to himself that he had never before !no"n "hat a good flight meant# 7nly a single %ause "as made during the journey, and that "as at >omb La!e "hen A!!a joined her travelling com%anions, and called to them that the gray rats had been vanLuished# After that, the travellers fle" straight to =ullaberg# There they descended to the !noll reserved for the "ild geeseI and as the boy let his glance "ander from !noll to !noll, he sa" on one of them the many&%ointed antlers of the stagsI and on another, the gray herons' nec!&crests# 7ne !noll "as red "ith fo?es, one "as gray "ith ratsI one "as covered "ith blac! ravens "ho shrie!ed continually, one "ith lar!s "ho sim%ly couldn't !ee% still, but !e%t on thro"ing themselves in the air and singing for very joy# :ust as it has ever been the custom on =ullaberg, it "as the cro"s "ho began the day's games and frolics "ith their flying&dance# They divided themselves into t"o floc!s, that fle" to"ard each other, met, turned, and began all over again# This dance had many re%etitions, and a%%eared to the s%ectators "ho "ere not familiar "ith the dance as altogether too monotonous# The cro"s "ere very %roud of their dance, but all the others "ere glad "hen it "as over# 9t a%%eared to the animals about as gloomy and meaningless as the "inter&storms' %lay "ith the sno"&fla!es# 9t de%ressed them to "atch it, and they "aited eagerly for something that should give them a little %leasure# They did not have to "ait in vain, eitherI for as soon as the cro"s had finished, the hares came running# They dashed for"ard in a long ro", "ithout any a%%arent order# 9n some of the figures, one single hare cameI in others, they ran three and four abreast# They had all raised themselves on t"o legs, and they rushed for"ard "ith such ra%idity that their long ears s"ayed in all directions# As they ran, they s%un round, made high lea%s and beat their fore%a"s against their hind&%a"s so that they rattled# Some %erformed a long succession of somersaults, others doubled themselves u% and rolled over li!e "heelsI one stood on one leg and s"ung roundI one "al!ed u%on his fore%a"s# There "as no regulation "hatever, but there "as much that "as droll in the hares' %layI and the many animals "ho stood and "atched them began to breathe faster# No" it "as s%ringI joy and ra%ture "ere advancing# Winter "as overI summer "as coming# Soon it "as only %lay to live#

When the hares had rom%ed themselves out, it "as the great forest birds' turn to %erform# 8undreds of "ood&grouse in shining dar!&bro"n array, and "ith bright red eyebro"s, flung themselves u% into a great oa! that stood in the centre of the %layground# The one "ho sat u%on the to%most branch fluffed u% his feathers, lo"ered his "ings, and lifted his tail so that the "hite covert&feathers "ere seen# Thereu%on he stretched his nec! and sent forth a cou%le of dee% notes from his thic! throat# GTjac!, tjac!, tjac!,G it sounded# Core than this he could not utter# 9t only gurgled a fe" times "ay do"n in the throat# Then he closed his eyes and "his%ered' GSis, sis, sis# 8ear ho" %rettyJ Sis, sis, sis#G At the same time he fell into such an ecstasy that he no longer !ne" "hat "as going on around him# While the first "ood grouse "as sissing, the three nearestHunder himHbegan to singI and before they had finished their song, the ten "ho sat lo"er do"n joined inI and thus it continued from branch to branch, until the entire hundred grouse sang and gurgled and sissed# They all fell into the same ecstasy during their song, and this affected the other animals li!e a contagious trans%ort# Lately the blood had flo"ed lightly and agreeablyI no" it began to gro" heavy and hot# G$es, this is surely s%ring,G thought all the animal fol!# GWinter chill has vanished# The fires of s%ring burn over the earth#G When the blac! grouse sa" that the bro"n grouse "ere having such success, they could no longer !ee% Luiet# As there "as no tree for them to light on, they rushed do"n on the %layground, "here the heather stood so high that only their beautifully turned tail& feathers and their thic! bills "ere visibleHand they began to sing' G7rr, orr, orr#G :ust as the blac! grouse began to com%ete "ith the bro"n grouse, something un%recedented ha%%ened# While all the animals thought of nothing but the grouse&game, a fo? stole slo"ly over to the "ild geese's !noll# 8e glided very cautiously, and came "ay u% on the !noll before anyone noticed him# Suddenly a goose caught sight of himI and as she could not believe that a fo? had snea!ed in among the geese for any good %ur%ose, she began to cry' G8ave a care, "ild geeseJ 8ave a careJG The fo? struc! her across the throatHmostly, %erha%s, because he "anted to ma!e her !ee% LuietHbut the "ild geese had already heard the cry and they all raised themselves in the air# And "hen they had flo"n u%, the animals sa" Smirre *o? standing on the "ild geese's !noll, "ith a dead goose in his mouth# ut because he had in this "ay bro!en the %lay&day's %eace, such a %unishment "as meted out to Smirre *o? that, for the rest of his days, he must regret he had not been able to control his thirst for revenge, but had attem%ted to a%%roach A!!a and her floc! in this manner# 8e "as immediately surrounded by a cro"d of fo?es, and doomed in accordance "ith an old custom, "hich demands that "hosoever disturbs the %eace on the great %lay&day, must go into e?ile# Not a fo? "ished to lighten the sentence, since they all !ne" that the instant they attem%ted anything of the sort, they "ould be driven from the %layground, and "ould nevermore be %ermitted to enter it# anishment "as %ronounced u%on Smirre "ithout o%%osition# 8e "as forbidden to remain in S!Ane# 8e "as banished from "ife and !indredI from hunting grounds, home, resting %laces and retreats, "hich he had hitherto o"nedI and he must tem%t fortune in foreign lands# So that all fo?es in S!Ane should !no" that Smirre "as outla"ed in the district, the oldest of the fo?es bit off his right earla%# As soon as this "as done, all the young fo?es began to yo"l from blood&

thirst, and thre" themselves on Smirre# *or him there "as no alternative e?ce%t to ta!e flightI and "ith all the young fo?es in hot %ursuit, he rushed a"ay from =ullaberg# All this ha%%ened "hile blac! grouse and bro"n grouse "ere going on "ith their games# ut these birds lose themselves so com%letely in their song, that they neither hear nor see# Nor had they %ermitted themselves to be disturbed# The forest birds' contest "as barely over, before the stags from 8Bc!eberga came for"ard to sho" their "restling game# There "ere several %airs of stags "ho fought at the same time# They rushed at each other "ith tremendous force, struc! their antlers dashingly together, so that their %oints "ere entangledI and tried to force each other bac!"ard# The heather&heaths "ere torn u% beneath their hoofsI the breath came li!e smo!e from their nostrilsI out of their throats strained hideous bello"ings, and the froth ooMed do"n on their shoulders# 7n the !nolls round about there "as breathless silence "hile the s!illed stag&"restlers clinched# 9n all the animals ne" emotions "ere a"a!ened# /ach and all felt courageous and, strongI enlivened by returning %o"ersI born again "ith the s%ringI s%rightly, and ready for all !inds of adventures# They felt no enmity to"ard each other, although, every"here, "ings "ere lifted, nec!&feathers raised and cla"s shar%ened# 9f the stags from 8Bc!eberga had continued another instant, a "ild struggle "ould have arisen on the !nolls, for all had been gri%%ed "ith a burning desire to sho" that they too "ere full of life because the "inter's im%otence "as over and strength surged through their bodies# ut the stags sto%%ed "restling just at the right moment, and instantly a "his%er "ent from !noll to !noll' GThe cranes are comingJG And then came the gray, dus!&clad birds "ith %lumes in their "ings, and red feather& ornaments on their nec!s# The big birds "ith their tall legs, their slender throats, their small heads, came gliding do"n the !noll "ith an abandon that "as full of mystery# As they glided for"ard they s"ung roundHhalf flying, half dancing# With "ings gracefully lifted, they moved "ith an inconceivable ra%idity# There "as something marvellous and strange about their dance# 9t "as as though gray shado"s had %layed a game "hich the eye could scarcely follo"# 9t "as as if they had learned it from the mists that hover over desolate morasses# There "as "itchcraft in it# All those "ho had never before been on =ullaberg understood "hy the "hole meeting too! its name from the crane's dance# There "as "ildness in itI but yet the feeling "hich it a"a!ened "as a delicious longing# No one thought any more about struggling# 9nstead, both the "inged and those "ho had no "ings, all "anted to raise themselves eternally, lift themselves above the clouds, see! that "hich "as hidden beyond them, leave the o%%ressive body that dragged them do"n to earth and soar a"ay to"ard the infinite# Such longing after the unattainable, after the hidden mysteries bac! of this life, the animals felt only once a yearI and this "as on the day "hen they beheld the great crane dance# IN RAINY WEATHER

Wednesday, March thirtieth# 9t "as the first rainy day of the tri%# As long as the "ild geese had remained in the vicinity of >omb La!e, they had had beautiful "eatherI but on the day "hen they set out to travel farther north, it began to rain, and for several hours the boy had to sit on the goose&bac!, soa!ing "et, and shivering "ith the cold# 9n the morning "hen they started, it had been clear and mild# The "ild geese had flo"n high u% in the airHevenly, and "ithout hasteH"ith A!!a at the head maintaining strict disci%line, and the rest in t"o obliLue lines bac! of her# They had not ta!en the time to shout any "itty sarcasms to the animals on the groundI but, as it "as sim%ly im%ossible for them to !ee% %erfectly silent, they sang out continuallyHin rhythm "ith the "ing& stro!esHtheir usual coa?ing call' GWhere are youK 8ere am 9# Where are youK 8ere am 9#G They all too! %art in this %ersistent calling, and only sto%%ed, no" and then, to sho" the goosey&gander the landmar!s they "ere travelling over# The %laces on this route included LinderEdsosen's dry hills, 7vesholm's manor, ;hristianstad's church stee%le, Bc!as!og's royal castle on the narro" isthmus bet"een 7%%mann's la!e and 9vE's la!e, (yss mountain's stee% %reci%ice# 9t had been a monotonous tri%, and "hen the rain&clouds made their a%%earance the boy thought it "as a real diversion# 9n the old days, "hen he had only seen a rain&cloud from belo", he had imagined that they "ere gray and disagreeableI but it "as a very different thing to be u% amongst them# No" he sa" distinctly that the clouds "ere enormous carts, "hich drove through the heavens "ith s!y&high loads# Some of them "ere %iled u% "ith huge, gray sac!s, some "ith barrelsI some "ere so large that they could hold a "hole la!eI and a fe" "ere filled "ith big utensils and bottles "hich "ere %iled u% to an immense height# And "hen so many of them had driven for"ard that they filled the "hole s!y, it a%%eared as though someone had given a signal, for all at once, "ater commenced to %our do"n over the earth, from utensils, barrels, bottles and sac!s# :ust as the first s%ring&sho"ers %attered against the ground, there arose such shouts of joy from all the small birds in groves and %astures, that the "hole air rang "ith them and the boy lea%ed high "here he sat# GNo" "e'll have rain# (ain gives us s%ringI s%ring gives us flo"ers and green leavesI green leaves and flo"ers give us "orms and insectsI "orms and insects give us foodI and %lentiful and good food is the best thing there is,G sang the birds# The "ild geese, too, "ere glad of the rain "hich came to a"a!en the gro"ing things from their long slee%, and to drive holes in the ice&roofs on the la!es# They "ere not able to !ee% u% that seriousness any longer, but began to send merry calls over the neighbourhood# When they fle" over the big %otato %atches, "hich are so %lentiful in the country around ;hristianstadHand "hich still lay bare and blac!Hthey screamed' GWa!e u% and be usefulJ 8ere comes something that "ill a"a!en you# $ou have idled long enough no"#G

When they sa" %eo%le "ho hurried to get out of the rain, they re%roved them saying' GWhat are you in such a hurry aboutK ;an't you see that it's raining rye&loaves and coo!iesKG 9t "as a big, thic! mist that moved north"ard bris!ly, and follo"ed close u%on the geese# They seemed to thin! that they dragged the mist along "ith themI and, just no", "hen they sa" great orchards beneath them, they called out %roudly' G8ere "e come "ith anemonesI here "e come "ith rosesI here "e come "ith a%%le blossoms and cherry budsI here "e come "ith %eas and beans and turni%s and cabbages# 8e "ho "ills can ta!e them# 8e "ho "ills can ta!e them#G Thus it had sounded "hile the first sho"ers fell, and "hen all "ere still glad of the rain# ut "hen it continued to fall the "hole afternoon, the "ild geese gre" im%atient, and cried to the thirsty forests around 9vEs la!e' G8aven't you got enough yetK 8aven't you got enough yetKG The heavens "ere gro"ing grayer and grayer and the sun hid itself so "ell that one couldn't imagine "here it "as# The rain fell faster and faster, and beat harder and harder against the "ings, as it tried to find its "ay bet"een the oily outside feathers, into their s!ins# The earth "as hidden by fogsI la!es, mountains, and "oods floated together in an indistinct maMe, and the landmar!s could not be distinguished# The flight became slo"er and slo"erI the joyful cries "ere hushedI and the boy felt the cold more and more !eenly# ut still he had !e%t u% his courage as long as he had ridden through the air# And in the afternoon, "hen they had lighted under a little stunted %ine, in the middle of a large morass, "here all "as "et, and all "as coldI "here some !nolls "ere covered "ith sno", and others stood u% na!ed in a %uddle of half&melted ice&"ater, even then, he had not felt discouraged, but ran about in fine s%irits, and hunted for cranberries and froMen "hortleberries# ut then came evening, and dar!ness san! do"n on them so close, that not even such eyes as the boy's could see through itI and all the "ilderness became so strangely grim and a"ful# The boy lay tuc!ed in under the goosey&gander's "ing, but could not slee% because he "as cold and "et# 8e heard such a lot of rustling and rattling and stealthy ste%s and menacing voices, that he "as terror&stric!en and didn't !no" "here he should go# 8e must go some"here, "here there "as light and heat, if he "asn't going to be entirely scared to death# G9f 9 should venture "here there are human beings, just for this nightKG thought the boy# G7nly so 9 could sit by a fire for a moment, and get a little food# 9 could go bac! to the "ild geese before sunrise#G 8e cre%t from under the "ing and slid do"n to the ground# 8e didn't a"a!en either the goosey&gander or any of the other geese, but stole, silently and unobserved, through the morass# 8e didn't !no" e?actly "here on earth he "as' if he "as in S!Ane, in SmAland, or in le!inge# ut just before he had gotten do"n in the morass, he had caught a glim%se of a large village, and thither he directed his ste%s# 9t "asn't long, either, before he discovered a roadI and soon he "as on the village street, "hich "as long, and had %lanted trees on both sides, and "as bordered "ith garden after garden#

The boy had come to one of the big cathedral to"ns, "hich are so common on the u%lands, but can hardly be seen at all do"n in the %lain# The houses "ere of "ood, and very %rettily constructed# Cost of them had gables and fronts, edged "ith carved mouldings, and glass doors, "ith here and there a coloured %ane, o%ening on verandas# The "alls "ere %ainted in light oil&coloursI the doors and "indo"&frames shone in blues and greens, and even in reds# While the boy "al!ed about and vie"ed the houses, he could hear, all the "ay out to the road, ho" the %eo%le "ho sat in the "arm cottages chattered and laughed# The "ords he could not distinguish, but he thought it "as just lovely to hear human voices# G9 "onder "hat they "ould say if 9 !noc!ed and begged to be let in,G thought he# This "as, of course, "hat he had intended to do all along, but no" that he sa" the lighted "indo"s, his fear of the dar!ness "as gone# 9nstead, he felt again that shyness "hich al"ays came over him no" "hen he "as near human beings# G9'll ta!e a loo! around the to"n for a "hile longer,G thought he, Gbefore 9 as! anyone to ta!e me in#G 7n one house there "as a balcony# And just as the boy "al!ed by, the doors "ere thro"n o%en, and a yello" light streamed through the fine, sheer curtains# Then a %retty young fru came out on the balcony and leaned over the railing# G9t's rainingI no" "e shall soon have s%ring,G said she# When the boy sa" her he felt a strange an?iety# 9t "as as though he "anted to "ee%# *or the first time he "as a bit uneasy because he had shut himself out from the human !ind# Shortly after that he "al!ed by a sho%# 7utside the sho% stood a red corn&drill# 8e sto%%ed and loo!ed at itI and finally cra"led u% to the driver's %lace, and seated himself# When he had got there, he smac!ed "ith his li%s and %retended that he sat and drove# 8e thought "hat fun it "ould be to be %ermitted to drive such a %retty machine over a grainfield# *or a moment he forgot "hat he "as li!e no"I then he remembered it, and jum%ed do"n Luic!ly from the machine# Then a greater unrest came over him# After all, human beings "ere very "onderful and clever# 8e "al!ed by the %ost&office, and then he thought of all the ne"s%a%ers "hich came every day, "ith ne"s from all the four corners of the earth# 8e sa" the a%othecary's sho% and the doctor's home, and he thought about the %o"er of human beings, "hich "as so great that they "ere able to battle "ith sic!ness and death# 8e came to the church# Then he thought ho" human beings had built it, that they might hear about another "orld than the one in "hich they lived, of God and the resurrection and eternal life# And the longer he "al!ed there, the better he li!ed human beings# 9t is so "ith children that they never thin! any farther ahead than the length of their noses# That "hich lies nearest them, they "ant %rom%tly, "ithout caring "hat it may cost them# Nils 8olgersson had not understood "hat he "as losing "hen he chose to remain an elfI but no" he began to be dreadfully afraid that, %erha%s, he should never again get bac! to his right form# 8o" in all the "orld should he go to "or! in order to become humanK This he "anted, ohJ so much, to !no"#

8e cra"led u% on a doorste%, and seated himself in the %ouring rain and meditated# 8e sat there one "hole hourHt"o "hole hours, and he thought so hard that his forehead lay in furro"sI but he "as none the "iser# 9t seemed as though the thoughts only rolled round and round in his head# The longer he sat there, the more im%ossible it seemed to him to find any solution# GThis thing is certainly much too difficult for one "ho has learned as little as 9 have,G he thought at last# G9t "ill %robably "ind u% by my having to go bac! among human beings after all# 9 must as! the minister and the doctor and the schoolmaster and others "ho are learned, and may !no" a cure for such things#G This he concluded that he "ould do at once, and shoo! himselfHfor he "as as "et as a dog that has been in a "ater&%ool# :ust about then he sa" that a big o"l came flying along, and alighted on one of the trees that bordered the village street# The ne?t instant a lady o"l, "ho sat under the cornice of the house, began to call out' G=ivitt, =ivittJ Are you at home again, Cr# Gray 7"lK What !ind of a time did you have abroadKG GThan! you, Lady ro"n 7"l# 9 had a very comfortable time,G said the gray o"l# G8as anything out of the ordinary ha%%ened here at home during my absenceKG GNot here in le!inge, Cr# Gray 7"lI but in S!Ane a marvellous thing has ha%%enedJ A boy has been transformed by an elf into a goblin no bigger than a sLuirrelI and since then he has gone to La%land "ith a tame goose#G GThat's a remar!able bit of ne"s, a remar!able bit of ne"s# ;an he never be human again, Lady ro"n 7"lK ;an he never be human againKG GThat's a secret, Cr# Gray 7"lI but you shall hear it just the same# The elf has said that if the boy "atches over the goosey&gander, so that he comes home safe and sound, and HG GWhat more, Lady ro"n 7"lK What moreK What moreKG G*ly "ith me u% to the church to"er, Cr# Gray 7"l, and you shall hear the "hole storyJ 9 fear there may be someone listening do"n here in the street#G With that, the o"ls fle" their "ayI but the boy flung his ca% in the air, and shouted' G9f 9 only "atch over the goosey&gander, so that he gets bac! safe and sound, then 9 shall become a human being again# 8urrahJ 8urrahJ Then 9 shall become a human being againJG 8e shouted GhurrahG until it "as strange that they did not hear him in the housesHbut they didn't, and he hurried bac! to the "ild geese, out in the "et morass, as fast as his legs could carry him# THE STAIRWAY WITH THE THREE STEPS Thursday, March thirty-first#

The follo"ing day the "ild geese intended to travel north"ard through Allbo district, in SmAland# They sent 9!si and =a!si to s%y out the land# ut "hen they returned, they said that all the "ater "as froMen, and all the land "as sno"&covered# GWe may as "ell remain "here "e are,G said the "ild geese# GWe cannot travel over a country "here there is neither "ater nor food#G G9f "e remain "here "e are, "e may have to "ait here until the ne?t moon,G said A!!a# G9t is better to go east"ard, through le!inge, and see if "e can't get to SmAland by "ay of CEre, "hich lies near the coast, and has an early s%ring#G Thus the boy came to ride over le!inge the ne?t day# No", that it "as light again, he "as in a merry mood once more, and could not com%rehend "hat had come over him the night before# 8e certainly didn't "ant to give u% the journey and the outdoor life no"# There lay a thic! fog over le!inge# The boy couldn't see ho" it loo!ed out there# G9 "onder if it is a good, or a %oor country that 9'm riding over,G thought he, and tried to search his memory for the things "hich he had heard about the country at school# ut at the same time he !ne" "ell enough that this "as useless, as he had never been in the habit of studying his lessons# At once the boy sa" the "hole school before him# The children sat by the little des!s and raised their handsI the teacher sat in the lectern and loo!ed dis%leasedI and he himself stood before the ma% and should ans"er some Luestion about le!inge, but he hadn't a "ord to say# The schoolmaster's face gre" dar!er and dar!er for every second that %assed, and the boy thought the teacher "as more %articular that they should !no" their geogra%hy, than anything else# No" he came do"n from the lectern, too! the %ointer from the boy, and sent him bac! to his seat# GThis "on't end "ell,G the boy thought then# ut the schoolmaster had gone over to a "indo", and had stood there for a moment and loo!ed out, and then he had "histled to himself once# Then he had gone u% into the lectern and said that he "ould tell them something about le!inge# And that "hich he then tal!ed about had been so amusing that the boy had listened# When he only sto%%ed and thought for a moment, he remembered every "ord# GSmAland is a tall house "ith s%ruce trees on the roof,G said the teacher, Gand leading u% to it is a broad stair"ay "ith three big ste%sI and this stair"ay is called le!inge# 9t is a stair"ay that is "ell constructed# 9t stretches forty&t"o miles along the frontage of SmAland house, and anyone "ho "ishes to go all the "ay do"n to the /ast sea, by "ay of the stairs, has t"enty&four miles to "ander# GA good long time must have ela%sed since the stair"ay "as built# oth days and years have gone by since the ste%s "ere he"n from gray stones and laid do"nHevenly and smoothlyHfor a convenient trac! bet"een SmAland and the /ast sea# GSince the stair"ay is so old, one can, of course, understand that it doesn't loo! just the same no", as it did "hen it "as ne"# 9 don't !no" ho" much they troubled themselves about such matters at that timeI but big as it "as, no broom could have !e%t it clean# After a cou%le of years, moss and lichen began to gro" on it# 9n the autumn dry leaves and dry grass ble" do"n over itI and in the s%ring it "as %iled u% "ith falling stones

and gravel# And as all these things "ere left there to mould, they finally gathered so much soil on the ste%s that not only herbs and grass, but even bushes and trees could ta!e root there# G ut, at the same time, a great dis%arity has arisen bet"een the three ste%s# The to%most ste%, "hich lies nearest SmAland, is mostly covered "ith %oor soil and small stones, and no trees e?ce%t birches and bird&cherry and s%ruceH"hich can stand the cold on the heights, and are satisfied "ith littleHcan thrive u% there# 7ne understands best ho" %oor and dry it is there, "hen one sees ho" small the field&%lots are, that are %loughed u% from the forest landsI and ho" many little cabins the %eo%le build for themselvesI and ho" far it is bet"een the churches# ut on the middle ste% there is better soil, and it does not lie bound do"n under such severe cold, either# This one can see at a glance, since the trees are both higher and of finer Luality# There you'll find ma%le and oa! and linden and "ee%ing&birch and haMel trees gro"ing, but no cone&trees to s%ea! of# And it is still more noticeable because of the amount of cultivated land that you "ill find thereI and also because the %eo%le have built themselves great and beautiful houses# 7n the middle ste%, there are many churches, "ith large to"ns around themI and in every "ay it ma!es a better and finer a%%earance than the to% ste%# G ut the very lo"est ste% is the best of all# 9t is covered "ith good rich soilI and, "here it lies and bathes in the sea, it hasn't the slightest feeling of the SmAland chill# eeches and chestnut and "alnut trees thrive do"n hereI and they gro" so big that they to"er above the church&roofs# 8ere lie also the largest grain&fieldsI but the %eo%le have not only timber and farming to live u%on, but they are also occu%ied "ith fishing and trading and seafaring# *or this reason you "ill find the most costly residences and the %rettiest churches hereI and the %arishes have develo%ed into villages and cities# G ut this is not all that is said of the three ste%s# *or one must realise that "hen it rains on the roof of the big SmAland house, or "hen the sno" melts u% there, the "ater has to go some"hereI and then, naturally, a lot of it is s%illed over the big stair"ay# 9n the beginning it %robably ooMed over the "hole stair"ay, big as it "asI then crac!s a%%eared in it, and, gradually, the "ater has accustomed itself to flo" alongside of it, in "ell dug&out grooves# And "ater is "ater, "hatever one does "ith it# 9t never has any rest# 9n one %lace it cuts and files a"ay, and in another it adds to# Those grooves it has dug into vales, and the "alls of the vales it has dec!ed "ith soilI and bushes and trees and vines have clung to them ever sinceHso thic!, and in such %rofusion, that they almost hide the stream of "ater that "inds its "ay do"n there in the dee%# ut "hen the streams come to the landings bet"een the ste%s, they thro" themselves headlong over themI this is "hy the "ater comes "ith such a seething rush, that it gathers strength "ith "hich to move mill&"heels and machineryHthese, too, have s%rung u% by every "aterfall# G ut this does not tell all that is said of the land "ith the three ste%s# 9t must also be told that u% in the big house in SmAland there lived once u%on a time a giant, "ho had gro"n very old# And it fatigued him in his e?treme age, to be forced to "al! do"n that long stair"ay in order to catch salmon from the sea# To him it seemed much more suitable that the salmon should come u% to him, "here he lived# GTherefore, he "ent u% on the roof of his great houseI and there he stood and thre" stones do"n into the /ast sea# 8e thre" them "ith such force that they fle" over the

"hole of le!inge and dro%%ed into the sea# And "hen the stones came do"n, the salmon got so scared that they came u% from the sea and fled to"ard the le!inge streamsI ran through the ra%idsI flung themselves "ith high lea%s over the "aterfalls, and sto%%ed# G8o" true this is, one can see by the number of islands and %oints that lie along the coast of le!inge, and "hich are nothing in the "orld but the big stones that the giant thre"# G7ne can also tell because the salmon al"ays go u% in the le!inge streams and "or! their "ay u% through ra%ids and still "ater, all the "ay to SmAland# GThat giant is "orthy of great than!s and much honour from the le!inge %eo%leI for salmon in the streams, and stone&cutting on the islandHthat means "or! "hich gives food to many of them even to this day#G BY RONNEBY RIVER Friday, April first# Neither the "ild geese nor Smirre *o? had believed that they should ever run across each other after they had left S!Ane# ut no" it turned out so that the "ild geese ha%%ened to ta!e the route over le!inge and thither Smirre *o? had also gone# So far he had !e%t himself in the northern %arts of the %rovinceI and since he had not as yet seen any manor %ar!s, or hunting grounds filled "ith game and dainty young deer, he "as more disgruntled than he could say# 7ne afternoon, "hen Smirre tram%ed around in the desolate forest district of Cellanbygden, not far from (onneby (iver, he sa" a floc! of "ild geese fly through the air# 9nstantly he observed that one of the geese "as "hite and then he !ne", of course, "ith "hom he had to deal# Smirre began immediately to hunt the geeseHjust as much for the %leasure of getting a good sLuare meal, as for the desire to be avenged for all the humiliation that they had hea%ed u%on him# 8e sa" that they fle" east"ard until they came to (onneby (iver# Then they changed their course, and follo"ed the river to"ard the south# 8e understood that they intended to see! a slee%ing&%lace along the river&ban!s, and he thought that he should be able to get hold of a %air of them "ithout much trouble# ut "hen Smirre finally discovered the %lace "here the "ild geese had ta!en refuge, he observed they had chosen such a "ell&%rotected s%ot, that he couldn't get near# (onneby (iver isn't any big or im%ortant body of "aterI nevertheless, it is just as much tal!ed of, for the sa!e of its %retty shores# At several %oints it forces its "ay for"ard bet"een stee% mountain&"alls that stand u%right out of the "ater, and are entirely overgro"n "ith honeysuc!le and bird&cherry, mountain&ash and osierI and there isn't much that can be more delightful than to ro" out on the little dar! river on a %leasant summer day, and loo! u%"ard on all the soft green that fastens itself to the rugged mountain&sides#

ut no", "hen the "ild geese and Smirre came to the river, it "as cold and blustery s%ring&"interI all the trees "ere nude, and there "as %robably no one "ho thought the least little bit about "hether the shore "as ugly or %retty# The "ild geese than!ed their good fortune that they had found a sand&stri% large enough for them to stand u%on, on a stee% mountain "all# 9n front of them rushed the river, "hich "as strong and violent in the sno"&melting timeI behind them they had an im%assable mountain roc! "all, and overhanging branches screened them# They couldn't have it better# The geese "ere aslee% instantlyI but the boy couldn't get a "in! of slee%# As soon as the sun had disa%%eared he "as seiMed "ith a fear of the dar!ness, and a "ilderness&terror, and he longed for human beings# Where he layHtuc!ed in under the goose&"ingHhe could see nothing, and only hear a littleI and he thought if any harm came to the goosey& gander, he couldn't save him# Noises and rustlings "ere heard from all directions, and he gre" so uneasy that he had to cree% from under the "ing and seat himself on the ground, beside the goose# Long&sighted Smirre stood on the mountain's summit and loo!ed do"n u%on the "ild geese# G$ou may as "ell give this %ursuit u% first as last,G he said to himself# G$ou can't climb such a stee% mountainI you can't s"im in such a "ild torrentI and there isn't the tiniest stri% of land belo" the mountain "hich leads to the slee%ing&%lace# Those geese are too "ise for you# )on't ever bother yourself again to hunt themJG ut Smirre, li!e all fo?es, had found it hard to give u% an underta!ing already begun, and so he lay do"n on the e?tremest %oint of the mountain edge, and did not ta!e his eyes off the "ild geese# While he lay and "atched them, he thought of all the harm they had done him# $es, it "as their fault that he had been driven from S!Ane, and had been obliged to move to %overty&stric!en le!inge# 8e "or!ed himself u% to such a %itch, as he lay there, that he "ished the "ild geese "ere dead, even if he, himself, should not have the satisfaction of eating them# When Smirre's resentment had reached this height, he heard ras%ing in a large %ine that gre" close to him, and sa" a sLuirrel come do"n from the tree, hotly %ursued by a marten# Neither of them noticed SmirreI and he sat Luietly and "atched the chase, "hich "ent from tree to tree# 8e loo!ed at the sLuirrel, "ho moved among the branches as lightly as though he'd been able to fly# 8e loo!ed at the marten, "ho "as not as s!illed at climbing as the sLuirrel, but "ho still ran u% and along the branches just as securely as if they had been even %aths in the forest# G9f 9 could only climb half as "ell as either of them,G thought the fo?, Gthose things do"n there "ouldn't slee% in %eace very longJG As soon as the sLuirrel had been ca%tured, and the chase "as ended, Smirre "al!ed over to the marten, but sto%%ed t"o ste%s a"ay from him, to signify that he did not "ish to cheat him of his %rey# 8e greeted the marten in a very friendly manner, and "ished him good luc! "ith his catch# Smirre chose his "ords "ellHas fo?es al"ays do# The marten, on the contrary, "ho, "ith his long and slender body, his fine head, his soft s!in, and his light bro"n nec!&%iece, loo!ed li!e a little marvel of beautyHbut in reality "as nothing but a crude forest d"ellerHhardly ans"ered him# G9t sur%rises me,G said Smirre, Gthat such a fine hunter as you are should be satisfied "ith chasing sLuirrels "hen there is much better game "ithin reach#G 8ere he %ausedI but "hen the marten

only grinned im%udently at him, he continued' G;an it be %ossible that you haven't seen the "ild geese that stand under the mountain "allK or are you not a good enough climber to get do"n to themKG This time he had no need to "ait for an ans"er# The marten rushed u% to him "ith bac! bent, and every se%arate hair on end# G8ave you seen "ild geeseKG he hissed# GWhere are theyK Tell me instantly, or 9'll bite your nec! offJG GNoJ you must remember that 9'm t"ice your siMeHso be a little %olite# 9 as! nothing better than to sho" you the "ild geese#G The ne?t instant the marten "as on his "ay do"n the stee%I and "hile Smirre sat and "atched ho" he s"ung his sna!e&li!e body from branch to branch, he thought' GThat %retty tree&hunter has the "ic!edest heart in all the forest# 9 believe that the "ild geese "ill have me to than! for a bloody a"a!ening#G ut just as Smirre "as "aiting to hear the geese's death&rattle, he sa" the marten tumble from branch to branchHand %lum% into the river so the "ater s%lashed high# Soon thereafter, "ings beat loudly and strongly and all the geese "ent u% in a hurried flight# Smirre intended to hurry after the geese, but he "as so curious to !no" ho" they had been saved, that he sat there until the marten came clambering u%# That %oor thing "as soa!ed in mud, and sto%%ed every no" and then to rub his head "ith his fore%a"s# GNo" "asn't that just "hat 9 thoughtHthat you "ere a booby, and "ould go and tumble into the riverKG said Smirre, contem%tuously# G9 haven't acted boobyishly# $ou don't need to scold me,G said the marten# G9 satHall readyHon one of the lo"est branches and thought ho" 9 should manage to tear a "hole lot of geese to %ieces, "hen a little creature, no bigger than a sLuirrel, jum%ed u% and thre" a stone at my head "ith such force, that 9 fell into the "aterI and before 9 had time to %ic! myself u%HG The marten didn't have to say any more# 8e had no audience# Smirre "as already a long "ay off in %ursuit of the "ild geese# 9n the meantime A!!a had flo"n south"ard in search of a ne" slee%ing&%lace# There "as still a little daylightI and, beside, the half&moon stood high in the heavens, so that she could see a little# Luc!ily, she "as "ell acLuainted in these %arts, because it had ha%%ened more than once that she had been "ind&driven to le!inge "hen she travelled over the /ast sea in the s%ring# She follo"ed the river as long as she sa" it "inding through the moon&lit landsca%e li!e a blac!, shining sna!e# 9n this "ay she came "ay do"n to )ju%aforsH"here the river first hides itself in an underground channelHand then clear and trans%arent, as though it "ere made of glass, rushes do"n in a narro" cleft, and brea!s into bits against its bottom in glittering dro%s and flying foam# elo" the "hite falls lay a fe" stones, bet"een "hich the "ater rushed a"ay in a "ild torrent cataract# 8ere mother A!!a alighted# This "as another good slee%ing&%laceHes%ecially this late in the evening, "hen no human beings moved about# At sunset the geese "ould hardly have been able to cam% there, for )ju%afors does not lie in any "ilderness# 7n one side of the falls is a %a%er factoryI on the otherH"hich is stee%, and tree&gro"nHis )ju%adal's %ar!, "here

%eo%le are al"ays strolling about on the stee% and sli%%ery %aths to enjoy the "ild stream's rushing movement do"n in the ravine# 9t "as about the same here as at the former %laceI none of the travellers thought the least little bit that they had come to a %retty and "ell&!no"n %lace# They thought rather that it "as ghastly and dangerous to stand and slee% on sli%%ery, "et stones, in the middle of a rumbling "aterfall# ut they had to be content, if only they "ere %rotected from carnivorous animals# The geese fell aslee% instantly, "hile the boy could find no rest in slee%, but sat beside them that he might "atch over the goosey&gander# After a "hile, Smirre came running along the river&shore# 8e s%ied the geese immediately "here they stood out in the foaming "hirl%ools, and understood that he couldn't get at them here, either# Still he couldn't ma!e u% his mind to abandon them, but seated himself on the shore and loo!ed at them# 8e felt very much humbled, and thought that his entire re%utation as a hunter "as at sta!e# All of a sudden, he sa" an otter come cree%ing u% from the falls "ith a fish in his mouth# Smirre a%%roached him but sto%%ed "ithin t"o ste%s of him, to sho" him that he didn't "ish to ta!e his game from him# G$ou're a remar!able one, "ho can content yourself "ith catching a fish, "hile the stones are covered "ith geeseJG said Smirre# 8e "as so eager, that he hadn't ta!en the time to arrange his "ords as carefully as he "as "ont to do# The otter didn't turn his head once in the direction of the river# 8e "as a vagabondHli!e all ottersHand had fished many times by >omb La!e, and %robably !ne" Smirre *o?# G9 !no" very "ell ho" you act "hen you "ant to coa? a"ay a salmon&trout, Smirre,G said he# G7hJ is it you, Gri%eKG said Smirre, and "as delightedI for he !ne" that this %articular otter "as a Luic! and accom%lished s"immer# G9 don't "onder that you do not care to loo! at the "ild geese, since you can't manage to get out to them#G ut the otter, "ho had s"imming&"ebs bet"een his toes, and a stiff tailH"hich "as as good as an oarH and a s!in that "as "ater&%roof, didn't "ish to have it said of him that there "as a "aterfall that he "asn't able to manage# 8e turned to"ard the streamI and as soon as he caught sight of the "ild geese, he thre" the fish a"ay, and rushed do"n the stee% shore and into the river# 9f it had been a little later in the s%ring, so that the nightingales in )ju%afors had been at home, they "ould have sung for many a day of Gri%e's struggle "ith the ra%id# *or the otter "as thrust bac! by the "aves many times, and carried do"n riverI but he fought his "ay steadily u% again# 8e s"am for"ard in still "aterI he cra"led over stones, and gradually came nearer the "ild geese# 9t "as a %erilous tri%, "hich might "ell have earned the right to be sung by the nightingales# Smirre follo"ed the otter's course "ith his eyes as "ell as he could# At last he sa" that the otter "as in the act of climbing u% to the "ild geese# ut just then it shrie!ed shrill and "ild# The otter tumbled bac!"ard into the "ater, and dashed a"ay as if he had been a blind !itten# An instant later, there "as a great crac!ling of geese's "ings# They raised themselves and fle" a"ay to find another slee%ing&%lace#

The otter soon came on land# 8e said nothing, but commenced to lic! one of his fore%a"s# When Smirre sneered at him because he hadn't succeeded, he bro!e out' G9t "as not the fault of my s"imming&art, Smirre# 9 had raced all the "ay over to the geese, and "as about to climb u% to them, "hen a tiny creature came running, and jabbed me in the foot "ith some shar% iron# 9t hurt so, 9 lost my footing, and then the current too! me#G 8e didn't have to say any more# Smirre "as already far a"ay on his "ay to the "ild geese# 7nce again A!!a and her floc! had to ta!e a night fly# *ortunately, the moon had not gone do"nI and "ith the aid of its light, she succeeded in finding another of those slee%ing&%laces "hich she !ne" in that neighbourhood# Again she follo"ed the shining river to"ard the south# 7ver )ju%adal's manor, and over (onneby's dar! roofs and "hite "aterfalls she s"ayed for"ard "ithout alighting# ut a little south of the city and not far from the sea, lies (onneby health&s%ring, "ith its bath house and s%ring houseI "ith its big hotel and summer cottages for the s%ring's guests# All these stand em%ty and desolate in "interH"hich the birds !no" %erfectly "ellI and many are the bird& com%anies "ho see! shelter on the deserted buildings' balustrades and balconies during hard storm&times# 8ere the "ild geese lit on a balcony, and, as usual, they fell aslee% at once# The boy, on the contrary, could not slee% because he hadn't cared to cree% in under the goosey& gander's "ing# The balcony faced south, so the boy had an outloo! over the sea# And since he could not slee%, he sat there and sa" ho" %retty it loo!ed "hen sea and land meet, here in le!inge# $ou see that sea and land can meet in many different "ays# 9n many %laces the land comes do"n to"ard the sea "ith flat, tufted meado"s, and the sea meets the land "ith flying sand, "hich %iles u% in mounds and drifts# 9t a%%ears as though they both disli!ed each other so much that they only "ished to sho" the %oorest they %ossessed# ut it can also ha%%en that, "hen the land comes to"ard the sea, it raises a "all of hills in front of itHas though the sea "ere something dangerous# When the land does this, the sea comes u% to it "ith fiery "rath, and beats and roars and lashes against the roc!s, and loo!s as if it "ould tear the land&hill to %ieces# ut in le!inge it is altogether different "hen sea and land meet# There the land brea!s itself u% into %oints and islands and isletsI and the sea divides itself into fiords and bays and soundsI and it is, %erha%s, this "hich ma!es it loo! as if they must meet in ha%%iness and harmony# Thin! no" first and foremost of the seaJ *ar out it lies desolate and em%ty and big, and has nothing else to do but to roll its gray billo"s# When it comes to"ard the land, it ha%%ens across the first obstacle# This it immediately over%o"ersI tears a"ay everything green, and ma!es it as gray as itself# Then it meets still another obstacle# With this it does the same thing# And still another# $es, the same thing ha%%ens to this also# 9t is stri%%ed and %lundered, as if it had fallen into robbers' hands# Then the obstacles come nearer and nearer together, and then the sea must understand that the land sends to"ard

it her littlest children, in order to move it to %ity# 9t also becomes more friendly the farther in it comesI rolls its "aves less highI moderates its stormsI lets the green things stay in crac!s and crevicesI se%arates itself into small sounds and inlets, and becomes at last so harmless in the land, that little boats dare venture out on it# 9t certainly cannot recognise itselfHso mild and friendly has it gro"n# And then thin! of the hillsideJ 9t lies uniform, and loo!s the same almost every"here# 9t consists of flat grain&fields, "ith one and another birch&grove bet"een themI or else of long stretches of forest ranges# 9t a%%ears as if it had thought about nothing but grain and turni%s and %otatoes and s%ruce and %ine# Then comes a sea&fiord that cuts far into it# 9t doesn't mind that, but borders it "ith birch and alder, just as if it "as an ordinary fresh&"ater la!e# Then still another "ave comes driving in# Nor does the hillside bother itself about cringing to this, but it, too, gets the same covering as the first one# Then the fiords begin to broaden and se%arate, they brea! u% fields and "oods and then the hillside cannot hel% but notice them# G9 believe it is the sea itself that is coming,G says the hillside, and then it begins to adorn itself# 9t "reathes itself "ith blossoms, travels u% and do"n in hills and thro"s islands into the sea# 9t no longer cares about %ines and s%ruces, but casts them off li!e old every day clothes, and %arades later "ith big oa!s and lindens and chestnuts, and "ith blossoming leafy bo"ers, and becomes as gorgeous as a manor&%ar!# And "hen it meets the sea, it is so changed that it doesn't !no" itself# All this one cannot see very "ell until summertimeI but, at any rate, the boy observed ho" mild and friendly nature "asI and he began to feel calmer than he had been before, that night# Then, suddenly, he heard a shar% and ugly yo"l from the bath&house %ar!I and "hen he stood u% he sa", in the "hite moonlight, a fo? standing on the %avement under the balcony# *or Smirre had follo"ed the "ild geese once more# ut "hen he had found the %lace "here they "ere Luartered, he had understood that it "as im%ossible to get at them in any "ayI then he had not been able to !ee% from yo"ling "ith chagrin# When the fo? yo"led in this manner, old A!!a, the leader&goose, "as a"a!ened# Although she could see nothing, she thought she recognised the voice# G9s it you "ho are out to&night, SmirreKG said she# G$es,G said Smirre, Git is 9I and 9 "ant to as! "hat you geese thin! of the night that 9 have given youKG G)o you mean to say that it is you "ho have sent the marten and otter against usKG as!ed A!!a# GA good turn shouldn't be denied,G said Smirre# G$ou once %layed the goose&game "ith me, no" 9 have begun to %lay the fo?&game "ith youI and 9'm not inclined to let u% on it so long as a single one of you still lives even if 9 have to follo" you the "orld overJG G$ou, Smirre, ought at least to thin! "hether it is right for you, "ho are "ea%oned "ith both teeth and cla"s, to hound us in this "ayI "e, "ho are "ithout defence,G said A!!a# Smirre thought that A!!a sounded scared, and he said Luic!ly' G9f you, A!!a, "ill ta!e that ThumbietotH"ho has so often o%%osed meHand thro" him do"n to me, 9'll %romise to ma!e %eace "ith you# Then 9'll never more %ursue you or any of yours#G G9'm not going to give you Thumbietot,G said A!!a# G*rom the youngest of us to the oldest, "e "ould "illingly give our lives for his sa!eJG GSince you're so fond of him,G said Smirre, G9'll %romise you that he shall be the first among you that 9 "ill "rea! vengeance u%on#G

A!!a said no more, and after Smirre had sent u% a fe" more yo"ls, all "as still# The boy lay all the "hile a"a!e# No" it "as A!!a's "ords to the fo? that %revented him from slee%ing# Never had he dreamed that he should hear anything so great as that anyone "as "illing to ris! life for his sa!e# *rom that moment, it could no longer be said of Nils 8olgersson that he did not care for anyone# KARLSKRONA Saturday, April second# 9t "as a moonlight evening in =arls!ronaHcalm and beautiful# ut earlier in the day, there had been rain and "indI and the %eo%le must have thought that the bad "eather still continued, for hardly one of them had ventured out on the streets# While the city lay there so desolate, A!!a, the "ild goose, and her floc!, came flying to"ard it over >emmEn and Pantarholmen# They "ere out in the late evening to see! a slee%ing %lace on the islands# They couldn't remain inland because they "ere disturbed by Smirre *o? "herever they lighted# When the boy rode along high u% in the air, and loo!ed at the sea and the islands "hich s%read themselves before him, he thought that everything a%%eared so strange and s%oo!&li!e# The heavens "ere no longer blue, but encased him li!e a globe of green glass# The sea "as mil!&"hite, and as far as he could see rolled small "hite "aves ti%%ed "ith silver ri%%les# 9n the midst of all this "hite lay numerous little islets, absolutely coal blac!# Whether they "ere big or little, "hether they "ere as even as meado"s, or full of cliffs, they loo!ed just as blac!# /ven d"elling houses and churches and "indmills, "hich at other times are "hite or red, "ere outlined in blac! against the green s!y# The boy thought it "as as if the earth had been transformed, and he "as come to another "orld# 8e thought that just for this one night he "anted to be brave, and not afraidH"hen he sa" something that really frightened him# 9t "as a high cliff island, "hich "as covered "ith big, angular bloc!sI and bet"een the bloc!s shone s%ec!s of bright, shining gold# 8e couldn't !ee% from thin!ing of Caglestone, by Trolle&Ljungby, "hich the trolls sometimes raised u%on high gold %illarsI and he "ondered if this "as something li!e that# ut "ith the stones and the gold it might have gone fairly "ell, if such a lot of horrid things had not been lying all around the island# 9t loo!ed li!e "hales and shar!s and other big sea&monsters# ut the boy understood that it "as the sea&trolls, "ho had gathered around the island and intended to cra"l u% on it, to fight "ith the land&trolls "ho lived there# And those on the land "ere %robably afraid, for he sa" ho" a big giant stood on the highest %oint of the island and raised his armsHas if in des%air over all the misfortune that should come to him and his island# The boy "as not a little terrified "hen he noticed that A!!a began to descend right over that %articular islandJ GNo, for %ity's sa!eJ We must not light there,G said he#

ut the geese continued to descend, and soon the boy "as astonished that he could have seen things so a"ry# 9n the first %lace, the big stone bloc!s "ere nothing but houses# The "hole island "as a cityI and the shining gold s%ec!s "ere street lam%s and lighted "indo"&%anes# The giant, "ho stood highest u% on the island, and raised his arms, "as a church "ith t"o cross&to"ersI all the sea&trolls and monsters, "hich he thought he had seen, "ere boats and shi%s of every descri%tion, that lay anchored all around the island# 7n the side "hich lay to"ard the land "ere mostly ro"&boats and sailboats and small coast steamersI but on the side that faced the sea lay armour&clad battleshi%sI some "ere broad, "ith very thic!, slanting smo!estac!sI others "ere long and narro", and so constructed that they could glide through the "ater li!e fishes# No" "hat city might this beK That, the boy could figure out because he sa" all the battleshi%s# All his life he had loved shi%s, although he had had nothing to do "ith any, e?ce%t the galleys "hich he had sailed in the road ditches# 8e !ne" very "ell that this cityH"here so many battleshi%s layHcouldn't be any %lace but =arls!rona# The boy's grandfather had been an old marineI and as long as he had lived, he had tal!ed of =arls!rona every dayI of the great "arshi% doc!, and of all the other things to be seen in that city# The boy felt %erfectly at home, and he "as glad that he should see all this of "hich he had heard so much# ut he only had a glim%se of the to"ers and fortifications "hich barred the entrance to the harbour, and the many buildings, and the shi%yardHbefore A!!a came do"n on one of the flat church&to"ers# This "as a %retty safe %lace for those "ho "anted to get a"ay from a fo?, and the boy began to "onder if he couldn't venture to cra"l in under the goosey&gander's "ing for this one night# $es, that he might safely do# 9t "ould do him good to get a little slee%# 8e should try to see a little more of the doc! and the shi%s after it had gro"n light# The boy himself thought it "as strange that he could !ee% still and "ait until the ne?t morning to see the shi%s# 8e certainly had not sle%t five minutes before he sli%%ed out from under the "ing and slid do"n the lightning&rod and the "aters%out all the "ay do"n to the ground# Soon he stood on a big sLuare "hich s%read itself in front of the church# 9t "as covered "ith round stones, and "as just as difficult for him to travel over, as it is for big %eo%le to "al! on a tufted meado"# Those "ho are accustomed to live in the o%enHor "ay out in the countryHal"ays feel uneasy "hen they come into a city, "here the houses stand straight and forbidding, and the streets are o%en, so that everyone can see "ho goes there# And it ha%%ened in the same "ay "ith the boy# When he stood on the big =arls!rona sLuare, and loo!ed at the German church, and to"n hall, and the cathedral from "hich he had just descended, he couldn't do anything but "ish that he "as bac! on the to"er again "ith the geese# 9t "as a luc!y thing that the sLuare "as entirely deserted# There "asn't a human being aboutHunless he counted a statue that stood on a high %edestal# The boy gaMed long at the statue, "hich re%resented a big, bra"ny man in a three&cornered hat, long "aistcoat, !nee&breeches and coarse shoes, and "ondered "hat !ind of a one he "as# 8e held a

long stic! in his hand, and he loo!ed as if he "ould !no" ho" to ma!e use of it, tooH for he had an a"fully severe countenance, "ith a big, hoo!ed nose and an ugly mouth# GWhat is that long&li%%ed thing doing hereKG said the boy at last# 8e had never felt so small and insignificant as he did that night# 8e tried to jolly himself u% a bit by saying something audacious# Then he thought no more about the statue, but betoo! himself to a "ide street "hich led do"n to the sea# ut the boy hadn't gone far before he heard that someone "as follo"ing him# Someone "as "al!ing behind him, "ho stam%ed on the stone %avement "ith heavy footste%s, and %ounded on the ground "ith a hard stic!# 9t sounded as if the bronMe man u% in the sLuare had gone out for a %romenade# The boy listened after the ste%s, "hile he ran do"n the street, and he became more and more convinced that it "as the bronMe man# The ground trembled, and the houses shoo!# 9t couldn't be anyone but he, "ho "al!ed so heavily, and the boy gre" %anic&stric!en "hen he thought of "hat he had just said to him# 8e did not dare to turn his head to find out if it really "as he# GPerha%s he is only out "al!ing for recreation,G thought the boy# GSurely he can't be offended "ith me for the "ords 9 s%o!e# They "ere not at all badly meant#G 9nstead of going straight on, and trying to get do"n to the doc!, the boy turned into a side street "hich led east# *irst and foremost, he "anted to get a"ay from the one "ho tram%ed after him# ut the ne?t instant he heard that the bronMe man had s"itched off to the same streetI and then the boy "as so scared that he didn't !no" "hat he "ould do "ith himself# And ho" hard it "as to find any hiding %laces in a city "here all the gates "ere closedJ Then he sa" on his right an old frame church, "hich lay a short distance a"ay from the street in the centre of a large grove# Not an instant did he %ause to consider, but rushed on to"ard the church# G9f 9 can only get there, then 9'll surely be shielded from all harm,G thought he# As he ran for"ard, he suddenly caught sight of a man "ho stood on a gravel %ath and bec!oned to him# GThere is certainly someone "ho "ill hel% meJG thought the boyI he became intensely ha%%y, and hurried off in that direction# 8e "as actually so frightened that the heart of him fairly thum%ed in his breast# ut "hen he came u% to the man "ho stood on the edge of the gravel %ath, u%on a lo" %edestal, he "as absolutely thunderstruc!# GSurely, it can't have been that one "ho bec!oned to meJG thought heI for he sa" that the entire man "as made of "ood# 8e stood there and stared at him# 8e "as a thic!&set man on short legs, "ith a broad, ruddy countenance, shiny, blac! hair and full blac! beard# 7n his head he "ore a "ooden hatI on his body, a bro"n "ooden coatI around his "aist, a blac! "ooden beltI on his legs he had "ide "ooden !nee&breeches and "ooden stoc!ingsI and on his feet blac! "ooden shoes# 8e "as ne"ly %ainted and ne"ly varnished, so that he glistened and shone in the moonlight# This undoubtedly had a good deal to do "ith giving him such a good&natured a%%earance, that the boy at once %laced confidence in him#

9n his left hand he held a "ooden slate, and there the boy read' Most humbly beg you, Though !oice may lac"# $ome drop a penny, do% &ut lift my hat' 7h hoJ the man "as only a %oor&bo?# The boy felt that he had been done# 8e had e?%ected that this should be something really remar!able# And no" he remembered that grand%a had also s%o!en of the "ooden man, and said that all the children in =arls!rona "ere so fond of him# And that must have been true, for he, too, found it hard to %art "ith the "ooden man# 8e had something so old&timy about him, that one could "ell ta!e him to be many hundred years oldI and at the same time, he loo!ed so strong and bold, and animatedHjust as one might imagine that fol!s loo!ed in olden times# The boy had so much fun loo!ing at the "ooden man, that he entirely forgot the one from "hom he "as fleeing# ut no" he heard him# 8e turned from the street and came into the churchyard# 8e follo"ed him here tooJ Where should the boy goK :ust then he sa" the "ooden man bend do"n to him and stretch forth his big, broad hand# 9t "as im%ossible to believe anything but good of himI and "ith one jum%, the boy stood in his hand# The "ooden man lifted him to his hatHand stuc! him under it# The boy "as just hidden, and the "ooden man had just gotten his arm in its right %lace again, "hen the bronMe man sto%%ed in front of him and banged the stic! on the ground, so that the "ooden man shoo! on his %edestal# Thereu%on the bronMe man said in a strong and resonant voice' GWho might this one beKG The "ooden man's arm "ent u%, so that it crea!ed in the old "ood"or!, and he touched his hat brim as he re%lied' G(osenbom, by $our Cajesty's leave# 7nce u%on a time boats"ain on the man&of&"ar, (ristighetenI after com%leted service, se?ton at the Admiral's churchHand, lately, carved in "ood and e?hibited in the churchyard as a %oor&bo?#G The boy gave a start "hen he heard that the "ooden man said G$our Cajesty#G *or no", "hen he thought about it, he !ne" that the statue on the sLuare re%resented the one "ho had founded the city# 9t "as %robably no less an one than ;harles the /leventh himself, "hom he had encountered# G8e gives a good account of himself,G said the bronMe man# G;an he also tell me if he has seen a little brat "ho runs around in the city to&nightK 8e's an im%udent rascal, if 9 get hold of him, 9'll teach him mannersJG With that, he again %ounded on the ground "ith his stic!, and loo!ed fearfully angry# G y $our Cajesty's leave, 9 have seen him,G said the "ooden manI and the boy "as so scared that he commenced to sha!e "here he sat under the hat and loo!ed at the bronMe man through a crac! in the "ood# ut he calmed do"n "hen the "ooden man continued' G$our Cajesty is on the "rong trac!# That youngster certainly intended to run into the shi%yard, and conceal himself there#G

G)oes he say so, (osenbomK Well then, don't stand still on the %edestal any longer but come "ith me and hel% me find him# *our eyes are better than t"o, (osenbom#G ut the "ooden man ans"ered in a doleful voice' G9 "ould most humbly beg to be %ermitted to stay "here 9 am# 9 loo! "ell and slee! because of the %aint, but 9'm old and mouldy, and cannot stand moving about#G The bronMe man "as not one of those "ho li!ed to be contradicted# GWhat sort of notions are theseK ;ome along, (osenbomJG Then he raised his stic! and gave the other one a resounding "hac! on the shoulder# G)oes (osenbom not see that he holds togetherKG With that they bro!e off and "al!ed for"ard on the streets of =arls!ronaHlarge and mightyHuntil they came to a high gate, "hich led to the shi%yard# :ust outside and on guard "al!ed one of the navy's jac!&tars, but the bronMe man strutted %ast him and !ic!ed the gate o%en "ithout the jac!&tar's %retending to notice it# As soon as they had gotten into the shi%yard, they sa" before them a "ide, e?%ansive harbor se%arated by %ile&bridges# 9n the different harbour basins, lay the "arshi%s, "hich loo!ed bigger, and more a"e&ins%iring close to, li!e this, than lately, "hen the boy had seen them from u% above# GThen it "asn't so craMy after all, to imagine that they "ere sea&trolls,G thought he# GWhere does (osenbom thin! it most advisable for us to begin the searchKG said the bronMe man# GSuch an one as he could most easily conceal himself in the hall of models,G re%lied the "ooden man# 7n a narro" land&stri% "hich stretched to the right from the gate, all along the harbour, lay ancient structures# The bronMe man "al!ed over to a building "ith lo" "alls, small "indo"s, and a cons%icuous roof# 8e %ounded on the door "ith his stic! until it burst o%enI and tram%ed u% a %air of "orn&out ste%s# Soon they came into a large hall, "hich "as filled "ith tac!led and full&rigged little shi%s# The boy understood "ithout being told, that these "ere models for the shi%s "hich had been built for the S"edish navy# There "ere shi%s of many different varieties# There "ere old men&of&"ar, "hose sides bristled "ith cannon, and "hich had high structures fore and aft, and their masts "eighed do"n "ith a net"or! of sails and ro%es# There "ere small island&boats "ith ro"ing&benches along the sidesI there "ere undec!ed cannon sloo%s and richly gilded frigates, "hich "ere models of the ones the !ings had used on their travels# *inally, there "ere also the heavy, broad armour&%lated shi%s "ith to"ers and cannon on dec!H such as are in use no"adaysI and narro", shining tor%edo boats "hich resembled long, slender fishes# When the boy "as carried around among all this, he "as a"ed# G*ancy that such big, s%lendid shi%s have been built here in S"edenJG he thought to himself# 8e had %lenty of time to see all that "as to be seen in thereI for "hen the bronMe man sa" the models, he forgot everything else# 8e e?amined them all, from the first to the

last, and as!ed about them# And (osenbom, the boats"ain on the (ristigheten, told as much as he !ne" of the shi%s' builders, and of those "ho had manned themI and of the fates they had met# 8e told them about ;ha%man and Pu!e and TrolleI of 8oagland and Svens!sundHall the "ay along until 1O-2Hafter that he had not been there# oth he and the bronMe man had the most to say about the fine old "ooden shi%s# The ne" battleshi%s they didn't e?actly a%%ear to understand# G9 can hear that (osenbom doesn't !no" anything about these ne"&fangled things,G said the bronMe man# GTherefore, let us go and loo! at something elseI for this amuses me, (osenbom#G y this time he had entirely given u% his search for the boy, "ho felt calm and secure "here he sat in the "ooden hat# Thereu%on both men "andered through the big establishment' sail&ma!ing sho%s, anchor smithy, machine and car%enter sho%s# They sa" the mast sheers and the doc!sI the large magaMines, the arsenal, the ro%e&bridge and the big discarded doc!, "hich had been blasted in the roc!# They "ent out u%on the %ile&bridges, "here the naval vessels lay moored, ste%%ed on board and e?amined them li!e t"o old sea&dogsI "onderedI disa%%rovedI a%%rovedI and became indignant# The boy sat in safety under the "ooden hat, and heard all about ho" they had laboured and struggled in this %lace, to eLui% the navies "hich had gone out from here# 8e heard ho" life and blood had been ris!edI ho" the last %enny had been sacrificed to build the "arshi%sI ho" s!illed men had strained all their %o"ers, in order to %erfect these shi%s "hich had been their fatherland's safeguard# A cou%le of times the tears came to the boy's eyes, as he heard all this# And the very last, they "ent into an o%en court, "here the galley models of old men&of& "ar "ere grou%edI and a more remar!able sight the boy had never beheldI for these models had inconceivably %o"erful and terror&stri!ing faces# They "ere big, fearless and savage' filled "ith the same %roud s%irit that had fitted out the great shi%s# They "ere from another time than his# 8e thought that he shrivelled u% before them# ut "hen they came in here, the bronMe man said to the "ooden man' GTa!e off thy hat, (osenbom, for those that stand hereJ They have all fought for the fatherland#G And (osenbomHli!e the bronMe manHhad forgotten "hy they had begun this tram%# Without thin!ing, he lifted the "ooden hat from his head and shouted' G9 ta!e off my hat to the one "ho chose the harbour and founded the shi%yard and recreated the navyI to the monarch "ho has a"a!ened all this into lifeJG GThan!s, (osenbomJ That "as "ell s%o!en# (osenbom is a fine man# ut "hat is this, (osenbomKG *or there stood Nils 8olgersson, right on the to% of (osenbom's bald %ate# 8e "asn't afraid any longerI but raised his "hite toboggan hood, and shouted' G8urrah for you, Longli%JG

The bronMe man struc! the ground hard "ith his stic!I but the boy never learned "hat he had intended to do for no" the sun ran u%, and, at the same time, both the bronMe man and the "ooden man vanishedHas if they had been made of mists# While he still stood and stared after them, the "ild geese fle" u% from the church to"er, and s"ayed bac! and forth over the city# 9nstantly they caught sight of Nils 8olgerssonI and then the big "hite one darted do"n from the s!y and fetched him# THE TRIP TO LAND Sunday, April third# The "ild geese "ent out on a "ooded island to feed# There they ha%%ened to run across a fe" gray geese, "ho "ere sur%rised to see themHsince they !ne" very "ell that their !insmen, the "ild geese, usually travel over the interior of the country# They "ere curious and inLuisitive, and "ouldn't be satisfied "ith less than that the "ild geese should tell them all about the %ersecution "hich they had to endure from Smirre *o?# When they had finished, a gray goose, "ho a%%eared to be as old and as "ise as A!!a herself, said' G9t "as a great misfortune for you that Smirre *o? "as declared an outla" in his o"n land# 8e'll be sure to !ee% his "ord, and follo" you all the "ay u% to La%land# 9f 9 "ere in your %lace, 9 shouldn't travel north over SmAland, but "ould ta!e the outside route over @land instead, so that he'll be thro"n off the trac! entirely# To really mislead him, you must remain for a cou%le of days on @land's southern %oint# There you'll find lots of food and lots of com%any# 9 don't believe you'll regret it, if you go over there#G 9t "as certainly very sensible advice, and the "ild geese concluded to follo" it# As soon as they had eaten all they could hold, they started on the tri% to @land# None of them had ever been there before, but the gray goose had given them e?cellent directions# They only had to travel direct south until they came to a large bird&trac!, "hich e?tended all along the le!inge coast# All the birds "ho had "inter residences by the West sea, and "ho no" intended to travel to *inland and (ussia, fle" for"ard thereH and, in %assing, they "ere al"ays in the habit of sto%%ing at @land to rest# The "ild geese "ould have no trouble in finding guides# That day it "as %erfectly still and "armHli!e a summer's dayHthe best "eather in the "orld for a sea tri%# The only grave thing about it "as that it "as not Luite clear, for the s!y "as gray and veiled# 8ere and there "ere enormous mist&clouds "hich hung "ay do"n to the sea's outer edge, and obstructed the vie"# When the travellers had gotten a"ay from the "ooded island, the sea s%read itself so smooth and mirror&li!e, that the boy as he loo!ed do"n thought the "ater had disa%%eared# There "as no longer any earth under him# 8e had nothing but mist and s!y around him# 8e gre" very diMMy, and held himself tight on the goose&bac!, more frightened than "hen he sat there for the first time# 9t seemed as though he couldn't %ossibly hold onI he must fall in some direction# 9t "as even "orse "hen they reached the big bird&trac!, of "hich the gray goose had s%o!en# Actually, there came floc! after floc! flying in e?actly the same direction# They

seemed to follo" a fi?ed route# There "ere duc!s and gray geese, surf&scoters and guillemots, loons and %in&tail duc!s and mergansers and grebes and oyster&catchers and sea&grouse# ut no", "hen the boy leaned for"ard, and loo!ed in the direction "here the sea ought to lie, he sa" the "hole bird %rocession reflected in the "ater# ut he "as so diMMy that he didn't understand ho" this had come about' he thought that the "hole bird %rocession fle" "ith their bellies u%side do"n# Still he didn't "onder at this so much, for he did not himself !no" "hich "as u%, and "hich "as do"n# The birds "ere tired out and im%atient to get on# None of them shrie!ed or said a funny thing, and this made everything seem %eculiarly unreal# GThin!, if "e have travelled a"ay from the earthJG he said to himself# GThin!, if "e are on our "ay u% to heavenJG 8e sa" nothing but mists and birds around him, and began to loo! u%on it as reasonable that they "ere travelling heaven&"ard# 8e "as glad, and "ondered "hat he should see u% there# The diMMiness %assed all at once# 8e "as so e?ceedingly ha%%y at the thought that he "as on his "ay to heaven and "as leaving this earth# :ust about then he heard a cou%le of loud shots, and sa" t"o "hite smo!e&columns ascend# There "as a sudden a"a!ening, and an unrest among the birds# G8untersJ 8untersJG they cried# G*ly highJ *ly a"ayJG Then the boy sa", finally, that they "ere travelling all the "hile over the sea&coast, and that they certainly "ere not in heaven# 9n a long ro" lay small boats filled "ith hunters, "ho fired shot u%on shot# The nearest bird&floc!s hadn't noticed them in time# They had flo"n too lo"# Several dar! bodies san! do"n to"ard the seaI and for every one that fell, there arose cries of anguish from the living# 9t "as strange for one "ho had but lately believed himself in heaven, to "a!e u% suddenly to such fear and lamentation# A!!a shot to"ard the heights as fast as she could, and the floc! follo"ed "ith the greatest %ossible s%eed# The "ild geese got safely out of the "ay, but the boy couldn't get over his amaMement# GTo thin! that anyone could "ish to shoot u%on such as A!!a and $!si and =a!si and the goosey&gander and the othersJ 8uman beings had no conce%tion of "hat they did#G So it bore on again, in the still air, and everything "as as Luiet as heretoforeH"ith the e?ce%tion that some of the tired birds called out every no" and then' GAre "e not there soonK Are you sure "e're on the right trac!KG 8ereu%on, those "ho fle" in the centre ans"ered' GWe are flying straight to @landI straight to @land#G The gray geese "ere tired out, and the loons fle" around them# G)on't be in such a rushJG cried the duc!s# G$ou'll eat u% all the food before "e get there#G G7hJ there'll be enough for both you and us,G ans"ered the loons# efore they had gotten so far that they sa" @land, there came a light "ind against them# 9t brought "ith it something that resembled immense clouds of "hite smo!eHjust as if there "as a big fire some"here#

When the birds sa" the first "hite s%iral haMe, they became uneasy and increased their s%eed# ut that "hich resembled smo!e ble" thic!er and thic!er, and at last it envelo%ed them altogether# They smelled no smo!eI and the smo!e "as not dar! and dry, but "hite and dam%# Suddenly the boy understood that it "as nothing but a mist# When the mist became so thic! that one couldn't see a goose&length ahead, the birds began to carry on li!e real lunatics# All these, "ho before had travelled for"ard in such %erfect order, began to %lay in the mist# They fle" hither and thither, to entice one another astray# G e carefulJG they cried# G$ou're only travelling round and round# Turn bac!, for %ity's sa!eJ $ou'll never get to @land in this "ay#G They all !ne" %erfectly "ell "here the island "as, but they did their best to lead each other astray# GLoo! at those "agtailsJG rang out in the mist# GThey are going bac! to"ard the North SeaJG G8ave a care, "ild geeseJG shrie!ed someone from another direction# G9f you continue li!e this, you'll get clear u% to (Pgen#G There "as, of course, no danger that the birds "ho "ere accustomed to travel here "ould %ermit themselves to be lured in a "rong direction# ut the ones "ho had a hard time of it "ere the "ild geese# The jesters observed that they "ere uncertain as to the "ay, and did all they could to confuse them# GWhere do you intend to go, good %eo%leKG called a s"an# 8e came right u% to A!!a, and loo!ed sym%athetic and serious# GWe shall travel to @landI but "e have never been there before,G said A!!a# She thought that this "as a bird to be trusted# G9t's too bad,G said the s"an# GThey have lured you in the "rong direction# $ou're on the road to le!inge# No" come "ith me, and 9'll %ut you rightJG And so he fle" off "ith themI and "hen he had ta!en them so far a"ay from the trac! that they heard no calls, he disa%%eared in the mist# They fle" around for a "hile at random# They had barely succeeded in finding the birds again, "hen a duc! a%%roached them# G9t's best that you lie do"n on the "ater until the mist clears,G said the duc!# G9t is evident that you are not accustomed to loo! out for yourselves on journeys#G Those rogues succeeded in ma!ing A!!a's head s"im# As near as the boy could ma!e out, the "ild geese fle" round and round for a long time# G e carefulJ ;an't you see that you are flying u% and do"nKG shouted a loon as he rushed by# The boy %ositively clutched the goosey&gander around the nec!# This "as something "hich he had feared for a long time# No one can tell "hen they "ould have arrived, if they hadn't heard a rolling and muffled sound in the distance# Then A!!a craned her nec!, sna%%ed hard "ith her "ings, and rushed on at full s%eed# No" she had something to go by# The gray goose had told her not to light on @land's

southern %oint, because there "as a cannon there, "hich the %eo%le used to shoot the mist "ith# No" she !ne" the "ay, and no" no one in the "orld should lead her astray again# LAND'S SOUTHERN POINT April third to sixth# 7n the most southerly %art of @land lies a royal demesne, "hich is called 7ttenby# 9t is a rather large estate "hich e?tends from shore to shore, straight across the islandI and it is remar!able because it has al"ays been a haunt for large bird&com%anies# 9n the seventeenth century, "hen the !ings used to go over to @land to hunt, the entire estate "as nothing but a deer %ar!# 9n the eighteenth century there "as a stud there, "here blooded race&horses "ere bredI and a shee% farm, "here several hundred shee% "ere maintained# 9n our days you'll find neither blooded horses nor shee% at 7ttenby# 9n %lace of them live great herds of young horses, "hich are to be used by the cavalry# 9n all the land there is certainly no %lace that could be a better abode for animals# Along the e?treme eastern shore lies the old shee% meado", "hich is a mile and a half long, and the largest meado" in all @land, "here animals can graMe and %lay and run about, as free as if they "ere in a "ilderness# And there you "ill find the celebrated 7ttenby grove "ith the hundred&year&old oa!s, "hich give shade from the sun, and shelter from the severe @land "inds# And "e must not forget the long 7ttenby "all, "hich stretches from shore to shore, and se%arates 7ttenby from the rest of the island, so that the animals may !no" ho" far the old royal demesne e?tends, and be careful about getting in on other ground, "here they are not so "ell %rotected# $ou'll find %lenty of tame animals at 7ttenby, but that isn't all# 7ne could almost believe that the "ild ones also felt that on an old cro"n %ro%erty both the "ild and the tame ones can count u%on shelter and %rotectionHsince they venture there in such great numbers# esides, there are still a fe" stags of the old descent leftI and burro"&duc!s and %artridges love to live there, and it offers a resting %lace, in the s%ring and late summer, for thousands of migratory birds# Above all, it is the s"am%y eastern shore belo" the shee% meado", "here the migratory birds alight, to rest and feed# When the "ild geese and Nils 8olgersson had finally found their "ay to @land, they came do"n, li!e all the rest, on the shore near the shee% meado"# The mist lay thic! over the island, just as it had over the sea# ut still the boy "as amaMed at all the birds "hich he discerned, only on the little narro" stretch of shore "hich he could see# 9t "as a lo" sand&shore "ith stones and %ools, and a lot of cast&u% sea&"eed# 9f the boy had been %ermitted to choose, it isn't li!ely that he "ould have thought of alighting thereI but the birds %robably loo!ed u%on this as a veritable %aradise# )uc!s and geese "al!ed about and fed on the meado"I nearer the "ater, ran sni%e, and other coast&birds# The loons lay in the sea and fished, but the life and movement "as u%on the long sea& "eed ban!s along the coast# There the birds stood side by side close together and %ic!ed

grub&"ormsH"hich must have been found there in limitless Luantities for it "as very evident that there "as never any com%laint over a lac! of food# The great majority "ere going to travel farther, and had only alighted to ta!e a short restI and as soon as the leader of a floc! thought that his comrades had recovered themselves sufficiently he said, G9f you are ready no", "e may as "ell move on#G GNo, "ait, "aitJ We haven't had anything li!e enough,G said the follo"ers# G$ou surely don't believe that 9 intend to let you eat so much that you "ill not be able to moveKG said the leader, and fla%%ed his "ings and started off# Along the outermost sea& "eed ban!s lay a floc! of s"ans# They didn't bother about going on land, but rested themselves by lying and roc!ing on the "ater# No" and then they dived do"n "ith their nec!s and brought u% food from the sea&bottom# When they had gotten hold of anything very good, they indulged in loud shouts that sounded li!e trum%et calls# When the boy heard that there "ere s"ans on the shoals, he hurried out to the sea&"eed ban!s# 8e had never before seen "ild s"ans at close range# 8e had luc! on his side, so that he got close u% to them# The boy "as not the only one "ho had heard the s"ans# oth the "ild geese and the gray geese and the loons s"am out bet"een the ban!s, laid themselves in a ring around the s"ans and stared at them# The s"ans ruffled their feathers, raised their "ings li!e sails, and lifted their nec!s high in the air# 7ccasionally one and another of them s"am u% to a goose, or a great loon, or a diving&duc!, and said a fe" "ords# And then it a%%eared as though the one addressed hardly dared raise his bill to re%ly# ut then there "as a little loonHa tiny mischievous baggageH"ho couldn't stand all this ceremony# 8e dived suddenly, and disa%%eared under the "ater's edge# Soon after that, one of the s"ans let out a scream, and s"am off so Luic!ly that the "ater foamed# Then he sto%%ed and began to loo! majestic once more# ut soon, another one shrie!ed in the same "ay as the first one, and then a third# The little loon "asn't able to stay under "ater any longer, but a%%eared on the "ater's edge, little and blac! and venomous# The s"ans rushed to"ard himI but "hen they sa" "hat a %oor little thing it "as, they turned abru%tlyHas if they considered themselves too good to Luarrel "ith him# Then the little loon dived again, and %inched their feet# 9t certainly must have hurtI and the "orst of it "as, that they could not maintain their dignity# At once they too! a decided stand# They began to beat the air "ith their "ings so that it thunderedI came for"ard a bitHas though they "ere running on the "aterH got "ind under their "ings, and raised themselves# When the s"ans "ere gone they "ere greatly missedI and those "ho had lately been amused by the little loon's antics scolded him for his thoughtlessness# The boy "al!ed to"ard land again# There he stationed himself to see ho" the %ool& sni%e %layed# They resembled small stor!sI li!e these, they had little bodies, long legs and nec!s, and light, s"aying movementsI only they "ere not gray, but bro"n# They stood in a long ro" on the shore "here it "as "ashed by "aves# As soon as a "ave

rolled in, the "hole ro" ran bac!"ardI as soon as it receded, they follo"ed it# And they !e%t this u% for hours# The sho"iest of all the birds "ere the burro"&duc!s# They "ere undoubtedly related to the ordinary duc!sI for, li!e these, they too had a thic!&set body, broad bill, and "ebbed feetI but they "ere much more elaborately gotten u%# The feather dress, itself, "as "hiteI around their nec!s they "ore a broad gold bandI the "ing&mirror shone in green, red, and blac!I and the "ing&edges "ere blac!, and the head "as dar! green and shimmered li!e satin# As soon as any of these a%%eared on the shore, the others said' GNo", just loo! at those thingsJ They !no" ho" to tog themselves out#G G9f they "ere not so cons%icuous, they "ouldn't have to dig their nests in the earth, but could lay above ground, li!e anyone else,G said a bro"n mallard&duc!# GThey may try as much as they %lease, still they'll never get any"here "ith such noses,G said a gray goose# And this "as actually true# The burro"&duc!s had a big !nob on the base of the bill, "hich s%oiled their a%%earance# ;lose to the shore, sea&gulls and sea&s"allo"s moved for"ard on the "ater and fished# GWhat !ind of fish are you catchingKG as!ed a "ild goose# G9t's a stic!lebac!# 9t's @land stic!lebac!# 9t's the best stic!lebac! in the "orld,G said a gull# GWon't you taste of itKG And he fle" u% to the goose, "ith his mouth full of the little fishes, and "anted to give her some# G<ghJ )o you thin! that 9 eat such filthKG said the "ild goose# The ne?t morning it "as just as cloudy# The "ild geese "al!ed about on the meado" and fedI but the boy had gone to the seashore to gather mussels# There "ere %lenty of themI and "hen he thought that the ne?t day, %erha%s, they "ould be in some %lace "here they couldn't get any food at all, he concluded that he "ould try to ma!e himself a little bag, "hich he could fill "ith mussels# 8e found an old sedge on the meado", "hich "as strong and toughI and out of this he began to braid a !na%sac!# 8e "or!ed at this for several hours, but he "as "ell satisfied "ith it "hen it "as finished# At dinner time all the "ild geese came running and as!ed him if he had seen anything of the "hite goosey&gander# GNo, he has not been "ith me,G said the boy# GWe had him "ith us all along until just lately,G said A!!a, Gbut no" "e no longer !no" "here he's to be found#G The boy jum%ed u%, and "as terribly frightened# 8e as!ed if any fo? or eagle had %ut in an a%%earance, or if any human being had been seen in the neighbourhood# ut no one had noticed anything dangerous# The goosey&gander had %robably lost his "ay in the mist# ut it "as just as great a misfortune for the boy, in "hatever "ay the "hite one had been lost, and he started off immediately to hunt for him# The mist shielded him, so that he could run "herever he "ished "ithout being seen, but it also %revented him from seeing# 8e ran south"ard along the shoreHall the "ay do"n to the lighthouse and the mist cannon on the island's e?treme %oint# 9t "as the same bird confusion every"here, but no goosey&gander# 8e ventured over to 7ttenby estate, and he searched every one of the old, hollo" oa!s in 7ttenby grove, but he sa" no trace of the goosey&gander#

8e searched until it began to gro" dar!# Then he had to turn bac! again to the eastern shore# 8e "al!ed "ith heavy ste%s, and "as fearfully blue# 8e didn't !no" "hat "ould become of him if he couldn't find the goosey&gander# There "as no one "hom he could s%are less# ut "hen he "andered over the shee% meado", "hat "as that big, "hite thing that came to"ard him in the mist if it "asn't the goosey&ganderK 8e "as all right, and very glad that, at last, he had been able to find his "ay bac! to the others# The mist had made him so diMMy, he said, that he had "andered around on the big meado" all day long# The boy thre" his arms around his nec!, for very joy, and begged him to ta!e care of himself, and not "ander a"ay from the others# And he %romised, %ositively, that he never "ould do this again# No, never again# ut the ne?t morning, "hen the boy "ent do"n to the beach and hunted for mussels, the geese came running and as!ed if he had seen the goosey&gander# No, of course he hadn't# GWell, then the goosey&gander "as lost again# 8e had gone astray in the mist, just as he had done the day before#G The boy ran off in great terror and began to search# 8e found one %lace "here the 7ttenby "all "as so tumble&do"n that he could climb over it# Later, he "ent about, first on the shore "hich gradually "idened and became so large that there "as room for fields and meado"s and farmsHthen u% on the flat highland, "hich lay in the middle of the island, and "here there "ere no buildings e?ce%t "indmills, and "here the turf "as so thin that the "hite cement shone under it# Cean"hile, he could not find the goosey&ganderI and as it dre" on to"ard evening, and the boy must return to the beach, he couldn't believe anything but that his travelling com%anion "as lost# 8e "as so de%ressed, he did not !no" "hat to do "ith himself# 8e had just climbed over the "all again "hen he heard a stone crash do"n close beside him# As he turned to see "hat it "as, he thought that he could distinguish something that moved on a stone %ile "hich lay close to the "all# 8e stole nearer, and sa" the goosey&gander come trudging "earily over the stone %ile, "ith several long fibres in his mouth# The goosey&gander didn't see the boy, and the boy did not call to him, but thought it advisable to find out first "hy the goosey&gander time and again disa%%eared in this manner# And he soon learned the reason for it# <% in the stone %ile lay a young gray goose, "ho cried "ith joy "hen the goosey&gander came# The boy cre%t near, so that he heard "hat they saidI then he found out that the gray goose had been "ounded in one "ing, so that she could not fly, and that her floc! had travelled a"ay from her, and left her alone# She had been near death's door "ith hunger, "hen the "hite goosey&gander had heard her call, the other day, and had sought her out# /ver since, he had been carrying food to her# They had both ho%ed that she "ould be "ell before they left the island, but, as yet, she could neither fly nor "al!# She "as very much "orried over this, but he comforted her "ith the thought that he shouldn't travel for a long time# At last he bade her good&night, and %romised to come the ne?t day# The boy let the goosey&gander goI and as soon as he "as gone, he stole, in turn, u% to the stone hea%# 8e "as angry because he had been deceived, and no" he "anted to say

to that gray goose that the goosey&gander "as his %ro%erty# 8e "as going to ta!e the boy u% to La%land, and there "ould be no tal! of his staying here on her account# ut no", "hen he sa" the young gray goose close to, he understood, not only "hy the goosey&gander had gone and carried food to her for t"o days, but also "hy he had not "ished to mention that he had hel%ed her# She had the %rettiest little headI her feather& dress "as li!e soft satin, and the eyes "ere mild and %leading# When she sa" the boy, she "anted to run a"ayI but the left "ing "as out of joint and dragged on the ground, so that it interfered "ith her movements# G$ou mustn't be afraid of me,G said the boy, and didn't loo! nearly so angry as he had intended to a%%ear# G9'm Thumbietot, Corten Goosey&gander's comrade,G he continued# Then he stood there, and didn't !no" "hat he "anted to say# 7ccasionally one finds something among animals "hich ma!es one "onder "hat sort of creatures they really are# 7ne is almost afraid that they may be transformed human beings# 9t "as something li!e this "ith the gray goose# As soon as Thumbietot said "ho he "as, she lo"ered her nec! and head very charmingly before him, and said in a voice that "as so %retty that he couldn't believe it "as a goose "ho s%o!e' G9 am very glad that you have come here to hel% me# The "hite goosey&gander has told me that no one is as "ise and as good as you#G She said this "ith such dignity, that the boy gre" really embarrassed# GThis surely can't be any bird,G thought he# G9t is certainly some be"itched %rincess#G 8e "as filled "ith a desire to hel% her, and ran his hand under the feathers, and felt along the "ing&bone# The bone "as not bro!en, but there "as something "rong "ith the joint# 8e got his finger do"n into the em%ty cavity# G e careful, no"JG he saidI and got a firm gri% on the bone&%i%e and fitted it into the %lace "here it ought to be# 8e did it very Luic!ly and "ell, considering it "as the first time that he had attem%ted anything of the sort# ut it must have hurt very much, for the %oor young goose uttered a single shrill cry, and then san! do"n among the stones "ithout sho"ing a sign of life# The boy "as terribly frightened# 8e had only "ished to hel% her, and no" she "as dead# 8e made a big jum% from the stone %ile, and ran a"ay# 8e thought it "as as though he had murdered a human being# The ne?t morning it "as clear and free from mist, and A!!a said that no" they should continue their travels# All the others "ere "illing to go, but the "hite goosey&gander made e?cuses# The boy understood "ell enough that he didn't care to leave the gray goose# A!!a did not listen to him, but started off# The boy jum%ed u% on the goosey&gander's bac!, and the "hite one follo"ed the floc! Halbeit slo"ly and un"illingly# The boy "as mighty glad that they could fly a"ay from the island# 8e "as conscience&stric!en on account of the gray goose, and had not cared to tell the goosey&gander ho" it had turned out "hen he had tried to cure her# 9t "ould %robably be best if Corten goosey&gander never found out about this, he thought, though he "ondered, at the same time, ho" the "hite one had the heart to leave the gray goose#

ut suddenly the goosey&gander turned# The thought of the young gray goose had over%o"ered him# 9t could go as it "ould "ith the La%land tri%' he couldn't go "ith the others "hen he !ne" that she lay alone and ill, and "ould starve to death# With a fe" "ing&stro!es he "as over the stone %ileI but then, there lay no young gray goose bet"een the stones# G)unfinJ )unfinJ Where art thouKG called the goosey&gander# GThe fo? has %robably been here and ta!en her,G thought the boy# ut at that moment he heard a %retty voice ans"er the goosey&gander# G8ere am 9, goosey&ganderI here am 9J 9 have only been ta!ing a morning bath#G And u% from the "ater came the little gray gooseHfresh and in good trimHand told ho" Thumbietot had %ulled her "ing into %lace, and that she "as entirely "ell, and ready to follo" them on the journey# The dro%s of "ater lay li!e %earl&de" on her shimmery satin&li!e feathers, and Thumbietot thought once again that she "as a real little %rincess# THE BIG BUTTERFLY Wednesday, April sixth# The geese travelled alongside the coast of the long island, "hich lay distinctly visible under them# The boy felt ha%%y and light of heart during the tri%# 8e "as just as %leased and "ell satisfied as he had been glum and de%ressed the day before, "hen he roamed around do"n on the island, and hunted for the goosey&gander# 8e sa" no" that the interior of the island consisted of a barren high %lain, "ith a "reath of fertile land along the coastI and he began to com%rehend the meaning of something "hich he had heard the other evening# 8e had just seated himself to rest a bit by one of the many "indmills on the highland, "hen a cou%le of she%herds came along "ith the dogs beside them, and a large herd of shee% in their train# The boy had not been afraid because he "as "ell concealed under the "indmill stairs# ut as it turned out, the she%herds came and seated themselves on the same stair"ay, and then there "as nothing for him to do but to !ee% %erfectly still# 7ne of the she%herds "as young, and loo!ed about as fol!s do mostlyI the other "as an old Lueer one# 8is body "as large and !notty, but the head "as small, and the face had sensitive and delicate features# 9t a%%eared as though the body and head didn't "ant to fit together at all# 7ne moment he sat silent and gaMed into the mist, "ith an unutterably "eary e?%ression# Then he began to tal! to his com%anion# Then the other one too! out some bread and cheese from his !na%sac!, to eat his evening meal# 8e ans"ered scarcely anything, but listened very %atiently, just as if he "ere thin!ing' G9 might as "ell give you the %leasure of letting you chatter a "hile#G GNo" 9 shall tell you something, /ric,G said the old she%herd# G9 have figured out that in former days, "hen both human beings and animals "ere much larger than they are no", that the butterflies, too, must have been uncommonly large# And once there "as a

butterfly that "as many miles long, and had "ings as "ide as seas# Those "ings "ere blue, and shone li!e silver, and so gorgeous that, "hen the butterfly "as out flying, all the other animals stood still and stared at it# 9t had this dra"bac!, ho"ever, that it "as too large# The "ings had hard "or! to carry it# ut %robably all "ould have gone very "ell, if the butterfly had been "ise enough to remain on the hillside# ut it "asn'tI it ventured out over the /ast sea# And it hadn't gotten very far before the storm came along and began to tear at its "ings# Well, it's easy to understand, /ric, ho" things "ould go "hen the /ast sea storm commenced to "restle "ith frail butterfly&"ings# 9t "asn't long before they "ere torn a"ay and scatteredI and then, of course, the %oor butterfly fell into the sea# At first it "as tossed bac!"ard and for"ard on the billo"s, and then it "as stranded u%on a fe" cliff&foundations outside of SmAland# And there it layHas large and long as it "as# GNo" 9 thin!, /ric, that if the butterfly had dro%%ed on land, it "ould soon have rotted and fallen a%art# ut since it fell into the sea, it "as soa!ed through and through "ith lime, and became as hard as a stone# $ou !no", of course, that "e have found stones on the shore "hich "ere nothing but %etrified "orms# No" 9 believe that it "ent the same "ay "ith the big butterfly&body# 9 believe that it turned "here it lay into a long, narro" mountain out in the /ast sea# )on't youKG 8e %aused for a re%ly, and the other one nodded to him# GGo on, so 9 may hear "hat you are driving at,G said he# GAnd mar! you, /ric, that this very @land, u%on "hich you and 9 live, is nothing else than the old butterfly&body# 9f one only thin!s about it, one can observe that the island is a butterfly# To"ard the north, the slender fore&body and the round head can be seen, and to"ard the south, one sees the bac!&bodyH"hich first broadens out, and then narro"s to a shar% %oint#G 8ere he %aused once more and loo!ed at his com%anion rather an?iously to see ho" he "ould ta!e this assertion# ut the young man !e%t on eating "ith the utmost calm, and nodded to him to continue# GAs soon as the butterfly had been changed into a limestone roc!, many different !inds of seeds of herbs and trees came travelling "ith the "inds, and "anted to ta!e root on it# 9t "as a long time before anything but sedge could gro" there# Then came shee% sorrel, and the roc!&rose and thorn&brush# ut even to&day there is not so much gro"th on Alvaret, that the mountain is "ell covered, but it shines through here and there# And no one can thin! of %loughing and so"ing u% here, "here the earth&crust is so thin# ut if you "ill admit that Alvaret and the strongholds around it, are made of the butterfly& body, then you may "ell have the right to Luestion "here that land "hich lies beneath the strongholds came from#G G$es, it is just that,G said he "ho "as eating# GThat 9 should indeed li!e to !no"#G GWell, you must remember that @land has lain in the sea for a good many years, and in the course of time all the things "hich tumble around "ith the "avesHsea&"eed and sand and clamsHhave gathered around it, and remained lying there# And then, stone and gravel have fallen do"n from both the eastern and "estern strongholds# 9n this "ay the island has acLuired broad shores, "here grain and flo"ers and trees can gro"#

G<% here, on the hard butterfly&bac!, only shee% and co"s and little horses go about# 7nly la%"ings and %lover live here, and there are no buildings e?ce%t "indmills and a fe" stone huts, "here "e she%herds cra"l in# ut do"n on the coast lie big villages and churches and %arishes and fishing hamlets and a "hole city#G 8e loo!ed Luestioningly at the other one# This one had finished his meal, and "as tying the food&sac! together# G9 "onder "here you "ill end "ith all this,G said he# G9t is only this that 9 "ant to !no",G said the she%herd, as he lo"ered his voice so that he almost "his%ered the "ords, and loo!ed into the mist "ith his small eyes, "hich a%%eared to be "orn out from s%ying after all that "hich does not e?ist# G7nly this 9 "ant to !no"' if the %easants "ho live on the built&u% farms beneath the strongholds, or the fishermen "ho ta!e the small herring from the sea, or the merchants in orgholm, or the bathing guests "ho come here every summer, or the tourists "ho "ander around in orgholm's old castle ruin, or the s%ortsmen "ho come here in the fall to hunt %artridges, or the %ainters "ho sit here on Alvaret and %aint the shee% and "indmillsH9 should li!e to !no" if any of them understand that this island has been a butterfly "hich fle" about "ith great shimmery "ings#G GAhJG said the young she%herd, suddenly# G9t should have occurred to some of them, as they sat on the edge of the stronghold of an evening, and heard the nightingales trill in the groves belo" them, and loo!ed over =almar Sound, that this island could not have come into e?istence in the same "ay as the others#G G9 "ant to as!,G said the old one, Gif no one has had the desire to give "ings to the "indmillsHso large that they could reach to heaven, so large that they could lift the "hole island out of the sea and let it fly li!e a butterfly among butterflies#G G9t may be %ossible that there is something in "hat you say,G said the young oneI Gfor on summer nights, "hen the heavens "iden and o%en over the island, 9 have sometimes thought that it "as as if it "anted to raise itself from the sea, and fly a"ay#G ut "hen the old one had finally gotten the young one to tal!, he didn't listen to him very much# G9 "ould li!e to !no",G the old one said in a lo" tone, Gif anyone can e?%lain "hy one feels such a longing u% here on Alvaret# 9 have felt it every day of my lifeI and 9 thin! it %reys u%on each and every one "ho must go about here# 9 "ant to !no" if no one else has understood that all this "istfulness is caused by the fact that the "hole island is a butterfly that longs for its "ings#G LITTLE KARL'S ISLAND THE STORM Friday, April eighth# The "ild geese had s%ent the night on @land's northern %oint, and "ere no" on their "ay to the continent# A strong south "ind ble" over =almar Sound, and they had been thro"n north"ard# Still they "or!ed their "ay to"ard land "ith good s%eed# ut "hen they "ere nearing the first islands a %o"erful rumbling "as heard, as if a lot of strong&

"inged birds had come flyingI and the "ater under them, all at once, became %erfectly blac!# A!!a dre" in her "ings so suddenly that she almost stood still in the air# Thereu%on, she lo"ered herself to light on the edge of the sea# ut before the geese had reached the "ater, the "est storm caught u% "ith them# Already, it drove before it fogs, salt scum and small birdsI it also snatched "ith it the "ild geese, thre" them on end, and cast them to"ard the sea# 9t "as a rough storm# The "ild geese tried to turn bac!, time and again, but they couldn't do it and "ere driven out to"ard the /ast sea# The storm had already blo"n them %ast @land, and the sea lay before themHem%ty and desolate# There "as nothing for them to do but to !ee% out of the "ater# When A!!a observed that they "ere unable to turn bac! she thought that it "as needless to let the storm drive them over the entire /ast sea# Therefore she san! do"n to the "ater# No" the sea "as raging, and increased in violence "ith every second# The sea& green billo"s rolled for"ard, "ith seething foam on their crests# /ach one surged higher than the other# 9t "as as though they raced "ith each other, to see "hich could foam the "ildest# ut the "ild geese "ere not afraid of the s"ells# 7n the contrary, this seemed to afford them much %leasure# They did not strain themselves "ith s"imming, but lay and let themselves be "ashed u% "ith the "ave&crests, and do"n in the "ater&dales, and had just as much fun as children in a s"ing# Their only an?iety "as that the floc! should be se%arated# The fe" land&birds "ho drove by, u% in the storm, cried "ith envy' GThere is no danger for you "ho can s"im#G ut the "ild geese "ere certainly not out of all danger# 9n the first %lace, the roc!ing made them hel%lessly slee%y# They "ished continually to turn their heads bac!"ard, %o!e their bills under their "ings, and go to slee%# Nothing can be more dangerous than to fall aslee% in this "ayI and A!!a called out all the "hile' G)on't go to slee%, "ild geeseJ 8e that falls aslee% "ill get a"ay from the floc!# 8e that gets a"ay from the floc! is lost#G )es%ite all attem%ts at resistance one after another fell aslee%I and A!!a herself came %retty near doMing off, "hen she suddenly sa" something round and dar! rise on the to% of a "ave# GSealsJ SealsJ SealsJG cried A!!a in a high, shrill voice, and raised herself u% in the air "ith resounding "ing&stro!es# 9t "as just at the crucial moment# efore the last "ild goose had time to come u% from the "ater, the seals "ere so close to her that they made a grab for her feet# Then the "ild geese "ere once more u% in the storm "hich drove them before it out to sea# No rest did it allo" either itself or the "ild geeseI and no land did they seeHonly desolate sea# They lit on the "ater again, as soon as they dared venture# ut "hen they had roc!ed u%on the "aves for a "hile, they became slee%y again# And "hen they fell aslee%, the seals came s"imming# 9f old A!!a had not been so "a!eful, not one of them "ould have esca%ed# All day the storm ragedI and it caused fearful havoc among the cro"ds of little birds, "hich at this time of year "ere migrating# Some "ere driven from their course to foreign lands, "here they died of starvationI others became so e?hausted that they san!

do"n in the sea and "ere dro"ned# Cany "ere crushed against the cliff&"alls, and many became a %rey for the seals# The storm continued all day, and, at last, A!!a began to "onder if she and her floc! "ould %erish# They "ere no" dead tired, and no"here did they see any %lace "here they might rest# To"ard evening she no longer dared to lie do"n on the sea, because no" it filled u% all of a sudden "ith large ice&ca!es, "hich struc! against each other, and she feared they should be crushed bet"een these# A cou%le of times the "ild geese tried to stand on the ice&crustI but one time the "ild storm s"e%t them into the "aterI another time, the merciless seals came cree%ing u% on the ice# At sundo"n the "ild geese "ere once more u% in the air# They fle" onHfearful for the night# The dar!ness seemed to come u%on them much too Luic!ly this nightH"hich "as so full of dangers# 9t "as terrible that they, as yet, sa" no land# 8o" "ould it go "ith them if they "ere forced to stay out on the sea all nightK They "ould either be crushed bet"een the ice& ca!es or devoured by seals or se%arated by the storm# The heavens "ere cloud&bedec!ed, the moon hid itself, and the dar!ness came Luic!ly# At the same time all nature "as filled "ith a horror "hich caused the most courageous hearts to Luail# )istressed bird&travellers' cries had sounded over the sea all day long, "ithout anyone having %aid the slightest attention to themI but no", "hen one no longer sa" "ho it "as that uttered them, they seemed mournful and terrifying# )o"n on the sea, the ice&drifts crashed against each other "ith a loud rumbling noise# The seals tuned u% their "ild hunting songs# 9t "as as though heaven and earth "ere, about to clash#

The boy sat for a moment and loo!ed do"n into the sea# Suddenly he thought that it began to roar louder than ever# 8e loo!ed u%# (ight in front of himHonly a cou%le of metres a"ayHstood a rugged and bare mountain&"all# At its base the "aves dashed into a foaming s%ray# The "ild geese fle" straight to"ard the cliff, and the boy did not see ho" they could avoid being dashed to %ieces against it# 8ardly had he "ondered that A!!a hadn't seen the danger in time, "hen they "ere over by the mountain# Then he also noticed that in front of them "as the half&round entrance to a grotto# 9nto this the geese steeredI and the ne?t moment they "ere safe# The first thing the "ild geese thought ofHbefore they gave themselves time to rejoice over their safetyH"as to see if all their comrades "ere also harboured# $es, there "ere A!!a, 9!si, =olmi, Nelja, >iisi, =nusi, all the si? goslings, the goosey&gander, )unfin and ThumbietotI but =a!si from Nuolja, the first left&hand goose, "as missingHand no one !ne" anything about her fate# When the "ild geese discovered that no one but =a!si had been se%arated from the floc!, they too! the matter lightly# =a!si "as old and "ise# She !ne" all their by"ays and their habits, and she, of course, "ould !no" ho" to find her "ay bac! to them# Then the "ild geese began to loo! around in the cave# /nough daylight came in through the o%ening, so that they could see the grotto "as both dee% and "ide# They "ere

delighted to thin! they had found such a fine night harbour, "hen one of them caught sight of some shining, green dots, "hich glittered in a dar! corner# GThese are eyesJG cried A!!a# GThere are big animals in here#G They rushed to"ard the o%ening, but Thumbietot called to them' GThere is nothing to run a"ay fromJ 9t's only a fe" shee% "ho are lying alongside the grotto "all#G When the "ild geese had accustomed themselves to the dim daylight in the grotto, they sa" the shee% very distinctly# The gro"n&u% ones might be about as many as there "ere geeseI but beside these there "ere a fe" little lambs# An old ram "ith long, t"isted horns a%%eared to be the most lordly one of the floc!# The "ild geese "ent u% to him "ith much bo"ing and scra%ing# GWell met in the "ildernessJG they greeted, but the big ram lay still, and did not s%ea! a "ord of "elcome# Then the "ild geese thought that the shee% "ere dis%leased because they had ta!en shelter in their grotto# G9t is %erha%s not %ermissible that "e have come in hereKG said A!!a# G ut "e cannot hel% it, for "e are "ind&driven# We have "andered about in the storm all day, and it "ould be very good to be allo"ed to sto% here to&night#G After that a long time %assed before any of the shee% ans"ered "ith "ordsI but, on the other hand, it could be heard distinctly that a %air of them heaved dee% sighs# A!!a !ne", to be sure, that shee% are al"ays shy and %eculiarI but these seemed to have no idea of ho" they should conduct themselves# *inally an old e"e, "ho had a long and %athetic face and a doleful voice, said' GThere isn't one among us that refuses to let you stayI but this is a house of mourning, and "e cannot receive guests as "e did in former days#G G$ou needn't "orry about anything of that sort,G said A!!a# G9f you !ne" "hat "e have endured this day, you "ould surely understand that "e are satisfied if "e only get a safe s%ot to slee% on#G When A!!a said this, the old e"e raised herself# G9 believe that it "ould be better for you to fly about in the "orst storm than to sto% here# ut, at least, you shall not go from here before "e have had the %rivilege of offering you the best hos%itality "hich the house affords#G She conducted them to a hollo" in the ground, "hich "as filled "ith "ater# eside it lay a %ile of bait and hus!s and chaffI and she bade them ma!e the most of these# GWe have had a severe sno"&"inter this year, on the island,G she said# GThe %easants "ho o"n us came out to us "ith hay and oaten stra", so "e shouldn't starve to death# And this trash is all there is left of the good cheer#G The geese rushed to the food instantly# They thought that they had fared "ell, and "ere in their best humour# They must have observed, of course, that the shee% "ere an?iousI but they !ne" ho" easily scared shee% generally are, and didn't believe there "as any actual danger on foot# As soon as they had eaten, they intended to stand u% to slee% as usual# ut then the big ram got u%, and "al!ed over to them# The geese thought that they had never seen a shee% "ith such big and coarse horns# 9n other res%ects, also, he "as noticeable# 8e had a high, rolling forehead, intelligent eyes, and a good bearingH as though he "ere a %roud and courageous animal# G9 cannot assume the res%onsibility of letting you geese remain, "ithout telling you that it is unsafe here,G said he# GWe cannot receive night guests just no"#G At last A!!a began to com%rehend that this "as serious# GWe shall go a"ay, since you really "ish it,G

said she# G ut "on't you tell us first, "hat it is that troubles youK We !no" nothing about it# We do not even !no" "here "e are#G GThis is Little =arl's 9slandJG said the ram# G9t lies outside of Gottland, and only shee% and seabirds live here#G GPerha%s you are "ild shee%KG said A!!a# GWe're not far removed from it,G re%lied the ram# GWe have nothing to do "ith human beings# 9t's an old agreement bet"een us and some %easants on a farm in Gottland, that they shall su%%ly us "ith fodder in case "e have sno"& "interI and as a recom%ense they are %ermitted to ta!e a"ay those of us "ho become su%erfluous# The island is small, so it cannot feed very many of us# ut other"ise "e ta!e care of ourselves all the year round, and "e do not live in houses "ith doors and loc!s, but "e reside in grottoes li!e these#G G)o you stay out here in the "inter as "ellKG as!ed A!!a, sur%rised# GWe do,G ans"ered the ram# GWe have good fodder u% here on the mountain, all the year around#G G9 thin! it sounds as if you might have it better than other shee%,G said A!!a# G ut "hat is the misfortune that has befallen youKG G9t "as bitter cold last "inter# The sea froMe, and then three fo?es came over here on the ice, and here they have been ever since# 7ther"ise, there are no dangerous animals here on the island#G G7h, ohJ do fo?es dare to attac! such as youKG G7h, noJ not during the dayI then 9 can %rotect myself and mine,G said the ram, sha!ing his horns# G ut they snea! u%on us at night "hen "e slee% in the grottoes# We try to !ee% a"a!e, but one must slee% some of the timeI and then they come u%on us# They have already !illed every shee% in the other grottoes, and there "ere herds that "ere just as large as mine#G G9t isn't %leasant to tell that "e are so hel%less,G said the old e"e# GWe cannot hel% ourselves any better than if "e "ere tame shee%#G G)o you thin! that they "ill come here to&nightKG as!ed A!!a# GThere is nothing else in store for us,G ans"ered the old e"e# GThey "ere here last night, and stole a lamb from us# They'll be sure to come again, as long as there are any of us alive# This is "hat they have done in the other %laces#G G ut if they are allo"ed to !ee% this u%, you'll become entirely e?terminated,G said A!!a# G7hJ it "on't be long before it is all over "ith the shee% on Little =arl's 9sland,G said the e"e# A!!a stood there hesitatingly# 9t "as not %leasant, by any means, to venture out in the storm again, and it "asn't good to remain in a house "here such guests "ere e?%ected# When she had %ondered a "hile, she turned to Thumbietot# G9 "onder if you "ill hel% us, as you have done so many times before,G said she# $es, that he "ould li!e to do, he re%lied# G9t is a %ity for you not to get any slee%JG said the "ild goose, Gbut 9 "onder if you are able to !ee% a"a!e until the fo?es come, and then to a"a!en us, so "e may fly a"ay#G The boy "as so very glad of thisHfor anything "as better than to go out in the storm againHso he %romised to !ee% a"a!e# 8e "ent do"n to the grotto o%ening, cra"led in behind a stone, that he might be shielded from the storm, and sat do"n to "atch# When the boy had been sitting there a "hile, the storm seemed to abate# The s!y gre" clear, and the moonlight began to %lay on the "aves# The boy ste%%ed to the o%ening to loo! out# The grotto "as rather high u% on the mountain# A narro" %ath led to it# 9t "as %robably here that he must a"ait the fo?es# As yet he sa" no fo?esI but, on the other hand, there "as something "hich, for the moment, terrified him much more# 7n the land&stri% belo" the mountain stood some

giants, or other stone&trollsHor %erha%s they "ere actual human beings# At first he thought that he "as dreaming, but no" he "as %ositive that he had not fallen aslee%# 8e sa" the big men so distinctly that it couldn't be an illusion# Some of them stood on the land&stri%, and others right on the mountain just as if they intended to climb it# Some had big, thic! headsI others had no heads at all# Some "ere one&armed, and some had hum%s both before and behind# 8e had never seen anything so e?traordinary# The boy stood and "or!ed himself into a state of %anic because of those trolls, so that he almost forgot to !ee% his eye %eeled for the fo?es# ut no" he heard a cla" scra%e against a stone# 8e sa" three fo?es coming u% the stee%I and as soon as he !ne" that he had something real to deal "ith, he "as calm again, and not the least bit scared# 9t struc! him that it "as a %ity to a"a!en only the geese, and to leave the shee% to their fate# 8e thought he "ould li!e to arrange things some other "ay# 8e ran Luic!ly to the other end of the grotto, shoo! the big ram's horns until he a"o!e, and, at the same time, s"ung himself u%on his bac!# GGet u%, shee%, and "ell try to frighten the fo?es a bitJG said the boy# 8e had tried to be as Luiet as %ossible, but the fo?es must have heard some noiseI for "hen they came u% to the mouth of the grotto they sto%%ed and deliberated# G9t "as certainly someone in there that moved,G said one# G9 "onder if they are a"a!e#G G7h, go ahead, youJG said another# GAt all events, they can't do anything to us#G When they came farther in, in the grotto, they sto%%ed and sniffed# GWho shall "e ta!e to&nightKG "his%ered the one "ho "ent first# GTo&night "e "ill ta!e the big ram,G said the last# GAfter that, "e'll have easy "or! "ith the rest#G The boy sat on the old ram's bac! and sa" ho" they snea!ed along# GNo" butt straight for"ardJG "his%ered the boy# The ram butted, and the first fo? "as thrustHto% over tail Hbac! to the o%ening# GNo" butt to the leftJG said the boy, and turned the big ram's head in that direction# The ram measured a terrific assault that caught the second fo? in the side# 8e rolled around several times before he got to his feet again and made his esca%e# The boy had "ished that the third one, too, might have gotten a bum%, but this one had already gone# GNo" 9 thin! that they've had enough for to&night,G said the boy# G9 thin! so too,G said the big ram# GNo" lie do"n on my bac!, and cree% into the "oolJ $ou deserve to have it "arm and comfortable, after all the "ind and storm that you have been out in#G

The ne?t day the big ram "ent around "ith the boy on his bac!, and sho"ed him the island# 9t consisted of a single massive mountain# 9t "as li!e a large house "ith %er%endicular "alls and a flat roof# *irst the ram "al!ed u% on the mountain&roof and sho"ed the boy the good graMing lands there, and he had to admit that the island seemed to be es%ecially created for shee%# There "asn't much else than shee%&sorrel and such little s%icy gro"ths as shee% are fond of that gre" on the mountain# ut indeed there "as something beside shee% fodder to loo! at, for one "ho had gotten "ell u% on the stee%# To begin "ith, the largest %art of the seaH"hich no" lay blue and

sunlit, and rolled for"ard in glittering s"ellsH"as visible# 7nly u%on one and another %oint, did the foam s%ray u%# To the east lay Gottland, "ith even and long&stretched coastI and to the south"est lay Great =arl's 9sland, "hich "as built on the same %lan as the little island# When the ram "al!ed to the very edge of the mountain roof, so the boy could loo! do"n the mountain "alls, he noticed that they "ere sim%ly filled "ith birds' nestsI and in the blue sea beneath him, lay surf&scoters and eider&duc!s and !itti"a!es and guillemots and raMor&billsHso %retty and %eacefulHbusying themselves "ith fishing for small herring# GThis is really a favoured land,G said the boy# G$ou live in a %retty %lace, you shee%#G G7h, yesJ it's %retty enough here,G said the big ram# 9t "as as if he "ished to add somethingI but he did not, only sighed# G9f you go about here alone you must loo! out for the crevices "hich run all around the mountain,G he continued after a little# And this "as a good "arning, for there "ere dee% and broad crevices in several %laces# The largest of them "as called 8ell's 8ole# That crevice "as many fathoms dee% and nearly one fathom "ide# G9f anyone fell do"n there, it "ould certainly be the last of him,G said the big ram# The boy thought it sounded as if he had a s%ecial meaning in "hat he said# Then he conducted the boy do"n to the narro" stri% of shore# No" he could see those giants "hich had frightened him the night before, at close range# They "ere nothing but tall roc!&%illars# The big ram called them Gcliffs#G The boy couldn't see enough of them# 8e thought that if there had ever been any trolls "ho had turned into stone they ought to loo! just li!e that# Although it "as %retty do"n on the shore, the boy li!ed it still better on the mountain height# 9t "as ghastly do"n hereI for every"here they came across dead shee%# 9t "as here that the fo?es had held their orgies# 8e sa" s!eletons "hose flesh had been eaten, and bodies that "ere half&eaten, and others "hich they had scarcely tasted, but had allo"ed to lie untouched# 9t "as heart&rending to see ho" the "ild beasts had thro"n themselves u%on the shee% just for s%ortHjust to hunt them and tear them to death# The big ram did not %ause in front of the dead, but "al!ed by them in silence# ut the boy, mean"hile, could not hel% seeing all the horror# Then the big ram "ent u% on the mountain height againI but "hen he "as there he sto%%ed and said' G9f someone "ho is ca%able and "ise could see all the misery "hich %revails here, he surely "ould not be able to rest until these fo?es had been %unished#G GThe fo?es must live, too,G said the boy# G$es,G said the big ram, Gthose "ho do not tear in %ieces more animals than they need for their sustenance, they may as "ell live# ut these are felons#G GThe %easants "ho o"n the island ought to come here and hel% you,G insisted the boy# GThey have ro"ed over a number of times,G re%lied the ram, Gbut the fo?es al"ays hid themselves in the grottoes and crevices, so they could not get near them, to shoot them#G G$ou surely cannot mean, father, that a %oor little creature li!e me should be able to get at them, "hen neither you nor the %easants have succeeded in getting the better of them#G G8e that is little and s%ry can %ut many things to rights,G said the big ram# They tal!ed no more about this, and the boy "ent over and seated himself among the "ild geese "ho fed on the highland# Although he had not cared to sho" his feelings before the ram, he "as very sad on the shee%'s account, and he "ould have been glad to

hel% them# G9 can at least tal! "ith A!!a and Corten goosey&gander about the matter,G thought he# GPerha%s they can hel% me "ith a good suggestion#G A little later the "hite goosey&gander too! the boy on his bac! and "ent over the mountain %lain, and in the direction of 8ell's 8ole at that# 8e "andered, care&free, on the o%en mountain roofHa%%arently unconscious of ho" large and "hite he "as# 8e didn't see! %rotection behind tufts, or any other %rotuberances, but "ent straight ahead# 9t "as strange that he "as not more careful, for it "as a%%arent that he had fared badly in yesterday's storm# 8e lim%ed on his right leg, and the left "ing hung and dragged as if it might be bro!en# 8e acted as if there "ere no danger, %ec!ed at a grass&blade here and another there, and did not loo! about him in any direction# The boy lay stretched out full length on the goose&bac!, and loo!ed u% to"ard the blue s!y# 8e "as so accustomed to riding no", that he could both stand and lie do"n on the goose&bac!# When the goosey&gander and the boy "ere so care&free, they did not observe, of course, that the three fo?es had come u% on the mountain %lain# And the fo?es, "ho !ne" that it "as "ell&nigh im%ossible to ta!e the life of a goose on an o%en %lain, thought at first that they "ouldn't chase after the goosey&gander# ut as they had nothing else to do, they finally snea!ed do"n on one of the long %asses, and tried to steal u% to him# They "ent about it so cautiously that the goosey&gander couldn't see a shado" of them# They "ere not far off "hen the goosey&gander made an attem%t to raise himself into the air# 8e s%read his "ings, but he did not succeed in lifting himself# When the fo?es seemed to gras% the fact that he couldn't fly, they hurried for"ard "ith greater eagerness than before# They no longer concealed themselves in the cleft, but came u% on the highland# They hurried as fast as they could, behind tufts and hollo"s, and came nearer and nearer the goosey&ganderH"ithout his seeming to notice that he "as being hunted# At last the fo?es "ere so near that they could ma!e the final lea%# Simultaneously, all three thre" themselves "ith one long jum% at the goosey&gander# ut still at the last moment he must have noticed something, for he ran out of the "ay, so the fo?es missed him# This, at any rate, didn't mean very much, for the goosey& gander only had a cou%le of metres head"ay, and, in the bargain, he lim%ed# Any"ay, the %oor thing ran ahead as fast as he could# The boy sat u%on the goose&bac!Hbac!"ardHand shrie!ed and called to the fo?es# G$ou have eaten yourselves too fat on mutton, fo?es# $ou can't catch u% "ith a goose even#G 8e teased them so that they became craMed "ith rage and thought only of rushing for"ard# The "hite one ran right straight to the big cleft# When he "as there, he made one stro!e "ith his "ings, and got over# :ust then the fo?es "ere almost u%on him#

The goosey&gander hurried on "ith the same haste as before, even after he had gotten across 8ell's 8ole# ut he had hardly been running t"o metres before the boy %atted him on the nec!, and said' GNo" you can sto%, goosey&gander#G At that instant they heard a number of "ild ho"ls behind them, and a scra%ing of cla"s, and heavy falls# ut of the fo?es they sa" nothing more# The ne?t morning the lighthouse !ee%er on Great =arl's 9sland found a bit of bar! %o!ed under the entrance&door, and on it had been cut, in slanting, angular letters' GThe fo?es on the little island have fallen do"n into 8ell's 8ole# Ta!e care of themJG And this the lighthouse !ee%er did, too# TWO CITIES THE CITY AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA Saturday, April ninth# 9t "as a calm and clear night# The "ild geese did not trouble themselves to see! shelter in any of the grottoes, but stood and sle%t u%on the mountain to%I and the boy had lain do"n in the short, dry grass beside the geese# 9t "as bright moonlight that nightI so bright that it "as difficult for the boy to go to slee%# 8e lay there and thought about just ho" long he had been a"ay from homeI and he figured out that it "as three "ee!s since he had started on the tri%# At the same time he remembered that this "as /aster&eve# G9t is to&night that all the "itches come home from la!ulla,G thought he, and laughed to himself# *or he "as just a little afraid of both the sea&nym%h and the elf, but he didn't believe in "itches the least little bit# 9f there had been any "itches out that night, he should have seen them, to be sure# 9t "as so light in the heavens that not the tiniest blac! s%ec! could move in the air "ithout his seeing it# While the boy lay there "ith his nose in the air and thought about this, his eye rested on something lovelyJ The moon's disc "as "hole and round, and rather high, and over it a big bird came flying# 8e did not fly %ast the moon, but he moved just as though he might have flo"n out from it# The bird loo!ed blac! against the light bac!ground, and the "ings e?tended from one rim of the disc to the other# 8e fle" on, evenly, in the same direction, and the boy thought that he "as %ainted on the moon's disc# The body "as small, the nec! long and slender, the legs hung do"n, long and thin# 9t couldn't be anything but a stor!# A cou%le of seconds later 8err /rmenrich, the stor!, lit beside the boy# 8e bent do"n and %o!ed him "ith his bill to a"a!en him#

9nstantly the boy sat u%# G9'm not aslee%, 8err /rmenrich,G he said# G8o" does it ha%%en that you are out in the middle of the night, and ho" is everything at Glimminge castleK )o you "ant to s%ea! "ith mother A!!aKG G9t's too light to slee% to&night,G ans"ered 8err /rmenrich# GTherefore 9 concluded to travel over here to =arl's 9sland and hunt you u%, friend Thumbietot# 9 learned from the seame" that you "ere s%ending the night here# 9 have not as yet moved over to Glimminge castle, but am still living at Pommern#G The boy "as sim%ly overjoyed to thin! that 8err /rmenrich had sought him out# They chatted about all sorts of things, li!e old friends# At last the stor! as!ed the boy if he "ouldn't li!e to go out riding for a "hile on this beautiful night# 7h, yesJ that the boy "anted to do, if the stor! "ould manage it so that he got bac! to the "ild geese before sunrise# This he %romised, so off they "ent# Again 8err /rmenrich fle" straight to"ard the moon# They rose and roseI the sea san! dee% do"n, but the flight "ent so light and easy that it seemed almost as if the boy lay still in the air# When 8err /rmenrich began to descend, the boy thought that the flight had lasted an unreasonably short time# They landed on a desolate bit of seashore, "hich "as covered "ith fine, even sand# All along the coast ran a ro" of flying&sand drifts, "ith lyme&grass on their to%s# They "ere not very high, but they %revented the boy from seeing any of the island# 8err /rmenrich stood on a sand&hill, dre" u% one leg and bent his head bac!"ard, so he could stic! his bill under the "ing# G$ou can roam around on the shore for a "hile,G he said to Thumbietot, G"hile 9 rest myself# ut don't go so far a"ay but "hat you can find your "ay bac! to me againJG To start "ith, the boy intended to climb a sand&hill and see ho" the land behind it loo!ed# ut "hen he had "al!ed a cou%le of %aces, he stubbed the toe of his "ooden shoe against something hard# 8e stoo%ed do"n, and sa" that a small co%%er coin lay on the sand, and "as so "orn "ith verdigris that it "as almost trans%arent# 9t "as so %oor that he didn't even bother to %ic! it u%, but only !ic!ed it out of the "ay# ut "hen he straightened himself u% once more he "as %erfectly astounded, for t"o %aces a"ay from him stood a high, dar! "all "ith a big, turreted gate# The moment before, "hen the boy bent do"n, the sea lay thereHshimmering and smooth, "hile no" it "as hidden by a long "all "ith to"ers and battlements# )irectly in front of him, "here before there had been only a fe" sea&"eed ban!s, the big gate of the "all o%ened# The boy %robably understood that it "as a s%ectre&%lay of some sortI but this "as nothing to be afraid of, thought he# 9t "asn't any dangerous trolls, or any other evilH such as he al"ays dreaded to encounter at night# oth the "all and the gate "ere so

beautifully constructed that he only desired to see "hat there might be bac! of them# G9 must find out "hat this can be,G thought he, and "ent in through the gate# 9n the dee% arch"ay there "ere guards, dressed in brocaded and %urred suits, "ith long& handled s%ears beside them, "ho sat and thre" dice# They thought only of the game, and too! no notice of the boy "ho hurried %ast them Luic!ly# :ust "ithin the gate he found an o%en s%ace, %aved "ith large, even stone bloc!s# All around this "ere high and magnificent buildingsI and bet"een these o%ened long, narro" streets# 7n the sLuareHfacing the gateHit fairly s"armed "ith human beings# The men "ore long, fur&trimmed ca%es over satin suitsI %lume&bedec!ed hats sat obliLuely on their headsI on their chests hung su%erb chains# They "ere all so regally gotten u% that the "hole lot of them might have been !ings# The "omen "ent about in high head&dresses and long robes "ith tight&fitting sleeves# They, too, "ere beautifully dressed, but their s%lendour "as not to be com%ared "ith that of the men# This "as e?actly li!e the old story&boo! "hich mother too! from the chestHonly once Hand sho"ed to him# The boy sim%ly couldn't believe his eyes# ut that "hich "as even more "onderful to loo! u%on than either the men or the "omen, "as the city itself# /very house "as built in such a "ay that a gable faced the street# And the gables "ere so highly ornamented, that one could believe they "ished to com%ete "ith each other as to "hich one could sho" the most beautiful decorations# When one suddenly sees so much that is ne", he cannot manage to treasure it all in his memory# ut at least the boy could recall that he had seen stair"ay gables on the various landings, "hich bore images of the ;hrist and his A%ostlesI gables, "here there "ere images in niche after niche all along the "allI gables that "ere inlaid "ith multi& coloured bits of glass, and gables that "ere stri%ed and chec!ed "ith "hite and blac! marble# As the boy admired all this, a sudden sense of haste came over him# GAnything li!e this my eyes have never seen before# Anything li!e this, they "ould never see again,G he said to himself# And he began to run in to"ard the cityHu% one street, and do"n another# The streets "ere straight and narro", but not em%ty and gloomy, as they "ere in the cities "ith "hich he "as familiar# There "ere %eo%le every"here# 7ld "omen sat by their o%en doors and s%un "ithout a s%inning&"heelHonly "ith the hel% of a shuttle# The merchants' sho%s "ere li!e mar!et&stallsHo%ening on the street# All the hand& "or!ers did their "or! out of doors# 9n one %lace they "ere boiling crude oilI in another tanning hidesI in a third there "as a long ro%e&"al!# 9f only the boy had had time enough he could have learned ho" to ma!e all sorts of things# 8ere he sa" ho" armourers hammered out thin breast&%latesI ho" turners tended their ironsI ho" the shoema!ers soled soft, red shoesI ho" the gold&"ire dra"ers t"isted gold thread, and ho" the "eavers inserted silver and gold into their "eaving# ut the boy did not have the time to stay# 8e just rushed on, so that he could manage to see as much as %ossible before it "ould all vanish again#

The high "all ran all around the city and shut it in, as a hedge shuts in a field# 8e sa" it at the end of every streetHgable&ornamented and crenelated# 7n the to% of the "all "al!ed "arriors in shining armourI and "hen he had run from one end of the city to the other, he came to still another gate in the "all# 7utside of this lay the sea and harbour# The boy sa" olden&time shi%s, "ith ro"ing&benches straight across, and high structures fore and aft# Some lay and too! on cargo, others "ere just casting anchor# ;arriers and merchants hurried around each other# All over, it "as life and bustle# ut not even here did he seem to have the time to linger# 8e rushed into the city againI and no" he came u% to the big sLuare# There stood the cathedral "ith its three high to"ers and dee% vaulted arches filled "ith images# The "alls had been so highly decorated by scul%tors that there "as not a stone "ithout its o"n s%ecial ornamentation# And "hat a magnificent dis%lay of gilded crosses and gold&trimmed altars and %riests in golden vestments, shimmered through the o%en gateJ )irectly o%%osite the church there "as a house "ith a notched roof and a single slender, s!y&high to"er# That "as %robably the courthouse# And bet"een the courthouse and the cathedral, all around the sLuare, stood the beautiful gabled houses "ith their multi%licity of adornments# The boy had run himself both "arm and tired# 8e thought that no" he had seen the most remar!able things, and therefore he began to "al! more leisurely# The street "hich he had turned into no" "as surely the one "here the inhabitants %urchased their fine clothing# 8e sa" cro"ds of %eo%le standing before the little stalls "here the merchants s%read brocades, stiff satins, heavy gold cloth, shimmery velvet, delicate veiling, and laces as sheer as a s%ider's "eb# efore, "hen the boy ran so fast, no one had %aid any attention to him# The %eo%le must have thought that it "as only a little gray rat that darted by them# ut no", "hen he "al!ed do"n the street, very slo"ly, one of the salesmen caught sight of him, and began to bec!on to him# At first the boy "as uneasy and "anted to hurry out of the "ay, but the salesman only bec!oned and smiled, and s%read out on the counter a lovely %iece of satin damas! as if he "anted to tem%t him# The boy shoo! his head# G9 "ill never be so rich that 9 can buy even a metre of that cloth,G thought he# ut no" they had caught sight of him in every stall, all along the street# Wherever he loo!ed stood a salesman and bec!oned to him# They left their costly "ares, and thought only of him# 8e sa" ho" they hurried into the most hidden corner of the stall to fetch the best that they had to sell, and ho" their hands trembled "ith eagerness and haste as they laid it u%on the counter# When the boy continued to go on, one of the merchants jum%ed over the counter, caught hold of him, and s%read before him silver cloth and "oven ta%estries, "hich shone "ith brilliant colours# The boy couldn't do anything but laugh at him# The salesman certainly must understand that a %oor little creature li!e him couldn't buy such things# 8e stood still and held out

his t"o em%ty hands, so they "ould understand that he had nothing and let him go in %eace# ut the merchant raised a finger and nodded and %ushed the "hole %ile of beautiful things over to him# G;an he mean that he "ill sell all this for a gold %ieceKG "ondered the boy# The merchant brought out a tiny "orn and %oor coinHthe smallest that one could seeH and sho"ed it to him# And he "as so eager to sell that he increased his %ile "ith a %air of large, heavy, silver goblets# Then the boy began to dig do"n in his %oc!ets# 8e !ne", of course, that he didn't %ossess a single coin, but he couldn't hel% feeling for it# All the other merchants stood still and tried to see ho" the sale "ould come off, and "hen they observed that the boy began to search in his %oc!ets, they flung themselves over the counters, filled their hands full of gold and silver ornaments, and offered them to him# And they all sho"ed him that "hat they as!ed in %ayment "as just one little %enny# ut the boy turned both vest and breeches %oc!ets inside out, so they should see that he o"ned nothing# Then tears filled the eyes of all these regal merchants, "ho "ere so much richer than he# At last he "as moved because they loo!ed so distressed, and he %ondered if he could not in some "ay hel% them# And then he ha%%ened to thin! of the rusty coin, "hich he had but lately seen on the strand# 8e started to run do"n the street, and luc! "as "ith him so that he came to the self& same gate "hich he had ha%%ened u%on first# 8e dashed through it, and commenced to search for the little green co%%er %enny "hich lay on the strand a "hile ago# 8e found it too, very %rom%tlyI but "hen he had %ic!ed it u%, and "anted to run bac! to the city "ith itHhe sa" only the sea before him# No city "all, no gate, no sentinels, no streets, no houses could no" be seenHonly the sea# The boy couldn't hel% that the tears came to his eyes# 8e had believed in the beginning, that that "hich he sa" "as nothing but an hallucination, but this he had already forgotten# 8e only thought about ho" %retty everything "as# 8e felt a genuine, dee% sorro" because the city had vanished# That moment 8err /rmenrich a"o!e, and came u% to him# ut he didn't hear him, and the stor! had to %o!e the boy "ith his bill to attract attention to himself# G9 believe that you stand here and slee% just as 9 do,G said 8err /rmenrich# G7h, 8err /rmenrichJG said the boy# GWhat "as that city "hich stood here just no"KG G8ave you seen a cityKG said the stor!# G$ou have sle%t and dreamt, as 9 say#G GNoJ 9 have not dreamt,G said Thumbietot, and he told the stor! all that he had e?%erienced#

Then 8err /rmenrich said' G*or my %art, Thumbietot, 9 believe that you fell aslee% here on the strand and dreamed all this# G ut 9 "ill not conceal from you that ata!i, the raven, "ho is the most learned of all birds, once told me that in former times there "as a city on this shore, called >ineta# 9t "as so rich and so fortunate, that no city has ever been more gloriousI but its inhabitants, unluc!ily, gave themselves u% to arrogance and love of dis%lay# As a %unishment for this, says ata!i, the city of >ineta "as overta!en by a flood, and san! into the sea# ut its inhabitants cannot die, neither is their city destroyed# And one night in every hundred years, it rises in all its s%lendour u% from the sea, and remains on the surface just one hour#G G$es, it must be so,G said Thumbietot, Gfor this 9 have seen#G G ut "hen the hour is u%, it sin!s again into the sea, if, during that time, no merchant in >ineta has sold anything to a single living creature# 9f you, Thumbietot, only had had an ever so tiny coin, to %ay the merchants, >ineta might have remained u% here on the shoreI and its %eo%le could have lived and died li!e other human beings#G G8err /rmenrich,G said the boy, Gno" 9 understand "hy you came and fetched me in the middle of the night# 9t "as because you believed that 9 should be able to save the old city# 9 am so sorry it didn't turn out as you "ished, 8err /rmenrich#G 8e covered his face "ith his hands and "e%t# 9t "asn't easy to say "hich one loo!ed the more disconsolateHthe boy, or 8err /rmenrich#

Monday, April ele!enth# 7n the afternoon of /aster Conday, the "ild geese and Thumbietot "ere on the "ing# They travelled over Gottland# The large island lay smooth and even beneath them# The ground "as chec!ed just as it "as in S!Ane and there "ere many churches and farms# ut there "as this difference, ho"ever, that there "ere more leafy meado"s bet"een the fields here, and then the farms "ere not built u% "ith small houses# And there "ere no large manors "ith ancient to"er&ornamented castles# The "ild geese had ta!en the route over Gottland on account of Thumbietot# 8e had been altogether unli!e himself for t"o days, and hadn't s%o!en a cheerful "ord# This "as because he had thought of nothing but that city "hich had a%%eared to him in such a strange "ay# 8e had never seen anything so magnificent and royal, and he could not be reconciled "ith himself for having failed to save it# <sually he "as not chic!en& hearted, but no" he actually grieved for the beautiful buildings and the stately %eo%le# oth A!!a and the goosey&gander tried to convince Thumbietot that he had been the victim of a dream, or an hallucination, but the boy "ouldn't listen to anything of that sort# 8e "as so %ositive that he had really seen "hat he had seen, that no one could

move him from this conviction# 8e "ent about so disconsolate that his travelling com%anions became uneasy for him# :ust as the boy "as the most de%ressed, old =a!si came bac! to the floc!# She had been blo"n to"ard Gottland, and had been com%elled to travel over the "hole island before she had learned through some cro"s that her comrades "ere on Little =arl's 9sland# When =a!si found out "hat "as "rong "ith Thumbietot, she said im%ulsively' G9f Thumbietot is grieving over an old city, "e'll soon be able to comfort him# :ust come along, and 9'll ta!e you to a %lace that 9 sa" yesterdayJ $ou "ill not need to be distressed very long#G Thereu%on the geese had ta!en fare"ell of the shee%, and "ere on their "ay to the %lace "hich =a!si "ished to sho" Thumbietot# As blue as he "as, he couldn't !ee% from loo!ing at the land over "hich he travelled, as usual# 8e thought it loo!ed as though the "hole island had in the beginning been just such a high, stee% cliff as =arl's 9slandHthough much bigger of course# ut after"ard, it had in some "ay been flattened out# Someone had ta!en a big rolling&%in and rolled over it, as if it had been a lum% of dough# Not that the island had become altogether flat and even, li!e a bread&ca!e, for it "asn't li!e that# While they had travelled along the coast, he had seen "hite lime "alls "ith grottoes and crags, in several directionsI but in most of the %laces they "ere levelled, and san! incons%icuously do"n to"ard the sea# 9n Gottland they had a %leasant and %eaceful holiday afternoon# 9t turned out to be mild s%ring "eatherI the trees had large budsI s%ring blossoms dressed the ground in the leafy meado"sI the %o%lars' long, thin %endants s"ayedI and in the little gardens, "hich one finds around every cottage, the gooseberry bushes "ere green# The "armth and the s%ring&budding had tem%ted the %eo%le out into the gardens and roads, and "herever a number of them "ere gathered together they "ere %laying# 9t "as not the children alone "ho %layed, but the gro"n&u%s also# They "ere thro"ing stones at a given %oint, and they thre" balls in the air "ith such e?act aim that they almost touched the "ild geese# 9t loo!ed cheerful and %leasant to see big fol!s at %layI and the boy certainly "ould have enjoyed it, if he had been able to forget his grief because he had failed to save the city# Any"ay, he had to admit that this "as a lovely tri%# There "as so much singing and sound in the air# Little children %layed ring games, and sang as they %layed# The Salvation Army "as out# 8e sa" a lot of %eo%le dressed in blac! and redHsitting u%on a "ooded hill, %laying on guitars and brass instruments# 7n one road came a great cro"d of %eo%le# They "ere Good Tem%lars "ho had been on a %leasure tri%# 8e recogniMed them by the big banners "ith the gold inscri%tions "hich "aved above them# They sang song after song as long as he could hear them# After that the boy could never thin! of Gottland "ithout thin!ing of the games and songs at the same time# 8e had been sitting and loo!ing do"n for a long "hileI but no" he ha%%ened to raise his eyes# No one can describe his amaMement# efore he "as a"are of it, the "ild geese

had left the interior of the island and gone "est"ardHto"ard the sea&coast# No" the "ide, blue sea lay before him# 8o"ever, it "as not the sea that "as remar!able, but a city "hich a%%eared on the sea&shore# The boy came from the east, and the sun had just begun to go do"n in the "est# When he came nearer the city, its "alls and to"ers and high, gabled houses and churches stood there, %erfectly blac!, against the light evening s!y# 8e couldn't see therefore "hat it really loo!ed li!e, and for a cou%le of moments he believed that this city "as just as beautiful as the one he had seen on /aster night# When he got right u% to it, he sa" that it "as both li!e and unli!e that city from the bottom of the sea# There "as the same contrast bet"een them, as there is bet"een a man "hom one sees arrayed in %ur%le and je"els one day, and on another day one sees him dressed in rags# $es, this city had %robably, once u%on a time, been li!e the one "hich he sat and thought about# This one, also, "as enclosed by a "all "ith to"ers and gates# ut the to"ers in this city, "hich had been allo"ed to remain on land, "ere roofless, hollo" and em%ty# The gates "ere "ithout doorsI sentinels and "arriors had disa%%eared# All the glittering s%lendour "as gone# There "as nothing left but the na!ed, gray stone s!eleton# When the boy came farther into the city, he sa" that the larger %art of it "as made u% of small, lo" housesI but here and there "ere still a fe" high gabled houses and a fe" cathedrals, "hich "ere from the olden time# The "alls of the gabled houses "ere "hite"ashed, and entirely "ithout ornamentationI but because the boy had so lately seen the buried city, he seemed to understand ho" they had been decorated' some "ith statues, and others "ith blac! and "hite marble# And it "as the same "ith the old cathedralsI the majority of them "ere roofless "ith bare interiors# The "indo" o%enings "ere em%ty, the floors "ere grass&gro"n, and ivy clambered along the "alls# ut no" he !ne" ho" they had loo!ed at one timeI that they had been covered "ith images and %aintingsI that the chancel had had trimmed altars and gilded crosses, and that their %riests had moved about, arrayed in gold vestments# The boy sa" also the narro" streets, "hich "ere almost deserted on holiday afternoons# 8e !ne", he did, "hat a stream of stately %eo%le had once u%on a time sauntered about on them# 8e !ne" that they had been li!e large "or!sho%sHfilled "ith all sorts of "or!men# ut that "hich Nils 8olgersson did not see "as, that the cityHeven to&dayH"as both beautiful and remar!able# 8e sa" neither the cheery cottages on the side streets, "ith their blac! "alls, and "hite bo"s and red %elargoniums behind the shining "indo"& %anes, nor the many %retty gardens and avenues, nor the beauty in the "eed&clad ruins# 8is eyes "ere so filled "ith the %receding glory, that he could not see anything good in the %resent# The "ild geese fle" bac! and forth over the city a cou%le of times, so that Thumbietot might see everything# *inally they san! do"n on the grass&gro"n floor of a cathedral ruin to s%end the night#

When they had arranged themselves for slee%, Thumbietot "as still a"a!e and loo!ed u% through the o%en arches, to the %ale %in! evening s!y# When he had been sitting there a "hile, he thought he didn't "ant to grieve any more because he couldn't save the buried city# No, that he didn't "ant to do, no" that he had seen this one# 9f that city, "hich he had seen, had not sun! into the sea again, then it "ould %erha%s become as dila%idated as this one in a little "hile# Perha%s it could not have "ithstood time and decay, but "ould have stood there "ith roofless churches and bare houses and desolate, em%ty streetsH just li!e this one# Then it "as better that it should remain in all its glory do"n in the dee%# G9t "as best that it ha%%ened as it ha%%ened,G thought he# G9f 9 had the %o"er to save the city, 9 don't believe that 9 should care to do it#G Then he no longer grieved over that matter# And there are %robably many among the young "ho thin! in the same "ay# ut "hen %eo%le are old, and have become accustomed to being satisfied "ith little, then they are more ha%%y over the >isby that e?ists, than over a magnificent >ineta at the bottom of the sea# THE LEGEND OF SMLAND Tuesday, April twelfth# The "ild geese had made a good tri% over the sea, and had lighted in Tjust To"nshi%, in northern SmAland# That to"nshi% didn't seem able to ma!e u% its mind "hether it "anted to be land or sea# *iords ran in every"here, and cut the land u% into islands and %eninsulas and %oints and ca%es# The sea "as so forceful that the only things "hich could hold themselves above it "ere hills and mountains# All the lo"lands "ere hidden a"ay under the "ater e?terior# 9t "as evening "hen the "ild geese came in from the seaI and the land "ith the little hills lay %rettily bet"een the shimmering fiords# 8ere and there, on the islands, the boy sa" cabins and cottagesI and the farther inland he came, the bigger and better became the d"elling houses# *inally, they gre" into large, "hite manors# Along the shores there "as generally a border of treesI and "ithin this lay field&%lots, and on the to%s of the little hills there "ere trees again# 8e could not hel% but thin! of le!inge# 8ere again "as a %lace "here land and sea met, in such a %retty and %eaceful sort of "ay, just as if they tried to sho" each other the best and loveliest "hich they %ossessed# The "ild geese alighted u%on a limestone island a good "ay in on Goose&fiord# With the first glance at the shore they observed that s%ring had made ra%id strides "hile they had been a"ay on the islands# The big, fine trees "ere not as yet leaf&clad, but the ground under them "as brocaded "ith "hite anemones, gagea, and blue anemones# When the "ild geese sa" the flo"er&car%et they feared that they had lingered too long in the southern %art of the country# A!!a said instantly that there "as no time in "hich

to hunt u% any of the sto%%ing %laces in SmAland# y the ne?t morning they must travel north"ard, over @stergEtland# The boy should then see nothing of SmAland, and this grieved him# 8e had heard more about SmAland than he had about any other %rovince, and he had longed to see it "ith his o"n eyes# The summer before, "hen he had served as goose&boy "ith a farmer in the neighbourhood of :ordberga, he had met a %air of SmAland children, almost every day, "ho also tended geese# These children had irritated him terribly "ith their SmAland# 9t "asn't fair to say that 7sa, the goose&girl, had annoyed him# She "as much too "ise for that# ut the one "ho could be aggravating "ith a vengeance "as her brother, little Cats# G8ave you heard, Nils Goose&boy, ho" it "ent "hen SmAland and S!Ane "ere createdKG he "ould as!, and if Nils 8olgersson said no, he began immediately to relate the old jo!e&legend# GWell, it "as at that time "hen our Lord "as creating the "orld# While he "as doing his best "or!, Saint Peter came "al!ing by# 8e sto%%ed and loo!ed on, and then he as!ed if it "as hard to do# 'Well, it isn't e?actly easy,' said our Lord# Saint Peter stood there a little longer, and "hen he noticed ho" easy it "as to lay out one landsca%e after another, he too "anted to try his hand at it# 'Perha%s you need to rest yourself a little,' said Saint Peter, '9 could attend to the "or! in the meantime for you#' ut this our Lord did not "ish# '9 do not !no" if you are so much at home in this art that 9 can trust you to ta!e hold "here 9 leave off,' he ans"ered# Then Saint Peter "as angry, and said that he believed he could create just as fine countries as our Lord himself# G9t ha%%ened that our Lord "as just then creating SmAland# 9t "asn't even half&ready but it loo!ed as though it "ould be an indescribably %retty and fertile land# 9t "as difficult for our Lord to say no to Saint Peter, and aside from this, he thought very li!ely that a thing so "ell begun no one could s%oil# Therefore he said' 9f you li!e, "e "ill %rove "hich one of us t"o understands this sort of "or! the better# $ou, "ho are only a novice, shall go on "ith this "hich 9 have begun, and 9 "ill create a ne" land#' To this Saint Peter agreed at onceI and so they "ent to "or!Heach one in his %lace# G7ur Lord moved south"ard a bit, and there he undertoo! to create S!Ane# 9t "asn't long before he "as through "ith it, and soon he as!ed if Saint Peter had finished, and "ould come and loo! at his "or!# '9 had mine ready long ago,' said Saint PeterI and from the sound of his voice it could be heard ho" %leased he "as "ith "hat he had accom%lished# GWhen Saint Peter sa" S!Ane, he had to ac!no"ledge that there "as nothing but good to be said of that land# 9t "as a fertile land and easy to cultivate, "ith "ide %lains "herever one loo!ed, and hardly a sign of hills# 9t "as evident that our Lord had really contem%lated ma!ing it such that %eo%le should feel at home there# '$es, this is a good country,' said Saint Peter, 'but 9 thin! that mine is better#' 'Then "e'll ta!e a loo! at it,' said our Lord#

GThe land "as already finished in the north and east "hen Saint Peter began the "or!, but the southern and "estern %artsI and the "hole interior, he had created all by himself# No" "hen our Lord came u% there, "here Saint Peter had been at "or!, he "as so horrified that he sto%%ed short and e?claimed' 'What on earth have you been doing "ith this land, Saint PeterK' GSaint Peter, too, stood and loo!ed aroundH%erfectly astonished# 8e had had the idea that nothing could be so good for a land as a great deal of "armth# Therefore he had gathered together an enormous mass of stones and mountains, and erected a highland, and this he had done so that it should be near the sun, and receive much hel% from the sun's heat# 7ver the stone&hea%s he had s%read a thin layer of soil, and then he had thought that everything "as "ell arranged# G ut "hile he "as do"n in S!Ane, a cou%le of heavy sho"ers had come u%, and more "as not needed to sho" "hat his "or! amounted to# When our Lord came to ins%ect the land, all the soil had been "ashed a"ay, and the na!ed mountain foundation shone forth all over# Where it "as about the best, lay clay and heavy gravel over the roc!s, but it loo!ed so %oor that it "as easy to understand that hardly anything e?ce%t s%ruce and juni%er and moss and heather could gro" there# ut "hat there "as %lenty of "as "ater# 9t had filled u% all the clefts in the mountainI and la!es and rivers and broo!sI these one sa" every"here, to say nothing of s"am%s and morasses, "hich s%read over large tracts# And the most e?as%erating thing of all "as, that "hile some tracts had too much "ater, it "as so scarce in others, that "hole fields lay li!e dry moors, "here sand and earth "hirled u% in clouds "ith the least little breeMe# G'What can have been your meaning in creating such a land as thisK' said our Lord# Saint Peter made e?cuses, and declared he had "ished to build u% a land so high that it should have %lenty of "armth from the sun# ' ut then you "ill also get much of the night chill,' said our Lord, 'for that too comes from heaven# 9 am very much afraid the little that can gro" here "ill freeMe#' GThis, to be sure, Saint Peter hadn't thought about# G'$es, here it "ill be a %oor and frost&bound land,' said our Lord, 'it can't be hel%ed#'G When little Cats had gotten this far in his story, 7sa, the goose&girl, %rotested' G9 cannot bear, little Cats, to hear you say that it is so miserable in SmAland,G said she# G$ou forget entirely ho" much good soil there is there# 7nly thin! of CEre district, by =almar SoundJ 9 "onder "here you'll find a richer grain region# There are fields u%on fields, just li!e here in S!Ane# The soil is so good that 9 cannot imagine anything that couldn't gro" there#G G9 can't hel% that,G said little Cats# G9'm only relating "hat others have said before#G GAnd 9 have heard many say that there is not a more beautiful coast land than Tjust# Thin! of the bays and islets, and the manors, and the grovesJG said 7sa# G$es, that's true enough,G little Cats admitted# GAnd don't you remember,G continued 7sa, Gthe school teacher said that such a lively and %icturesLue district as that bit of SmAland "hich lies south of La!e >ettern is not to be found in all S"edenK Thin! of the beautiful sea and the yello" coast&mountains, and of Grenna and :En!E%ing, "ith its match factory, and

thin! of 8us!varna, and all the big establishments thereJG G$es, that's true enough,G said little Cats once again# GAnd thin! of >isingsE, little Cats, "ith the ruins and the oa! forests and the legendsJ Thin! of the valley through "hich /mAn flo"s, "ith all the villages and flour&mills and sa"mills, and the car%enter sho%sJG G$es, that is true enough,G said little Cats, and loo!ed troubled# All of a sudden he had loo!ed u%# GNo" "e are %retty stu%id,G said he# GAll this, of course, lies in our Lord's SmAland, in that %art of the land "hich "as already finished "hen Saint Peter undertoo! the job# 9t's only natural that it should be %retty and fine there# ut in Saint Peter's SmAland it loo!s as it says in the legend# And it "asn't sur%rising that our Lord "as distressed "hen he sa" it,G continued little Cats, as he too! u% the thread of his story again# GSaint Peter didn't lose his courage, at all events, but tried to comfort our Lord# ')on't be so grieved over thisJ' said he# '7nly "ait until 9 have created %eo%le "ho can till the s"am%s and brea! u% fields from the stone hills#' GThat "as the end of our Lord's %atienceHand he said' 'NoJ you can go do"n to S!Ane and ma!e the S!Aninge, but the SmAlander 9 "ill create myself#' And so our Lord created the SmAlander, and made him Luic!&"itted and contented and ha%%y and thrifty and enter%rising and ca%able, that he might be able to get his livelihood in his %oor country#G Then little Cats "as silentI and if Nils 8olgersson had also !e%t still, all "ould have gone "ellI but he couldn't %ossibly refrain from as!ing ho" Saint Peter had succeeded in creating the S!Aninge# GWell, "hat do you thin! yourselfKG said little Cats, and loo!ed so scornful that Nils 8olgersson thre" himself u%on him, to thrash him# ut Cats "as only a little tot, and 7sa, the goose&girl, "ho "as a year older than he, ran for"ard instantly to hel% him# Good&natured though she "as, she s%rang li!e a lion as soon as anyone touched her brother# And Nils 8olgersson did not care to fight a girl, but turned his bac!, and didn't loo! at those SmAland children for the rest of the day# THE CROWS THE EARTHEN CROCK 9n the south"est corner of SmAland lies a to"nshi% called Sonnerbo# 9t is a rather smooth and even country# And one "ho sees it in "inter, "hen it is covered "ith sno", cannot imagine that there is anything under the sno" but garden&%lots, rye&fields and clover&meado"s as is generally the case in flat countries# ut, in the beginning of A%ril "hen the sno" finally melts a"ay in Sonnerbo, it is a%%arent that that "hich lies hidden under it is only dry, sandy heaths, bare roc!s, and big, marshy s"am%s# There are fields here and there, to be sure, but they are so small that they are scarcely "orth mentioningI and one also finds a fe" little red or gray farmhouses hidden a"ay in some beech& co%%iceHalmost as if they "ere afraid to sho" themselves# Where Sonnerbo to"nshi% touches the boundaries of 8alland, there is a sandy heath "hich is so far&reaching that he "ho stands u%on one edge of it cannot loo! across to the other# Nothing e?ce%t heather gro"s on the heath, and it "ouldn't be easy either to

coa? other gro"ths to thrive there# To start "ith one "ould have to u%root the heatherI for it is thus "ith heather' although it has only a little shrun!en root, small shrun!en branches, and dry, shrun!en leaves it fancies that it's a tree# Therefore it acts just li!e real treesHs%reads itself out in forest fashion over "ide areasI holds together faithfully, and causes all foreign gro"ths that "ish to cro"d in u%on its territory to die out# The only %lace on the heath "here the heather is not all&%o"erful, is a lo", stony ridge "hich %asses over it# There you'll find juni%er bushes, mountain ash, and a fe" large, fine oa!s# At the time "hen Nils 8olgersson travelled around "ith the "ild geese, a little cabin stood there, "ith a bit of cleared ground around it# ut the %eo%le "ho had lived there at one time, had, for some reason or other, moved a"ay# The little cabin "as em%ty, and the ground lay unused# When the tenants left the cabin they closed the dam%er, fastened the "indo"&hoo!s, and loc!ed the door# ut no one had thought of the bro!en "indo"&%ane "hich "as only stuffed "ith a rag# After the sho"ers of a cou%le of summers, the rag had moulded and shrun!, and, finally, a cro" had succeeded in %o!ing it out# The ridge on the heather&heath "as really not as desolate as one might thin!, for it "as inhabited by a large cro"&fol!# Naturally, the cro"s did not live there all the year round# They moved to foreign lands in the "interI in the autumn they travelled from one grain& field to another all over GEtaland, and %ic!ed grainI during the summer, they s%read themselves over the farms in Sonnerbo to"nshi%, and lived u%on eggs and berries and birdlingsI but every s%ring, "hen nesting time came, they came bac! to the heather& heath# The one "ho had %o!ed the rag from the "indo" "as a cro"&coc! named Garm WhitefeatherI but he "as never called anything but *umle or )rumle, or out and out *umle&)rumle, because he al"ays acted a"!"ardly and stu%idly, and "asn't good for anything e?ce%t to ma!e fun of# *umle&)rumle "as bigger and stronger than any of the other cro"s, but that didn't hel% him in the leastI he "asHand remainedHa butt for ridicule# And it didn't %rofit him, either, that he came from very good stoc!# 9f everything had gone smoothly, he should have been leader for the "hole floc!, because this honour had, from time immemorial, belonged to the oldest Whitefeather# ut long before *umle&)rumle "as born, the %o"er had gone from his family, and "as no" "ielded by a cruel "ild cro", named Wind&(ush# This transference of %o"er "as due to the fact that the cro"s on cro"&ridge desired to change their manner of living# Possibly there are many "ho thin! that everything in the sha%e of cro" lives in the same "ayI but this is not so# There are entire cro"&fol! "ho lead honourable livesHthat is to say, they only eat grain, "orms, cater%illars, and dead animalsI and there are others "ho lead a regular bandit's life, "ho thro" themselves u%on baby&hares and small birds, and %lunder every single bird's nest they set eyes on# The ancient Whitefeathers had been strict and tem%erateI and as long as they had led the floc!, the cro"s had been com%elled to conduct themselves in such a "ay that other birds could s%ea! no ill of them# ut the cro"s "ere numerous, and %overty "as great among them# They didn't care to go the "hole length of living a strictly moral life, so they rebelled against the Whitefeathers, and gave the %o"er to Wind&(ush, "ho "as the "orst nest&%lunderer and robber that could be imaginedHif his "ife, Wind&Air, "asn't

"orse still# <nder their government the cro"s had begun to lead such a life that no" they "ere more feared than %igeon&ha"!s and leech&o"ls# Naturally, *umle&)rumle had nothing to say in the floc!# The cro"s "ere all of the o%inion that he did not in the least ta!e after his forefathers, and that he "ouldn't suit as a leader# No one "ould have mentioned him, if he hadn't constantly committed fresh blunders# A fe", "ho "ere Luite sensible, sometimes said %erha%s it "as luc!y for *umle&)rumle that he "as such a bungling idiot, other"ise Wind&(ush and Wind&Air "ould hardly have allo"ed himH"ho "as of the old chieftain stoc!Hto remain "ith the floc!# No", on the other hand, they "ere rather friendly to"ard him, and "illingly too! him along "ith them on their hunting e?%editions# There all could observe ho" much more s!ilful and daring they "ere than he# None of the cro"s !ne" that it "as *umle&)rumle "ho had %ec!ed the rag out of the "indo"I and had they !no"n of this, they "ould have been very much astonished# Such a thing as daring to a%%roach a human being's d"elling, they had never believed of him# 8e !e%t the thing to himself very carefullyI and he had his o"n good reasons for it# Wind&(ush al"ays treated him "ell in the daytime, and "hen the others "ere aroundI but one very dar! night, "hen the comrades sat on the night branch, he "as attac!ed by a cou%le of cro"s and nearly murdered# After that he moved every night, after dar!, from his usual slee%ing Luarters into the em%ty cabin# No" one afternoon, "hen the cro"s had %ut their nests in order on cro"&ridge, they ha%%ened u%on a remar!able find# Wind&(ush, *umle&)rumle, and a cou%le of others had flo"n do"n into a big hollo" in one corner of the heath# The hollo" "as nothing but a gravel&%it, but the cro"s could not be satisfied "ith such a sim%le e?%lanationI they fle" do"n in it continually, and turned every single sand&grain to get at the reason "hy human beings had digged it# While the cro"s "ere %ottering around do"n there, a mass of gravel fell from one side# They rushed u% to it, and had the good fortune to find amongst the fallen stones and stubbleHa large earthen croc!, "hich "as loc!ed "ith a "ooden clas%J Naturally they "anted to !no" if there "as anything in it, and they tried both to %ec! holes in the croc!, and to bend u% the clas%, but they had no success# They stood %erfectly hel%less and e?amined the croc!, "hen they heard someone say' GShall 9 come do"n and assist you cro"sKG They glanced u% Luic!ly# 7n the edge of the hollo" sat a fo? and blin!ed do"n at them# 8e "as one of the %rettiest fo?esHboth in colour and formHthat they had ever seen# The only fault "ith him "as that he had lost an ear# G9f you desire to do us a service,G said Wind&(ush, G"e shall not say nay#G At the same time, both he and the others fle" u% from the hollo"# Then the fo? jum%ed do"n in their %lace, bit at the jar, and %ulled at the loc!Hbut he couldn't o%en it either# G;an you ma!e out "hat there is in itKG said Wind&(ush# The fo? rolled the jar bac! and forth, and listened attentively# G9t must be silver money,G said he#

This "as more than the cro"s had e?%ected# G)o you thin! it can be silverKG said they, and their eyes "ere ready to %o% out of their heads "ith greedI for remar!able as it may sound, there is nothing in the "orld "hich cro"s love as much as silver money# G8ear ho" it rattlesJG said the fo? and rolled the croc! around once more# G7nly 9 can't understand ho" "e shall get at it#G GThat "ill surely be im%ossible,G said the cro"s# The fo? stood and rubbed his head against his left leg, and %ondered# No" %erha%s he might succeed, "ith the hel% of the cro"s, in becoming master of that little im% "ho al"ays eluded him# G7hJ 9 !no" someone "ho could o%en the croc! for you,G said the fo?# GThen tell usJ Tell usJG cried the cro"sI and they "ere so e?cited that they tumbled do"n into the %it# GThat 9 "ill do, if you'll first %romise me that you "ill agree to my terms,G said he# Then the fo? told the cro"s about Thumbietot, and said that if they could bring him to the heath he "ould o%en the croc! for them# ut in %ayment for this counsel, he demanded that they should deliver Thumbietot to him, as soon as he had gotten the silver money for them# The cro"s had no reason to s%are Thumbietot, so agreed to the com%act at once# 9t "as easy enough to agree to thisI but it "as harder to find out "here Thumbietot and the "ild geese "ere sto%%ing# Wind&(ush himself travelled a"ay "ith fifty cro"s, and said that he should soon return# ut one day after another %assed "ithout the cro"s on cro"&ridge seeing a shado" of him#

Wednesday, April thirteenth# The "ild geese "ere u% at daybrea!, so they should have time to get themselves a bite of food before starting out on the journey to"ard @stergEtland# The island in Goosefiord, "here they had sle%t, "as small and barren, but in the "ater all around it "ere gro"ths "hich they could eat their fill u%on# 9t "as "orse for the boy, ho"ever# 8e couldn't manage to find anything eatable# As he stood there hungry and dro"sy, and loo!ed around in all directions, his glance fell u%on a %air of sLuirrels, "ho %layed u%on the "ooded %oint, directly o%%osite the roc! island# 8e "ondered if the sLuirrels still had any of their "inter su%%lies left, and as!ed the "hite goosey&gander to ta!e him over to the %oint, that he might beg them for a cou%le of haMelnuts# 9nstantly the "hite one s"am across the sound "ith himI but as luc! "ould have it the sLuirrels had so much fun chasing each other from tree to tree, that they didn't bother about listening to the boy# They dre" farther into the grove# 8e hurried after them, and "as soon out of the goosey&gander's sightH"ho stayed behind and "aited on the shore# The boy "aded for"ard bet"een some "hite anemone&stemsH"hich "ere so high they reached to his chinH"hen he felt that someone caught hold of him from behind, and tried to lift him u%# 8e turned round and sa" that a cro" had grabbed him by the shirt& band# 8e tried to brea! loose, but before this "as %ossible, another cro" ran u%, gri%%ed him by the stoc!ing, and !noc!ed him over#

9f Nils 8olgersson had immediately cried for hel%, the "hite goosey&gander certainly "ould have been able to save himI but the boy %robably thought that he could %rotect himself, unaided, against a cou%le of cro"s# 8e !ic!ed and struc! out, but the cro"s didn't let go their hold, and they soon succeeded in raising themselves into the air "ith him# To ma!e matters "orse, they fle" so rec!lessly that his head struc! against a branch# 8e received a hard !noc! over the head, it gre" blac! before his eyes, and he lost consciousness# When he o%ened his eyes once more, he found himself high above the ground# 8e regained his senses slo"lyI at first he !ne" neither "here he "as, nor "hat he sa"# When he glanced do"n, he sa" that under him "as s%read a tremendously big "oolly car%et, "hich "as "oven in greens and reds, and in large irregular %atterns# The car%et "as very thic! and fine, but he thought it "as a %ity that it had been so badly used# 9t "as actually raggedI long tears ran through itI in some %laces large %ieces "ere torn a"ay# And the strangest of all "as that it a%%eared to be s%read over a mirror floorI for under the holes and tears in the car%et shone bright and glittering glass# The ne?t thing the boy observed "as that the sun unrolled itself in the heavens# 9nstantly, the mirror&glass under the holes and tears in the car%et began to shimmer in red and gold# 9t loo!ed very gorgeous, and the boy "as delighted "ith the %retty colour& scheme, although he didn't e?actly understand "hat it "as that he sa"# ut no" the cro"s descended, and he sa" at once that the big car%et under him "as the earth, "hich "as dressed in green and bro"n cone&trees and na!ed leaf&trees, and that the holes and tears "ere shining fiords and little la!es# 8e remembered that the first time he had travelled u% in the air, he had thought that the earth in S!Ane loo!ed li!e a %iece of chec!ed cloth# ut this country "hich resembled a torn car%etH"hat might this beK 8e began to as! himself a lot of Luestions# Why "asn't he sitting on the goosey&gander's bac!K Why did a great s"arm of cro"s fly around himK And "hy "as he being %ulled and !noc!ed hither and thither so that he "as about to brea! to %iecesK Then, all at once, the "hole thing da"ned on him# 8e had been !idna%%ed by a cou%le of cro"s# The "hite goosey&gander "as still on the shore, "aiting, and to&day the "ild geese "ere going to travel to @stergEtland# 8e "as being carried south"estI this he understood because the sun's disc "as behind him# The big forest&car%et "hich lay beneath him "as surely SmAland# GWhat "ill become of the goosey&gander no", "hen 9 cannot loo! after himKG thought the boy, and began to call to the cro"s to ta!e him bac! to the "ild geese instantly# 8e "asn't at all uneasy on his o"n account# 8e believed that they "ere carrying him off sim%ly in a s%irit of mischief# The cro"s didn't %ay the slightest attention to his e?hortations, but fle" on as fast as they could# After a bit, one of them fla%%ed his "ings in a manner "hich meant' GLoo! outJ )angerJG Soon thereafter they came do"n in a s%ruce forest, %ushed their "ay bet"een %ric!ly branches to the ground, and %ut the boy do"n under a thic! s%ruce, "here he "as so "ell concealed that not even a falcon could have sighted him#

*ifty cro"s surrounded him, "ith bills %ointed to"ard him to guard him# GNo" %erha%s 9 may hear, cro"s, "hat your %ur%ose is in carrying me offG, said he# ut he "as hardly %ermitted to finish the sentence before a big cro" hissed at him' G=ee% stillJ or 9'll bore your eyes out#G 9t "as evident that the cro" meant "hat she saidI and there "as nothing for the boy to do but obey# So he sat there and stared at the cro"s, and the cro"s stared at him# The longer he loo!ed at them, the less he li!ed them# 9t "as dreadful ho" dusty and un!em%t their feather dresses "ereHas though they !ne" neither baths nor oiling# Their toes and cla"s "ere grimy "ith dried&in mud, and the corners of their mouths "ere covered "ith food dri%%ings# These "ere very different birds from the "ild geeseHthat he observed# 8e thought they had a cruel, snea!y, "atchful and bold a%%earance, just li!e cut&throats and vagabonds# G9t is certainly a real robber&band that 9've fallen in "ith,G thought he# :ust then he heard the "ild geese's call above him# GWhere are youK 8ere am 9# Where are youK 8ere am 9#G 8e understood that A!!a and the others had gone out to search for himI but before he could ans"er them the big cro" "ho a%%eared to be the leader of the band hissed in his ear' GThin! of your eyesJG And there "as nothing else for him to do but to !ee% still# The "ild geese may not have !no"n that he "as so near them, but had just ha%%ened, incidentally, to travel over this forest# 8e heard their call a cou%le of times more, then it died a"ay# GWell, no" you'll have to get along by yourself, Nils 8olgersson,G he said to himself# GNo" you must %rove "hether you have learned anything during these "ee!s in the o%en#G A moment later the cro"s gave the signal to brea! u%I and since it "as still their intention, a%%arently, to carry him along in such a "ay that one held on to his shirt& band, and one to a stoc!ing, the boy said' G9s there not one among you so strong that he can carry me on his bac!K $ou have already travelled so badly "ith me that 9 feel as if 9 "ere in %ieces# 7nly let me rideJ 9'll not jum% from the cro"'s bac!, that 9 %romise you#G G7hJ you needn't thin! that "e care ho" you have it,G said the leader# ut no" the largest of the cro"sHa dishevelled and uncouth one, "ho had a "hite feather in his "ingHcame for"ard and said' G9t "ould certainly be best for all of us, Wind&(ush, if Thumbietot got there "hole, rather than half, and therefore, 9 shall carry him on my bac!#G G9f you can do it, *umle&)rumle, 9 have no objection,G said Wind&(ush# G ut don't lose himJG With this, much "as already gained, and the boy actually felt %leased again# GThere is nothing to be gained by losing my grit because 9 have been !idna%%ed by the cro"s,G thought he# G9'll surely be able to manage those %oor little things#G The cro"s continued to fly south"est, over SmAland# 9t "as a glorious morningHsunny and calmI and the birds do"n on the earth "ere singing their best love songs# 9n a high, dar! forest sat the thrush himself "ith droo%ing "ings and s"elling throat, and struc!

u% tune after tune# G8o" %retty you areJ 8o" %retty you areJ 8o" %retty you areJG sang he# GNo one is so %retty# No one is so %retty# No one is so %retty#G As soon as he had finished this song, he began it all over again# ut just then the boy rode over the forestI and "hen he had heard the song a cou%le of times, and mar!ed that the thrush !ne" no other, he %ut both hands u% to his mouth as a s%ea!ing trum%et, and called do"n' GWe've heard all this before# We've heard all this before#G GWho is itK Who is itK Who is itK Who ma!es fun of meKG as!ed the thrush, and tried to catch a glim%se of the one "ho called# G9t is =idna%%ed&by&;ro"s "ho ma!es fun of your song,G ans"ered the boy# At that, the cro"&chief turned his head and said' G e careful of your eyes, ThumbietotJG ut the boy thought, G7hJ 9 don't care about that# 9 "ant to sho" you that 9'm not afraid of youJG *arther and farther inland they travelledI and there "ere "oods and la!es every"here# 9n a birch&grove sat the "ood&dove on a na!ed branch, and before him stood the lady& dove# 8e ble" u% his feathers, coc!ed his head, raised and lo"ered his body, until the breast&feathers rattled against the branch# All the "hile he cooed' GThou, thou, thou art the loveliest in all the forest# No one in the forest is so lovely as thou, thou, thouJG ut u% in the air the boy rode %ast, and "hen he heard Cr# )ove he couldn't !ee% still# G)on't you believe himJ )on't you believe himJG cried he# GWho, "ho, "ho is it that lies about meKG cooed Cr# )ove, and tried to get a sight of the one "ho shrie!ed at him# G9t is ;aught&by&;ro"s that lies about you,G re%lied the boy# Again Wind&(ush turned his head to"ard the boy and commanded him to shut u%, but *umle&)rumle, "ho "as carrying him, said' GLet him chatter, then all the little birds "ill thin! that "e cro"s have become Luic!&"itted and funny birds#G G7hJ they're not such fools, either,G said Wind&(ushI but he li!ed the idea just the same, for after that he let the boy call out as much as he li!ed# They fle" mostly over forests and "oodlands, but there "ere churches and %arishes and little cabins in the outs!irts of the forest# 9n one %lace they sa" a %retty old manor# 9t lay "ith the forest bac! of it, and the sea in front of itI had red "alls and a turreted roofI great sycamores about the grounds, and big, thic! gooseberry&bushes in the orchard# 7n the to% of the "eathercoc! sat the starling, and sang so loud that every note "as heard by the "ife, "ho sat on an egg in the heart of a %ear tree# GWe have four %retty little eggs,G sang the starling# GWe have four %retty little round eggs# We have the "hole nest filled "ith fine eggs#G When the starling sang the song for the thousandth time, the boy rode over the %lace# 8e %ut his hands u% to his mouth, as a %i%e, and called' GThe mag%ie "ill get them# The mag%ie "ill get them#G GWho is it that "ants to frighten meKG as!ed the starling, and fla%%ed his "ings uneasily# G9t is ;a%tured&by&;ro"s that frightens you,G said the boy# This time the cro"& chief didn't attem%t to hush him u%# 9nstead, both he and his floc! "ere having so much fun that they ca"ed "ith satisfaction# The farther inland they came, the larger "ere the la!es, and the more %lentiful "ere the islands and %oints# And on a la!e&shore stood a dra!e and !o"to"ed before the duc!#

G9'll be true to you all the days of my life# 9'll be true to you all the days of my life,G said the dra!e# G9t "on't last until the summer's end,G shrie!ed the boy# GWho are youKG called the dra!e# GCy name's Stolen&by&;ro"s,G shrie!ed the boy# At dinner time the cro"s lighted in a food&grove# They "al!ed about and %rocured food for themselves, but none of them thought about giving the boy anything# Then *umle& )rumle came riding u% to the chief "ith a dog&rose branch, "ith a fe" dried buds on it# G8ere's something for you, Wind&(ush,G said he# GThis is %retty food, and suitable for you#G Wind&(ush sniffed contem%tuously# G)o you thin! that 9 "ant to eat old, dry budsKG said he# GAnd 9 "ho thought that you "ould be %leased "ith themJG said *umle& )rumleI and thre" a"ay the dog&rose branch as if in des%air# ut it fell right in front of the boy, and he "asn't slo" about grabbing it and eating until he "as satisfied# When the cro"s had eaten, they began to chatter# GWhat are you thin!ing about, Wind& (ushK $ou are so Luiet to&day,G said one of them to the leader# G9'm thin!ing that in this district there lived, once u%on a time, a hen, "ho "as very fond of her mistressI and in order to really %lease her, she "ent and laid a nest full of eggs, "hich she hid under the store&house floor# The mistress of the house "ondered, of course, "here the hen "as !ee%ing herself such a long time# She searched for her, but did not find her# ;an you guess, Longbill, "ho it "as that found her and the eggsKG G9 thin! 9 can guess it, Wind&(ush, but "hen you have told about this, 9 "ill tell you something li!e it# )o you remember the big, blac! cat in 8inneryd's %arish houseK She "as dissatisfied because they al"ays too! the ne"&born !ittens from her, and dro"ned them# :ust once did she succeed in !ee%ing them concealed, and that "as "hen she had laid them in a haystac!, out doors# She "as %retty "ell %leased "ith those young !ittens, but 9 believe that 9 got more %leasure out of them than she did#G No" they became so e?cited that they all tal!ed at once# GWhat !ind of an accom%lishment is thatHto steal little !ittensKG said one# G9 once chased a young hare "ho "as almost full&gro"n# That meant to follo" him from covert to covert#G 8e got no further before another too! the "ords from him# G9t may be fun, %erha%s, to annoy hens and cats, but 9 find it still more remar!able that a cro" can "orry a human being# 9 once stole a silver s%oonHG ut no" the boy thought he "as too good to sit and listen to such gabble# GNo" listen to me, you cro"sJG said he# G9 thin! you ought to be ashamed of yourselves to tal! about all your "ic!edness# 9 have lived amongst "ild geese for three "ee!s, and of them 9 have never heard or seen anything but good# $ou must have a bad chief, since he %ermits you to rob and murder in this "ay# $ou ought to begin to lead ne" lives, for 9 can tell you that human beings have gro"n so tired of your "ic!edness they are trying "ith all their might to root you out# And then there "ill soon be an end of you#G When Wind&(ush and the cro"s heard this, they "ere so furious that they intended to thro" themselves u%on him and tear him in %ieces# ut *umle&)rumle laughed and ca"ed, and stood in front of him# G7h, no, noJG said he, and seemed absolutely terrified# GWhat thin! you that Wind&Air "ill say if you tear Thumbietot in %ieces before he has gotten that silver money for usKG G9t has to be you, *umle&)rumle, that's afraid of "omen&fol!,G said (ush# ut, at any rate, both he and the others left Thumbietot in %eace#

Shortly after that the cro"s "ent further# <ntil no" the boy thought that SmAland "asn't such a %oor country as he had heard# 7f course it "as "oody and full of mountain& ridges, but alongside the islands and la!es lay cultivated grounds, and any real desolation he hadn't come u%on# ut the farther inland they came, the fe"er "ere the villages and cottages# To"ard the last, he thought that he "as riding over a veritable "ilderness "here he sa" nothing but s"am%s and heaths and juni%er&hills# The sun had gone do"n, but it "as still %erfect daylight "hen the cro"s reached the large heather&heath# Wind&(ush sent a cro" on ahead, to say that he had met "ith successI and "hen it "as !no"n, Wind&Air, "ith several hundred cro"s from ;ro"& (idge, fle" to meet the arrivals# 9n the midst of the deafening ca"ing "hich the cro"s emitted, *umle&)rumle said to the boy' G$ou have been so comical and so jolly during the tri% that 9 am really fond of you# Therefore 9 "ant to give you some good advice# As soon as "e light, you'll be reLuested to do a bit of "or! "hich may seem very easy to youI but be"are of doing itJG Soon thereafter *umle&)rumle %ut Nils 8olgersson do"n in the bottom of a sand%it# The boy flung himself do"n, rolled over, and lay there as though he "as sim%ly done u% "ith fatigue# Such a lot of cro"s fluttered about him that the air rustled li!e a "ind& storm, but he didn't loo! u%# GThumbietot,G said Wind&(ush, Gget u% no"J $ou shall hel% us "ith a matter "hich "ill be very easy for you#G The boy didn't move, but %retended to be aslee%# Then Wind&(ush too! him by the arm, and dragged him over the sand to an earthen croc! of old&time ma!e, that "as standing in the %it# GGet u%, Thumbietot,G said he, Gand o%en this croc!JG GWhy can't you let me slee%KG said the boy# G9'm too tired to do anything to&night# Wait until to&morro"JG G7%en the croc!JG said Wind&(ush, sha!ing him# G8o" shall a %oor little child be able to o%en such a croc!K Why, it's Luite as large as 9 am myself#G G7%en itJG commanded Wind&(ush once more, Gor it "ill be a sorry thing for you#G The boy got u%, tottered over to the croc!, fumbled the clas%, and let his arms fall# G9'm not usually so "ea!,G said he# G9f you "ill only let me slee% until morning, 9 thin! that 9'll be able to manage "ith that clas%#G ut Wind&(ush "as im%atient, and he rushed for"ard and %inched the boy in the leg# That sort of treatment the boy didn't care to suffer from a cro"# 8e jer!ed himself loose Luic!ly, ran a cou%le of %aces bac!"ard, dre" his !nife from the sheath, and held it e?tended in front of him# G$ou'd better be carefulJG he cried to Wind&(ush# This one too "as so enraged that he didn't dodge the danger# 8e rushed at the boy, just as though he'd been blind, and ran so straight against the !nife, that it entered through his eye into the head# The boy dre" the !nife bac! Luic!ly, but Wind&(ush only struc! out "ith his "ings, then he fell do"nHdead# GWind&(ush is deadJ The stranger has !illed our chieftain, Wind&(ushJG cried the nearest cro"s, and then there "as a terrible u%roar# Some "ailed, others cried for vengeance# They all ran or fluttered u% to the boy, "ith *umle&)rumle in the lead# ut

he acted badly as usual# 8e only fluttered and s%read his "ings over the boy, and %revented the others from coming for"ard and running their bills into him# The boy thought that things loo!ed very bad for him no"# 8e couldn't run a"ay from the cro"s, and there "as no %lace "here he could hide# Then he ha%%ened to thin! of the earthen croc!# 8e too! a firm hold on the clas%, and %ulled it off# Then he ho%%ed into the croc! to hide in it# ut the croc! "as a %oor hiding %lace, for it "as nearly filled to the brim "ith little, thin silver coins# The boy couldn't get far enough do"n, so he stoo%ed and began to thro" out the coins# <ntil no" the cro"s had fluttered around him in a thic! s"arm and %ec!ed at him, but "hen he thre" out the coins they immediately forgot their thirst for vengeance, and hurried to gather the money# The boy thre" out handfuls of it, and all the cro"sHyes, even Wind&Air herselfH%ic!ed them u%# And everyone "ho succeeded in %ic!ing u% a coin ran off to the nest "ith the utmost s%eed to conceal it# When the boy had thro"n out all the silver %ennies from the croc! he glanced u%# Not more than a single cro" "as left in the sand%it# That "as *umle&)rumle, "ith the "hite feather in his "ingI he "ho had carried Thumbietot# G$ou have rendered me a greater service than you understand,G said the cro"H"ith a very different voice, and a different intonation than the one he had used heretoforeHGand 9 "ant to save your life# Sit do"n on my bac!, and 9'll ta!e you to a hiding %lace "here you can be secure for to&night# To& morro", 9'll arrange it so that you "ill get bac! to the "ild geese#G

Thursday, April fourteenth# The follo"ing morning "hen the boy a"o!e, he lay in a bed# When he sa" that he "as in a house "ith four "alls around him, and a roof over him, he thought that he "as at home# G9 "onder if mother "ill come soon "ith some coffee,G he muttered to himself "here he lay half&a"a!e# Then he remembered that he "as in a deserted cabin on the cro"&ridge, and that *umle&)rumle "ith the "hite feather had borne him there the night before# The boy "as sore all over after the journey he had made the day before, and he thought it "as lovely to lie still "hile he "aited for *umle&)rumle "ho had %romised to come and fetch him# ;urtains of chec!ed cotton hung before the bed, and he dre" them aside to loo! out into the cabin# 9t da"ned u%on him instantly that he had never seen the mate to a cabin li!e this# The "alls consisted of nothing but a cou%le of ro"s of logsI then the roof began# There "as no interior ceiling, so he could loo! clear u% to the roof&tree# The cabin "as so small that it a%%eared to have been built rather for such as he than for real %eo%le# 8o"ever, the fire%lace and chimney "ere so large, he thought that he had never seen larger# The entrance door "as in a gable&"all at the side of the fire%lace, and "as so narro" that it "as more li!e a "ic!et than a door# 9n the other gable&"all he sa" a lo" and broad "indo" "ith many %anes# There "as scarcely any movable furniture in the cabin# The bench on one side, and the table under the "indo", "ere also stationaryH also the big bed "here he lay, and the many&coloured cu%board#

The boy could not hel% "ondering "ho o"ned the cabin, and "hy it "as deserted# 9t certainly loo!ed as though the %eo%le "ho had lived there e?%ected to return# The coffee&urn and the gruel&%ot stood on the hearth, and there "as some "ood in the fire%laceI the oven&ra!e and ba!er's %eel stood in a cornerI the s%inning "heel "as raised on a benchI on the shelf over the "indo" lay oa!um and fla?, a cou%le of s!eins of yarn, a candle, and a bunch of matches# $es, it surely loo!ed as if those "ho had lived there had intended to come bac!# There "ere bed&clothes on the bedI and on the "alls there still hung long stri%s of cloth, u%on "hich three riders named =as%er, Celchior, and altasar "ere %ainted# The same horses and riders "ere %ictured many times# They rode around the "hole cabin, and continued their ride even u% to"ard the joists# ut in the roof the boy sa" something "hich brought him to his senses in a jiffy# 9t "as a cou%le of loaves of big bread&ca!es that hung there u%on a s%it# They loo!ed old and mouldy, but it "as bread all the same# 8e gave them a !noc! "ith the oven&ra!e and one %iece fell to the floor# 8e ate, and stuffed his bag full# 9t "as incredible ho" good bread "as, any"ay# 8e loo!ed around the cabin once more, to try and discover if there "as anything else "hich he might find useful to ta!e along# G9 may as "ell ta!e "hat 9 need, since no one else cares about it,G thought he# ut most of the things "ere too big and heavy# The only things that he could carry might be a fe" matches %erha%s# 8e clambered u% on the table, and s"ung "ith the hel% of the curtains u% to the "indo"&shelf# While he stood there and stuffed the matches into his bag, the cro" "ith the "hite feather came in through the "indo"# GWell here 9 am at last,G said *umle& )rumle as he lit on the table# G9 couldn't get here any sooner because "e cro"s have elected a ne" chieftain in Wind&(ush's %lace#G GWhom have you chosenKG said the boy# GWell, "e have chosen one "ho "ill not %ermit robbery and injustice# We have elected Garm Whitefeather, lately called *umle&)rumle,G ans"ered he, dra"ing himself u% until he loo!ed absolutely regal# GThat "as a good choice,G said the boy and congratulated him# G$ou may "ell "ish me luc!,G said GarmI then he told the boy about the time they had had "ith Wind&(ush and Wind&Air# )uring this recital the boy heard a voice outside the "indo" "hich he thought sounded familiar# G9s he hereKGHinLuired the fo?# G$es, he's hidden in there,G ans"ered a cro"& voice# G e careful, ThumbietotJG cried Garm# GWind&Air stands "ithout "ith that fo? "ho "ants to eat you#G Core he didn't have time to say, for Smirre dashed against the "indo"# The old, rotten "indo"&frame gave "ay, and the ne?t second Smirre stood u%on the "indo"&table# Garm Whitefeather, "ho didn't have time to fly a"ay, he !illed instantly# Thereu%on he jum%ed do"n to the floor, and loo!ed around for the boy# 8e tried to hide behind a big oa!um&s%iral, but Smirre had already s%ied him, and "as crouched for the final s%ring# The cabin "as so small, and so lo", the boy understood that the fo? could reach him "ithout the least difficulty# ut just at that moment the boy "as not "ithout "ea%ons of defence# 8e struc! a match Luic!ly, touched the curtains, and "hen they "ere in flames, he thre" them do"n u%on Smirre *o?# When the fire envelo%ed the fo?, he "as seiMed "ith a mad terror# 8e thought no more about the boy, but rushed "ildly out of the cabin#

ut it loo!ed as if the boy had esca%ed one danger to thro" himself into a greater one# *rom the tuft of oa!um "hich he had flung at Smirre the fire had s%read to the bed& hangings# 8e jum%ed do"n and tried to smother it, but it blaMed too Luic!ly no"# The cabin "as soon filled "ith smo!e, and Smirre *o?, "ho had remained just outside the "indo", began to gras% the state of affairs "ithin# GWell, Thumbietot,G he called out, G"hich do you choose no"' to be broiled alive in there, or to come out here to meK 7f course, 9 should %refer to have the %leasure of eating youI but in "hichever "ay death meets you it "ill be dear to me#G The boy could not thin! but "hat the fo? "as right, for the fire "as ma!ing ra%id head"ay# The "hole bed "as no" in a blaMe, and smo!e rose from the floorI and along the %ainted "all&stri%s the fire cre%t from rider to rider# The boy jum%ed u% in the fire%lace, and tried to o%en the oven door, "hen he heard a !ey "hich turned around slo"ly in the loc!# 9t must be human beings coming# And in the dire e?tremity in "hich he found himself, he "as not afraid, but only glad# 8e "as already on the threshold "hen the door o%ened# 8e sa" a cou%le of children facing himI but ho" they loo!ed "hen they sa" the cabin in flames, he too! no time to find outI but rushed %ast them into the o%en# 8e didn't dare run far# 8e !ne", of course, that Smirre *o? lay in "ait for him, and he understood that he must remain near the children# 8e turned round to see "hat sort of fol! they "ere, but he hadn't loo!ed at them a second before he ran u% to them and cried' G7h, good&day, 7sa goose&girlJ 7h, good&day, little CatsJG *or "hen the boy sa" those children he forgot entirely "here he "as# ;ro"s and burning cabin and tal!ing animals had vanished from his memory# 8e "as "al!ing on a stubble&field, in West >emminghEg, tending a goose&floc!I and beside him, on the field, "al!ed those same SmAland children, "ith their geese# As soon as he sa" them, he ran u% on the stone&hedge and shouted' G7h, good&day, 7sa goose&girlJ 7h, good& day, little CatsJG ut "hen the children sa" such a little creature coming u% to them "ith outstretched hands, they grabbed hold of each other, too! a cou%le of ste%s bac!"ard, and loo!ed scared to death# When the boy noticed their terror he "o!e u% and remembered "ho he "as# And then it seemed to him that nothing "orse could ha%%en to him than that those children should see ho" he had been be"itched# Shame and grief because he "as no longer a human being over%o"ered him# 8e turned and fled# 8e !ne" not "hither# ut a glad meeting a"aited the boy "hen he came do"n to the heath# *or there, in the heather, he s%ied something "hite, and to"ard him came the "hite goosey&gander, accom%anied by )unfin# When the "hite one sa" the boy running "ith such s%eed, he thought that dreadful fiends "ere %ursuing him# 8e flung him in all haste u%on his bac! and fle" off "ith him# THE OLD PEASANT WOMAN Thursday, April fourteenth#

Three tired "anderers "ere out in the late evening in search of a night harbour# They travelled over a %oor and desolate %ortion of northern SmAland# ut the sort of resting %lace "hich they "anted, they should have been able to findI for they "ere no "ea!lings "ho as!ed for soft beds or comfortable rooms# G9f one of these long mountain&ridges had a %ea! so high and stee% that a fo? couldn't in any "ay climb u% to it, then "e should have a good slee%ing&%lace,G said one of them# G9f a single one of the big s"am%s "as tha"ed out, and "as so marshy and "et that a fo? "ouldn't dare venture out on it, this, too, "ould be a right good night harbour,G said the second# G9f the ice on one of the large la!es "e travel %ast "ere loose, so that a fo? could not come out on it, then "e should have found just "hat "e are see!ing,G said the third# The "orst of it "as that "hen the sun had gone do"n, t"o of the travellers became so slee%y that every second they "ere ready to fall to the ground# The third one, "ho could !ee% himself a"a!e, gre" more and more uneasy as night a%%roached# GThen it "as a misfortune that "e came to a land "here la!es and s"am%s are froMen, so that a fo? can get around every"here# 9n other %laces the ice has melted a"ayI but no" "e're "ell u% in the very coldest SmAland, "here s%ring has not as yet arrived# 9 don't !no" ho" 9 shall ever manage to find a good slee%ing&%laceJ <nless 9 find some s%ot that is "ell %rotected, Smirre *o? "ill be u%on us before morning#G 8e gaMed in all directions, but he sa" no shelter "here he could lodge# 9t "as a dar! and chilly night, "ith "ind and driMMle# 9t gre" more terrible and disagreeable around him every second# This may sound strange, %erha%s, but the travellers didn't seem to have the least desire to as! for house&room on any farm# They had already %assed many %arishes "ithout !noc!ing at a single door# Little hillside cabins on the outs!irts of the forests, "hich all %oor "anderers are glad to run across, they too! no notice of either# 7ne might almost be tem%ted to say they deserved to have a hard time of it, since they did not see! hel% "here it "as to be had for the as!ing# ut finally, "hen it "as so dar! that there "as scarcely a glimmer of light left under the s!ies and the t"o "ho needed slee% journeyed on in a !ind of half&slee%, they ha%%ened into a farmyard "hich "as a long "ay off from all neighbours# And not only did it lie there desolate, but it a%%eared to be uninhabited as "ell# No smo!e rose from the chimneyI no light shone through the "indo"sI no human being moved on the %lace# When the one among the three "ho could !ee% a"a!e, sa" the %lace, he thought' GNo" come "hat may, "e must try to get in here# Anything better "e are not li!ely to find#G Soon after that, all three stood in the house&yard# T"o of them fell aslee% the instant they stood still, but the third loo!ed about him eagerly, to find "here they could get under cover# 9t "as not a small farm# eside the d"elling house and stable and smo!e& house, there "ere long ranges "ith granaries and storehouses and cattlesheds# ut it all loo!ed a"fully %oor and dila%idated# The houses had gray, moss&gro"n, leaning "alls, "hich seemed ready to to%%le over# 9n the roofs "ere ya"ning holes, and the doors hung aslant on bro!en hinges# 9t "as a%%arent that no one had ta!en the trouble to drive a nail into a "all on this %lace for a long time# Cean"hile, he "ho "as a"a!e had figured out "hich house "as the co"shed# 8e roused his travelling com%anions from their slee%, and conducted them to the co"shed

door# Luc!ily, this "as not fastened "ith anything but a hoo!, "hich he could easily %ush u% "ith a rod# 8e heaved a sigh of relief at the thought that they should soon be in safety# ut "hen the co"shed door s"ung o%en "ith a shar% crea!ing, he heard a co" begin to bello"# GAre you coming at last, mistressKG said she# G9 thought that you didn't %ro%ose to give me any su%%er to&night#G The one "ho "as a"a!e sto%%ed in the door"ay, absolutely terrified "hen he discovered that the co"shed "as not em%ty# ut he soon sa" that there "as not more than one co", and three or four chic!ensI and then he too! courage again# GWe are three %oor travellers "ho "ant to come in some"here, "here no fo? can assail us, and no human being ca%ture us,G said he# GWe "onder if this can be a good %lace for us#G G9 cannot believe but "hat it is,G ans"ered the co"# GTo be sure the "alls are %oor, but the fo? does not "al! through them as yetI and no one lives here e?ce%t an old %easant "oman, "ho isn't at all li!ely to ma!e a ca%tive of anyone# ut "ho are youKG she continued, as she t"isted in her stall to get a sight of the ne"comers# G9 am Nils 8olgersson from >emminghEg, "ho has been transformed into an elf,G re%lied the first of the incomers, Gand 9 have "ith me a tame goose, "hom 9 generally ride, and a gray goose#G GSuch rare guests have never before been "ithin my four "alls,G said the co", Gand you shall be "elcome, although 9 "ould have %referred that it had been my mistress, come to give me my su%%er#G The boy led the geese into the co"shed, "hich "as rather large, and %laced them in an em%ty manger, "here they fell aslee% instantly# *or himself, he made a little bed of stra" and e?%ected that he, too, should go to slee% at once# ut this "as im%ossible, for the %oor co", "ho hadn't had her su%%er, "asn't still an instant# She shoo! her flan!s, moved around in the stall, and com%lained of ho" hungry she "as# The boy couldn't get a "in! of slee%, but lay there and lived over all the things that had ha%%ened to him during these last days# 8e thought of 7sa, the goose&girl, and little Cats, "hom he had encountered so une?%ectedlyI and he fancied that the little cabin "hich he had set on fire must have been their old home in SmAland# No" he recalled that he had heard them s%ea! of just such a cabin, and of the big heather&heath "hich lay belo" it# No" 7sa and Cats had "andered bac! there to see their old home again, and then, "hen they had reached it, it "as in flames# 9t "as indeed a great sorro" "hich he had brought u%on them, and it hurt him very much# 9f he ever again became a human being, he "ould try to com%ensate them for the damage and miscalculation# Then his thoughts "andered to the cro"s# And "hen he thought of *umle&)rumle "ho had saved his life, and had met his o"n death so soon after he had been elected chieftain, he "as so distressed that tears filled his eyes# 8e had had a %retty rough time of it these last fe" days# ut, any"ay, it "as a rare stro!e of luc! that the goosey&gander and )unfin had found him# The goosey&gander had said that as soon as the geese discovered that Thumbietot had disa%%eared, they had as!ed all the small animals in the forest about him# They soon learned that a floc! of SmAland cro"s had carried him off# ut the cro"s "ere already out of sight, and "hither they had directed their course no one had been able to say# That they might find the boy as soon as %ossible, A!!a had

commanded the "ild geese to start outHt"o and t"oHin different directions, to search for him# ut after a t"o days' hunt, "hether or not they had found him, they "ere to meet in north"estern SmAland on a high mountain&to%, "hich resembled an abru%t, cho%%ed&off to"er, and "as called Taberg# After A!!a had given them the best directions, and described carefully ho" they should find Taberg, they had se%arated# The "hite goosey&gander had chosen )unfin as travelling com%anion, and they had flo"n about hither and thither "ith the greatest an?iety for Thumbietot# )uring this ramble they had heard a thrush, "ho sat in a tree&to%, cry and "ail that someone, "ho called himself =idna%%ed&by&;ro"s, had made fun of him# They had tal!ed "ith the thrush, and he had sho"n them in "hich direction that =idna%%ed&by&;ro"s had travelled# After"ard, they had met a dove&coc!, a starling and a dra!eI they had all "ailed about a little cul%rit "ho had disturbed their song, and "ho "as named ;aught& by&;ro"s, ;a%tured&by&;ro"s, and Stolen&by&;ro"s# 9n this "ay, they "ere enabled to trace Thumbietot all the "ay to the heather&heath in Sonnerbo to"nshi%# As soon as the goosey&gander and )unfin had found Thumbietot, they had started to"ard the north, in order to reach Taberg# ut it had been a long road to travel, and the dar!ness "as u%on them before they had sighted the mountain to%# G9f "e only get there by to&morro", surely all our troubles "ill be over,G thought the boy, and dug do"n into the stra" to have it "armer# All the "hile the co" fussed and fumed in the stall# Then, all of a sudden, she began to tal! to the boy# G/verything is "rong "ith me,G said the co"# G9 am neither mil!ed nor tended# 9 have no night fodder in my manger, and no bed has been made under me# Cy mistress came here at dus!, to %ut things in order for me, but she felt so ill, that she had to go in soon again, and she has not returned#G G9t's distressing that 9 should be little and %o"erless,G said the boy# G9 don't believe that 9 am able to hel% you#G G$ou can't ma!e me believe that you are %o"erless because you are little,G said the co"# GAll the elves that 9've ever heard of, "ere so strong that they could %ull a "hole load of hay and stri!e a co" dead "ith one fist#G The boy couldn't hel% laughing at the co"# GThey "ere a very different !ind of elf from me,G said he# G ut 9'll loosen your halter and o%en the door for you, so that you can go out and drin! in one of the %ools on the %lace, and then 9'll try to climb u% to the hayloft and thro" do"n some hay in your manger#G G$es, that "ould be some hel%,G said the co"# The boy did as he had saidI and "hen the co" stood "ith a full manger in front of her, he thought that at last he should get some slee%# ut he had hardly cre%t do"n in the bed before she began, ane", to tal! to him# G$ou'll be clean %ut out "ith me if 9 as! you for one thing more,G said the co"# G7h, no 9 "on't, if it's only something that 9'm able to do,G said the boy# GThen 9 "ill as! you to go into the cabin, directly o%%osite, and find out ho" my mistress is getting along# 9 fear some misfortune has come to her#G GNoJ 9 can't do that,G said the boy# G9 dare not sho" myself before human beings#G G'Surely you're not afraid of an old and sic! "oman,G said the co"# G ut you do not need to go into the cabin# :ust stand outside the door and %ee% in through the crac!JG G7hJ if that is all you as! of me, 9'll do it of course,G said the boy# With that he o%ened the co"shed door and "ent out in the yard# 9t "as a fearful nightJ Neither moon nor stars shoneI the "ind ble" a gale, and the rain came do"n in torrents# And the "orst of all "as that seven great o"ls sat in a ro" on the eaves of the cabin# 9t

"as a"ful just to hear them, "here they sat and grumbled at the "eatherI but it "as even "orse to thin! "hat "ould ha%%en to him if one of them should set eyes on him# That "ould be the last of him# GPity him "ho is littleJG said the boy as he ventured out in the yard# And he had a right to say this, for he "as blo"n do"n t"ice before he got to the house' once the "ind s"e%t him into a %ool, "hich "as so dee% that he came near dro"ning# ut he got there nevertheless# 8e clambered u% a %air of ste%s, scrambled over a threshold, and came into the hall"ay# The cabin door "as closed, but do"n in one corner a large %iece had been cut a"ay, that the cat might go in and out# 9t "as no difficulty "hatever for the boy to see ho" things "ere in the cabin# 8e had hardly cast a glance in there before he staggered bac! and turned his head a"ay# An old, gray&haired "oman lay stretched out on the floor "ithin# She neither moved nor moanedI and her face shone strangely "hite# 9t "as as if an invisible moon had thro"n a feeble light over it# The boy remembered that "hen his grandfather had died, his face had also become so strangely "hite&li!e# And he understood that the old "oman "ho lay on the cabin floor must be dead# )eath had %robably come to her so suddenly that she didn't even have time to lie do"n on her bed# As he thought of being alone "ith the dead in the middle of the dar! night, he "as terribly afraid# 8e thre" himself headlong do"n the ste%s, and rushed bac! to the co"shed# When he told the co" "hat he had seen in the cabin, she sto%%ed eating# GSo my mistress is dead,G said she# GThen it "ill soon be over for me as "ell#G GThere "ill al"ays be someone to loo! out for you,G said the boy comfortingly# GAhJ you don't !no",G said the co", Gthat 9 am already t"ice as old as a co" usually is before she is laid u%on the slaughter&bench# ut then 9 do not care to live any longer, since she, in there, can come no more to care for me#G She said nothing more for a "hile, but the boy observed, no doubt, that she neither sle%t nor ate# 9t "as not long before she began to s%ea! again# G9s she lying on the bare floorKG she as!ed# GShe is,G said the boy# GShe had a habit of coming out to the co"shed,G she continued, Gand tal!ing about everything that troubled her# 9 understood "hat she said, although 9 could not ans"er her# These last fe" days she tal!ed of ho" afraid she "as lest there "ould be no one "ith her "hen she died# She "as an?ious for fear no one should close her eyes and fold her hands across her breast, after she "as dead# Perha%s you'll go in and do thisKG The boy hesitated# 8e remembered that "hen his grandfather had died, mother had been very careful about %utting everything to rights# 8e !ne" this "as something "hich had to be done# ut, on the other hand, he felt that he didn't care go to the dead, in the ghastly night# 8e didn't say noI neither did he ta!e a ste% to"ard the co"shed door# *or a cou%le of seconds the old co" "as silent Hjust as if she had e?%ected an ans"er# ut "hen the boy said nothing, she did not re%eat her reLuest# 9nstead, she began to tal! "ith him of her mistress#

There "as much to tell, first and foremost, about all the children "hich she had brought u%# They had been in the co"shed every day, and in the summer they had ta!en the cattle to %asture on the s"am% and in the groves, so the old co" !ne" all about them# They had been s%lendid, all of them, and ha%%y and industrious# A co" !ne" "ell enough "hat her careta!ers "ere good for# There "as also much to be said about the farm# 9t had not al"ays been as %oor as it "as no"# 9t "as very largeHalthough the greater %art of it consisted of s"am%s and stony groves# There "as not much room for fields, but there "as %lenty of good fodder every"here# At one time there had been a co" for every stall in the co"shedI and the o?shed, "hich "as no" em%ty, had at one time been filled "ith o?en# And then there "as life and gayety, both in cabin and co"house# When the mistress o%ened the co"shed door she "ould hum and sing, and all the co"s lo"ed "ith gladness "hen they heard her coming# ut the good man had died "hen the children "ere so small that they could not be of any assistance, and the mistress had to ta!e charge of the farm, and all the "or! and res%onsibility# She had been as strong as a man, and had both %loughed and rea%ed# 9n the evenings, "hen she came into the co"shed to mil!, sometimes she "as so tired that she "e%t# Then she dashed a"ay her tears, and "as cheerful again# G9t doesn't matter# Good times are coming again for me too, if only my children gro" u%# $es, if they only gro" u%#G ut as soon as the children "ere gro"n, a strange longing came over them# They didn't "ant to stay at home, but "ent a"ay to a strange country# Their mother never got any hel% from them# A cou%le of her children "ere married before they "ent a"ay, and they had left their children behind, in the old home# And no" these children follo"ed the mistress in the co"shed, just as her o"n had done# They tended the co"s, and "ere fine, good fol!# And, in the evenings, "hen the mistress "as so tired out that she could fall aslee% in the middle of the mil!ing, she "ould rouse herself again to rene"ed courage by thin!ing of them# GGood times are coming for me, too,G said sheHand shoo! off slee%HG"hen once they are gro"n#G ut "hen these children gre" u%, they "ent a"ay to their %arents in the strange land# No one came bac!Hno one stayed at homeHthe old mistress "as left alone on the farm# Probably she had never as!ed them to remain "ith her# GThin! you, (Edlinna, that 9 "ould as! them to stay here "ith me, "hen they can go out in the "orld and have things comfortableKG she "ould say as she stood in the stall "ith the old co"# G8ere in SmAland they have only %overty to loo! for"ard to#G ut "hen the last grandchild "as gone, it "as all u% "ith the mistress# All at once she became bent and gray, and tottered as she "al!edI as if she no longer had the strength to move about# She sto%%ed "or!ing# She did not care to loo! after the farm, but let everything go to rac! and ruin# She didn't re%air the housesI and she sold both the co"s and the o?en# The only one that she !e%t "as the old co" "ho no" tal!ed "ith Thumbietot# 8er she let live because all the children had tended her#

She could have ta!en maids and farm&hands into her service, "ho "ould have hel%ed her "ith the "or!, but she couldn't bear to see strangers around her, since her o"n had deserted her# Perha%s she "as better satisfied to let the farm go to ruin, since none of her children "ere coming bac! to ta!e it after she "as gone# She did not mind that she herself became %oor, because she didn't value that "hich "as only hers# ut she "as troubled lest the children should find out ho" hard she had it# G9f only the children do not hear of thisJ 9f only the children do not hear of thisJG she sighed as she tottered through the co"house# The children "rote constantly, and begged her to come out to themI but this she did not "ish# She didn't "ant to see the land that had ta!en them from her# She "as angry "ith it# G9t's foolish of me, %erha%s, that 9 do not li!e that land "hich has been so good for them,G said she# G ut 9 don't "ant to see it#G She never thought of anything but the children, and of thisHthat they must needs have gone# When summer came, she led the co" out to graMe in the big s"am%# All day she "ould sit on the edge of the s"am%, her hands in her la%I and on the "ay home she "ould say' G$ou see, (Edlinna, if there had been large, rich fields here, in %lace of these barren s"am%s, then there "ould have been no need for them to leave#G She could become furious "ith the s"am% "hich s%read out so big, and did no good# She could sit and tal! about ho" it "as the s"am%'s fault that the children had left her# This last evening she had been more trembly and feeble than ever before# She could not even do the mil!ing# She had leaned against the manger and tal!ed about t"o strangers "ho had been to see her, and had as!ed if they might buy the s"am%# They "anted to drain it, and so" and raise grain on it# This had made her both an?ious and glad# G)o you hear, (Edlinna,G she had said, Gdo you hear they said that grain can gro" on the s"am%K No" 9 shall "rite to the children to come home# No" they'll not have to stay a"ay any longerI for no" they can get their bread here at home#G 9t "as this that she had gone into the cabin to doH The boy heard no more of "hat the old co" said# 8e had o%ened the co"house door and gone across the yard, and in to the dead "hom he had but lately been so afraid of# 9t "as not so %oor in the cabin as he had e?%ected# 9t "as "ell su%%lied "ith the sort of things one generally finds among those "ho have relatives in America# 9n a corner there "as an American roc!ing chairI on the table before the "indo" lay a brocaded %lush coverI there "as a %retty s%read on the bedI on the "alls, in carved&"ood frames, hung the %hotogra%hs of the children and grandchildren "ho had gone a"ayI on the bureau stood high vases and a cou%le of candlestic!s, "ith thic!, s%iral candles in them# The boy searched for a matchbo? and lighted these candles, not because he needed more light than he already hadI but because he thought that this "as one "ay to honour the dead# Then he "ent u% to her, closed her eyes, folded her hands across her breast, and stro!ed bac! the thin gray hair from her face#

8e thought no more about being afraid of her# 8e "as so dee%ly grieved because she had been forced to live out her old age in loneliness and longing# 8e, at least, "ould "atch over her dead body this night# 8e hunted u% the %salm boo!, and seated himself to read a cou%le of %salms in an undertone# ut in the middle of the reading he %ausedHbecause he had begun to thin! about his mother and father# Thin!, that %arents can long so for their childrenJ This he had never !no"n# Thin!, that life can be as though it "as over for them "hen the children are a"ayJ Thin!, if those at home longed for him in the same "ay that this old %easant "oman had longedJ This thought made him ha%%y, but he dared not believe in it# 8e had not been such a one that anybody could long for him# ut "hat he had not been, %erha%s he could become# (ound about him he sa" the %ortraits of those "ho "ere a"ay# They "ere big, strong men and "omen "ith earnest faces# There "ere brides in long veils, and gentlemen in fine clothesI and there "ere children "ith "aved hair and %retty "hite dresses# And he thought that they all stared blindly into vacancyHand did not "ant to see# GPoor youJG said the boy to the %ortraits# G$our mother is dead# $ou cannot ma!e re%aration no", because you "ent a"ay from her# ut my mother is livingJG 8ere he %aused, and nodded and smiled to himself# GCy mother is living,G said he# G oth father and mother are living#G FROM TABERG TO HUSKVARNA Friday, April fifteenth# The boy sat a"a!e nearly all night, but to"ard morning he fell aslee% and then he dreamed of his father and mother# 8e could hardly recognise them# They had both gro"n gray, and had old and "rin!led faces# 8e as!ed ho" this had come about, and they ans"ered that they had aged so because they had longed for him# 8e "as both touched and astonished, for he had never believed but "hat they "ere glad to be rid of him# When the boy a"o!e the morning "as come, "ith fine, clear "eather# *irst, he himself ate a bit of bread "hich he found in the cabinI then he gave morning feed to both geese and co", and o%ened the co"house door so that the co" could go over to the nearest farm# When the co" came along all by herself the neighbours "ould no doubt understand that something "as "rong "ith her mistress# They "ould hurry over to the desolate farm to see ho" the old "oman "as getting along, and then they "ould find her dead body and bury it# The boy and the geese had barely raised themselves into the air, "hen they caught a glim%se of a high mountain, "ith almost %er%endicular "alls, and an abru%t, bro!en&off

to%I and they understood that this must be Taberg# 7n the summit stood A!!a, "ith $!si and =a!si, =olmi and NeljB, >iisi and =nusi, and all si? goslings and "aited for them# There "as a rejoicing, and a cac!ling, and a fluttering, and a calling "hich no one can describe, "hen they sa" that the goosey&gander and )unfin had succeeded in finding Thumbietot# The "oods gre" %retty high u% on Taberg's sides, but her highest %ea! "as barrenI and from there one could loo! out in all directions# 9f one gaMed to"ard the east, or south, or "est, then there "as hardly anything to be seen but a %oor highland "ith dar! s%ruce& trees, bro"n morasses, ice&clad la!es, and bluish mountain&ridges# The boy couldn't !ee% from thin!ing it "as true that the one "ho had created this hadn't ta!en very great %ains "ith his "or!, but had thro"n it together in a hurry# ut if one glanced to the north, it "as altogether different# 8ere it loo!ed as if it had been "or!ed out "ith the utmost care and affection# 9n this direction one sa" only beautiful mountains, soft valleys, and "inding rivers, all the "ay to the big La!e >ettern, "hich lay ice&free and trans%arently clear, and shone as if it "asn't filled "ith "ater but "ith blue light# 9t "as >ettern that made it so %retty to loo! to"ard the north, because it loo!ed as though a blue stream had risen u% from the la!e, and s%read itself over land also# Groves and hills and roofs, and the s%ires of :En!E%ing ;ityH"hich shimmered along >ettern's shoresHlay envelo%ed in %ale blue "hich caressed the eye# 9f there "ere countries in heaven, they, too, must be blue li!e this, thought the boy, and imagined that he had gotten a faint idea of ho" it must loo! in Paradise# Later in the day, "hen the geese continued their journey, they fle" u% to"ard the blue valley# They "ere in holiday humourI shrie!ed and made such a rac!et that no one "ho had ears could hel% hearing them# This ha%%ened to be the first really fine s%ring day they had had in this section# <ntil no", the s%ring had done its "or! under rain and blusterI and no", "hen it had all of a sudden become fine "eather, the %eo%le "ere filled "ith such a longing after summer "armth and green "oods that they could hardly %erform their tas!s# And "hen the "ild geese rode by, high above the ground, cheerful and free, there "asn't one "ho did not dro% "hat he had in hand, and glance at them# The first ones "ho sa" the "ild geese that day "ere miners on Taberg, "ho "ere digging ore at the mouth of the mine# When they heard them cac!le, they %aused in their drilling for ore, and one of them called to the birds' GWhere are you goingK Where are you goingKG The geese didn't understand "hat he said, but the boy leaned for"ard over the goose&bac!, and ans"ered for them' GWhere there is neither %ic! nor hammer#G When the miners heard the "ords, they thought it "as their o"n longing that made the goose&cac!le sound li!e human s%eech# GTa!e us along "ith youJ Ta!e us along "ith youJG they cried# GNot this year,G shrie!ed the boy# GNot this year#G The "ild geese follo"ed Taberg (iver do"n to"ard Con! La!e, and all the "hile they made the same rac!et# 8ere, on the narro" land&stri% bet"een Con! and >ettern la!es, lay :En!E%ing "ith its great factories# The "ild geese rode first over Con!sjE %a%er mills# The noon rest hour "as just over, and the big "or!men "ere streaming do"n to the mill&gate# When they heard the "ild geese, they sto%%ed a moment to listen to them# GWhere are you goingK Where are you goingKG called the "or!men# The "ild geese

understood nothing of "hat they said, but the boy ans"ered for them' GThere, "here there are neither machines nor steam&bo?es#G When the "or!men heard the ans"er, they believed it "as their o"n longing that made the goose&cac!le sound li!e human s%eech# GTa!e us along "ith youJG GNot this year,G ans"ered the boy# GNot this year#G Ne?t, the geese rode over the "ell&!no"n match factory, "hich lies on the shores of >etternHlarge as a fortressHand lifts its high chimneys to"ard the s!y# Not a soul moved out in the yardsI but in a large hall young "or!ing&"omen sat and filled match& bo?es# They had o%ened a "indo" on account of the beautiful "eather, and through it came the "ild geese's call# The one "ho sat nearest the "indo", leaned out "ith a match&bo? in her hand, and cried' GWhere are you goingK Where are you goingKG GTo that land "here there is no need of either light or matches,G said the boy# The girl thought that "hat she had heard "as only goose&cac!leI but since she thought she had distinguished a cou%le of "ords, she called out in ans"er' GTa!e me along "ith youJG GNot this year,G re%lied the boy# GNot this year#G /ast of the factories rises :En!E%ing, on the most glorious s%ot that any city can occu%y# The narro" >ettern has high, stee% sand&shores, both on the eastern and "estern sidesI but straight south, the sand&"alls are bro!en do"n, just as if to ma!e room for a large gate, through "hich one reaches the la!e# And in the middle of the gateH"ith mountains to the left, and mountains to the right, "ith Con! La!e behind it, and >ettern in front of itHlies :En!E%ing# The "ild geese travelled for"ard over the long, narro" city, and behaved themselves here just as they had done in the country# ut in the city there "as no one "ho ans"ered them# 9t "as not to be e?%ected that city fol!s should sto% out in the streets, and call to the "ild geese# The tri% e?tended further along >ettern's shoresI and after a little they came to Sanna Sanitarium# Some of the %atients had gone out on the veranda to enjoy the s%ring air, and in this "ay they heard the goose&cac!le# GWhere are you goingKG as!ed one of them "ith such a feeble voice that he "as scarcely heard# GTo that land "here there is neither sorro" nor sic!ness,G ans"ered the boy# GTa!e us along "ith youJG said the sic! ones# GNot this year,G ans"ered the boy# GNot this year#G When they had travelled still farther on, they came to 8us!varna# 9t lay in a valley# The mountains around it "ere stee% and beautifully formed# A river rushed along the heights in long and narro" falls# ig "or!sho%s and factories lay belo" the mountain "allsI and scattered over the valley&bottom "ere the "or!ingmens' homes, encircled by little gardensI and in the centre of the valley lay the schoolhouse# :ust as the "ild geese came along, a bell rang, and a cro"d of school children marched out in line# They "ere so numerous that the "hole schoolyard "as filled "ith them# GWhere are you goingK Where are you goingKG the children shouted "hen they heard the "ild geese# GWhere there are neither boo!s nor lessons to be found,G ans"ered the boy# GTa!e us alongJG shrie!ed the children# GNot this year, but ne?t,G cried the boy# GNot this year, but ne?t#G THE BIG BIRD LAKE JARRO, THE WILD DUCK

7n the eastern shore of >ettern lies Count 7mbergI east of 7mberg lies )agmosseI east of )agmosse lies La!e Ta!ern# Around the "hole of Ta!ern s%reads the big, even @stergEta %lain# Ta!ern is a %retty large la!e and in olden times it must have been still larger# ut then the %eo%le thought it covered entirely too much of the fertile %lain, so they attem%ted to drain the "ater from it, that they might so" and rea% on the la!e&bottom# ut they did not succeed in laying "aste the entire la!eH"hich had evidently been their intentionH therefore it still hides a lot of land# Since the draining the la!e has become so shallo" that hardly at any %oint is it more than a cou%le of metres dee%# The shores have become marshy and muddyI and out in the la!e, little mud&islets stic! u% above the "ater's surface# No", there is one "ho loves to stand "ith his feet in the "ater, if he can just !ee% his body and head in the air, and that is the reed# And it cannot find a better %lace to gro" u%on, than the long, shallo" Ta!ern shores, and around the little mud&islets# 9t thrives so "ell that it gro"s taller than a man's height, and so thic! that it is almost im%ossible to %ush a boat through it# 9t forms a broad green enclosure around the "hole la!e, so that it is only accessible in a fe" %laces "here the %eo%le have ta!en a"ay the reeds# ut if the reeds shut the %eo%le out, they give, in return, shelter and %rotection to many other things# 9n the reeds there are a lot of little dams and canals "ith green, still "ater, "here duc!"eed and %ond"eed run to seedI and "here gnat&eggs and blac!fish and "orms are hatched out in uncountable masses# And all along the shores of these little dams and canals, there are many "ell&concealed %laces, "here seabirds hatch their eggs, and bring u% their young "ithout being disturbed, either by enemies or food "orries# An incredible number of birds live in the Ta!ern reedsI and more and more gather there every year, as it becomes !no"n "hat a s%lendid abode it is# The first "ho settled there "ere the "ild duc!sI and they still live there by thousands# ut they no longer o"n the entire la!e, for they have been obliged to share it "ith s"ans, grebes, coots, loons, fen& duc!s, and a lot of others# Ta!ern is certainly the largest and choicest bird la!e in the "hole countryI and the birds may count themselves luc!y as long as they o"n such a retreat# ut it is uncertain just ho" long they "ill be in control of reeds and mud&ban!s, for human beings cannot forget that the la!e e?tends over a considerable %ortion of good and fertile soilI and every no" and then the %ro%osition to drain it comes u% among them# And if these %ro%ositions "ere carried out, the many thousands of "ater&birds "ould be forced to move from this Luarter# At the time "hen Nils 8olgersson travelled around "ith the "ild geese, there lived at Ta!ern a "ild duc! named :arro# 8e "as a young bird, "ho had only lived one summer, one fall, and a "interI no", it "as his first s%ring# 8e had just returned from South Africa, and had reached Ta!ern in such good season that the ice "as still on the la!e# 7ne evening, "hen he and the other young "ild duc!s %layed at racing bac!"ard and for"ard over the la!e, a hunter fired a cou%le of shots at them, and :arro "as "ounded in the breast# 8e thought he should dieI but in order that the one "ho had shot him shouldn't get him into his %o"er, he continued to fly as long as he %ossibly could# 8e

didn't thin! "hither he "as directing his course, but only struggled to get far a"ay# When his strength failed him, so that he could not fly any farther, he "as no longer on the la!e# 8e had flo"n a bit inland, and no" he san! do"n before the entrance to one of the big farms "hich lie along the shores of Ta!ern# A moment later a young farm&hand ha%%ened along# 8e sa" :arro, and came and lifted him u%# ut :arro, "ho as!ed for nothing but to be let die in %eace, gathered his last %o"ers and ni%%ed the farm&hand in the finger, so he should let go of him# :arro didn't succeed in freeing himself# The encounter had this good in it at any rate' the farm&hand noticed that the bird "as alive# 8e carried him very gently into the cottage, and sho"ed him to the mistress of the houseHa young "oman "ith a !indly face# At once she too! :arro from the farm&hand, stro!ed him on the bac! and "i%ed a"ay the blood "hich tric!led do"n through the nec!&feathers# She loo!ed him over very carefullyI and "hen she sa" ho" %retty he "as, "ith his dar!&green, shining head, his "hite nec!&band, his bro"nish&red bac!, and his blue "ing&mirror, she must have thought that it "as a %ity for him to die# She %rom%tly %ut a bas!et in order, and tuc!ed the bird into it# All the "hile :arro fluttered and struggled to get looseI but "hen he understood that the %eo%le didn't intend to !ill him, he settled do"n in the bas!et "ith a sense of %leasure# No" it "as evident ho" e?hausted he "as from %ain and loss of blood# The mistress carried the bas!et across the floor to %lace it in the corner by the fire%laceI but before she %ut it do"n :arro "as already fast aslee%# 9n a little "hile :arro "as a"a!ened by someone "ho nudged him gently# When he o%ened his eyes he e?%erienced such an a"ful shoc! that he almost lost his senses# No" he "as lostI for there stood the one "ho "as more dangerous than either human beings or birds of %rey# 9t "as no less a thing than ;aesar himselfHthe long&haired dogH"ho nosed around him inLuisitively# 8o" %itifully scared had he not been last summer, "hen he "as still a little yello"& do"n duc!ling, every time it had sounded over the reed&stems' G;aesar is comingJ ;aesar is comingJG When he had seen the bro"n and "hite s%otted dog "ith the teeth& filled jo"ls come "ading through the reeds, he had believed that he beheld death itself# 8e had al"ays ho%ed that he "ould never have to live through that moment "hen he should meet ;aesar face to face# ut, to his sorro", he must have fallen do"n in the very yard "here ;aesar lived, for there he stood right over him# GWho are youKG he gro"led# G8o" did you get into the houseK )on't you belong do"n among the reed ban!sKG 9t "as "ith great difficulty that he gained the courage to ans"er# G)on't be angry "ith me, ;aesar, because 9 came into the houseJG said he# G9t isn't my fault# 9 have been "ounded by a gunshot# 9t "as the %eo%le themselves "ho laid me in this bas!et#G G7hoJ so it's the fol!s themselves that have %laced you here,G said ;aesar# GThen it is surely their intention to cure youI although, for my %art, 9 thin! it "ould be "iser for them to eat you u%, since you are in their %o"er# ut, at any rate, you are tabooed in the house# $ou needn't loo! so scared# No", "e're not do"n on Ta!ern#G

With that ;aesar laid himself to slee% in front of the blaMing log&fire# As soon as :arro understood that this terrible danger "as %ast, e?treme lassitude came over him, and he fell aslee% ane"# The ne?t time :arro a"o!e, he sa" that a dish "ith grain and "ater stood before him# 8e "as still Luite ill, but he felt hungry nevertheless, and began to eat# When the mistress sa" that he ate, she came u% and %etted him, and loo!ed %leased# After that, :arro fell aslee% again# *or several days he did nothing but eat and slee%# 7ne morning :arro felt so "ell that he ste%%ed from the bas!et and "andered along the floor# ut he hadn't gone very far before he !eeled over, and lay there# Then came ;aesar, o%ened his big ja"s and grabbed him# :arro believed, of course, that the dog "as going to bite him to deathI but ;aesar carried him bac! to the bas!et "ithout harming him# ecause of this, :arro acLuired such a confidence in the dog ;aesar, that on his ne?t "al! in the cottage, he "ent over to the dog and lay do"n beside him# Thereafter ;aesar and he became good friends, and every day, for several hours, :arro lay and sle%t bet"een ;aesar's %a"s# ut an even greater affection than he felt for ;aesar, did :arro feel to"ard his mistress# 7f her he had not the least fearI but rubbed his head against her hand "hen she came and fed him# Whenever she "ent out of the cottage he sighed "ith regretI and "hen she came bac! he cried "elcome to her in his o"n language# :arro forgot entirely ho" afraid he had been of both dogs and humans in other days# 8e thought no" that they "ere gentle and !ind, and he loved them# 8e "ished that he "ere "ell, so he could fly do"n to Ta!ern and tell the "ild duc!s that their enemies "ere not dangerous, and that they need not fear them# 8e had observed that the human beings, as "ell as ;aesar, had calm eyes, "hich it did one good to loo! into# The only one in the cottage "hose glance he did not care to meet, "as ;la"ina, the house cat# She did him no harm, either, but he couldn't %lace any confidence in her# Then, too, she Luarrelled "ith him constantly, because he loved human beings# G$ou thin! they %rotect you because they are fond of you,G said ;la"ina# G$ou just "ait until you are fat enoughJ Then they'll "ring the nec! off you# 9 !no" them, 9 do#G :arro, li!e all birds, had a tender and affectionate heartI and he "as unutterably distressed "hen he heard this# 8e couldn't imagine that his mistress "ould "ish to "ring the nec! off him, nor could he believe any such thing of her son, the little boy "ho sat for hours beside his bas!et, and babbled and chattered# 8e seemed to thin! that both of them had the same love for him that he had for them# 7ne day, "hen :arro and ;aesar lay on the usual s%ot before the fire, ;la"ina sat on the hearth and began to tease the "ild duc!# G9 "onder, :arro, "hat you "ild duc!s "ill do ne?t year, "hen Ta!ern is drained and turned into grain fieldsKG said ;la"ina# GWhat's that you say, ;la"inaKG cried :arro, and jum%ed u%Hscared through and through# G9 al"ays forget, :arro, that you do not understand human s%eech, li!e ;aesar and myself,G ans"ered the cat# G7r else you surely "ould have heard ho" the men, "ho "ere here in the cottage yesterday, said that

all the "ater "as going to be drained from Ta!ern, and that ne?t year the la!e&bottom "ould be as dry as a house&floor# And no" 9 "onder "here you "ild duc!s "ill go#G When :arro heard this tal! he "as so furious that he hissed li!e a sna!e# G$ou are just as mean as a common cootJG he screamed at ;la"ina# G$ou only "ant to incite me against human beings# 9 don't believe they "ant to do anything of the sort# They must !no" that Ta!ern is the "ild duc!s' %ro%erty# Why should they ma!e so many birds homeless and unha%%yK $ou have certainly hit u%on all this to scare me# 9 ho%e that you may be torn in %ieces by Gorgo, the eagleJ 9 ho%e that my mistress "ill cho% off your "his!ersJG ut :arro couldn't shut ;la"ina u% "ith this outburst# GSo you thin! 9'm lying,G said she# GAs! ;aesar, thenJ 8e "as also in the house last night# ;aesar never lies#G G;aesar,G said :arro, Gyou understand human s%eech much better than ;la"ina# Say that she hasn't heard arightJ Thin! ho" it "ould be if the %eo%le drained Ta!ern, and changed the la!e&bottom into fieldsJ Then there "ould be no more %ond"eed or duc!& food for the gro"n "ild duc!s, and no blac!fish or "orms or gnat&eggs for the duc!lings# Then the reed&ban!s "ould disa%%earH"here no" the duc!lings conceal themselves until they are able to fly# All duc!s "ould be com%elled to move a"ay from here and see! another home# ut "here shall they find a retreat li!e Ta!ernK ;aesar, say that ;la"ina has not heard arightJG 9t "as e?traordinary to "atch ;aesar's behaviour during this conversation# 8e had been "ide&a"a!e the "hole time before, but no", "hen :arro turned to him, he %anted, laid his long nose on his fore%a"s, and "as sound aslee% "ithin the "in! of an eyelid# The cat loo!ed do"n at ;aesar "ith a !no"ing smile# G9 believe that ;aesar doesn't care to ans"er you,G she said to :arro# G9t is "ith him as "ith all dogsI they "ill never ac!no"ledge that humans can do any "rong# ut you can rely u%on my "ord, at any rate# 9 shall tell you "hy they "ish to drain the la!e just no"# As long as you "ild duc!s still had the %o"er on Ta!ern, they did not "ish to drain it, for, at least, they got some good out of youI but no", grebes and coots and other birds "ho are no good as food, have infested nearly all the reed&ban!s, and the %eo%le don't thin! they need let the la!e remain on their account#G :arro didn't trouble himself to ans"er ;la"ina, but raised his head, and shouted in ;aesar's ear' G;aesarJ $ou !no" that on Ta!ern there are still so many duc!s left that they fill the air li!e clouds# Say it isn't true that human beings intend to ma!e all of these homelessJG Then ;aesar s%rang u% "ith such a sudden outburst at ;la"ina that she had to save herself by jum%ing u% on a shelf# G9'll teach you to !ee% Luiet "hen 9 "ant to slee%,G ba"led ;aesar# G7f course 9 !no" that there is some tal! about draining the la!e this year# ut there's been tal! of this many times before "ithout anything coming of it# And that draining business is a matter in "hich 9 ta!e no stoc! "hatever# *or ho" "ould it go "ith the game if Ta!ern "ere laid "aste# $ou're a don!ey to gloat over a thing li!e that# What "ill you and 9 have to amuse ourselves "ith, "hen there are no more birds on Ta!ernKG

Sunday, April se!enteenth# A cou%le of days later :arro "as so "ell that he could fly all about the house# Then he "as %etted a good deal by the mistress, and the little boy ran out in the yard and %luc!ed the first grass&blades for him "hich had s%rung u%# When the mistress caressed him, :arro thought that, although he "as no" so strong that he could fly do"n to Ta!ern at any time, he shouldn't care to be se%arated from the human beings# 8e had no objection to remaining "ith them all his life# ut early one morning the mistress %laced a halter, or noose, over :arro, "hich %revented him from using his "ings, and then she turned him over to the farm&hand "ho had found him in the yard# The farm&hand %o!ed him under his arm, and "ent do"n to Ta!ern "ith him# The ice had melted a"ay "hile :arro had been ill# The old, dry fall leaves still stood along the shores and islets, but all the "ater&gro"ths had begun to ta!e root do"n in the dee%I and the green stems had already reached the surface# And no" nearly all the migratory birds "ere at home# The curle"s' hoo!ed bills %ee%ed out from the reeds# The grebes glided about "ith ne" feather&collars around the nec!I and the jac!&sni%es "ere gathering stra"s for their nests# The farm&hand got into a sco", laid :arro in the bottom of the boat, and began to %ole himself out on the la!e# :arro, "ho had no" accustomed himself to e?%ect only good of human beings, said to ;aesar, "ho "as also in the %arty, that he "as very grateful to"ard the farm&hand for ta!ing him out on the la!e# ut there "as no need to !ee% him so closely guarded, for he did not intend to fly a"ay# To this ;aesar made no re%ly# 8e "as very close&mouthed that morning# The only thing "hich struc! :arro as being a bit %eculiar "as that the farm&hand had ta!en his gun along# 8e couldn't believe that any of the good fol! in the cottage "ould "ant to shoot birds# And, beside, ;aesar had told him that the %eo%le didn't hunt at this time of the year# G9t is a %rohibited time,G he had said, Galthough this doesn't concern me, of course#G The farm&hand "ent over to one of the little reed&enclosed mud&islets# There he ste%%ed from the boat, gathered some old reeds into a %ile, and lay do"n behind it# :arro "as %ermitted to "ander around on the ground, "ith the halter over his "ings, and tethered to the boat, "ith a long string# Suddenly :arro caught sight of some young duc!s and dra!es, in "hose com%any he had formerly raced bac!"ard and for"ard over the la!e# They "ere a long "ay off, but :arro called them to him "ith a cou%le of loud shouts# They res%onded, and a large and beautiful floc! a%%roached# efore they got there, :arro began to tell them about his marvellous rescue, and of the !indness of human beings# :ust then, t"o shots sounded behind him# Three duc!s san! do"n in the reedsHlifelessHand ;aesar bounced out and ca%tured them# Then :arro understood# The human beings had only saved him that they might use him as a decoy&duc!# And they had also succeeded# Three duc!s had died on his account# 8e thought he should die of shame# 8e thought that even his friend ;aesar loo!ed

contem%tuously at himI and "hen they came home to the cottage, he didn't dare lie do"n and slee% beside the dog# The ne?t morning :arro "as again ta!en out on the shallo"s# This time, too, he sa" some duc!s# ut "hen he observed that they fle" to"ard him, he called to them' GA"ayJ A"ayJ e carefulJ *ly in another directionJ There's a hunter hidden behind the reed&%ile# 9'm only a decoy&birdJG And he actually succeeded in %reventing them from coming "ithin shooting distance# :arro had scarcely had time to taste of a grass&blade, so busy "as he in !ee%ing "atch# 8e called out his "arning as soon as a bird dre" nigh# 8e even "arned the grebes, although he detested them because they cro"ded the duc!s out of their best hiding& %laces# ut he did not "ish that any bird should meet "ith misfortune on his account# And, than!s to :arro's vigilance, the farm&hand had to go home "ithout firing off a single shot# )es%ite this fact, ;aesar loo!ed less dis%leased than on the %revious dayI and "hen evening came he too! :arro in his mouth, carried him over to the fire%lace, and let him slee% bet"een his fore%a"s# Nevertheless :arro "as no longer contented in the cottage, but "as grievously unha%%y# 8is heart suffered at the thought that humans never had loved him# When the mistress, or the little boy, came for"ard to caress him, he stuc! his bill under his "ing and %retended that he sle%t# *or several days :arro continued his distressful "atch&serviceI and already he "as !no"n all over Ta!ern# Then it ha%%ened one morning, "hile he called as usual' G8ave a care, birdsJ )on't come near meJ 9'm only a decoy&duc!,G that a grebe&nest came floating to"ard the shallo"s "here he "as tied# This "as nothing es%ecially remar!able# 9t "as a nest from the year beforeI and since grebe&nests are built in such a "ay that they can move on "ater li!e boats, it often ha%%ens that they drift out to"ard the la!e# Still :arro stood there and stared at the nest, because it came so straight to"ard the islet that it loo!ed as though someone had steered its course over the "ater# As the nest came nearer, :arro sa" that a little human beingHthe tiniest he had ever seenHsat in the nest and ro"ed it for"ard "ith a %air of stic!s# And this little human called to him' GGo as near the "ater as you can, :arro, and be ready to fly# $ou shall soon be freed#G A fe" seconds later the grebe&nest lay near land, but the little oarsman did not leave it, but sat huddled u% bet"een branches and stra"# :arro too held himself almost immovable# 8e "as actually %aralysed "ith fear lest the rescuer should be discovered# The ne?t thing "hich occurred "as that a floc! of "ild geese came along# Then :arro "o!e u% to business, and "arned them "ith loud shrie!sI but in s%ite of this they fle" bac!"ard and for"ard over the shallo"s several times# They held themselves so high that they "ere beyond shooting distanceI still the farm&hand let himself be tem%ted to fire a cou%le of shots at them# These shots "ere hardly fired before the little creature ran u% on land, dre" a tiny !nife from its sheath, and, "ith a cou%le of Luic! stro!es, cut

loose :arro's halter# GNo" fly a"ay, :arro, before the man has time to load againJG cried he, "hile he himself ran do"n to the grebe&nest and %oled a"ay from the shore# The hunter had had his gaMe fi?ed u%on the geese, and hadn't observed that :arro had been freedI but ;aesar had follo"ed more carefully that "hich ha%%enedI and just as :arro raised his "ings, he dashed for"ard and grabbed him by the nec!# :arro cried %itifullyI and the boy "ho had freed him said Luietly to ;aesar' G9f you are just as honourable as you loo!, surely you cannot "ish to force a good bird to sit here and entice others into trouble#G When ;aesar heard these "ords, he grinned viciously "ith his u%%er li%, but the ne?t second he dro%%ed :arro# G*ly, :arroJG said he# G$ou are certainly too good to be a decoy&duc!# 9t "asn't for this that 9 "anted to !ee% you hereI but because it "ill be lonely in the cottage "ithout you#G

Wednesday, April twentieth# 9t "as indeed very lonely in the cottage "ithout :arro# The dog and the cat found the time long, "hen they didn't have him to "rangle overI and the house"ife missed the glad Luac!ing "hich he had indulged in every time she entered the house# ut the one "ho longed most for :arro, "as the little boy, Per 7la# 8e "as but three years old, and the only childI and in all his life he had never had a %laymate li!e :arro# When he heard that :arro had gone bac! to Ta!ern and the "ild duc!s, he couldn't be satisfied "ith this, but thought constantly of ho" he should get him bac! again# Per 7la had tal!ed a good deal "ith :arro "hile he lay still in his bas!et, and he "as certain that the duc! understood him# 8e begged his mother to ta!e him do"n to the la!e that he might find :arro, and %ersuade him to come bac! to them# Cother "ouldn't listen to thisI but the little one didn't give u% his %lan on that account# The day after :arro had disa%%eared, Per 7la "as running about in the yard# 8e %layed by himself as usual, but ;aesar lay on the stoo%I and "hen mother let the boy out, she said' GTa!e care of Per 7la, ;aesarJG No" if all had been as usual, ;aesar "ould also have obeyed the command, and the boy "ould have been so "ell guarded that he couldn't have run the least ris!# ut ;aesar "as not li!e himself these days# 8e !ne" that the farmers "ho lived along Ta!ern had held freLuent conferences about the lo"ering of the la!eI and that they had almost settled the matter# The duc!s must leave, and ;aesar should nevermore behold a glorious chase# 8e "as so %reoccu%ied "ith thoughts of this misfortune, that he did not remember to "atch over Per 7la# And the little one had scarcely been alone in the yard a minute, before he realised that no" the right moment "as come to go do"n to Ta!ern and tal! "ith :arro# 8e o%ened a gate, and "andered do"n to"ard the la!e on the narro" %ath "hich ran along the ban!s# As long as he could be seen from the house, he "al!ed slo"lyI but after"ard he increased his %ace# 8e "as very much afraid that mother, or someone else, should call

to him that he couldn't go# 8e didn't "ish to do anything naughty, only to %ersuade :arro to come homeI but he felt that those at home "ould not have a%%roved of the underta!ing# When Per 7la came do"n to the la!e&shore, he called :arro several times# Thereu%on he stood for a long time and "aited, but no :arro a%%eared# 8e sa" several birds that resembled the "ild duc!, but they fle" by "ithout noticing him, and he could understand that none among them "as the right one# When :arro didn't come to him, the little boy thought that it "ould be easier to find him if he "ent out on the la!e# There "ere several good craft lying along the shore, but they "ere tied# The only one that lay loose, and at liberty, "as an old lea!y sco" "hich "as so unfit that no one thought of using it# ut Per 7la scrambled u% in it "ithout caring that the "hole bottom "as filled "ith "ater# 8e had not strength enough to use the oars, but instead, he seated himself to s"ing and roc! in the sco"# ;ertainly no gro"n %erson "ould have succeeded in moving a sco" out on Ta!ern in that mannerI but "hen the tide is highHand ill&luc! to the foreHlittle children have a marvellous faculty for getting out to sea# Per 7la "as soon riding around on Ta!ern, and calling for :arro# When the old sco" "as roc!ed li!e thisHout to seaHits ;rac!s o%ened "ider and "ider, and the "ater actually streamed into it# Per 7la didn't %ay the slightest attention to this# 8e sat u%on the little bench in front and called to every bird he sa", and "ondered "hy :arro didn't a%%ear# At last :arro caught sight of Per 7la# 8e heard that someone called him by the name "hich he had borne among human beings, and he understood that the boy had gone out on Ta!ern to search for him# :arro "as uns%ea!ably ha%%y to find that one of the humans really loved him# 8e shot do"n to"ard Per 7la, li!e an arro", seated himself beside him, and let him caress him# They "ere both very ha%%y to see each other again# ut suddenly :arro noticed the condition of the sco"# 9t "as half&filled "ith "ater, and "as almost ready to sin!# :arro tried to tell Per 7la that he, "ho could neither fly nor s"im, must try to get u%on landI but Per 7la didn't understand him# Then :arro did not "ait an instant, but hurried a"ay to get hel%# :arro came bac! in a little "hile, and carried on his bac! a tiny thing, "ho "as much smaller than Per 7la himself# 9f he hadn't been able to tal! and move, the boy "ould have believed that it "as a doll# 9nstantly, the little one ordered Per 7la to %ic! u% a long, slender %ole that lay in the bottom of the sco", and try to %ole it to"ard one of the reed&islands# Per 7la obeyed him, and he and the tiny creature, together, steered the sco"# With a cou%le of stro!es they "ere on a little reed&encircled island, and no" Per 7la "as told that he must ste% on land# And just the very moment that Per 7la set foot on land, the sco" "as filled "ith "ater, and san! to the bottom# When Per 7la sa" this he "as sure that father and mother "ould be very angry "ith him# 8e "ould have started in to cry if he hadn't found something else to thin! about soonI namely, a floc! of big, gray birds, "ho lighted on the island# The little midget too! him u% to them, and told him their names, and "hat they said# And this "as so funny that Per 7la forgot everything else# Cean"hile the fol!s on the farm had discovered that the boy had disa%%eared, and had started to search for him# They searched the outhouses, loo!ed in the "ell, and hunted

through the cellar# Then they "ent out into the high"ays and by&%athsI "andered to the neighbouring farm to find out if he had strayed over there, and searched for him also do"n by Ta!ern# ut no matter ho" much they sought they did not find him# ;aesar, the dog, understood very "ell that the farmer&fol! "ere loo!ing for Per 7la, but he did nothing to lead them on the right trac!I instead, he lay still as though the matter didn't concern him# Later in the day, Per 7la's foot%rints "ere discovered do"n by the boat&landing# And then came the thought that the old, lea!y sco" "as no longer on the strand# Then one began to understand ho" the "hole affair had come about# The farmer and his hel%ers immediately too! out the boats and "ent in search of the boy# They ro"ed around on Ta!ern until "ay late in the evening, "ithout seeing the least shado" of him# They couldn't hel% believing that the old sco" had gone do"n, and that the little one lay dead on the la!e&bottom# 9n the evening, Per 7la's mother hunted around on the strand# /veryone else "as convinced that the boy "as dro"ned, but she could not bring herself to believe this# She searched all the "hile# She searched bet"een reeds and bulrushesI tram%ed and tram%ed on the muddy shore, never thin!ing of ho" dee% her foot san!, and ho" "et she had become# She "as uns%ea!ably des%erate# 8er heart ached in her breast# She did not "ee%, but "rung her hands and called for her child in loud %iercing tones# (ound about her she heard s"ans' and duc!s' and curle"s' shrie!s# She thought that they follo"ed her, and moaned and "ailedHthey too# GSurely, they, too, must be in trouble, since they moan so,G thought she# Then she remembered' these "ere only birds that she heard com%lain# They surely had no "orries# 9t "as strange that they did not Luiet do"n after sunset# ut she heard all these uncountable bird&throngs, "hich lived along Ta!ern, send forth cry u%on cry# Several of them follo"ed her "herever she "entI others came rustling %ast on light "ings# All the air "as filled "ith moans and lamentations# ut the anguish "hich she herself "as suffering, o%ened her heart# She thought that she "as not as far removed from all other living creatures as %eo%le usually thin!# She understood much better than ever before, ho" birds fared# They had their constant "orries for home and childrenI they, as she# There "as surely not such a great difference bet"een them and her as she had heretofore believed# Then she ha%%ened to thin! that it "as as good as settled that these thousands of s"ans and duc!s and loons "ould lose their homes here by Ta!ern# G9t "ill be very hard for them,G she thought# GWhere shall they bring u% their children no"KG She stood still and mused on this# 9t a%%eared to be an e?cellent and agreeable accom%lishment to change a la!e into fields and meado"s, but let it be some other la!e than Ta!ernI some other la!e, "hich "as not the home of so many thousand creatures# She remembered ho" on the follo"ing day the %ro%osition to lo"er the la!e "as to be decided, and she "ondered if this "as "hy her little son had been lostHjust to&day#

Was it God's meaning that sorro" should come and o%en her heartHjust to&dayHbefore it "as too late to avert the cruel actK She "al!ed ra%idly u% to the house, and began to tal! "ith her husband about this# She s%o!e of the la!e, and of the birds, and said that she believed it "as God's judgment on them both# And she soon found that he "as of the same o%inion# They already o"ned a large %lace, but if the la!e&draining "as carried into effect, such a goodly %ortion of the la!e&bottom "ould fall to their share that their %ro%erty "ould be nearly doubled# *or this reason they had been more eager for the underta!ing than any of the other shore o"ners# The others had been "orried about e?%enses, and an?ious lest the draining should not %rove any more successful this time than it "as the last# Per 7la's father !ne" in his heart that it "as he "ho had influenced them to underta!e the "or!# 8e had e?ercised all his eloLuence, so that he might leave to his son a farm as large again as his father had left to him# 8e stood and %ondered if God's hand "as bac! of the fact that Ta!ern had ta!en his son from him on the day before he "as to dra" u% the contract to lay it "aste# The "ife didn't have to say many "ords to him, before he ans"ered' G9t may be that God does not "ant us to interfere "ith 8is order# 9'll tal! "ith the others about this to&morro", and 9 thin! "e'll conclude that all may remain as it is#G While the farmer&fol! "ere tal!ing this over, ;aesar lay before the fire# 8e raised his head and listened very attentively# When he thought that he "as sure of the outcome, he "al!ed u% to the mistress, too! her by the s!irt, and led her to the door# G ut ;aesarJG said she, and "anted to brea! loose# G)o you !no" "here Per 7la isKG she e?claimed# ;aesar bar!ed joyfully, and thre" himself against the door# She o%ened it, and ;aesar dashed do"n to"ard Ta!ern# The mistress "as so %ositive he !ne" "here Per 7la "as, that she rushed after him# And no sooner had they reached the shore than they heard a child's cry out on the la!e# Per 7la had had the best day of his life, in com%any "ith Thumbietot and the birdsI but no" he had begun to cry because he "as hungry and afraid of the dar!ness# And he "as glad "hen father and mother and ;aesar came for him# ULVSA-LADY THE PROPHECY Friday, April twenty-second# 7ne night "hen the boy lay and sle%t on an island in Ta!ern, he "as a"a!ened by oar& stro!es# 8e had hardly gotten his eyes o%en before there fell such a daMMling light on them that he began to blin!# At first he couldn't ma!e out "hat it "as that shone so brightly out here on the la!eI but he soon sa" that a sco" "ith a big burning torch stuc! u% on a s%i!e, aft, lay near the edge of the reeds# The red flame from the torch "as clearly reflected in the night&dar!

la!eI and the brilliant light must have lured the fish, for round about the flame in the dee% a mass of dar! s%ec!s "ere seen, that moved continually, and changed %laces# There "ere t"o old men in the sco"# 7ne sat at the oars, and the other stood on a bench in the stern and held in his hand a short s%ear "hich "as coarsely barbed# The one "ho ro"ed "as a%%arently a %oor fisherman# 8e "as small, dried&u% and "eather&beaten, and "ore a thin, threadbare coat# 7ne could see that he "as so used to being out in all sorts of "eather that he didn't mind the cold# The other "as "ell fed and "ell dressed, and loo!ed li!e a %ros%erous and self&com%lacent farmer# GNo", sto%JG said the farmer, "hen they "ere o%%osite the island "here the boy lay# At the same time he %lunged the s%ear into the "ater# When he dre" it out again, a long, fine eel came "ith it# GLoo! at thatJG said he as he released the eel from the s%ear# GThat "as one "ho "as "orth "hile# No" 9 thin! "e have so many that "e can turn bac!#G 8is comrade did not lift the oars, but sat and loo!ed around# G9t is lovely out here on the la!e to&night,G said he# And so it "as# 9t "as absolutely still, so that the entire "ater& surface lay in undisturbed rest "ith the e?ce%tion of the strea! "here the boat had gone for"ard# This lay li!e a %ath of gold, and shimmered in the firelight# The s!y "as clear and dar! blue and thic!ly studded "ith stars# The shores "ere hidden by the reed islands e?ce%t to"ard the "est# There Count 7mberg loomed u% high and dar!, much more im%ressive than usual, and, cut a"ay a big, three&cornered %iece of the vaulted heavens# The other one turned his head to get the light out of his eyes, and loo!ed about him# G$es, it is lovely here in @stergylln,G said he# GStill the best thing about the %rovince is not its beauty#G GThen "hat is it that's bestKG as!ed the oarsman# GThat it has al"ays been a res%ected and honoured %rovince#G GThat may be true enough#G GAnd then this, that one !no"s it "ill al"ays continue to be so#G G ut ho" in the "orld can one !no" thisKG said the one "ho sat at the oars# The farmer straightened u% "here he stood and braced himself "ith the s%ear# GThere is an old story "hich has been handed do"n from father to son in my familyI and in it one learns "hat "ill ha%%en to @stergEtland#G GThen you may as "ell tell it to me,G said the oarsman# GWe do not tell it to anyone and everyone, but 9 do not "ish to !ee% it a secret from an old comrade# GAt <lvAsa, here in @stergEtland,G he continued Qand one could tell by the tone of his voice that he tal!ed of something "hich he had heard from others, and !ne" by heartR, Gmany, many years ago, there lived a lady "ho had the gift of loo!ing into the future, and telling %eo%le "hat "as going to ha%%en to themHjust as certainly and accurately as though it had already occurred# *or this she became "idely notedI and it is easy to understand that %eo%le "ould come to her, both from far and near, to find out "hat they "ere going to %ass through of good or evil# G7ne day, "hen <lvAsa&lady sat in her hall and s%un, as "as customary in former days, a %oor %easant came into the room and seated himself on the bench near the door#

G'9 "onder "hat you are sitting and thin!ing about, dear lady,' said the %easant after a little# G'9 am sitting and thin!ing about high and holy things,' ans"ered she# 'Then it is not fitting, %erha%s, that 9 as! you about something "hich "eighs on my heart,' said the %easant# G'9t is %robably nothing else that "eighs on your heart than that you may rea% much grain on your field# ut 9 am accustomed to receive communications from the /m%eror about ho" it "ill go "ith his cro"nI and from the Po%e, about ho" it "ill go "ith his !eys#' 'Such things cannot be easy to ans"er,' said the %easant# '9 have also heard that no one seems to go from here "ithout being dissatisfied "ith "hat he has heard#' GWhen the %easant said this, he sa" that <lvAsa&lady bit her li%, and moved higher u% on the bench# 'So this is "hat you have heard about me,' said she# 'Then you may as "ell tem%t fortune by as!ing me about the thing you "ish to !no"I and you shall see if 9 can ans"er so that you "ill be satisfied#' GAfter this the %easant did not hesitate to state his errand# 8e said that he had come to as! ho" it "ould go "ith @stergEtland in the future# There "as nothing "hich "as so dear to him as his native %rovince, and he felt that he should be ha%%y until his dying day if he could get a satisfactory re%ly to his Luery# G'7hJ is that all you "ish to !no",' said the "ise ladyI 'then 9 thin! that you "ill be content# *or here "here 9 no" sit, 9 can tell you that it "ill be li!e this "ith @stergEtland' it "ill al"ays have something to boast of ahead of other %rovinces#' G'$es, that "as a good ans"er, dear lady,' said the %easant, 'and no" 9 "ould be entirely at %eace if 9 could only com%rehend ho" such a thing should be %ossible#' G'Why should it not be %ossibleK' said <lvAsa&lady# ')on't you !no" that @stergEtland is already reno"nedK 7r thin! you there is any %lace in S"eden that can boast of o"ning, at the same time, t"o such cloisters as the ones in Alvastra and >reta, and such a beautiful cathedral as the one in Lin!E%ingK' G'That may be so,' said the %easant# ' ut 9'm an old man, and 9 !no" that %eo%le's minds are changeable# 9 fear that there "ill come a time "hen they "on't "ant to give us any glory, either for Alvastra or >reta or for the cathedral#' G'8erein you may be right,' said <lvAsa&lady, 'but you need not doubt %ro%hecy on that account# 9 shall no" build u% a ne" cloister on >adstena, and that "ill become the most celebrated in the North# Thither both the high and the lo"ly shall ma!e %ilgrimages, and all shall sing the %raises of the %rovince because it has such a holy %lace "ithin its confines#' GThe %easant re%lied that he "as right glad to !no" this# ut he also !ne", of course, that everything "as %erishableI and he "ondered much "hat "ould give distinction to the %rovince, if >adstena ;loister should once fall into disre%ute#

G'$ou are not easy to satisfy,' said <lvAsa&lady, 'but surely 9 can see so far ahead that 9 can tell you, before >adstena ;loister shall have lost its s%lendour, there "ill be a castle erected close by, "hich "ill be the most magnificent of its %eriod# =ings and du!es "ill be guests there, and it shall be accounted an honour to the "hole %rovince, that it o"ns such an ornament#' G'This 9 am also glad to hear,' said the %easant# ' ut 9'm an old man, and 9 !no" ho" it generally turns out "ith this "orld's glories# And if the castle goes to ruin, 9 "onder much "hat there "ill be that can attract the %eo%le's attention to this %rovince#' G'9t's not a little that you "ant to !no",' said <lvAsa&lady, 'but, certainly, 9 can loo! far enough into the future to see that there "ill be life and movement in the forests around *ins%Ang# 9 see ho" cabins and smithies arise there, and 9 believe that the "hole %rovince shall be reno"ned because iron "ill be moulded "ithin its confines#' GThe %easant didn't deny that he "as delighted to hear this# ' ut if it should go so badly that even *ins%Ang's foundry "ent do"n in im%ortance, then it "ould hardly be %ossible that any ne" thing could arise of "hich @stergEtland might boast#' G'$ou are not easy to %lease,' said <lvAsa&lady, 'but 9 can see so far into the future that 9 mar! ho", along the la!e&shores, great manorsHlarge as castlesHare built by gentlemen "ho have carried on "ars in foreign lands# 9 believe that the manors "ill bring the %rovince just as much honour as anything else that 9 have mentioned#' G' ut if there comes a time "hen no one lauds the great manorsK' insisted the %easant# G'$ou need not be uneasy at all events,' said <lvAsa&lady# 9 see ho" health&s%rings bubble on Cedevi meado"s, by >Btter's shores# 9 believe that the "ells at Cedevi "ill bring the land as much %raise as you can desire#' G'That is a mighty good thing to !no",' said the %easant# ' ut if there comes a time "hen %eo%le "ill see! their health at other s%ringsK' G'$ou must not give yourself any an?iety on that account,' ans"ered <lvAsa&lady# 9 see ho" %eo%le dig and labour, from Cotala to Cem# They dig a canal right through the country, and then @stergEtland's %raise is again on everyone's li%s#' G ut, nevertheless, the %easant loo!ed distraught# G'9 see that the ra%ids in Cotala stream begin to dra" "heels,' said <lvAsa&ladyHand no" t"o bright red s%ots came to her chee!s, for she began to be im%atientH'9 hear hammers resound in Cotala, and looms clatter in Norr!E%ing#' G'$es, that's good to !no",' said the %easant, 'but everything is %erishable, and 9'm afraid that even this can be forgotten, and go into oblivion#' GWhen the %easant "as not satisfied even no", there "as an end to the lady's %atience# '$ou say that everything is %erishable,' said she, 'but no" 9 shall still name something "hich "ill al"ays be li!e itselfI and that is that such arrogant and %ig&headed %easants as you "ill al"ays be found in this %rovinceHuntil the end of time#'

G8ardly had <lvAsa&lady said this before the %easant roseHha%%y and satisfiedHand than!ed her for a good ans"er# No", at last, he "as satisfied, he said# G'>erily, 9 understand no" ho" you loo! at it,' then said <lvAsa&lady# G'Well, 9 loo! at it in this "ay, dear lady,' said the %easant, 'that everything "hich !ings and %riests and noblemen and merchants build and accom%lish, can only endure for a fe" years# ut "hen you tell me that in @stergEtland there "ill al"ays be %easants "ho are honour&loving and %ersevering, then 9 !no" also that it "ill be able to !ee% its ancient glory# *or it is only those "ho go bent under the eternal labour "ith the soil, "ho can hold this land in good re%ute and honourHfrom one time to another#'G THE HOMESPUN CLOTH Saturday, April twenty-third# The boy rode for"ardH"ay u% in the air# 8e had the great @stergEtland %lain under him, and sat and counted the many "hite churches "hich to"ered above the small leafy groves around them# 9t "asn't long before he had counted fifty# After that he became confused and couldn't !ee% trac! of the counting# Nearly all the farms "ere built u% "ith large, "hite"ashed t"o&story houses, "hich loo!ed so im%osing that the boy couldn't hel% admiring them# GThere can't be any %easants in this land,G he said to himself, Gsince 9 do not see any %easant farms#G 9mmediately all the "ild geese shrie!ed' G8ere the %easants live li!e gentlemen# 8ere the %easants live li!e gentlemen#G 7n the %lains the ice and sno" had disa%%eared, and the s%ring "or! had begun# GWhat !ind of long crabs are those that cree% over the fieldsKG as!ed the boy after a bit# GPloughs and o?en# Ploughs and o?en,G ans"ered the "ild geese# The o?en moved so slo"ly do"n on the fields, that one could scarcely %erceive they "ere in motion, and the geese shouted to them' G$ou "on't get there before ne?t year# $ou "on't get there before ne?t year#G ut the o?en "ere eLual to the occasion# They raised their muMMles in the air and bello"ed' GWe do more good in an hour than such as you do in a "hole lifetime#G 9n a fe" %laces the %loughs "ere dra"n by horses# They "ent along "ith much more eagerness and haste than the o?enI but the geese couldn't !ee% from teasing these either# GAr'n't you ashamed to be doing o?&dutyKG cried the "ild geese# GAr'n't you ashamed yourselves to be doing laMy man's dutyKG the horses neighed bac! at them# ut "hile horses and o?en "ere at "or! in the fields, the stable ram "al!ed about in the barnyard# 8e "as ne"ly cli%%ed and touchy, !noc!ed over the small boys, chased the she%herd dog into his !ennel, and then strutted about as though he alone "ere lord of the "hole %lace# G(ammie, rammie, "hat have you done "ith your "oolKG as!ed the "ild geese, "ho rode by u% in the air# GThat 9 have sent to )rag's "oollen mills in Norr!E%ing,G re%lied the ram "ith a long, dra"n&out bleat# G(ammie, rammie, "hat

have you done "ith your hornsKG as!ed the geese# ut any horns the rammie had never %ossessed, to his sorro", and one couldn't offer him a greater insult than to as! after them# 8e ran around a long time, and butted at the air, so furious "as he# 7n the country road came a man "ho drove a floc! of S!Ane %igs that "ere not more than a fe" "ee!s old, and "ere going to be sold u% country# They trotted along bravely, as little as they "ere, and !e%t close togetherHas if they sought %rotection# GNuff, nuff, nuff, "e came a"ay too soon from father and mother# Nuff, nuff, nuff, ho" "ill it go "ith us %oor childrenKG said the little %igs# The "ild geese didn't have the heart to tease such %oor little creatures# G9t "ill be better for you than you can ever believe,G they cried as they fle" %ast them# The "ild geese "ere never so merry as "hen they fle" over a flat country# Then they did not hurry themselves, but fle" from farm to farm, and jo!ed "ith the tame animals# As the boy rode over the %lain, he ha%%ened to thin! of a legend "hich he had heard a long time ago# 8e didn't remember it e?actly, but it "as something about a %etticoatH half of "hich "as made of gold&"oven velvet, and half of gray homes%un cloth# ut the one "ho o"ned the %etticoat adorned the homes%un cloth "ith such a lot of %earls and %recious stones that it loo!ed richer and more gorgeous than the gold&cloth# 8e remembered this about the homes%un cloth, as he loo!ed do"n on @stergEtland, because it "as made u% of a large %lain, "hich lay "edged in bet"een t"o mountainous forest&tractsHone to the north, the other to the south# The t"o forest&heights lay there, a lovely blue, and shimmered in the morning light, as if they "ere dec!ed "ith golden veilsI and the %lain, "hich sim%ly s%read out one "inter&na!ed field after another, "as, in and of itself, %rettier to loo! u%on than gray homes%un# ut the %eo%le must have been contented on the %lain, because it "as generous and !ind, and they had tried to decorate it in the best "ay %ossible# 8igh u%H"here the boy rode byHhe thought that cities and farms, churches and factories, castles and rail"ay stations "ere scattered over it, li!e large and small trin!ets# 9t shone on the roofs, and the "indo"&%anes glittered li!e je"els# $ello" country roads, shining rail"ay&trac!s and blue canals ran along bet"een the districts li!e embroidered loo%s# Lin!E%ing lay around its cathedral li!e a %earl&setting around a %recious stoneI and the gardens in the country "ere li!e little brooches and buttons# There "as not much regulation in the %attern, but it "as a dis%lay of grandeur "hich one could never tire of loo!ing at# The geese had left @berg district, and travelled to"ard the east along GEta ;anal# This "as also getting itself ready for the summer# Wor!men laid canal&ban!s, and tarred the huge loc!&gates# They "ere "or!ing every"here to receive s%ring fittingly, even in the cities# There, masons and %ainters stood on scaffoldings and made fine the e?teriors of the houses "hile maids "ere cleaning the "indo"s# )o"n at the harbour, sailboats and steamers "ere being "ashed and dressed u%# At Norr!E%ing the "ild geese left the %lain, and fle" u% to"ard =olmArden# *or a time they had follo"ed an old, hilly country road, "hich "ound around cliffs, and ran for"ard under "ild mountain&"allsH"hen the boy suddenly let out a shrie!# 8e had been sitting and s"inging his foot bac! and forth, and one of his "ooden shoes had sli%%ed off#

GGoosey&gander, goosey&gander, 9 have dro%%ed my shoeJG cried the boy# The goosey& gander turned about and san! to"ard the groundI then the boy sa" that t"o children, "ho "ere "al!ing along the road, had %ic!ed u% his shoe# GGoosey&gander, goosey& gander,G screamed the boy e?citedly, Gfly u%"ard againJ 9t is too late# 9 cannot get my shoe bac! again#G )o"n on the road stood 7sa, the goose&girl, and her brother, little Cats, loo!ing at a tiny "ooden shoe that had fallen from the s!ies# 7sa, the goose&girl, stood silent a long "hile, and %ondered over the find# At last she said, slo"ly and thoughtfully' G)o you remember, little Cats, that "hen "e "ent %ast @vid ;loister, "e heard that the fol!s in a farmyard had seen an elf "ho "as dressed in leather breeches, and had "ooden shoes on his feet, li!e any other "or!ing manK And do you recollect "hen "e came to >itts!Evle, a girl told us that she had seen a Goa& Nisse "ith "ooden shoes, "ho fle" a"ay on the bac! of a gooseK And "hen "e ourselves came home to our cabin, little Cats, "e sa" a goblin "ho "as dressed in the same "ay, and "ho also straddled the bac! of a gooseHand fle" a"ay# Caybe it "as the same one "ho rode along on his goose u% here in the air and dro%%ed his "ooden shoe#G G$es, it must have been,G said little Cats# They turned the "ooden shoe about and e?amined it carefullyHfor it isn't every day that one ha%%ens across a Goa&Nisse's "ooden shoe on the high"ay# GWait, "ait, little CatsJG said 7sa, the goose&girl# GThere is something "ritten on one side of it#G GWhy, so there isJ but they are such tiny letters#G GLet me seeJ 9t saysHit says' 'Nils 8olgersson from W# >emminghEg#' That's the most "onderful thing 9've ever heardJG said little Cats# THE STORY OF KARR AND GRAYSKIN KARR About t"elve years before Nils 8olgersson started on his travels "ith the "ild geese there "as a manufacturer at =olmArden "ho "anted to be rid of one of his dogs# 8e sent for his game&!ee%er and said to him that it "as im%ossible to !ee% the dog because he could not be bro!en of the habit of chasing all the shee% and fo"l he set eyes on, and he as!ed the man to ta!e the dog into the forest and shoot him# The game&!ee%er sli%%ed the leash on the dog to lead him to a s%ot in the forest "here all the su%erannuated dogs from the manor "ere shot and buried# 8e "as not a cruel man, but he "as very glad to shoot that dog, for he !ne" that shee% and chic!ens "ere not the only creatures he hunted# Times "ithout number he had gone into the forest and hel%ed himself to a hare or a grouse&chic!#

The dog "as a little blac!&and&tan setter# 8is name "as =arr, and he "as so "ise he understood all that "as said# As the game&!ee%er "as leading him through the thic!ets, =arr !ne" only too "ell "hat "as in store for him# ut this no one could have guessed by his behaviour, for he neither hung his head nor dragged his tail, but seemed as unconcerned as ever# 9t "as because they "ere in the forest that the dog "as so careful not to a%%ear the least bit an?ious# There "ere great stretches of "oodland on every side of the factory, and this forest "as famed both among animals and human beings because for many, many years the o"ners had been so careful of it that they had begrudged themselves even the trees needed for fire"ood# Nor had they had the heart to thin or train them# The trees had been allo"ed to gro" as they %leased# Naturally a forest thus %rotected "as a beloved refuge for "ild animals, "hich "ere to be found there in great numbers# Among themselves they called it Liberty *orest, and regarded it as the best retreat in the "hole country# As the dog "as being led through the "oods he thought of "hat a bugaboo he had been to all the small animals and birds that lived there# GNo", =arr, "ouldn't they be ha%%y in their lairs if they only !ne" "hat "as a"aiting youKG he thought, but at the same time he "agged his tail and bar!ed cheerfully, so that no one should thin! that he "as "orried or de%ressed# GWhat fun "ould there have been in living had 9 not hunted occasionallyKG he reasoned# GLet him "ho "ill, regretI it's not going to be =arrJG ut the instant the dog said this, a singular change came over him# 8e stretched his nec! as though he had a mind to ho"l# 8e no longer trotted alongside the game&!ee%er, but "al!ed behind him# 9t "as %lain that he had begun to thin! of something un%leasant# 9t "as early summerI the el! co"s had just given birth to their young, and, the night before, the dog had succeeded in %arting from its mother an el! calf not more than five days old, and had driven it do"n into the marsh# There he had chased it bac! and forth over the !nollsHnot "ith the idea of ca%turing it, but merely for the s%ort of seeing ho" he could scare it# The el! co" !ne" that the marsh "as bottomless so soon after the tha", and that it could not as yet hold u% so large an animal as herself, so she stood on the solid earth for the longest time, "atchingJ ut "hen =arr !e%t chasing the calf farther and farther a"ay, she rushed out on the marsh, drove the dog off, too! the calf "ith her, and turned bac! to"ard firm land# /l! are more s!illed than other animals in traversing dangerous, marshy ground, and it seemed as if she "ould reach solid land in safetyI but "hen she "as almost there a !noll "hich she had ste%%ed u%on san! into the mire, and she "ent do"n "ith it# She tried to rise, but could get no secure foothold, so she san! and san!# =arr stood and loo!ed on, not daring to move# When he sa" that the el! could not save herself, he ran a"ay as fast as he could, for he had begun to thin! of the beating he "ould get if it "ere discovered that he had brought a mother el! to grief# 8e "as so terrified that he dared not %ause for breath until he reached home#

9t "as this that the dog recalledI and it troubled him in a "ay very different from the recollection of all his other misdeeds# This "as doubtless because he had not really meant to !ill either the el! co" or her calf, but had de%rived them of life "ithout "ishing to do so# G ut maybe they are alive yetJG thought the dog# GThey "ere not dead "hen 9 ran a"ayI %erha%s they saved themselves#G 8e "as seiMed "ith an irresistible longing to !no" for a certainty "hile yet there "as time for him to find out# 8e noticed that the game&!ee%er did not have a firm hold on the leashI so he made a sudden s%ring, bro!e loose, and dashed through the "oods do"n to the marsh "ith such s%eed that he "as out of sight before the game&!ee%er had time to level his gun# There "as nothing for the game&!ee%er to do but to rush after him# When he got to the marsh he found the dog standing u%on a !noll, ho"ling "ith all his might# The man thought he had better find out the meaning of this, so he dro%%ed his gun and cra"led out over the marsh on hands and !nees# 8e had not gone far "hen he sa" an el! co" lying dead in the Luagmire# ;lose beside her lay a little calf# 9t "as still alive, but so much e?hausted that it could not move# =arr "as standing beside the calf, no" bending do"n and lic!ing it, no" ho"ling shrilly for hel%# The game&!ee%er raised the calf and began to drag it to"ard land# When the dog understood that the calf "ould be saved he "as "ild "ith joy# 8e jum%ed round and round the game&!ee%er, lic!ing his hands and bar!ing "ith delight# The man carried the baby el! home and shut it u% in a calf stall in the co" shed# Then he got hel% to drag the mother el! from the marsh# 7nly after this had been done did he remember that he "as to shoot =arr# 8e called the dog to him, and again too! him into the forest# The game&!ee%er "al!ed straight on to"ard the dog's graveI but all the "hile he seemed to be thin!ing dee%ly# Suddenly he turned and "al!ed to"ard the manor# =arr had been trotting along LuietlyI but "hen the game&!ee%er turned and started for home, he became an?ious# The man must have discovered that it "as he that had caused the death of the el!, and no" he "as going bac! to the manor to be thrashed before he "as shotJ To be beaten "as "orse than all elseJ With that %ros%ect =arr could no longer !ee% u% his s%irits, but hung his head# When he came to the manor he did not loo! u%, but %retended that he !ne" no one there# The master "as standing on the stairs leading to the hall "hen the game&!ee%er came for"ard# GWhere on earth did that dog come fromKG he e?claimed# GSurely it can't be =arrK 8e must be dead this long timeJG

Then the man began to tell his master all about the mother el!, "hile =arr made himself as little as he could, and crouched behind the game&!ee%er's legs# Cuch to his sur%rise the man had only %raise for him# 8e said it "as %lain the dog !ne" that the el! "ere in distress, and "ished to save them# G$ou may do as you li!e, but 9 can't shoot that dogJG declared the game&!ee%er# =arr raised himself and %ric!ed u% his ears# 8e could hardly believe that he heard aright# Although he did not "ant to sho" ho" an?ious he had been, he couldn't hel% "hining a little# ;ould it be %ossible that his life "as to be s%ared sim%ly because he had felt uneasy about the el!K The master thought that =arr had conducted himself "ell, but as he did not "ant the dog, he could not decide at once "hat should be done "ith him# G9f you "ill ta!e charge of him and ans"er for his good behaviour in the future, he may as "ell live,G he said, finally# This the game&!ee%er "as only too glad to do, and that "as ho" =arr came to move to the game&!ee%er's lodge#

*rom the day that =arr "ent to live "ith the game&!ee%er he abandoned entirely his forbidden chase in the forest# This "as due not only to his having been thoroughly frightened, but also to the fact that he did not "ish to ma!e the game&!ee%er angry at him# /ver since his ne" master saved his life the dog loved him above everything else# 8e thought only of follo"ing him and "atching over him# 9f he left the house, =arr "ould run ahead to ma!e sure that the "ay "as clear, and if he sat at home, =arr "ould lie before the door and !ee% a close "atch on every one "ho came and "ent# When all "as Luiet at the lodge, "hen no footste%s "ere heard on the road, and the game&!ee%er "as "or!ing in his garden, =arr "ould amuse himself %laying "ith the baby el!# At first the dog had no desire to leave his master even for a moment# Since he accom%anied him every"here, he "ent "ith him to the co" shed# When he gave the el! calf its mil!, the dog "ould sit outside the stall and gaMe at it# The game&!ee%er called the calf Grays!in because he thought it did not merit a %rettier name, and =arr agreed "ith him on that %oint# /very time the dog loo!ed at it he thought that he had never seen anything so ugly and missha%en as the baby el!, "ith its long, shambly legs, "hich hung do"n from the body li!e loose stilts# The head "as large, old, and "rin!led, and it al"ays droo%ed to one side# The s!in lay in tuc!s and folds, as if the animal had %ut on a coat that had not been made for him# Al"ays doleful and discontented, curiously enough he jum%ed u% every time =arr a%%eared as if glad to see him#

The el! calf became less ho%eful from day to day, did not gro" any, and at last he could not even rise "hen he sa" =arr# Then the dog jum%ed u% into the crib to greet him, and thereu%on a light !indled in the eyes of the %oor creatureHas if a cherished longing "ere fulfilled# After that =arr visited the el! calf every day, and s%ent many hours "ith him, lic!ing his coat, %laying and racing "ith him, till he taught him a little of everything a forest animal should !no"# 9t "as remar!able that, from the time =arr began to visit the el! calf in his stall, the latter seemed more contented, and began to gro"# After he "as fairly started, he gre" so ra%idly that in a cou%le of "ee!s the stall could no longer hold him, and he had to be moved into a grove# When he had been in the grove t"o months his legs "ere so long that he could ste% over the fence "henever he "ished# Then the lord of the manor gave the game&!ee%er %ermission to %ut u% a higher fence and to allo" him more s%ace# 8ere the el! lived for several years, and gre" u% into a strong and handsome animal# =arr !e%t him com%any as often as he couldI but no" it "as no longer through %ity, for a great friendshi% had s%rung u% bet"een the t"o# The el! "as al"ays inclined to be melancholy, listless, and, indifferent, but =arr !ne" ho" to ma!e him %layful and ha%%y# Grays!in had lived for five summers on the game&!ee%er's %lace, "hen his o"ner received a letter from a MoElogical garden abroad as!ing if the el! might be %urchased# The master "as %leased "ith the %ro%osal, the game&!ee%er "as distressed, but had not the %o"er to say noI so it "as decided that the el! should be sold# =arr soon discovered "hat "as in the air and ran over to the el! to have a chat "ith him# The dog "as very much distressed at the thought of losing his friend, but the el! too! the matter calmly, and seemed neither glad nor sorry# G)o you thin! of letting them send you a"ay "ithout offering resistanceKG as!ed =arr# GWhat good "ould it do to resistKG as!ed Grays!in# G9 should %refer to remain "here 9 am, naturally, but if 9've been sold, 9 shall have to go, of course#G =arr loo!ed at Grays!in and measured him "ith his eyes# 9t "as a%%arent that the el! "as not yet full gro"n# 8e did not have the broad antlers, high hum%, and long mane of the mature el!I but he certainly had strength enough to fight for his freedom# G7ne can see that he has been in ca%tivity all his life,G thought =arr, but said nothing# =arr left and did not return to the grove till long %ast midnight# y that time he !ne" Grays!in "ould be a"a!e and eating his brea!fast# G7f course you are doing right, Grays!in, in letting them ta!e you a"ay,G remar!ed =arr, "ho a%%eared no" to be calm and satisfied# G$ou "ill be a %risoner in a large %ar! and "ill have no res%onsibilities# 9t seems a %ity that you must leave here "ithout having seen the forest# $ou !no" your ancestors have a saying that 'the el! are one "ith the forest#' ut you haven't even been in a forestJG

Grays!in glanced u% from the clover "hich he stood munching# G9ndeed, 9 should love to see the forest, but ho" am 9 to get over the fenceKG he said "ith his usual a%athy# G7h, that is difficult for one "ho has such short legsJG said =arr# The el! glanced slyly at the dog, "ho jum%ed the fence many times a dayHlittle as he "as# 8e "al!ed over to the fence, and "ith one s%ring he "as on the other side, "ithout !no"ing ho" it ha%%ened# Then =arr and Grays!in "ent into the forest# 9t "as a beautiful moonlight night in late summerI but in among the trees it "as dar!, and the el! "al!ed along slo"ly# GPerha%s "e had better turn bac!,G said =arr# G$ou, "ho have never before tram%ed the "ild forest, might easily brea! your legs#G Grays!in moved more ra%idly and "ith more courage# =arr conducted the el! to a %art of the forest "here the %ines gre" so thic!ly that no "ind could %enetrate them# G9t is here that your !ind are in the habit of see!ing shelter from cold and storm,G said =arr# G8ere they stand under the o%en s!ies all "inter# ut you "ill fare much better "here you are going, for you "ill stand in a shed, "ith a roof over your head, li!e an o?#G Grays!in made no comment, but stood Luietly and dran! in the strong, %iney air# G8ave you anything more to sho" me, or have 9 no" seen the "hole forestKG he as!ed# Then =arr "ent "ith him to a big marsh, and sho"ed him clods and Luagmire# G7ver this marsh the el! ta!e flight "hen they are in %eril,G said =arr# G9 don't !no" ho" they manage it, but, large and heavy as they are, they can "al! here "ithout sin!ing# 7f course you couldn't hold yourself u% on such dangerous ground, but then there is no occasion for you to do so, for you "ill never be hounded by hunters#G Grays!in made no retort, but "ith a lea% he "as out on the marsh, and ha%%y "hen he felt ho" the clods roc!ed under him# 8e dashed across the marsh, and came bac! again to =arr, "ithout having ste%%ed into a mudhole# G8ave "e seen the "hole forest no"KG he as!ed# GNo, not yet,G said =arr# 8e ne?t conducted the el! to the s!irt of the forest, "here fine oa!s, lindens, and as%ens gre"#

G8ere your !ind eat leaves and bar!, "hich they consider the choicest of foodI but you "ill %robably get better fare abroad#G Grays!in "as astonished "hen he sa" the enormous leaf&trees s%reading li!e a great cano%y above him# 8e ate both oa! leaves and as%en bar!# GThese taste deliciously bitter and goodJG he remar!ed# G etter than cloverJG GThen "asn't it "ell that you should taste them onceKG said the dog# Thereu%on he too! the el! do"n to a little forest la!e# The "ater "as as smooth as a mirror, and reflected the shores, "hich "ere veiled in thin, light mists# When Grays!in sa" the la!e he stood entranced# GWhat is this, =arrKG he as!ed# 9t "as the first time that he had seen a la!e# G9t's a large body of "aterHa la!e,G said =arr# G$our %eo%le s"im across it from shore to shore# 7ne could hardly e?%ect you to be familiar "ith thisI but at least you should go in and ta!e a s"imJG =arr, himself, %lunged into the "ater for a s"im# Grays!in stayed bac! on the shore for some little time, but finally follo"ed# 8e gre" breathless "ith delight as the cool "ater stole soothingly around his body# 8e "anted it over his bac!, too, so "ent farther out# Then he felt that the "ater could hold him u%, and began to s"im# 8e s"am all around =arr, duc!ing and snorting, %erfectly at home in the "ater# When they "ere on shore again, the dog as!ed if they had not better go home no"# G9t's a long time until morning,G observed Grays!in, Gso "e can tram% around in the forest a little longer#G They "ent again into the %ine "ood# Presently they came to an o%en glade illuminated by the moonlight, "here grass and flo"ers shimmered beneath the de"# Some large animals "ere graMing on this forest meado"Han el! bull, several el! co"s and a number of el! calves# When Grays!in caught sight of them he sto%%ed short# 8e hardly glanced at the co"s or the young ones, but stared at the old bull, "hich had broad antlers "ith many taglets, a high hum%, and a long&haired fur %iece hanging do"n from his throat# GWhat !ind of an animal is thatKG as!ed Grays!in in "onderment# G8e is called Antler&;ro"n,G said =arr, Gand he is your !insman# 7ne of these days you, too, "ill have broad antlers, li!e those, and just such a maneI and if you "ere to remain in the forest, very li!ely you, also, "ould have a herd to lead#G G9f he is my !insman, 9 must go closer and have a loo! at him,G said Grays!in# G9 never dreamed that an animal could be so statelyJG

Grays!in "al!ed over to the el!, but almost immediately he came bac! to =arr, "ho had remained at the edge of the clearing# G$ou "ere not very "ell received, "ere youKG said =arr# G9 told him that this "as the first time 9 had run across any of my !insmen, and as!ed if 9 might "al! "ith them on their meado"# ut they drove me bac!, threatening me "ith their antlers#G G$ou did right to retreat,G said =arr# GA young el! bull "ith only a taglet cro"n must be careful about fighting "ith an old el!# Another "ould have disgraced his name in the "hole forest by retreating "ithout resistance, but such things needn't "orry you "ho are going to move to a foreign land#G =arr had barely finished s%ea!ing "hen Grays!in turned and "al!ed do"n to the meado"# The old el! came to"ard him, and instantly they began to fight# Their antlers met and clashed, and Grays!in "as driven bac!"ard over the "hole meado"# A%%arently he did not !no" ho" to ma!e use of his strengthI but "hen he came to the edge of the forest, he %lanted his feet on the ground, %ushed hard "ith his antlers, and began to force Antler&;ro"n bac!# Grays!in fought Luietly, "hile Antler&;ro"n %uffed and snorted# The old el!, in his turn, "as no" being forced bac!"ard over the meado"# Suddenly a loud crash "as heardJ A taglet in the old el!'s antlers had sna%%ed# 8e tore himself loose, and dashed into the forest# =arr "as still standing at the forest border "hen Grays!in came along# GNo" that you have seen "hat there is in the forest,G said =arr, G"ill you come home "ith meKG G$es, it's about time,G observed the el!# oth "ere silent on the "ay home# =arr sighed several times, as if he "as disa%%ointed about somethingI but Grays!in ste%%ed alongHhis head in the airHand seemed delighted over the adventure# 8e "al!ed ahead unhesitatingly until they came to the enclosure# There he %aused# 8e loo!ed in at the narro" %en "here he had lived u% till no"I sa" the beaten ground, the stale fodder, the little trough "here he had drun! "ater, and the dar! shed in "hich he had sle%t# GThe el! are one "ith the forestJG he cried# Then he thre" bac! his head, so that his nec! rested against his bac!, and rushed "ildly into the "oods#

9n a %ine thic!et in the heart of Liberty *orest, every year, in the month of August, there a%%eared a fe" grayish&"hite moths of the !ind "hich are called nun moths# They "ere small and fe" in number, and scarcely any one noticed them# When they had fluttered about in the de%th of the forest a cou%le of nights, they laid a fe" thousand eggs on the branches of treesI and shortly after"ard dro%%ed lifeless to the ground#

When s%ring came, little %ric!ly cater%illars cra"led out from the eggs and began to eat the %ine needles# They had good a%%etites, but they never seemed to do the trees any serious harm, because they "ere hotly %ursued by birds# 9t "as seldom that more than a fe" hundred cater%illars esca%ed the %ursuers# The %oor things that lived to be full gro"n cra"led u% on the branches, s%un "hite "ebs around themselves, and sat for a cou%le of "ee!s as motionless %u%ae# )uring this %eriod, as a rule, more than half of them "ere abducted# 9f a hundred nun moths came forth in August, "inged and %erfect, it "as rec!oned a good year for them# This sort of uncertain and obscure e?istence did the moths lead for many years in Liberty *orest# There "ere no insect fol! in the "hole country that "ere so scarce, and they "ould have remained Luite harmless and %o"erless had they not, most une?%ectedly, received a hel%er# This fact has some connection "ith Grays!in's flight from the game&!ee%er's %addoc!# Grays!in roamed the forest that he might become more familiar "ith the %lace# Late in the afternoon he ha%%ened to sLueeMe through some thic!ets behind a clearing "here the soil "as muddy and slimy, and in the centre of it "as a mur!y %ool# This o%en s%ace "as encircled by tall %ines almost bare from age and miasmic air# Grays!in "as dis%leased "ith the %lace and "ould have left it at once had he not caught sight of some bright green calla leaves "hich gre" near the %ool# As he bent his head to"ard the calla stal!s, he ha%%ened to disturb a big blac! sna!e, "hich lay slee%ing under them# Grays!in had heard =arr s%ea! of the %oisonous adders that "ere to be found in the forest# So, "hen the sna!e raised its head, shot out its tongue and hissed at him, he thought he had encountered an a"fully dangerous re%tile# 8e "as terrified and, raising his foot, he struc! so hard "ith his hoof that he crushed the sna!e's head# Then, a"ay he ran in hot hasteJ As soon as Grays!in had gone, another sna!e, just as long and as blac! as the first, came u% from the %ool# 9t cra"led over to the dead one, and lic!ed the %oor, crushed&in head# G;an it be true that you are dead, old 8armlessKG hissed the sna!e# GWe t"o have lived together so many yearsI "e t"o have been so ha%%y "ith each other, and have fared so "ell here in the s"am%, that "e have lived to be older than all the other "ater&sna!es in the forestJ This is the "orst sorro" that could have befallen meJG The sna!e "as so bro!en&hearted that his long body "rithed as if it had been "ounded# /ven the frogs, "ho lived in constant fear of him, "ere sorry for him# GWhat a "ic!ed creature he must be to murder a %oor "ater&sna!e that cannot defend itselfJG hissed the sna!e# G8e certainly deserves a severe %unishment# As sure as my name is 8el%less and 9'm the oldest "ater&sna!e in the "hole forest, 9'll be avengedJ 9 shall not rest until that el! lies as dead on the ground as my %oor old sna!e&"ife#G When the sna!e had made this vo" he curled u% into a hoo% and began to %onder# 7ne can hardly imagine anything that "ould be more difficult for a %oor "ater&sna!e than to "rea! vengeance u%on a big, strong el!I and old 8el%less %ondered day and night "ithout finding any solution#

7ne night, as he lay there "ith his vengeance&thoughts, he heard a slight rustle over his head# 8e glanced u% and sa" a fe" light nun moths %laying in among the trees# 8e follo"ed them "ith his eyes a long "hileI then began to hiss loudly to himself, a%%arently %leased "ith the thought that had occurred to himHthen he fell aslee%# The ne?t morning the "ater&sna!e "ent over to see ;ra"lie, the adder, "ho lived in a stony and hilly %art of Liberty *orest# 8e told him all about the death of the old "ater& sna!e, and begged that he "ho could deal such deadly thrusts "ould underta!e the "or! of vengeance# ut ;ra"lie "as not e?actly dis%osed to go to "ar "ith an el!# G9f 9 "ere to attac! an el!,G said the adder, Ghe "ould instantly !ill me# 7ld 8armless is dead and gone, and "e can't bring her bac! to life, so "hy should 9 rush into danger on her accountKG When the "ater&sna!e got this re%ly he raised his head a "hole foot from the ground, and hissed furiously' G>ish vashJ >ish vashJG he said# G9t's a %ity that you, "ho have been blessed "ith such "ea%ons of defence, should be so co"ardly that you don't dare use themJG When the adder heard this, he, too, got angry# G;ra"l a"ay, old 8el%lessJG he hissed# GThe %oison is in my fangs, but 9 "ould rather s%are one "ho is said to be my !insman#G ut the "ater&sna!e did not move from the s%ot, and for a long time the sna!es lay there hissing abusive e%ithets at each other# When ;ra"lie "as so angry that he couldn't hiss, but could only dart his tongue out, the "ater&sna!e changed the subject, and began to tal! in a very different tone# G9 had still another errand, ;ra"lie,G he said, lo"ering his voice to a mild "his%er# G ut no" 9 su%%ose you are so angry that you "ouldn't care to hel% meKG G9f you don't as! anything foolish of me, 9 shall certainly be at your service#G G9n the %ine trees do"n by the s"am% live a moth fol! that fly around all night#G G9 !no" all about them,G remar!ed ;ra"lie# GWhat's u% "ith them no"KG GThey are the smallest insect family in the forest,G said 8el%less, Gand the most harmless, since the cater%illars content themselves "ith gna"ing only %ine needles#G G$es, 9 !no",G said ;ra"lie# G9'm afraid those moths, "ill soon be e?terminated,G sighed the "ater&sna!e# GThere are so many "ho %ic! off the cater%illars in the s%ring#G

No" ;ra"lie began to understand that the "ater&sna!e "anted the cater%illars for his o"n %ur%ose, and he ans"ered %leasantly' G)o you "ish me to say to the o"ls that they are to leave those %ine tree "orms in %eaceKG G$es, it "ould be "ell if you "ho have some authority in the forest should do this,G said 8el%less# G9 might also dro% a good "ord for the %ine needle %ic!ers among the thrushesKG volunteered the adder# G9 "ill gladly serve you "hen you do not demand anything unreasonable#G GNo" you have given me a good %romise, ;ra"lie,G said 8el%less, Gand 9'm glad that 9 came to you#G

7ne morningHseveral years laterH=arr lay aslee% on the %orch# 9t "as in the early summer, the season of light nights, and it "as as bright as day, although the sun "as not yet u%# =arr "as a"a!ened by some one calling his name# G9s it you, Grays!inKG he as!ed, for he "as accustomed to the el!'s nightly visits# Again he heard the callI then he recogniMed Grays!in's voice, and hastened in the direction of the sound# =arr heard the el!'s footfalls in the distance, as he dashed into the thic!est %ine "ood, and straight through the brush, follo"ing no trodden %ath# =arr could not catch u% "ith him, and he had great difficulty in even follo"ing the trail# G=arr, =arriG came the cry, and the voice "as certainly Grays!in's, although it had a ring no" "hich the dog had never heard before# G9'm coming, 9'm comingJG the dog res%onded# GWhere are youKG G=arr, =arrJ )on't you see ho" it falls and fallsKG said Grays!in# Then =arr noticed that the %ine needles !e%t dro%%ing and dro%%ing from the trees, li!e a steady fall of rain# G$es, 9 see ho" it falls,G he cried, and ran far into the forest in search of the el!# Grays!in !e%t running through the thic!ets, "hile =arr "as about to lose the trail again# G=arr, =arrJG roared Grays!inI Gcan't you scent that %eculiar odour in the forestKG =arr sto%%ed and sniffed# 8e had not thought of it before, but no" he remar!ed that the %ines sent forth a much stronger odour than usual#

G$es, 9 catch the scent,G he said# 8e did not sto% long enough to find out the cause of it, but hurried on after Grays!in# The el! ran ahead "ith such s%eed that the dog could not catch u% "ith him# G=arr, =arrJG he calledI Gcan't you hear the crunching on the %inesKG No" his tone "as so %laintive it "ould have melted a stone# =arr %aused to listen# 8e heard a faint but distinct Gta%, ta%,G on the trees# 9t sounded li!e the tic!ing of a "atch# G$es, 9 hear ho" it tic!s,G cried =arr, and ran no farther# 8e understood that the el! did not "ant him to follo", but to ta!e notice of something that "as ha%%ening in the forest# =arr "as standing beneath the droo%ing branches of a great %ine# 8e loo!ed carefully at itI the needles moved# 8e "ent closer and sa" a mass of grayish&"hite cater%illars cree%ing along the branches, gna"ing off the needles# /very branch "as covered "ith them# The crunch, crunch in the trees came from the "or!ing of their busy little ja"s# Gna"ed&off needles fell to the ground in a continuous sho"er, and from the %oor %ines there came such a strong odour that the dog suffered from it# GWhat can be the meaning of thisKG "ondered =arr# G9t's too bad about the %retty treesJ Soon they'll have no beauty left#G 8e "al!ed from tree to tree, trying "ith his %oor eyesight to see if all "as "ell "ith them# GThere's a %ine they haven't touched,G he thought# ut they had ta!en %ossession of it, too# GAnd here's a birchHno, this alsoJ The game&!ee%er "ill not be %leased "ith this,G observed =arr# 8e ran dee%er into the thic!ets, to learn ho" far the destruction had s%read# Wherever he "ent, he heard the same tic!ingI scented the same odourI sa" the same needle rain# There "as no need of his %ausing to investigate# 8e understood it all by these signs# The little cater%illars "ere every"here# The "hole forest "as being ravaged by themJ All of a sudden he came to a tract "here there "as no odour, and "here all "as still# G8ere's the end of their domain,G thought the dog, as he %aused and glanced about# ut here it "as even "orseI for the cater%illars had already done their "or!, and the trees "ere needleless# They "ere li!e the dead# The only thing that covered them "as a net"or! of ragged threads, "hich the cater%illars had s%un to use as roads and bridges# 9n there, among the dying trees, Grays!in stood "aiting for =arr# 8e "as not alone# With him "ere four old el!Hthe most res%ected in the forest# =arr !ne" them' They "ere ;roo!ed& ac!, "ho "as a small el!, but had a larger hum% than the othersI Antler&;ro"n, "ho "as the most dignified of the el!I (ough&Cane, "ith the

thic! coatI and an old long&legged one, "ho, u% till the autumn before, "hen he got a bullet in his thigh, had been terribly hot&tem%ered and Luarrelsome# GWhat in the "orld is ha%%ening to the forestKG =arr as!ed "hen he came u% to the el!# They stood "ith lo"ered heads, far %rotruding u%%er li%s, and loo!ed %uMMled# GNo one can tell,G ans"ered Grays!in# GThis insect family used to be the least hurtful of any in the forest, and never before have they done any damage# ut these last fe" years they have been multi%lying so fast that no" it a%%ears as if the entire forest "ould be destroyed#G G$es, it loo!s bad,G =arr agreed, Gbut 9 see that the "isest animals in the forest have come together to hold a consultation# Perha%s you have already found some remedyKG When the dog said this, ;roo!ed& ac! solemnly raised his heavy head, %ric!ed u% his long ears, and s%o!e' GWe have summoned you hither, =arr, that "e may learn if the humans !no" of this desolation#G GNo,G said =arr, Gno human being ever comes thus far into the forest "hen it's not hunting time# They !no" nothing of this misfortune#G Then Antler&;ro"n said' GWe "ho have lived long in the forest do not thin! that "e can fight this insect %est all by ourselves#G GAfter this there "ill be no %eace in the forestJG %ut in (ough&Cane# G ut "e can't let the "hole Liberty *orest go to rac! and ruinJG %rotested ig&and& Strong# GWe'll have to consult the humansI there is no alternative#G =arr understood that the el! had difficulty in e?%ressing "hat they "ished to say, and he tried to hel% them# GPerha%s you "ant me to let the %eo%le !no" the conditions hereKG he suggested# All the old el! nodded their heads# G9t's most unfortunate that "e are obliged to as! hel% of human beings, but "e have no choice#G A moment later =arr "as on his "ay home# As he ran ahead, dee%ly distressed over all that he had heard and seen, a big blac! "ater&sna!e a%%roached them# GWell met in the forestJG hissed the "ater&sna!e# GWell met againJG snarled =arr, and rushed by "ithout sto%%ing#

The sna!e turned and tried to catch u% to him# GPerha%s that creature also, is "orried about the forest,G thought =arr, and "aited# 9mmediately the sna!e began to tal! about the great disaster# GThere "ill be an end of %eace and Luiet in the forest "hen human beings are called hither,G said the sna!e# G9'm afraid there "ill,G the dog agreedI Gbut the oldest forest d"ellers !no" "hat they're aboutJG he added# G9 thin! 9 !no" a better %lan,G said the sna!e, Gif 9 can get the re"ard 9 "ish#G GAre you not the one "hom every one around here calls old 8el%lessKG said the dog, sneeringly# G9'm an old inhabitant of the forest,G said the sna!e, Gand 9 !no" ho" to get rid of such %lagues#G G9f you clear the forest of that %est, 9 feel sure you can have anything you as! for,G said =arr# The sna!e did not res%ond to this until he had cra"led under a tree stum%, "here he "as "ell %rotected# Then he said' GTell Grays!in that if he "ill leave Liberty *orest forever, and go far north, "here no oa! tree gro"s, 9 "ill send sic!ness and death to all the cree%ing things that gna" the %ines and s%rucesJG GWhat's that you sayKG as!ed =arr, bristling u%# GWhat harm has Grays!in ever done youKG G8e has slain the one "hom 9 loved best,G the sna!e declared, Gand 9 "ant to be avenged#G efore the sna!e had finished s%ea!ing, =arr made a dash for himI but the re%tile lay safely hidden under the tree stum%# GStay "here you areJG =arr concluded# GWe'll manage to drive out the cater%illars "ithout your hel%#G

The follo"ing s%ring, as =arr "as dashing through the forest one morning, he heard some one behind him calling' G=arrJ =arrJG 8e turned and sa" an old fo? standing outside his lair#

G$ou must tell me if the humans are doing anything for the forest,G said the fo?# G$es, you may be sure they areJG said =arr# GThey are "or!ing as hard as they can#G GThey have !illed off all my !insfol!, and they'll be !illing me ne?t,G %rotested the fo?# G ut they shall be %ardoned for that if only they save the forest#G That year =arr never ran into the "oods "ithout some animal's as!ing if the humans could save the forest# 9t "as not easy for the dog to ans"erI the %eo%le themselves "ere not certain that they could conLuer the moths# ut considering ho" feared and hated old =olmArden had al"ays been, it "as remar!able that every day more than a hundred men "ent there, to "or!# They cleared a"ay the underbrush# They felled dead trees, lo%%ed off branches from the live ones so that the cater%illars could not easily cra"l from tree to treeI they also dug "ide trenches around the ravaged %arts and %ut u% lime&"ashed fences to !ee% them out of ne" territory# Then they %ainted rings of lime around the trun!s of trees to %revent the cater%illars leaving those they had already stri%%ed# The idea "as to force them to remain "here they "ere until they starved to death# The %eo%le "or!ed "ith the forest until far into the s%ring# They "ere ho%eful, and could hardly "ait for the cater%illars to come out from their eggs, feeling certain that they had shut them in so effectually that most of them "ould die of starvation# ut in the early summer the cater%illars came out, more numerous than ever# They "ere every"hereJ They cra"led on the country roads, on fences, on the "alls of the cabins# They "andered outside the confines of Liberty *orest to other %arts of =olmArden# GThey "on't sto% till all our forests are destroyedJG sighed the %eo%le, "ho "ere in great des%air, and could not enter the forest "ithout "ee%ing# =arr "as so sic! of the sight of all these cree%ing, gna"ing things that he could hardly bear to ste% outside the door# ut one day he felt that he must go and find out ho" Grays!in "as getting on# 8e too! the shortest cut to the el!'s haunts, and hurried along Hhis nose close to the earth# When he came to the tree stum% "here he had met 8el%less the year before, the sna!e "as still there, and called to him' G8ave you told Grays!in "hat 9 said to you "hen last "e metKG as!ed the "ater&sna!e# =arr only gro"led and tried to get at him# G9f you haven't told him, by all means do soJG insisted the sna!e# G$ou must see that the humans !no" of no cure for this %lague#G GNeither do youJG retorted the dog, and ran on# =arr found Grays!in, but the el! "as so lo"&s%irited that he scarcely greeted the dog# 8e began at once to tal! of the forest# G9 don't !no" "hat 9 "ouldn't give if this misery "ere only at an endJG he said#

GNo" 9 shall tell you that 'tis said you could save the forest#G Then =arr delivered the "ater&sna!e's message# G9f any one but 8el%less had %romised this, 9 should immediately go into e?ile,G declared the el!# G ut ho" can a %oor "ater&sna!e have the %o"er to "or! such a miracleKG G7f course it's only a bluff,G said =arr# GWater&sna!es al"ays li!e to %retend that they !no" more than other creatures#G When =arr "as ready to go home, Grays!in accom%anied him %art of the "ay# Presently =arr heard a thrush, %erched on a %ine to%, cry' GThere goes Grays!in, "ho has destroyed the forestJ There goes Grays!in, "ho has destroyed the forestJG =arr thought that he had not heard correctly, but the ne?t moment a hare came darting across the %ath# When the hare sa" them, he sto%%ed, fla%%ed his ears, and screamed' G8ere comes Grays!in, "ho has destroyed the forestJG Then he ran as fast as he could# GWhat do they mean by thatKG as!ed =arr# G9 really don't !no",G said Grays!in# G9 thin! that the small forest animals are dis%leased "ith me because 9 "as the one "ho %ro%osed that "e should as! hel% of human beings# When the underbrush "as cut do"n, all their lairs and hiding %laces "ere destroyed#G They "al!ed on together a "hile longer, and =arr heard the same cry coming from all directions' GThere goes Grays!in, "ho has destroyed the forestJG Grays!in %retended not to hear itI but =arr understood "hy the el! "as so do"nhearted# G9 say, Grays!in, "hat does the "ater&sna!e mean by saying you !illed the one he loved bestKG G8o" can 9 tellKG said Grays!in# G$ou !no" very "ell that 9 never !ill anything#G Shortly after that they met the four old el!H;roo!ed& ac!, Antler&;ro"n, (ough& Cane, and ig&and&Strong, "ho "ere coming along slo"ly, one after the other# GWell met in the forestJG called Grays!in# GWell met in turnJG ans"ered the el!# GWe "ere just loo!ing for you, Grays!in, to consult "ith you about the forest#G

GThe fact is,G began ;roo!ed& ac!, G"e have been informed that a crime has been committed here, and that the "hole forest is being destroyed because the criminal has not been %unished#G GWhat !ind of a crime "as itKG GSome one !illed a harmless creature that he couldn't eat# Such an act is accounted a crime in Liberty *orest#G GWho could have done such a co"ardly thingKG "ondered Grays!in# GThey say that an el! did it, and "e "ere just going to as! if you !ne" "ho it "as#G GNo,G said Grays!in, G9 have never heard of an el! !illing a harmless creature#G Grays!in %arted from the four old el!, and "ent on "ith =arr# 8e "as silent and "al!ed "ith lo"ered head# They ha%%ened to %ass ;ra"lie, the adder, "ho lay on his shelf of roc!# GThere goes Grays!in, "ho has destroyed the "hole forestJG hissed ;ra"lie, li!e all the rest# y that time Grays!in's %atience "as e?hausted# 8e "al!ed u% to the sna!e, and raised a forefoot# G)o you thin! of crushing me as you crushed the old "ater&sna!eKG hissed ;ra"lie# G)id 9 !ill a "ater&sna!eKG as!ed Grays!in, astonished# GThe first day you "ere in the forest you !illed the "ife of %oor old 8el%less,G said ;ra"lie# Grays!in turned Luic!ly from the adder, and continued his "al! "ith =arr# Suddenly he sto%%ed# G=arr, it "as 9 "ho committed that crimeJ 9 !illed a harmless creatureI therefore it is on my account that the forest is being destroyed#G GWhat are you sayingKG =arr interru%ted# G$ou may tell the "ater&sna!e, 8el%less, that Grays!in goes into e?ile to&nightJG GThat 9 shall never tell himJG %rotested =arr# GThe *ar North is a dangerous country for el!#G G)o you thin! that 9 "ish to remain here, "hen 9 have caused a disaster li!e thisKG %rotested Grays!in# G)on't be rashJ Slee% over it before you do anythingJG

G9t "as you "ho taught me that the el! are one "ith the forest,G said Grays!in, and so saying he %arted from =arr# The dog "ent home aloneI but this tal! "ith Grays!in troubled him, and the ne?t morning he returned to the forest to see! him, but Grays!in "as not to be found, and the dog did not search long for him# 8e realiMed that the el! had ta!en the sna!e at his "ord, and had gone into e?ile# 7n his "al! home =arr "as too unha%%y for "ordsJ 8e could not understand "hy Grays!in should allo" that "retch of a "ater&sna!e to tric! him a"ay# 8e had never heard of such follyJ GWhat %o"er can that old 8el%less haveKG As =arr "al!ed along, his mind full of these thoughts, he ha%%ened to see the game& !ee%er, "ho stood %ointing u% at a tree# GWhat are you loo!ing atKG as!ed a man "ho stood beside him# GSic!ness has come among the cater%illars,G observed the game&!ee%er# =arr "as astonished, but he "as even more angered at the sna!e's having the %o"er to !ee% his "ord# Grays!in "ould have to stay a"ay a long long time, for, of course, that "ater&sna!e "ould never die# At the very height of his grief a thought came to =arr "hich comforted him a little# GPerha%s the "ater&sna!e "on't live so long, after allJG he thought# GSurely he cannot al"ays lie %rotected under a tree root# As soon as he has cleaned out the cater%illars, 9 !no" some one "ho is going to bite his head offJG 9t "as true that an illness had made its a%%earance among the cater%illars# The first summer it did not s%read much# 9t had only just bro!en out "hen it "as time for the larvae to turn into %u%ae# *rom the latter came millions of moths# They fle" around in the trees li!e a blinding sno"storm, and laid countless numbers of eggs# An even greater destruction "as %ro%hesied for the follo"ing year# The destruction came not only to the forest, but also to the cater%illars# The sic!ness s%read Luic!ly from forest to forest# The sic! cater%illars sto%%ed eating, cra"led u% to the branches of the trees, and died there# There "as great rejoicing among the %eo%le "hen they sa" them die, but there "as even greater rejoicing among the forest animals# *rom day to day the dog =arr "ent about "ith savage glee, thin!ing of the hour "hen he might venture to !ill 8el%less# ut the cater%illars, mean"hile, had s%read over miles of %ine "oods# Not in one summer did the disease reach them all# Cany lived to become %u%as and moths# Grays!in sent messages to his friend =arr by the birds of %assage, to say that he "as alive and faring "ell# ut the birds told =arr confidentially that on several occasions

Grays!in had been %ursued by %oachers, and that only "ith the greatest difficulty had he esca%ed# =arr lived in a state of continual grief, yearning, and an?iety# $et he had to "ait t"o "hole summers more before there "as an end of the cater%illarsJ =arr no sooner heard the game&!ee%er say that the forest "as out of danger than he started on a hunt for 8el%less# ut "hen he "as in the thic! of the forest he made a frightful discovery' 8e could not hunt any more, he could not run, he could not trac! his enemy, and he could not see at allJ )uring the long years of "aiting, old age had overta!en =arr# 8e had gro"n old "ithout having noticed it# 8e had not the strength even to !ill a "ater&sna!e# 8e "as not able to save his friend Grays!in from his enemy#

7ne afternoon A!!a from =ebne!aise and her floc! alighted on the shore of a forest la!e# S%ring "as bac!"ardHas it al"ays is in the mountain districts# 9ce covered all the la!e save a narro" stri% ne?t the land# The geese at once %lunged into the "ater to bathe and hunt for food# 9n the morning Nils 8olgersson had dro%%ed one of his "ooden shoes, so he "ent do"n by the elms and birches that gre" along the shore, to loo! for something to bind around his foot# The boy "al!ed Luite a distance before he found anything that he could use# 8e glanced about nervously, for he did not fancy being in the forest# GGive me the %lains and the la!esJG he thought# GThere you can see "hat you are li!ely to meet# No", if this "ere a grove of little birches, it "ould be "ell enough, for then the ground "ould be almost bareI but ho" %eo%le can li!e these "ild, %athless forests is incom%rehensible to me# 9f 9 o"ned this land 9 "ould cho% do"n every tree#G At last he caught sight of a %iece of birch bar!, and just as he "as fitting it to his foot he heard a rustle behind him# 8e turned Luic!ly# A sna!e darted from the brush straight to"ard himJ The sna!e "as uncommonly long and thic!, but the boy soon sa" that it had a "hite s%ot on each chee!# GWhy, it's only a "ater&sna!e,G he laughedI Git can't harm me#G ut the ne?t instant the sna!e gave him a %o"erful blo" on the chest that !noc!ed him do"n# The boy "as on his feet in a second and running a"ay, but the sna!e "as after himJ The ground "as stony and scrubbyI the boy could not %roceed very fastI and the sna!e "as close at his heels# Then the boy sa" a big roc! in front of him, and began to scale it#

G9 do ho%e the sna!e can't follo" me hereJG he thought, but he had no sooner reached the to% of the roc! than he sa" that the sna!e "as follo"ing him# Nuite close to the boy, on a narro" ledge at the to% of the roc!, lay a round stone as large as a man's head# As the sna!e came closer, the boy ran behind the stone, and gave it a %ush# 9t rolled right do"n on the sna!e, dra"ing it along to the ground, "here it landed on its head# GThat stone did its "or! "ellJG thought the boy "ith a sigh of relief, as he sa" the sna!e sLuirm a little, and then lie %erfectly still# G9 don't thin! 9've been in greater %eril on the "hole journey,G he said# 8e had hardly recovered from the shoc! "hen he heard a rustle above him, and sa" a bird circling through the air to light on the ground right beside the sna!e# The bird "as li!e a cro" in siMe and form, but "as dressed in a %retty coat of shiny blac! feathers# The boy cautiously retreated into a crevice of the roc!# 8is adventure in being !idna%%ed by cro"s "as still fresh in his memory, and he did not care to sho" himself "hen there "as no need of it# The bird strode bac! and forth beside the sna!e's body, and turned it over "ith his bea!# *inally he s%read his "ings and began to shrie! in ear&s%litting tones' G9t is certainly 8el%less, the "ater&sna!e, that lies dead hereJG 7nce more he "al!ed the length of the sna!eI then he stood in a dee% study, and scratched his nec! "ith his foot# G9t isn't %ossible that there can be t"o such big sna!es in the forest,G he %ondered# G9t must surely be 8el%lessJG 8e "as just going to thrust his bea! into the sna!e, but suddenly chec!ed himself# G$ou mustn't be a numbs!ull, ata!iJG he remar!ed to himself# GSurely you cannot be thin!ing of eating the sna!e until you have called =arrJ 8e "ouldn't believe that 8el%less "as dead unless he could see it "ith his o"n eyes#G The boy tried to !ee% Luiet, but the bird "as so ludicrously solemn, as he stal!ed bac! and forth chattering to himself, that he had to laugh# The bird heard him, and, "ith a fla% of his "ings, he "as u% on the roc!# The boy rose Luic!ly and "al!ed to"ard him# GAre you not the one "ho is called ata!i, the ravenK and are you not a friend of A!!a from =ebne!aiseKG as!ed the boy# The bird regarded him intentlyI then nodded three times# GSurely, you're not the little cha% "ho flies around "ith the "ild geese, and "hom they call ThumbietotKG

G7h, you're not so far out of the "ay,G said the boy# GWhat luc! that 9 should have run across youJ Perha%s you can tell me "ho !illed this "ater&sna!eKG GThe stone "hich 9 rolled do"n on him !illed him,G re%lied the boy, and related ho" the "hole thing ha%%ened# GThat "as cleverly done for one "ho is as tiny as you areJG said the raven# G9 have a friend in these %arts "ho "ill be glad to !no" that this sna!e has been !illed, and 9 should li!e to render you a service in return#G GThen tell me "hy you are glad the "ater&sna!e is dead,G res%onded the boy# G9t's a long story,G said the ravenI Gyou "ouldn't have the %atience to listen to it#G ut the boy insisted that he had, and then the raven told him the "hole story about =arr and Grays!in and 8el%less, the "ater&sna!e# When he had finished, the boy sat Luietly for a moment, loo!ing straight ahead# Then he s%o!e' G9 seem to li!e the forest better since hearing this# 9 "onder if there is anything left of the old Liberty *orest#G' GCost of it has been destroyed,G said ata!i# GThe trees loo! as if they had %assed through a fire# They'll have to be cleared a"ay, and it "ill ta!e many years before the forest "ill be "hat it once "as#G GThat sna!e deserved his deathJG declared the boy# G ut 9 "onder if it could be %ossible that he "as so "ise he could send sic!ness to the cater%illarsKG GPerha%s he !ne" that they freLuently became sic! in that "ay,G intimated ata!i# G$es, that may beI but all the same, 9 must say that he "as a very "ily sna!e#G The boy sto%%ed tal!ing because he sa" the raven "as not listening to him, but sitting "ith gaMe averted# G8ar!JG he said# G=arr is in the vicinity# Won't he be ha%%y "hen he sees that 8el%less is deadJG The boy turned his head in the direction of the sound# G8e's tal!ing "ith the "ild geese,G he said# G7h, you may be sure that he has dragged himself do"n to the strand to get the latest ne"s about Grays!inJG oth the boy and the raven jum%ed to the ground, and hastened do"n to the shore# All the geese had come out of the la!e, and stood tal!ing "ith an old dog, "ho "as so "ea! and decre%it that it seemed as if he might dro% dead at any moment#

GThere's =arr,G said ata!i to the boy# GLet him hear first "hat the "ild geese have to say to himI later "e shall tell him that the "ater&sna!e is dead#G Presently they heard A!!a tal!ing to =arr# G9t ha%%ened last year "hile "e "ere ma!ing our usual s%ring tri%,G remar!ed the leader&goose# GWe started out one morningH$!si, =a!si, and 9, and "e fle" over the great boundary forests bet"een )alecarlia and 8Blsingland# <nder us "e, sa" only thic! %ine forests# The sno" "as still dee% among the trees, and the cree!s "ere mostly froMen# GSuddenly "e noticed three %oachers do"n in the forestJ They "ere on s!is, had dogs in leash, carried !nives in their belts, but had no guns# GAs there "as a hard crust on the sno", they did not bother to ta!e the "inding forest %aths, but s!ied straight ahead# A%%arently they !ne" very "ell "here they must go to find "hat they "ere see!ing# GWe "ild geese fle" on, high u% in the air, so that the "hole forest under us "as visible# When "e sighted the %oachers "e "anted to find out "here the game "as, so "e circled u% and do"n, %eering through the trees# Then, in a dense thic!et, "e sa" something that loo!ed li!e big, moss&covered roc!s, but couldn't be roc!s, for there "as no sno" on them# GWe shot do"n, suddenly, and lit in the centre of the thic!et# The three roc!s moved# They "ere three el!Ha bull and t"o co"sHresting in the blea! forest# GWhen "e alighted, the el! bull rose and came to"ard us# 8e "as the most su%erb animal "e had ever seen# When he sa" that it "as only some %oor "ild geese that had a"a!ened him, he lay do"n again# G'No, old granddaddy, you mustn't go bac! to slee%J' 9 cried# '*lee as fast as you canJ There are %oachers in the forest, and they are bound for this very deer fold#' G'Than! you, goose motherJ' said the el!# 8e seemed to be dro%%ing to slee% "hile he "as s%ea!ing# ' ut surely you must !no" that "e el! are under the %rotection of the la" at this time of the year# Those %oachers are %robably out for fo?,' he ya"ned# G'There are %lenty of fo? trails in the forest, but the %oachers are not loo!ing for them# elieve me, old granddaddyJ They !no" that you are lying here, and are coming to attac! you# They have no guns "ith themHonly s%ears and !nivesHfor they dare not fire a shot at this season#' GThe el! bull lay there calmly, but the el! co"s seemed to feel uneasy# G'9t may be as the geese say,' they remar!ed, beginning to bestir themselves# G'$ou just lie do"nJ' said the el! bull# 'There are no %oachers coming hereI of that you may be certain#'

GThere "as nothing more to be done, so "e "ild geese rose again into the air# ut "e continued to circle over the %lace, to see ho" it "ould turn out for the el!# GWe had hardly reached our regular flying altitude, "hen "e sa" the el! bull come out from the thic!et# 8e sniffed the air a little, then "al!ed straight to"ard the %oachers# As he strode along he ste%%ed u%on dry t"igs that crac!led noisily# A big barren marsh lay just beyond him# Thither he "ent and too! his stand in the middle, "here there "as nothing to hide him from vie"# GThere he stood until the %oachers emerged from the "oods# Then he turned and fled in the o%%osite direction# The %oachers let loose the dogs, and they themselves s!ied after him at full s%eed# GThe el! thre" bac! his head and lo%ed as fast as he could# 8e !ic!ed u% sno" until it fle" li!e a bliMMard about him# oth dogs and men "ere left far behind# Then the el! sto%%ed, as if to a"ait their a%%roach# When they "ere "ithin sight he dashed ahead again# We understood that he "as %ur%osely tem%ting the hunters a"ay from the %lace "here the co"s "ere# We thought it brave of him to face danger himself, in order that those "ho "ere dear to him might be left in safety# None of us "anted to leave the %lace until "e had seen ho" all this "as to end# GThus the chase continued for t"o hours or more# We "ondered that the %oachers "ent to the trouble of %ursuing the el! "hen they "ere not armed "ith rifles# They couldn't have thought that they could succeed in tiring out a runner li!e himJ GThen "e noticed that the el! no longer ran so ra%idly# 8e ste%%ed on the sno" more carefully, and every time he lifted his feet, blood could be seen in his trac!s# GWe understood "hy the %oachers had been so %ersistentJ They had counted on hel% from the sno"# The el! "as heavy, and "ith every ste% he san! to the bottom of the drift# The hard crust on the sno" "as scra%ing his legs# 9t scra%ed a"ay the fur, and tore out %ieces of flesh, so that he "as in torture every time he %ut his foot do"n# GThe %oachers and the dogs, "ho "ere so light that the ice crust could hold their "eight, %ursued him all the "hile# 8e ran on and onHhis ste%s becoming more and more uncertain and faltering# 8e gas%ed for breath# Not only did he suffer intense %ain, but he "as also e?hausted from "ading through the dee% sno"drifts# GAt last he lost all %atience# 8e %aused to let %oachers and dogs come u%on him, and "as ready to fight them# As he stood there "aiting, he glanced u%"ard# When he sa" us "ild geese circling above him, he cried out' G'Stay here, "ild geese, until all is overJ And the ne?t time you fly over =olmArden, loo! u% =arr, and as! him if he doesn't thin! that his friend Grays!in has met "ith a ha%%y endK'G When A!!a had gone so far in her story the old dog rose and "al!ed nearer to her# GGrays!in led a good life,G he said# G8e understands me# 8e !no"s that 9'm a brave dog, and that 9 shall be glad to hear that he had a ha%%y end# No" tell me ho"HG

8e raised his tail and thre" bac! his head, as if to give himself a bold and %roud bearing Hthen he colla%sed# G=arrJ =arrJG called a man's voice from the forest# The old dog rose obediently# GCy master is calling me,G he said, Gand 9 must not tarry longer# 9 just sa" him load his gun# No" "e t"o are going into the forest for the last time# GCany than!s, "ild gooseJ 9 !no" everything that 9 need !no" to die contentJG THE WIND WITCH IN N RKE 9n bygone days there "as something in NBr!e the li!e of "hich "as not to be found else"here' it "as a "itch, named $sBtter&=aisa# The name =aisa had been given her because she had a good deal to do "ith "ind and stormHand these "ind "itches are al"ays so called# The surname "as added because she "as su%%osed to have come from $sBtter s"am% in As!er %arish# 9t seemed as though her real abode must have been at As!erI but she used also to a%%ear at other %laces# No"here in all NBr!e could one be sure of not meeting her# She "as no dar!, mournful "itch, but gay and frolicsomeI and "hat she loved most of all "as a gale of "ind# As soon as there "as "ind enough, off she "ould fly to the NBr!e %lain for a good dance# 7n days "hen a "hirl"ind s"e%t the %lain, $sBtter&=aisa had funJ She "ould stand right in the "ind and s%in round, her long hair flying u% among the clouds and the long trail of her robe s"ee%ing the ground, li!e a dust cloud, "hile the "hole %lain lay s%read out under her, li!e a ballroom floor# 7f a morning $sBtter&=aisa "ould sit u% in some tall %ine at the to% of a %reci%ice, and loo! across the %lain# 9f it ha%%ened to be "inter and she sa" many teams on the roads she hurriedly ble" u% a bliMMard, %iling the drifts so high that %eo%le could barely get bac! to their homes by evening# 9f it chanced to be summer and good harvest "eather, $sBtter&=aisa "ould sit Luietly until the first hayric!s had been loaded, then do"n she "ould come "ith a cou%le of heavy sho"ers, "hich %ut an end to the "or! for that day# 9t "as only too true that she seldom thought of anything else than raising mischief# The charcoal burners u% in the =il mountains hardly dared ta!e a cat&na%, for as soon as she sa" an un"atched !iln, she stole u% and ble" on it until it began to burn in a great flame# 9f the metal drivers from La?A and SvartA "ere out late of an evening, $sBtter& =aisa "ould veil the roads and the country round about in such dar! clouds that both men and horses lost their "ay and drove the heavy truc!s do"n into s"am%s and morasses#

9f, on a summer's day, the dean's "ife at Glanshammar had s%read the tea table in the garden and along "ould come a gust of "ind that lifted the cloth from the table and turned over cu%s and saucers, they !ne" "ho had raised the mischiefJ 9f the mayor of @rebro's hat ble" off, so that he had to run across the "hole sLuare after itI if the "ash on the line ble" a"ay and got covered "ith dirt, or if the smo!e %oured into the cabins and seemed unable to find its "ay out through the chimney, it "as easy enough to guess "ho "as out ma!ing merryJ Although $sBtter&=aisa "as fond of all sorts of tantaliMing games, there "as nothing really bad about her# 7ne could see that she "as hardest on those "ho "ere Luarrelsome, stingy, or "ic!edI "hile honest fol! and %oor little children she "ould ta!e under her "ing# 7ld %eo%le say of her that, once, "hen As!er church "as burning, $sBtter&=aisa s"e%t through the air, lit amid fire and smo!e on the church roof, and averted the disaster# All the same the NBr!e fol! "ere often rather tired of $sBtter&=aisa, but she never tired of %laying her tric!s on them# As she sat on the edge of a cloud and loo!ed do"n u%on NBr!e, "hich rested so %eacefully and comfortably beneath her, she must have thought' GThe inhabitants "ould fare much too "ell if 9 "ere not in e?istence# They "ould gro" slee%y and dull# There must be some one li!e myself to rouse them and !ee% them in good s%irits#G Then she "ould laugh "ildly and, chattering li!e a mag%ie, "ould rush off, dancing and s%inning from one end of the %lain to the other# When a NBr!e man sa" her come dragging her dust trail over the %lain, he could not hel% smiling# Provo!ing and tiresome she certainly "as, but she had a merry s%irit# 9t "as just as refreshing for the %easants to meet $sBtter&=aisa as it "as for the %lain to be lashed by the "indstorm# No"adays 'tis said that $sBtter&=aisa is dead and gone, li!e all other "itches, but this one can hardly believe# 9t is as if some one "ere to come and tell you that henceforth the air "ould al"ays be still on the %lain, and the "ind "ould never more dance across it "ith blustering breeMes and drenching sho"ers# 8e "ho fancies that $sBtter&=aisa is dead and gone may as "ell hear "hat occurred in NBr!e the year that Nils 8olgersson travelled over that %art of the country# Then let him tell "hat he thin!s about it#

Wednesday, April twenty-se!enth# 9t "as the day before the big ;attle *air at @rebroI it rained in torrents and %eo%le thought' GThis is e?actly as in $sBtter&=aisa's timeJ At fairs she used to be more %ran!ish than usual# 9t "as Luite in her line to arrange a do"n%our li!e this on a mar!et eve#G As the day "ore on, the rain increased, and to"ard evening came regular cloud&bursts# The roads "ere li!e bottomless s"am%s# The farmers "ho had started from home "ith their cattle early in the morning, that they might arrive at a seasonable hour, fared badly# ;o"s and o?en "ere so tired they could hardly move, and many of the %oor beasts

dro%%ed do"n in the middle of the road, to sho" that they "ere too e?hausted to go any farther# All "ho lived along the roadside had to o%en their doors to the mar!et&bound travellers, and harbour them as best they could# *arm houses, barns, and sheds "ere soon cro"ded to their limit# Cean"hile, those "ho could struggle along to"ard the inn did soI but "hen they arrived they "ished they had sto%%ed at some cabin along the road# All the cribs in the barn and all the stalls in the stable "ere already occu%ied# There "as no other choice than to let horses and cattle stand out in the rain# Their masters could barely manage to get under cover# The crush and mud and slush in the barn yard "ere frightfulJ Some of the animals "ere standing in %uddles and could not even lie do"n# There "ere thoughtful masters, of course, "ho %rocured stra" for their animals to lie on, and s%read blan!ets over themI but there "ere those, also, "ho sat in the inn, drin!ing and gambling, entirely forgetful of the dumb creatures "hich they should have %rotected# The boy and the "ild geese had come to a little "ooded island in 8jBlmar La!e that evening# The island "as se%arated from the main land by a narro" and shallo" stream, and at lo" tide one could %ass over it dry&shod# 9t rained just as hard on the island as it did every"here else# The boy could not slee% for the "ater that !e%t dri%%ing do"n on him# *inally he got u% and began to "al!# 8e fancied that he felt the rain less "hen he moved about# 8e had hardly circled the island, "hen he heard a s%lashing in the stream# Presently he sa" a solitary horse tram%ing among the trees# Never in all his life had he seen such a "rec! of a horseJ 8e "as bro!en&"inded and stiff&!need and so thin that every rib could be seen under the hide# 8e bore neither harness nor saddleHonly an old bridle, from "hich dangled a half&rotted ro%e&end# 7bviously he had had no difficulty in brea!ing loose# The horse "al!ed straight to"ard the s%ot "here the "ild geese "ere slee%ing# The boy "as afraid that he "ould ste% on them# GWhere are you goingK *eel your groundJG shouted the boy# G7h, there you areJG e?claimed the horse# G9've "al!ed miles to meet youJG G8ave you heard of meKG as!ed the boy, astonished# G9've got ears, even if 9 am oldJ There are many "ho tal! of you no"adays#G As he s%o!e, the horse bent his head that he might see better, and the boy noticed that he had a small head, beautiful eyes, and a soft, sensitive nose# G8e must have been a good horse at the start, though he has come to grief in his old age,G he thought# G9 "ish you "ould come "ith me and hel% me "ith something,G %leaded the horse#

The boy thought it "ould be embarrassing to accom%any a creature "ho loo!ed so "retched, and e?cused himself on account of the bad "eather# G$ou'll be no "orse off on my bac! than you are lying here,G said the horse# G ut %erha%s you don't dare to go "ith an old tram% of a horse li!e me#G G;ertainly 9 dareJG said the boy# GThen "a!e the geese, so that "e can arrange "ith them "here they shall come for you to&morro",G said the horse# The boy "as soon seated on the animal's bac!# The old nag trotted along better than he had thought %ossible# 9t "as a long ride in the rain and dar!ness before they halted near a large inn, "here everything loo!ed terribly uninvitingJ The "heel trac!s "ere so dee% in the road that the boy feared he might dro"n should he fall do"n into them# Alongside the fence, "hich enclosed the yard, some thirty or forty horses and cattle "ere tied, "ith no %rotection against the rain, and in the yard "ere "agons %iled "ith %ac!ing cases, "here shee%, calves, hogs, and chic!ens "ere shut in# The horse "al!ed over to the fence and stationed himself# The boy remained seated u%on his bac!, and, "ith his good night eyes, %lainly sa" ho" badly the animals fared# G8o" do you ha%%en to be standing out here in the rainKG he as!ed# GWe're on our "ay to a fair at @rebro, but "e "ere obliged to %ut u% here on account of the rain# This is an innI but so many travellers have already arrived that there's no room for us in the barns#G The boy made no re%ly, but sat Luietly loo!ing about him# Not many of the animals "ere aslee%, and on all sides he heard com%laints and indignant %rotests# They had reason enough for grumbling, for the "eather "as even "orse than it had been earlier in the day# A freeMing "ind had begun to blo", and the rain "hich came beating do"n on them "as turning to sno"# 9t "as easy enough to understand "hat the horse "anted the boy to hel% him "ith# G)o you see that fine farm yard directly o%%osite the innKG remar!ed the horse# G$es, 9 see it,G ans"ered the boy, Gand 9 can't com%rehend "hy they haven't tried to find shelter for all of you in there# They are already full, %erha%sKG GNo, there are no strangers in that %lace,G said the horse# GThe %eo%le "ho live on that farm are so stingy and selfish that it "ould be useless for any one to as! them for harbour#G G9f that's the case, 9 su%%ose you'll have to stand "here you are#G G9 "as born and raised on that farm,G said the horseI G9 !no" that there is a large barn and a big co" shed, "ith many em%ty stalls and mangers, and 9 "as "ondering if you couldn't manage in some "ay or other to get us in over there#G

G9 don't thin! 9 could ventureHG hesitated the boy# ut he felt so sorry for the %oor beasts that he "anted at least to try# 8e ran into the strange barn yard and sa" at once that all the outhouses "ere loc!ed and the !eys gone# 8e stood there, %uMMled and hel%less, "hen aid came to him from an une?%ected source# A gust of "ind came s"ee%ing along "ith terrific force and flung o%en a shed door right in front of him# The boy "as not long in getting bac! to the horse# G9t isn't %ossible to get into the barn or the co" house,G he said, Gbut there's a big, em%ty hay shed that they have forgotten to bolt# 9 can lead you into that#G GThan! youJG said the horse# G9t "ill seem good to slee% once more on familiar ground# 9t's the only ha%%iness 9 can e?%ect in this life#G Cean"hile, at the flourishing farm o%%osite the inn, the family sat u% much later than usual that evening# The master of the %lace "as a man of thirty&five, tall and dignified, "ith a handsome but melancholy face# )uring the day he had been out in the rain and had got "et, li!e every one else, and at su%%er he as!ed his old mother, "ho "as still mistress of the %lace, to light a fire on the hearth that he might dry his clothes# The mother !indled a feeble blaMe Hfor in that house they "ere not "asteful "ith "oodHand the master hung his coat on the bac! of a chair, and %laced it before the fire# With one foot on to% of the andiron and a hand resting on his !nee, he stood gaMing into the embers# Thus he stood for t"o "hole hours, ma!ing no move other than to cast a log on the fire no" and then# The mistress removed the su%%er things and turned do"n his bed for the night before she "ent to her o"n room and seated herself# At intervals she came to the door and loo!ed "onderingly at her son# G9t's nothing, mother# 9'm only thin!ing,G he said# 8is thoughts "ere on something that had occurred shortly before' When he %assed the inn a horse dealer had as!ed him if he "ould not li!e to %urchase a horse, and had sho"n him an old nag so "eather&beaten that he as!ed the dealer if he too! him for a fool, since he "ished to %alm off such a %layed&out beast on him# G7h, noJG said the horse dealer# G9 only thought that, inasmuch as the horse once belonged to you, you might "ish to give him a comfortable home in his old ageI he has need of it#G Then he loo!ed at the horse and recogniMed it as one "hich he himself had raised and bro!en inI but it did not occur to him to %urchase such an old and useless creature on that account# No, indeedJ 8e "as not one "ho sLuandered his money# All the same, the sight of the horse had a"a!ened many, memoriesHand it "as the memories that !e%t him a"a!e#

That horse had been a fine animal# 8is father had let him tend it from the start# 8e had bro!en it in and had loved it above everything else# 8is father had com%lained that he used to feed it too "ell, and often he had been obliged to steal out and smuggle oats to it# 7nce, "hen he ventured to tal! "ith his father about letting him buy a broadcloth suit, or having the cart %ainted, his father stood as if %etrified, and he thought the old man "ould have a stro!e# 8e tried to ma!e his father understand that, "hen he had a fine horse to drive, he should loo! %resentable himself# The father made no re%ly, but t"o days later he too! the horse to @rebro and sold it# 9t "as cruel of him# ut it "as %lain that his father had feared that this horse might lead him into vanity and e?travagance# And no", so long after"ard, he had to admit that his father "as right# A horse li!e that surely "ould have been a tem%tation# At first he had grieved terribly over his loss# Cany a time he had gone do"n to @rebro, just to stand on a street corner and see the horse %ass by, or to steal into the stable and give him a lum% of sugar# 8e thought' G9f 9 ever get the farm, the first thing 9 do "ill be to buy bac! my horse#G No" his father "as gone and he himself had been master for t"o years, but he had not made a move to"ard buying the horse# 8e had not thought of him for ever so long, until to&night# 9t "as strange that he should have forgotten the beast so entirelyJ 8is father had been a very headstrong, domineering man# When his son "as gro"n and the t"o had "or!ed together, the father had gained absolute %o"er over him# The boy had come to thin! that everything his father did "as right, and, after he became the master, he only tried to do e?actly as his father "ould have done# 8e !ne", of course, that fol! said his father "as stingyI but it "as "ell to !ee% a tight hold on one's %urse and not thro" a"ay money needlessly# The goods one has received should not be "asted# 9t "as better to live on a debt&free %lace and be called stingy, than to carry heavy mortgages, li!e other farm o"ners# 8e had gone so far in his mind "hen he "as called bac! by a strange sound# 9t "as as if a shrill, moc!ing voice "ere re%eating his thoughts' G9t's better to !ee% a firm hold on one's %urse and be called stingy, than to be in debt, li!e other farm o"ners#G 9t sounded as if some one "as trying to ma!e s%ort of his "isdom and he "as about to lose his tem%er, "hen he realiMed that it "as all a mista!e# The "ind "as beginning to rage, and he had been standing there getting so slee%y that he mistoo! the ho"ling of the "ind in the chimney for human s%eech# 8e glanced u% at the "all cloc!, "hich just then struc! eleven# G9t's time that you "ere in bed,G he remar!ed to himself# Then he remembered that he had not yet gone the rounds of the farm yard, as it "as his custom to do every night, to ma!e sure that all doors "ere closed and all lights e?tinguished# This "as something he

had never neglected since he became master# 8e dre" on his coat and "ent out in the storm# 8e found everything as it should be, save that the door to the em%ty hay shed had been blo"n o%en by the "ind# 8e ste%%ed inside for the !ey, loc!ed the shed door and %ut the !ey into his coat %oc!et# Then he "ent bac! to the house, removed his coat, and hung it before the fire# /ven no" he did not retire, but began %acing the floor# The storm "ithout, "ith its biting "ind and sno"&blended rain, "as terrible, and his old horse "as standing in this storm "ithout so much as a blan!et to %rotect himJ 8e should at least have given his old friend a roof over his head, since he had come such a long distance# At the inn across the "ay the boy heard an old "all cloc! stri!e eleven times# :ust then he "as untying the animals to lead them to the shed in the farm yard o%%osite# 9t too! some time to rouse them and get them into line# When all "ere ready, they marched in a long %rocession into the stingy farmer's yard, "ith the boy as their guide# While the boy had been assembling them, the farmer had gone the rounds of the farm yard and loc!ed the hay shed, so that "hen the animals came along the door "as closed# The boy stood there dismayed# 8e could not let the creatures stand out thereJ 8e must go into the house and find the !ey# G=ee% them Luiet out here "hile 9 go in and fetch the !eyJG he said to the old horse, and off he ran# 7n the %ath right in front of the house he %aused to thin! out ho" he should get inside# As he stood there he noticed t"o little "anderers coming do"n the road, "ho sto%%ed before the inn# The boy sa" at once that they "ere t"o little girls, and ran to"ard them# G;ome no", ritta CajaJG said one, Gyou mustn't cry any more# No" "e are at the inn# 8ere they "ill surely ta!e us in#G The girl had but just said this "hen the boy called to her' GNo, you mustn't try to get in there# 9t is sim%ly im%ossible# ut at the farm house o%%osite there are no guests# Go there instead#G The little girls heard the "ords distinctly, though they could not see the one "ho s%o!e to them# They did not "onder much at that, ho"ever, for the night "as as blac! as %itch# The larger of the girls %rom%tly ans"ered' GWe don't care to enter that %lace, because those "ho live there are stingy and cruel# 9t is their fault that "e t"o must go out on the high"ays and beg#G GThat may be so,G said the boy, Gbut all the same you should go there# $ou shall see that it "ill be "ell for you#G GWe can try, but it is doubtful that they "ill even let us enter,G observed the t"o little girls as they "al!ed u% to the house and !noc!ed#

The master "as standing by the fire thin!ing of the horse "hen he heard the !noc!ing# 8e ste%%ed to the door to see "hat "as u%, thin!ing all the "hile that he "ould not let himself be tem%ted into admitting any "ayfarer# As he fumbled the loc!, a gust of "ind came along, "renched the door from his hand and s"ung it o%en# To close it, he had to ste% out on the %orch, and, "hen he ste%%ed bac! into the house, the t"o little girls "ere standing "ithin# They "ere t"o %oor beggar girls, ragged, dirty, and starvingHt"o little tots bent under the burden of their beggar's %ac!s, "hich "ere as large as themselves# GWho are you that go %ro"ling about at this hour of the nightKG said the master gruffly# The t"o children did not ans"er immediately, but first removed their %ac!s# Then they "al!ed u% to the man and stretched forth their tiny hands in greeting# GWe are Anna and ritta Caja from the /ngBrd,G said the elder, Gand "e "ere going to as! for a night's lodging#G 8e did not ta!e the outstretched hands and "as just about to drive out the beggar children, "hen a fresh recollection faced him# /ngBrdH"as not that a little cabin "here a %oor "ido" "ith five children had livedK The "ido" had o"ed his father a fe" hundred !roner and in order to get bac! his money he had sold her cabin# After that the "ido", "ith her three eldest children, "ent to Norrland to see! em%loyment, and the t"o youngest became a charge on the %arish# As he called this to mind he gre" bitter# 8e !ne" that his father had been severely censured for sLueeMing out that money, "hich by right belonged to him# GWhat are you doing no"adaysKG he as!ed in a cross tone# G)idn't the board of charities ta!e charge of youK Why do you roam around and begKG G9t's not our fault,G re%lied the larger girl# GThe %eo%le "ith "hom "e are living have sent us out to beg#G GWell, your %ac!s are filled,G the farmer observed, Gso you can't com%lain# No" you'd better ta!e out some of the food you have "ith you and eat your fill, for here you'll get no food, as all the "omen fol! are in bed# Later you may lie do"n in the corner by the hearth, so you "on't have to freeMe#G 8e "aved his hand, as if to "ard them off, and his eyes too! on a hard loo!# 8e "as than!ful that he had had a father "ho had been careful of his %ro%erty# 7ther"ise, he might %erha%s have been forced in childhood to run about and beg, as these children no" did# No sooner had he thought this out to the end than the shrill, moc!ing voice he had heard once before that evening re%eated it, "ord for "ord# 8e listened, and at once understood that it "as nothingHonly the "ind roaring in the chimney# ut the Lueer thing about it "as, "hen the "ind re%eated his thoughts, they seemed so strangely stu%id and hard and falseJ

The children mean"hile had stretched themselves, side by side, on the floor# They "ere not Luiet, but lay there muttering# G)o be still, "on't youKG he gro"led, for he "as in such an irritable mood that he could have beaten them# ut the mumbling continued, and again he called for silence# GWhen mother "ent a"ay,G %i%ed a clear little voice, Gshe made me %romise that every night 9 "ould say my evening %rayer# 9 must do this, and ritta Caja too# As soon as "e have said 'God "ho cares for little childrenH' "e'll be Luiet#G The master sat Luite still "hile the little ones said their %rayers, then he rose and began %acing bac! and forth, bac! and forth, "ringing his hands all the "hile, as though he had met "ith some great sorro"# GThe horse driven out and "rec!ed, these t"o children turned into road beggarsHboth father's doingsJ Perha%s father did not do right after allKG he thought# 8e sat do"n again and buried his head in his hands# Suddenly his li%s began to Luiver and into his eyes came tears, "hich he hastily "i%ed a"ay# *resh tears came, and he "as just as %rom%t to brush these a"ayI but it "as useless, for more follo"ed# When his mother ste%%ed into the room, he s"ung his chair Luic!ly and turned his bac! to her# She must have noticed something unusual, for she stood Luietly behind him a long "hile, as if "aiting for him to s%ea!# She realiMed ho" difficult it al"ays is for men to tal! of the things they feel most dee%ly# She must hel% him of course# *rom her bedroom she had observed all that had ta!en %lace in the living room, so that she did not have to as! Luestions# She "al!ed very softly over to the t"o slee%ing children, lifted them, and bore them to her o"n bed# Then she "ent bac! to her son# GLars,G she said, as if she did not see that he "as "ee%ing, Gyou had better let me !ee% these children#G GWhat, motherKG he gas%ed, trying to smother the sobs# G9 have been suffering for yearsHever since father too! the cabin from their mother, and so have you#G G$es, butHG G9 "ant to !ee% them here and ma!e something of themI they are too good to beg#G 8e could not s%ea!, for no" the tears "ere beyond his controlI but he too! his old mother's "ithered hand and %atted it# Then he jum%ed u%, as if something had frightened him# GWhat "ould father have said of thisKG

G*ather had his day at ruling,G retorted the mother# GNo" it is your day# As long as father lived "e had to obey him# No" is the time to sho" "hat you are#G 8er son "as so astonished that he ceased crying# G ut 9 have just sho"n "hat 9 amJG he returned# GNo, you haven't,G %rotested the mother# G$ou only try to be li!e him# *ather e?%erienced hard times, "hich made him fear %overty# 8e believed that he had to thin! of himself first# ut you have never had any difficulties that should ma!e you hard# $ou have more than you need, and it "ould be unnatural of you not to thin! of others#G When the t"o little girls entered the house the boy sli%%ed in behind them and secreted himself in a dar! corner# 8e had not been there long before he caught a glim%se of the shed !ey, "hich the farmer had thrust into his coat %oc!et# GWhen the master of the house drives the children out, 9'll ta!e the !ey and ran,G he thought# ut the children "ere not driven out and the boy crouched in the corner, not !no"ing "hat he should do ne?t# The mother tal!ed long "ith her son, and "hile she "as s%ea!ing he sto%%ed "ee%ing# Gradually his features softenedI he loo!ed li!e another %erson# All the "hile he "as stro!ing the "asted old hand# GNo" "e may as "ell retire,G said the old lady "hen she sa" that he "as calm again# GNo,G he said, suddenly rising, G9 cannot retire yet# There's a stranger "ithout "hom 9 must shelter to&nightJG 8e said nothing further, but Luic!ly dre" on his coat, lit the lantern and "ent out# There "ere the same "ind and chill "ithout, but as he ste%%ed to the %orch he began to sing softly# 8e "ondered if the horse "ould !no" him, and if he "ould be glad to come bac! to his old stable# As he crossed the house yard he heard a door slam# GThat shed door has blo"n o%en again,G he thought, and "ent over to close it# A moment later he stood by the shed and "as just going to shut the door, "hen he heard a rustling "ithin# The boy, "ho had "atched his o%%ortunity, had run directly to the shed, "here he left the animals, but they "ere no longer out in the rain' A strong "ind had long since thro"n o%en the door and hel%ed them to get a roof over their heads# The %atter "hich the master heard "as occasioned by the boy running into the shed#

y the light of the lantern the man could see into the shed# The "hole floor "as covered "ith slee%ing cattle# There "as no human being to be seenI the animals "ere not bound, but "ere lying, here and there, in the stra"# 8e "as enraged at the intrusion and began storming and shrie!ing to rouse the slee%ers and drive them out# ut the creatures lay still and "ould not let themselves be disturbed# The only one that rose "as an old horse that came slo"ly to"ard him# All of a sudden the man became silent# 8e recogniMed the beast by its gait# 8e raised the lantern, and the horse came over and laid its head on his shoulder# The master %atted and stro!ed it# GCy old horsy, my old horsyJG he said# GWhat have they done to youK $es, dear, 9'll buy you bac!# $ou'll never again have to leave this %lace# $ou shall do "hatever you li!e, horsy mineJ Those "hom you have brought "ith you may remain here, but you shall come "ith me to the stable# No" 9 can give you all the oats you are able to eat, "ithout having to smuggle them# And you're not all used u%, eitherJ The handsomest horse on the church !nollHthat's "hat you shall be once moreJ There, thereJ There, thereJG THE BREAKING UP OF THE ICE Thursday, April twenty-eighth# The follo"ing day the "eather "as clear and beautiful# There "as a strong "est "indI %eo%le "ere glad of that, for it dried u% the roads, "hich had been soa!ed by the heavy rains of the day before# /arly in the morning the t"o SmAland children, 7sa, the goose girl, and little Cats, "ere out on the high"ay leading from SErmland to NBr!e# The road ran alongside the southern shore of 8jBlmar La!e and the children "ere "al!ing along loo!ing at the ice, "hich covered the greater %art of it# The morning sun darted its clear rays u%on the ice, "hich did not loo! dar! and forbidding, li!e most s%ring ice, but s%ar!led tem%tingly# As far as they could see, the ice "as firm and dry# The rain had run do"n into crac!s and hollo"s, or been absorbed by the ice itself# The children sa" only the sound ice# 7sa, the goose girl, and little Cats "ere on their "ay North, and they could not hel% thin!ing of all the ste%s they "ould be saved if they could cut straight across the la!e instead of going around it# They !ne", to be sure, that s%ring ice is treacherous, but this loo!ed %erfectly secure# They could see that it "as several inches thic! near the shore# They sa" a %ath "hich they might follo", and the o%%osite shore a%%eared to be so near that they ought to be able to get there in an hour# G;ome, let's tryJG said little Cats# G9f "e only loo! before us, so that "e don't go do"n into some hole, "e can do it#G So they "ent out on the la!e# The ice "as not very sli%%ery, but rather easy to "al! u%on# There "as more "ater on it than they e?%ected to see, and here and there "ere crac!s, "here the "ater %urled u%# 7ne had to "atch out for such %lacesI but that "as easy to do in broad daylight, "ith the sun shining#

The children advanced ra%idly, and tal!ed only of ho" sensible they "ere to have gone out on the ice instead of tram%ing the slushy road# When they had been "al!ing a "hile they came to >in 9sland, "here an old "oman had sighted them from her "indo"# She rushed from her cabin, "aved them bac!, and shouted something "hich they could not hear# They understood %erfectly "ell that she "as "arning them not to come any fartherI but they thought there "as no immediate danger# 9t "ould be stu%id for them to leave the ice "hen all "as going so "ellJ Therefore they "ent on %ast >in 9sland and had a stretch of seven miles of ice ahead of them# 7ut there "as so much "ater that the children "ere obliged to ta!e roundabout "aysI but that "as s%ort to them# They vied "ith each other as to "hich could find the soundest ice# They "ere neither tired nor hungry# The "hole day "as before them, and they laughed at each obstacle they met# No" and then they cast a glance ahead at the farther shore# 9t still a%%eared far a"ay, although they had been "al!ing a good hour# They "ere rather sur%rised that the la!e "as so broad# GThe shore seems to be moving farther a"ay from us,G little Cats observed# 7ut there the children "ere not %rotected against the "ind, "hich "as becoming stronger and stronger every minute, and "as %ressing their clothing so close to their bodies that they could hardly go on# The cold "ind "as the first disagreeable thing they had met "ith on the journey# ut the amaMing %art of it "as that the "ind came s"ee%ing along "ith a loud roarHas if it brought "ith it the noise of a large mill or factory, though nothing of the !ind "as to be found out there on the ice# They had "al!ed to the "est of the big island, >alenI no" they thought they "ere nearing the north shore# Suddenly the "ind began to blo" more and more, "hile the loud roaring increased so ra%idly that they began to feel uneasy# All at once it occurred to them that the roar "as caused by the foaming and rushing of the "aves brea!ing against a shore# /ven this seemed im%robable, since the la!e "as still covered "ith ice# At all events, they %aused and loo!ed about# They noticed far in the "est a "hite ban! "hich stretched clear across the la!e# At first they thought it "as a sno"ban! alongside a road# Later they realiMed it "as the foam&ca%%ed "aves dashing against the iceJ They too! hold of hands and ran "ithout saying a "ord# 7%en sea lay beyond in the "est, and suddenly the strea! of foam a%%eared to be moving east"ard# They "ondered if the ice "as going to brea! all over# What "as going to ha%%enK They felt no" that they "ere in great danger# All at once it seemed as if the ice under their feet roseHrose and san!, as if some one from belo" "ere %ushing it# Presently they heard a hollo" boom, and then there "ere

crac!s in the ice all around them# The children could see ho" they cre%t along under the ice&covering# The ne?t moment all "as still, then the rising and sin!ing began again# Thereu%on the crac!s began to "iden into crevices through "hich the "ater bubbled u%# y and by the crevices became ga%s# Soon after that the ice "as divided into large floes# G7sa,G said little Cats, Gthis must be the brea!ing u% of the iceJG GWhy, so it is, little Cats,G said 7sa, Gbut as yet "e can get to land# (un for your lifeJG As a matter of fact, the "ind and "aves had a good deal of "or! to do yet to clear the ice from the la!e# The hardest %art "as done "hen the ice&ca!e burst into %ieces, but all these %ieces must be bro!en and hurled against each other, to be crushed, "orn do"n, and dissolved# There "as still a great deal of hard and sound ice left, "hich formed large, unbro!en surfaces# The greatest danger for the children lay in the fact that they had no general vie" of the ice# They did not see the %laces "here the ga%s "ere so "ide that they could not %ossibly jum% over them, nor did they !no" "here to find any floes that "ould hold them, so they "andered aimlessly bac! and forth, going farther out on the la!e instead of nearer land# At last, confused and terrified, they stood still and "e%t# Then a floc! of "ild geese in ra%id flight came rushing by# They shrie!ed loudly and shar%lyI but the strange thing "as that above the geese&cac!le the little children heard these "ords' G$ou must go to the right, the right, the rightJG They began at once to follo" the adviceI but before long they "ere again standing irresolute, facing another broad ga%# Again they heard the geese shrie!ing above them, and again, amid the geese&cac!le, they distinguished a fe" "ords' GStand "here you areJ Stand "here you areJG The children did not say a "ord to each other, but obeyed and stood still# Soon after that the ice&floes floated together, so that they could cross the ga%# Then they too! hold of hands again and ran# They "ere afraid not only of the %eril, but of the mysterious hel% that had come to them# Soon they had to sto% again, and immediately the sound of the voice reached them# GStraight ahead, straight aheadJG it said# This leading continued for about half an hourI by that time they had reached Ljunger Point, "here they left the ice and "aded to shore# They "ere still terribly frightened, even though they "ere on firm land# They did not sto% to loo! bac! at the la!eH"here the "aves "ere %itching the ice&floes faster and fasterHbut ran on# When they had gone a short distance along the %oint, 7sa %aused suddenly#

GWait here, little Cats,G she saidI G9 have forgotten something#G 7sa, the goose girl, "ent do"n to the strand again, "here she sto%%ed to rummage in her bag# *inally she fished out a little "ooden shoe, "hich she %laced on a stone "here it could be %lainly seen# Then she ran to little Cats "ithout once loo!ing bac!# ut the instant her bac! "as turned, a big "hite goose shot do"n from the s!y, li!e a strea! of lightning, snatched the "ooden shoe, and fle" a"ay "ith it# THUMBIETOT AND THE BEARS THE IRONWORKS Thursday, April twenty-eighth# When the "ild geese and Thumbietot had hel%ed 7sa, the goose girl, and little Cats across the ice, they fle" into Westmanland, "here they alighted in a grain field to feed and rest# A strong "est "ind ble" almost the entire day on "hich the "ild geese travelled over the mining districts, and as soon as they attem%ted to direct their course north"ard they "ere buffeted to"ard the east# No", A!!a thought that Smirre *o? "as at large in the eastern %art of the %rovinceI therefore she "ould not fly in that direction, but turned bac!, time and again, struggling "est"ard "ith great difficulty# At this rate the "ild geese advanced very slo"ly, and late in the afternoon they "ere still in the Westmanland mining districts# To"ard evening the "ind abated suddenly, and the tired travellers ho%ed that they "ould have an interval of easy flight before sundo"n# Then along came a violent gust of "ind, "hich tossed the geese before it, li!e balls, and the boy, "ho "as sitting comfortably, "ith no thought of %eril, "as lifted from the goose's bac! and hurled into s%ace# Little and light as he "as, he could not fall straight to the ground in such a "indI so at first he "as carried along "ith it, drifting do"n slo"ly and s%asmodically, as a leaf falls from a tree# GWhy, this isn't so badJG thought the boy as he fell# G9'm tumbling as easily as if 9 "ere only a scra% of %a%er# Corten Goosey&Gander "ill doubtless hurry along and %ic! me u%#G The first thing the boy did "hen he landed "as to tear off his ca% and "ave it, so that the big "hite gander should see "here he "as# G8ere am 9, "here are youK 8ere am 9, "here are youKG he called, and "as rather sur%rised that Corten Goosey&Gander "as not already at his side# ut the big "hite gander "as not to be seen, nor "as the "ild goose floc! outlined against the s!y# 9t had entirely disa%%eared#

8e thought this rather singular, but he "as neither "orried nor frightened# Not for a second did it occur to him that fol! li!e A!!a and Corten Goosey&Gander "ould abandon him# The une?%ected gust of "ind had %robably borne them along "ith it# As soon as they could manage to turn, they "ould surely come bac! and fetch him# ut "hat "as thisK Where on earth "as he any"ayK 8e had been standing gaMing to"ard the s!y for some sign of the geese, but no" he ha%%ened to glance about him# 8e had not come do"n on even ground, but had dro%%ed into a dee%, "ide mountain caveHor "hatever it might be# 9t "as as large as a church, "ith almost %er%endicular "alls on all four sides, and "ith no roof at all# 7n the ground "ere some huge roc!s, bet"een "hich moss and lignon&brush and d"arfed birches gre"# 8ere and there in the "all "ere %rojections, from "hich s"ung ric!ety ladders# At one side there "as a dar! %assage, "hich a%%arently led far into the mountain# The boy had not been travelling over the mining districts a "hole day for nothing# 8e com%rehended at once that the big cleft had been made by the men "ho had mined ore in this %lace# G9 must try and climb bac! to earth again,G he thought, Gother"ise 9 fear that my com%anions "on't find meJG 8e "as about to go over to the "all "hen some one seiMed him from behind, and he heard a gruff voice gro"l in his ear' GWho are youKG The boy turned Luic!ly, and, in the confusion of the moment, he thought he "as facing a huge roc!, covered "ith bro"nish moss# Then he noticed that the roc! had broad %a"s to "al! "ith, a head, t"o eyes, and a gro"ling mouth# 8e could not %ull himself together to ans"er, nor did the big beast a%%ear to e?%ect it of him, for it !noc!ed him do"n, rolled him bac! and forth "ith its %a"s, and nosed him# 9t seemed just about ready to s"allo" him, "hen it changed its mind and called' G rumme and Culle, come here, you cubs, and you shall have something good to eatJG A %air of fro"My cubs, as uncertain on their feet and as "oolly as %u%%ies, came tumbling along# GWhat have you got, Camma earK Cay "e see, oh, may "e seeKG shrie!ed the cubs e?citedly# G7hoJ so 9've fallen in "ith bears,G thought the boy to himself# GNo" Smirre *o? "on't have to trouble himself further to chase after meJG The mother bear %ushed the boy along to the cubs# 7ne of them nabbed him Luic!ly and ran off "ith himI but he did not bite hard# 8e "as %layful and "anted to amuse himself a"hile "ith Thumbietot before eating him# The other cub "as after the first one to snatch the boy for himself, and as he lumbered along he managed to tumble straight do"n on the head of the one that carried the boy# So the t"o cubs rolled over each other, biting, cla"ing, and snarling#

)uring the tussle the boy got loose, ran over to the "all, and started to scale it# Then both cubs scurried after him, and, nimbly scaling the cliff, they caught u% "ith him and tossed him do"n on the moss, li!e a ball# GNo" 9 !no" ho" a %oor little mousie fares "hen it falls into the cat's cla"s,G thought the boy# 8e made several attem%ts to get a"ay# 8e ran dee% do"n into the old tunnel and hid behind the roc!s and climbed the birches, but the cubs hunted him out, go "here he "ould# The instant they caught him they let him go, so that he could run a"ay again and they should have the fun of reca%turing him# At last the boy got so sic! and tired of it all that he thre" himself do"n on the ground# G(un a"ay,G gro"led the cubs, Gor "e'll eat you u%JG G$ou'll have to eat me then,G said the boy, Gfor 9 can't run any more#G 9mmediately both cubs rushed over to the mother bear and com%lained' GCamma ear, oh, Camma ear, he "on't %lay any more#G GThen you must divide him evenly bet"een you,G said Cother ear# When the boy heard this he "as so scared that he jum%ed u% instantly and began %laying again# As it "as bedtime, Cother ear called to the cubs that they must come no" and cuddle u% to her and go to slee%# They had been having such a good time that they "ished to continue their %lay ne?t dayI so they too! the boy bet"een them and laid their %a"s over him# They did not "ant him to move "ithout "a!ing them# They "ent to slee% immediately# The boy thought that after a "hile he "ould try to steal a"ay# ut never in all his life had he been so tumbled and tossed and hunted and rolledJ And he "as so tired out that he too fell aslee%# y and by *ather ear came clambering do"n the mountain "all# The boy "as "a!ened by his tearing a"ay stone and gravel as he s"ung himself into the old mine# The boy "as afraid to move muchI but he managed to stretch himself and turn over, so that he could see the big bear# 8e "as a frightfully coarse, huge old beast, "ith great %a"s, large, glistening tus!s, and "ic!ed little eyesJ The boy could not hel% shuddering as he loo!ed at this old monarch of the forest# G9t smells li!e a human being around here,G said *ather ear the instant he came u% to Cother ear, and his gro"l "as as the rolling of thunder# G8o" can you imagine anything so absurdKG said Cother ear "ithout disturbing herself# G9t has been settled for good and all that "e are not to harm man!ind any moreI but if one of them "ere to %ut in an a%%earance here, "here the cubs and 9 have our Luarters, there "ouldn't be enough left of him for you to catch even a scent of himJG

*ather ear lay do"n beside Cother ear# G$ou ought to !no" me "ell enough to understand that 9 don't allo" anything dangerous to come near the cubs# Tal!, instead, of "hat you have been doing# 9 haven't seen you for a "hole "ee!JG G9've been loo!ing about for a ne" residence,G said *ather ear# G*irst 9 "ent over to >ermland, to learn from our !insmen at /!shBrad ho" they fared in that countryI but 9 had my trouble for nothing# There "asn't a bear's den left in the "hole forest#G G9 believe the humans "ant the "hole earth to themselves,G said Cother ear# G/ven if "e leave %eo%le and cattle in %eace and live solely u%on lignon and insects and green things, "e cannot remain unmolested in the forestJ 9 "onder "here "e could move to in order to live in %eaceKG GWe've lived comfortably for many years in this %it,G observed *ather ear# G ut 9 can't be content here no" since the big noise&sho% has been built right in our neighbourhood# Lately 9 have been ta!ing a loo! at the land east of )al (iver, over by Gar%en Countain# 7ld mine %its are %lentiful there, too, and other fine retreats# 9 thought it loo!ed as if one might be fairly %rotected against menHG The instant *ather ear said this he sat u% and began to sniff# G9t's e?traordinary that "henever 9 s%ea! of human beings 9 catch that Lueer scent again,G he remar!ed# GGo and see for yourself if you don't believe meJG challenged Cother ear# G9 should just li!e to !no" "here a human being could manage to hide do"n hereKG The bear "al!ed all around the cave, and nosed# *inally he "ent bac! and lay do"n "ithout a "ord# GWhat did 9 tell youKG said Cother ear# G ut of course you thin! that no one but yourself has any nose or earsJG G7ne can't be too careful, "ith such neighbours as "e have,G said *ather ear gently# Then he lea%ed u% "ith a roar# As luc! "ould have it, one of the cubs had moved a %a" over to Nils 8olgersson's face and the %oor little "retch could not breathe, but began to sneeMe# 9t "as im%ossible for Cother ear to !ee% *ather ear bac! any longer# 8e %ushed the young ones to right and left and caught sight of the boy before he had time to sit u%# 8e "ould have s"allo"ed him instantly if Cother ear had not cast herself bet"een them# G)on't touch himJ 8e belongs to the cubs,G she said# GThey have had such fun "ith him the "hole evening that they couldn't bear to eat him u%, but "anted to save him until morning#G *ather ear %ushed Cother ear aside#

G)on't meddle "ith "hat you don't understandJG he roared# G;an't you scent that human odour about him from afarK 9 shall eat him at once, or he "ill %lay us some mean tric!#G 8e o%ened his ja"s againI but mean"hile the boy had had time to thin!, and, Luic! as a flash, he dug into his !na%sac! and brought forth some matchesHhis sole "ea%on of defenceHstruc! one on his leather breeches, and stuc! the burning match into the bear's o%en mouth# *ather ear snorted "hen he smelled the sul%hur, and "ith that the flame "ent out# The boy "as ready "ith another match, but, curiously enough, *ather ear did not re%eat his attac!# G;an you light many of those little blue rosesKG as!ed *ather ear# G9 can light enough to %ut an end to the "hole forest,G re%lied the boy, for he thought that in this "ay he might be able to scare *ather ear# G7h, that "ould be no tric! for meJG boasted the boy, ho%ing that this "ould ma!e the bear res%ect him# GGoodJG e?claimed the bear# G$ou shall render me a service# No" 9'm very glad that 9 did not eat youJG *ather ear carefully too! the boy bet"een his tus!s and climbed u% from the %it# 8e did this "ith remar!able ease and agility, considering that he "as so big and heavy# As soon as he "as u%, he s%eedily made for the "oods# 9t "as evident that *ather ear "as created to sLueeMe through dense forests# The heavy body %ushed through the brush"ood as a boat does through the "ater# *ather ear ran along till he came to a hill at the s!irt of the forest, "here he could see the big noise&sho%# 8ere he lay do"n and %laced the boy in front of him, holding him securely bet"een his fore%a"s# GNo" loo! do"n at that big noise&sho%JG he commanded# The great iron"or!s, "ith many tall buildings, stood at the edge of a "aterfall# 8igh chimneys sent forth dar! clouds of smo!e, blasting furnaces "ere in full blaMe, and light shone from all the "indo"s and a%ertures# Within hammers and rolling mills "ere going "ith such force that the air rang "ith their clatter and boom# All around the "or!sho%s %ro%er "ere immense coal sheds, great slag hea%s, "arehouses, "ood %iles, and tool sheds# :ust beyond "ere long ro"s of "or!ingmen's homes, %retty villas, schoolhouses, assembly halls, and sho%s# ut there all "as Luiet and a%%arently everybody "as aslee%# The boy did not glance in that direction, but gaMed intently at the iron"or!s# The earth around them "as blac!I the s!y above them "as li!e a great fiery domeI the ra%ids, "hite "ith foam, rushed byI "hile the buildings themselves "ere sending out light and smo!e, fire and s%ar!s# 9t "as the grandest sight the boy had ever seenJ GSurely you don't mean to say you can set fire to a %lace li!e thatKG remar!ed the bear doubtingly#

The boy stood "edged bet"een the beast's %a"s thin!ing the only thing that might save him "ould be that the bear should have a high o%inion of his ca%ability and %o"er# G9t's all the same to me,G he ans"ered "ith a su%erior air# G ig or little, 9 can burn it do"n#G GThen 9'll tell you something,G said *ather ear# GCy forefathers lived in this region from the time that the forests first s%rang u%# *rom them 9 inherited hunting grounds and %astures, lairs and retreats, and have lived here in %eace all my life# 9n the beginning 9 "asn't troubled much by the human !ind# They dug in the mountains and %ic!ed u% a little ore do"n here, by the ra%idsI they had a forge and a furnace, but the hammers sounded only a fe" hours during the day, and the furnace "as not fired more than t"o moons at a stretch# 9t "asn't so bad but that 9 could stand itI but these last years, since they have built this noise&sho%, "hich !ee%s u% the same rac!et both day and night, life here has become intolerable# *ormerly only a manager and a cou%le of blac!smiths lived here, but no" there are so many %eo%le that 9 can never feel safe from them# 9 thought that 9 should have to move a"ay, but 9 have discovered something betterJG The boy "ondered "hat *ather ear had hit u%on, but no o%%ortunity "as afforded him to as!, as the bear too! him bet"een his tus!s again and lumbered do"n the hill# The boy could see nothing, but !ne" by the increasing noise that they "ere a%%roaching the rolling mills# *ather ear "as "ell informed regarding the iron"or!s# 8e had %ro"led around there on many a dar! night, had observed "hat "ent on "ithin, and had "ondered if there "ould never be any cessation of the "or!# 8e had tested the "alls "ith his %a"s and "ished that he "ere only strong enough to !noc! do"n the "hole structure "ith a single blo"# 8e "as not easily distinguishable against the dar! ground, and "hen, in addition, he remained in the shado" of the "alls, there "as not much danger of his being discovered# No" he "al!ed fearlessly bet"een the "or!sho%s and climbed to the to% of a slag hea%# There he sat u% on his haunches, too! the boy bet"een his fore%a"s and held him u%# GTry to loo! into the houseJG he commanded# A strong current of air "as forced into a big cylinder "hich "as sus%ended from the ceiling and filled "ith molten iron# As this current rushed into the mess of iron "ith an a"ful roar, sho"ers of s%ar!s of all colours s%urted u% in bunches, in s%rays, in long clustersJ They struc! against the "all and came s%lashing do"n over the "hole big room# *ather ear let the boy "atch the gorgeous s%ectacle until the blo"ing "as over and the flo"ing and s%ar!ling red steel had been %oured into ingot moulds# The boy "as com%letely charmed by the marvellous dis%lay and almost forgot that he "as im%risoned bet"een a bear's t"o %a"s# *ather ear let him loo! into the rolling mill# 8e sa" a "or!man ta!e a short, thic! bar of iron at "hite heat from a furnace o%ening and %lace it under a roller# When the iron came out from under the roller, it "as flattened and e?tended# 9mmediately another "or!man seiMed it and %laced it beneath a heavier roller, "hich made it still longer and

thinner# Thus it "as %assed from roller to roller, sLueeMed and dra"n out until, finally, it curled along the floor, li!e a long red thread# ut "hile the first bar of iron "as being %ressed, a second "as ta!en from the furnace and %laced under the rollers, and "hen this "as a little along, a third "as brought# ;ontinuously fresh threads came cra"ling over the floor, li!e hissing sna!es# The boy "as daMMled by the iron# ut he found it more s%lendid to "atch the "or!men "ho, de?terously and delicately, seiMed the glo"ing sna!es "ith their tongs and forced them under the rollers# 9t seemed li!e %lay for them to handle the hissing iron# G9 call that real man's "or!JG the boy remar!ed to himself# The bear then let the boy have a %ee% at the furnace and the forge, and he became more and more astonished as he sa" ho" the blac!smiths handled iron and fire# GThose men have no fear of heat and flames,G he thought# The "or!men "ere sooty and grimy# 8e fancied they "ere some sort of firefol!Hthat "as "hy they could bend and mould the iron as they "ished# 8e could not believe that they "ere just ordinary men, since they had such %o"erJ GThey !ee% this u% day after day, night after night,G said *ather ear, as he dro%%ed "earily do"n on the ground# G$ou can understand that one gets rather tired of that !ind of thing# 9'm mighty glad that at last 9 can %ut an end to itJG G9ndeedJG said the boy# G8o" "ill you go about itKG G7h, 9 thought that you "ere going to set fire to the buildingsJG said *ather ear# GThat "ould %ut an end to all this "or!, and 9 could remain in my old home#G The boy "as all of a shiver# So it "as for this that *ather ear had brought him hereJ G9f you "ill set fire to the noise&"or!s, 9'll %romise to s%are your life,G said *ather ear# G ut if you don't do it, 9'll ma!e short "or! of youJG The huge "or!sho%s "ere built of bric!, and the boy "as thin!ing to himself that *ather ear could command as much as he li!ed, it "as im%ossible to obey him# Presently he sa" that it might not be im%ossible after all# :ust beyond them lay a %ile of chi%s and shavings to "hich he could easily set fire, and beside it "as a "ood %ile that almost reached the coal shed# The coal shed e?tended over to the "or!sho%s, and if that once caught fire, the flames "ould soon fly over to the roof of the iron foundry# /verything combustible "ould burn, the "alls "ould fall from the heat, and the machinery "ould be destroyed# GWill you or "on't youKG demanded *ather ear# The boy !ne" that he ought to ans"er %rom%tly that he "ould not, but he also !ne" that then the bear's %a"s "ould sLueeMe him to deathI therefore he re%lied' G9 shall have to thin! it over#G

G>ery "ell, do so,G assented *ather ear# GLet me say to you that iron is the thing that has given men the advantage over us bears, "hich is another reason for my "ishing to %ut an end to the "or! here#G The boy thought he "ould use the delay to figure out some %lan of esca%e, but he "as so "orried he could not direct his thoughts "here he "ouldI instead he began to thin! of the great hel% that iron had been to man!ind# They needed iron for everything# There "as iron in the %lough that bro!e u% the field, in the a?e that felled the tree for building houses, in the scythe that mo"ed the grain, and in the !nife, "hich could be turned to all sorts of uses# There "as iron in the horse's bit, in the loc! on the door, in the nails that held furniture together, in the sheathing that covered the roof# The rifle "hich drove a"ay "ild beasts "as made of iron, also the %ic! that had bro!en u% the mine# 9ron covered the men&of&"ar he had seen at =arls!ronaI the locomotives steamed through the country on iron railsI the needle that had stitched his coat "as of ironI the shears that cli%%ed the shee% and the !ettle that coo!ed the food# ig and little ali!eHmuch that "as indis%ensable "as made from iron# *ather ear "as %erfectly right in saying that it "as the iron that had given men their mastery over the bears# GNo" "ill you or "on't youKG *ather ear re%eated# The boy "as startled from his musing# 8ere he stood thin!ing of matters that "ere entirely unnecessary, and had not yet found a "ay to save himselfJ G$ou mustn't be so im%atient,G he said# GThis is a serious matter for me, and 9've got to have time to consider#G GWell, then, consider another moment,G said *ather ear# G ut let me tell you that it's because of the iron that men have become so much "iser than "e bears# *or this alone, if for nothing else, 9 should li!e to %ut a sto% to the "or! here#G Again the boy endeavoured to thin! out a %lan of esca%e, but his thoughts "andered, "illy nilly# They "ere ta!en u% "ith the iron# And gradually he began to com%rehend ho" much thin!ing and calculating men must have done before they discovered ho" to %roduce iron from ore, and he seemed to see sooty blac!smiths of old bending over the forge, %ondering ho" they should %ro%erly handle it# Perha%s it "as because they had thought so much about the iron that intelligence had been develo%ed in man!ind, until finally they became so advanced that they "ere able to build great "or!s li!e these# The fact "as that men o"ed more to the iron than they themselves !ne"# GWell, "hat say youK Will you or "on't youKG insisted *ather ear# The boy shran! bac!# 8ere he stood thin!ing needless thoughts, and had no idea as to "hat he should do to save himself# G9t's not such an easy matter to decide as you thin!,G he ans"ered# G$ou must give me time for reflection#G G9 can "ait for you a little longer,G said *ather ear# G ut after that you'll get no more grace# $ou must !no" that it's the fault of the iron that the human !ind can live here on the %ro%erty of the bears# And no" you understand "hy 9 "ould be rid of the "or!#G

The boy meant to use the last moment to thin! out some "ay to save himself, but, an?ious and distraught as he "as, his thoughts "andered again# No" he began thin!ing of all that he had seen "hen he fle" over the mining districts# 9t "as strange that there should be so much life and activity and so much "or! bac! there in the "ilderness# G:ust thin! ho" %oor and desolate this %lace "ould be had there been no iron hereJ GThis very foundry gave em%loyment to many, and had gathered around it many homes filled "ith %eo%le, "ho, in turn, had attracted hither rail"ays and telegra%h "ires and HG G;ome, comeJG gro"led the bear# GWill you or "on't youKG The boy s"e%t his hand across his forehead# No %lan of esca%e had as yet come to his mind, but this much he !ne"Hhe did not "ish to do any harm to the iron, "hich "as so useful to rich and %oor ali!e, and "hich gave bread to so many %eo%le in this land# G9 "on'tJG he said# *ather ear sLueeMed him a little harder, but said nothing# G$ou'll not get me to destroy the iron"or!sJG defied the boy# GThe iron is so great a blessing that it "ill never do to harm it#G GThen of course you don't e?%ect to be allo"ed to live very longKG said the bear# GNo, 9 don't e?%ect it,G returned the boy, loo!ing the bear straight in the eye# *ather ear gri%%ed him still harder# 9t hurt so that the boy could not !ee% the tears bac!, but he did not cry out or say a "ord# G>ery "ell, then,G said *ather ear, raising his %a" very slo"ly, ho%ing that the boy "ould give in at the last moment# ut just then the boy heard something clic! very close to them, and sa" the muMMle of a rifle t"o %aces a"ay# oth he and *ather ear had been so engrossed in their o"n affairs they had not observed that a man had stolen right u%on them# G*ather earJ )on't you hear the clic!ing of a triggerKG cried the boy# G(un, or you'll be shotJG *ather ear gre" terribly hurried# 8o"ever, he allo"ed himself time enough to %ic! u% the boy and carry him along# As he ran, a cou%le of shots sounded, and the bullets graMed his ears, but, luc!ily, he esca%ed# The boy thought, as he "as dangling from the bear's mouth, that never had he been so stu%id as he "as to&night# 9f he had only !e%t still, the bear "ould have been shot, and he himself "ould have been freed# ut he had become so accustomed to hel%ing the animals that he did it naturally, and as a matter of course#

When *ather ear had run some distance into the "oods, he %aused and set the boy do"n on the ground# GThan! you, little oneJG he said# G9 dare say those bullets "ould have caught me if you hadn't been there# And no" 9 "ant to do you a service in return# 9f you should ever meet "ith another bear, just say to him thisH"hich 9 shall "his%er to youHand he "on't touch you#G *ather ear "his%ered a "ord or t"o into the boy's ear and hurried a"ay, for he thought he heard hounds and hunters %ursuing him# The boy stood in the forest, free and unharmed, and could hardly understand ho" it "as %ossible# The "ild geese had been flying bac! and forth the "hole evening, %eering and calling, but they had been unable to find Thumbietot# They searched long after the sun had set, and, finally, "hen it had gro"n so dar! that they "ere forced to alight some"here for the night, they "ere very do"nhearted# There "as not one among them but thought the boy had been !illed by the fall and "as lying dead in the forest, "here they could not see him# ut the ne?t morning, "hen the sun %ee%ed over the hills and a"a!ened the "ild geese, the boy lay slee%ing, as usual, in their midst# When he "o!e and heard them shrie!ing and cac!ling their astonishment, he could not hel% laughing# They "ere so eager to !no" "hat had ha%%ened to him that they did not care to go to brea!fast until he had told them the "hole story# The boy soon narrated his entire adventure "ith the bears, but after that he seemed reluctant to continue# G8o" 9 got bac! to you %erha%s you already !no"KG he said# GNo, "e !no" nothing# We thought you "ere !illed#G GThat's curiousJG remar!ed the boy# G7h, yesJH"hen *ather ear left me 9 climbed u% into a %ine and fell aslee%# At daybrea! 9 "as a"a!ened by an eagle hovering over me# 8e %ic!ed me u% "ith his talons and carried me a"ay# 8e didn't hurt me, but fle" straight here to you and dro%%ed me do"n among you#G G)idn't he tell you "ho he "asKG as!ed the big "hite gander# G8e "as gone before 9 had time even to than! him# 9 thought that Cother A!!a had sent him after me#G G8o" e?traordinaryJG e?claimed the "hite goosey&gander# G ut are you certain that it "as an eagleKG G9 had never before seen an eagle,G said the boy, Gbut he "as so big and s%lendid that 9 can't give him a lo"lier nameJG

Corten Goosey&Gander turned to the "ild geese to hear "hat they thought of thisI but they stood gaMing into the air, as though they "ere thin!ing of something else# GWe must not forget entirely to eat brea!fast today,G said A!!a, Luic!ly s%reading her "ings# THE FLOOD THE SWANS May first to fourth# There "as a terrible storm raging in the district north of La!e CBlar, "hich lasted several days# The s!y "as a dull gray, the "ind "histled, and the rain beat# oth %eo%le and animals !ne" the s%ring could not be ushered in "ith anything short of thisI nevertheless they thought it unbearable# After it had been raining for a "hole day, the sno"drifts in the %ine forests began to melt in earnest, and the s%ring broo!s gre" lively# All the %ools on the farms, the standing "ater in the ditches, the "ater that ooMed bet"een the tufts in marshes and s"am%sHall "ere in motion and tried to find their "ay to cree!s, that they might be borne along to the sea# The cree!s rushed as fast as %ossible do"n to the rivers, and the rivers did their utmost to carry the "ater to La!e CBlar# All the la!es and rivers in <%%land and the mining district Luic!ly thre" off their ice covers on one and the same day, so that the cree!s filled "ith ice&floes "hich rose clear u% to their ban!s# S"ollen as they "ere, they em%tied into La!e CBlar, and it "as not long before the la!e had ta!en in as much "ater as it could "ell hold# )o"n by the outlet "as a raging torrent# NorrstrEm is a narro" channel, and it could not let out the "ater Luic!ly enough# esides, there "as a strong easterly "ind that lashed against the land, obstructing the stream "hen it tried to carry the fresh "ater into the /ast Sea# Since the rivers !e%t running to CBlaren "ith more "ater than it could dis%ose of, there "as nothing for the big la!e to do but overflo" its ban!s# 9t rose very slo"ly, as if reluctant to injure its beautiful shoresI but as they "ere mostly lo" and gradually slo%ing, it "as not long before the "ater had flooded several acres of land, and that "as enough to create the greatest alarm# La!e CBlar is uniLue in its "ay, being made u% of a succession of narro" fiords, bays, and inlets# 9n no %lace does it s%read into a storm centre, but seems to have been created only for %leasure tri%s, yachting tours, and fishing# No"here does it %resent barren, desolate, "ind&s"e%t shores# 9t loo!s as if it never thought that its shores could hold anything but country seats, summer villas, manors, and amusement resorts# ut, because it usually %resents a very agreeable and friendly a%%earance, there is all the more havoc

"henever it ha%%ens to dro% its smiling e?%ression in the s%ring, and sho" that it can be serious# At that critical time Smirre *o? ha%%ened to come snea!ing through a birch grove just north of La!e CBlar# As usual, he "as thin!ing of Thumbietot and the "ild geese, and "ondering ho" he should ever find them again# 8e had lost all trac! of them# As he stole cautiously along, more discouraged than usual, he caught sight of Agar, the carrier&%igeon, "ho had %erched herself on a birch branch# GCy, but 9'm in luc! to run across you, AgarJG e?claimed Smirre# GCaybe you can tell me "here A!!a from =ebne!aise and her floc! hold forth no"adaysKG G9t's Luite %ossible that 9 !no" "here they are,G Agar hinted, Gbut 9'm not li!ely to tell youJG GPlease yourselfJG retorted Smirre# GNevertheless, you can ta!e a message that 9 have for them# $ou %robably !no" the %resent condition of La!e CBlarK There's a great overflo" do"n there and all the s"ans "ho live in 8jBlsta ay are about to see their nests, "ith all their eggs, destroyed# )aylight, the s"an&!ing, has heard of the midget "ho travels "ith the "ild geese and !no"s a remedy for every ill# 8e has sent me to as! A!!a if she "ill bring Thumbietot do"n to 8jBlsta ay#G G9 dare say 9 can convey your message,G Agar re%lied, Gbut 9 can't understand ho" the little boy "ill be able to hel% the s"ans#G GNor do 9,G said Smirre, Gbut he can do almost everything, it seems#G G9t's sur%rising to me that )aylight should send his messages by a fo?,G Agar remar!ed# GWell, "e're not e?actly "hat you'd call good friends,G said Smirre smoothly, Gbut in an emergency li!e this "e must hel% each other# Perha%s it "ould be just as "ell not to tell A!!a that you got the message from a fo?# et"een you and me, she's inclined to be a little sus%icious#G The safest refuge for "ater&fo"l in the "hole CBlar district is 8jBlsta ay# 9t has lo" shores, shallo" "ater and is also covered "ith reeds# 9t is by no means as large as La!e TA!ern, but nevertheless 8jBlsta is a good retreat for birds, since it has long been forbidden territory to hunters# 9t is the home of a great many s"ans, and the o"ner of the old castle nearby has %rohibited all shooting on the bay, so that they might be unmolested# As soon as A!!a received "ord that the s"ans needed her hel%, she hastened do"n to 8jBlsta ay# She arrived "ith her floc! one evening and sa" at a glance that there had been a great disaster# The big s"ans' nests had been torn a"ay, and the strong "ind "as driving them do"n the bay# Some had already fallen a%art, t"o or three had ca%siMed, and the eggs lay at the bottom of the la!e#

When A!!a alighted on the bay, all the s"ans living there "ere gathered near the eastern shore, "here they "ere %rotected from the "ind# Although they had suffered much by the flood, they "ere too %roud to let any one see it# G9t is useless to cry,G they said# GThere are %lenty of root&fibres and stems hereI "e can soon build ne" nests#G None had thought of as!ing a stranger to hel% them, and the s"ans had no idea that Smirre *o? had sent for the "ild geeseJ There "ere several hundred s"ans resting on the "ater# They had %laced themselves according to ran! and station# The young and ine?%erienced "ere farthest out, the old and "ise nearer the middle of the grou%, and right in the centre sat )aylight, the s"an& !ing, and Sno"&White, the s"an&Lueen, "ho "ere older than any of the others and regarded the rest of the s"ans as their children# The geese alighted on the "est shore of the bayI but "hen A!!a sa" "here the s"ans "ere, she s"am to"ard them at once# She "as very much sur%rised at their having sent for her, but she regarded it as an honour and did not "ish to lose a moment in coming to their aid# As A!!a a%%roached the s"ans she %aused to see if the geese "ho follo"ed her s"am in a straight line, and at even distances a%art# GNo", s"im along Luic!lyJG she ordered# G)on't stare at the s"ans as if you had never before seen anything beautiful, and don't mind "hat they may say to youJG This "as not the first time that A!!a had called on the aristocratic s"ans# They had al"ays received her in a manner befitting a great traveller li!e herself# ut still she did not li!e the idea of s"imming in among them# She never felt so gray and insignificant as "hen she ha%%ened u%on s"ans# 7ne or another of them "as sure to dro% a remar! about Gcommon gray&feathersG and G%oor fol!#G ut it is al"ays best to ta!e no notice of such things# This time everything %assed off uncommonly "ell# The s"ans %olitely made "ay for the "ild geese, "ho s"am for"ard through a !ind of %assage"ay, "hich formed an avenue bordered by shimmering, "hite birds# 9t "as a beautiful sight to "atch them as they s%read their "ings, li!e sails, to a%%ear "ell before the strangers# They refrained from ma!ing comments, "hich rather sur%rised A!!a# /vidently )aylight had noted their misbehaviour in the %ast and had told the s"ans that they must conduct themselves in a %ro%er mannerHso thought the leader&goose# ut just as the s"ans "ere ma!ing an effort to observe the rules of etiLuette, they caught sight of the goosey&gander, "ho s"am last in the long goose&line# Then there

"as a murmur of disa%%roval, even of threats, among the s"ans, and at once there "as an end to their good de%ortmentJ GWhat's thisKG shrie!ed one# G)o the "ild geese intend to dress u% in "hite feathersKG GThey needn't thin! that "ill ma!e s"ans of them,G cried another# They began shrie!ingHone louder than anotherHin their strong, resonant voices# 9t "as im%ossible to e?%lain that a tame goosey&gander had come "ith the "ild geese# GThat must be the goose&!ing himself coming along,G they said tauntingly# GThere's no limit to their audacityJG GThat's no goose, it's only a tame duc!#G The big "hite gander remembered A!!a's admonition to %ay no attention, no matter "hat he might hear# 8e !e%t Luiet and s"am ahead as fast he could, but it did no good# The s"ans became more and more im%ertinent# GWhat !ind of a frog does he carry on his bac!KG as!ed one# GThey must thin! "e don't see it's a frog because it is dressed li!e a human being#G The s"ans, "ho but a moment before had been resting in such %erfect order, no" s"am u% and do"n e?citedly# All tried to cro"d for"ard to get a glim%se of the "hite "ild goose# GThat "hite goosey&gander ought to be ashamed to come here and %arade before s"ansJG G8e's %robably as gray as the rest of them# 8e has only been in a flour barrel at some farm houseJG A!!a had just come u% to )aylight and "as about to as! him "hat !ind of hel% he "anted of her, "hen the s"an&!ing noticed the u%roar among the s"ans# GWhat do 9 seeK 8aven't 9 taught you to be %olite to strangersKG he said "ith a fro"n# Sno"&White, the s"an&Lueen, s"am out to restore order among her subjects, and again )aylight turned to A!!a# Presently Sno"&White came bac!, a%%earing greatly agitated# G;an't you !ee% them LuietKG shouted )aylight# GThere's a "hite "ild goose over there,G ans"ered Sno"&White# G9s it not shamefulK 9 don't "onder they are furiousJG GA "hite "ild gooseKG scoffed )aylight# GThat's too ridiculousJ There can't be such a thing# $ou must be mista!en#G

The cro"ds around Corten Goosey&Gander gre" larger and larger# A!!a and the other "ild geese tried to s"im over to him, but "ere jostled hither and thither and could not get to him# The old s"an&!ing, "ho "as the strongest among them, s"am off Luic!ly, %ushed all the others aside, and made his "ay over to the big "hite gander# ut "hen he sa" that there really "as a "hite goose on the "ater, he "as just as indignant as the rest# 8e hissed "ith rage, fle" straight at Corten Goosey&Gander and tore out a fe" feathers# G9'll teach you a lesson, "ild goose,G he shrie!ed, Gso that you'll not come again to the s"ans, togged out in this "ayJG G*ly, Corten Goosey&GanderJ *ly, flyJG cried A!!a, for she !ne" that other"ise the s"ans "ould %ull out every feather the goosey&gander had# G*ly, flyJG screamed Thumbietot, too# ut the goosey&gander "as so hedged in by the s"ans that he had not room enough to s%read his "ings# All around him the s"ans stretched their long nec!s, o%ened their strong bills, and %luc!ed his feathers# Corten Goosey&Gander defended himself as best he could, by stri!ing and biting# The "ild geese also began to fight the s"ans# 9t "as obvious ho" this "ould have ended had the geese not received hel% Luite une?%ectedly# A red&tail noticed that they "ere being roughly treated by the s"ans# 9nstantly he cried out the shrill call that little birds use "hen they need hel% to drive off a ha"! or a falcon# Three calls had barely sounded "hen all the little birds in the vicinity came shooting do"n to 8jBlsta ay, as if on "ings of lightning# These delicate little creatures s"oo%ed do"n u%on the s"ans, screeched in their ears, and obstructed their vie" "ith the flutter of their tiny "ings# They made them diMMy "ith their fluttering and drove them to distraction "ith their cries of GShame, shame, s"ansJG The attac! of the small birds lasted but a moment# When they "ere gone and the s"ans came to their senses, they sa" that the geese had risen and flo"n over to the other end of the bay#

There "as this at least to be said in the s"ans' favourH"hen they sa" that the "ild geese had esca%ed, they "ere too %roud to chase them# Coreover, the geese could stand on a clum% of reeds "ith %erfect com%osure, and slee%#

Nils 8olgersson "as too hungry to slee%# G9t is necessary for me to get something to eat,G he said# At that time, "hen all !inds of things "ere floating on the "ater, it "as not difficult for a little boy li!e Nils 8olgersson to find a craft# 8e did not sto% to deliberate, but ho%%ed do"n on a stum% that had drifted in amongst the reeds# Then he %ic!ed u% a little stic! and began to %ole to"ard shore# :ust as he "as landing, he heard a s%lash in the "ater# 8e sto%%ed short# *irst he sa" a lady s"an aslee% in her big nest Luite close to him, then he noticed that a fo? had ta!en a fe" ste%s into the "ater and "as snea!ing u% to the s"an's nest# G8i, hi, hiJ Get u%, get u%JG cried the boy, beating the "ater "ith his stic!# The lady s"an rose, but not so Luic!ly but that the fo? could have %ounced u%on her had he cared to# 8o"ever, he refrained and instead hurried straight to"ard the boy# Thumbietot sa" the fo? coming and ran for his life# Wide stretches of meado" land s%read before him# 8e sa" no tree that he could climb, no hole "here he might hideI he just had to !ee% running# The boy "as a good runner, but it stands to reason that he could not race "ith a fo?J Not far from the bay there "ere a number of little cabins, "ith candle lights shining through the "indo"s# Naturally the boy ran in that direction, but he realiMed that long before he could reach the nearest cabin the fo? "ould catch u% to him# 7nce the fo? "as so close that it loo!ed as if the boy "ould surely be his %rey, but Nils Luic!ly s%rang aside and turned bac! to"ard the bay# y that move the fo? lost time, and before he could reach the boy the latter had run u% to t"o men "ho "ere on their "ay home from "or!# The men "ere tired and slee%yI they had noticed neither boy nor fo?, although both had been running right in front of them# Nor did the boy as! hel% of the menI he "as content to "al! close beside them# GSurely the fo? "on't venture to come u% to the men,G he thought# ut %resently the fo? came %attering along# 8e %robably counted on the men ta!ing him for a dog, for he "ent straight u% to them# GWhose dog can that be snea!ing around hereKG Lueried one# G8e loo!s as though he "ere ready to bite#G The other %aused and glanced bac!# GGo along "ith youJG he said, and gave the fo? a !ic! that sent it to the o%%osite side of the road# GWhat are you doing hereKG

After that the fo? !e%t at a safe distance, but follo"ed all the "hile# Presently the men reached a cabin and entered it# The boy intended to go in "ith themI but "hen he got to the stoo% he sa" a big, shaggy "atch&dog rush out from his !ennel to greet his master# Suddenly the boy changed his mind and remained out in the o%en# GListen, "atch&dogJG "his%ered the boy as soon as the men had shut the door# G9 "onder if you "ould li!e to hel% me catch a fo? to&nightKG The dog had %oor eyesight and had become irritable and cran!y from being chained# GWhat, 9 catch a fo?KG he bar!ed angrily# GWho are you that ma!es fun of meK $ou just come "ithin my reach and 9'll teach you not to fool "ith meJG G$ou needn't thin! that 9'm afraid to come near youJG said the boy, running u% to the dog# When the dog sa" him he "as so astonished that he could not s%ea!# G9'm the one they call Thumbietot, "ho travels "ith the "ild geese,G said the boy, introducing himself# G8aven't you heard of meKG G9 believe the s%arro"s have t"ittered a little about you,G the dog returned# GThey say that you have done "onderful things for one of your siMe#G G9've been rather luc!y u% to the %resent,G admitted the boy# G ut no" it's all u% "ith me unless you hel% meJ There's a fo? at my heels# 8e's lying in "ait for me around the corner#G G)on't you su%%ose 9 can smell himKG retorted the dog# G ut "e'll soon be rid of himJG With that the dog s%rang as far as the chain "ould allo", bar!ing and gro"ling for ever so long# GNo" 9 don't thin! he "ill sho" his face again to&nightJG said the dog# G9t "ill ta!e something besides a fine bar! to scare that fo?JG the boy remar!ed# G8e'll soon be here again, and that is %recisely "hat 9 "ish, for 9 have set my heart on your catching him#G GAre you %o!ing fun at me no"KG as!ed the dog# G7nly come "ith me into your !ennel, and 9'll tell you "hat to do#G The boy and the "atch&dog cre%t into the !ennel and crouched there, "his%ering# y and by the fo? stuc! his nose out from his hiding %lace# When all "as Luiet he cre%t along cautiously# 8e scented the boy all the "ay to the !ennel, but halted at a safe distance and sat do"n to thin! of some "ay to coa? him out# Suddenly the "atch&dog %o!ed his head out and gro"led at him' GGo a"ay, or 9'll catch youJG

G9'll sit here as long as 9 %lease for all of youJG defied the fo?# GGo a"ayJG re%eated the dog threateningly, Gor there "ill be no more hunting for you after to&night#G ut the fo? only grinned and did not move an inch# G9 !no" ho" far your chain can reach,G he said# G9 have "arned you t"ice,G said the dog, coming out from his !ennel# GNo" blame yourselfJG With that the dog s%rang at the fo? and caught him "ithout the least effort, for he "as loose# The boy had unbuc!led his collar# There "as a hot struggle, but it "as soon over# The dog "as the victor# The fo? lay on the ground and dared not move# G)on't stir or 9'll !ill youJG snarled the dog# Then he too! the fo? by the scruff of the nec! and dragged him to the !ennel# There the boy "as ready "ith the chain# 8e %laced the dog collar around the nec! of the fo?, tightening it so that he "as securely chained# )uring all this the fo? had to lie still, for he "as afraid to move# GNo", Smirre *o?, 9 ho%e you'll ma!e a good "atch&dog,G laughed the boy "hen he had finished# DUNFIN THE CITY THAT FLOATS ON THE WATER Friday, May sixth# No one could be more gentle and !ind than the little gray goose )unfin# All the "ild geese loved her, and the tame "hite goosey&gander "ould have died for her# When )unfin as!ed for anything not even A!!a could say no# As soon as )unfin came to La!e CBlar the landsca%e loo!ed familiar to her# :ust beyond the la!e lay the sea, "ith many "ooded islands, and there, on a little islet, lived her %arents and her brothers and sisters# She begged the "ild geese to fly to her home before travelling farther north, that she might let her family see that she "as still alive# 9t "ould be such a joy to them# A!!a fran!ly declared that she thought )unfin's %arents and brothers and sisters had sho"n no great love for her "hen they abandoned her at @land, but )unfin "ould not admit that A!!a "as in the right# GWhat else "as there to do, "hen they sa" that 9 could not flyKG she %rotested# GSurely they couldn't remain at @land on my accountJG )unfin began telling the "ild geese all about her home in the archi%elago, to try to induce them to ma!e the tri%# 8er family lived on a roc! island# Seen from a distance,

there a%%eared to be nothing but stone thereI but "hen one came closer, there "ere to be found the choicest goose tidbits in clefts and hollo"s, and one might search long for better nesting %laces than those that "ere hidden in the mountain crevices or among the osier bushes# ut the best of all "as the old fisherman "ho lived there# )unfin had heard that in his youth he had been a great shot and had al"ays lain in the offing and hunted birds# ut no", in his old ageHsince his "ife had died and the children had gone from home, so that he "as alone in the hutHhe had begun to care for the birds on his island# 8e never fired a shot at them, nor "ould he %ermit others to do so# 8e "al!ed around amongst the birds' nests, and "hen the mother birds "ere sitting he brought them food# Not one "as afraid of him# They all loved him# )unfin had been in his hut many times, and he had fed her "ith bread crumbs# ecause he "as !ind to the birds, they floc!ed to his island in such great numbers that it "as becoming overcro"ded# 9f one ha%%ened to arrive a little late in the s%ring, all the nesting %laces "ere occu%ied# That "as "hy )unfin's family had been obliged to leave her# )unfin begged so hard that she finally had her "ay, although the "ild geese felt that they "ere losing time and really should be going straight north# ut a little tri% li!e this to the cliff island "ould not delay them more than a day# So they started off one morning, after fortifying themselves "ith a good brea!fast, and fle" east"ard over La!e CBlar# The boy did not !no" for certain "here they "ere goingI but he noticed that the farther east they fle", the livelier it "as on the la!e and the more built u% "ere the shores# 8eavily freighted barges and sloo%s, boats and fishing smac!s "ere on their "ay east, and these "ere met and %assed by many %retty "hite steamers# Along the shores ran country roads and rail"ay trac!sHall in the same direction# There "as some %lace beyond in the east "here all "ished to go to in the morning# 7n one of the islands the boy sa" a big, "hite castle, and to the east of it the shores "ere dotted "ith villas# At the start these lay far a%art, then they became closer and closer, and, %resently, the "hole shore "as lined "ith them# They "ere of every variety Hhere a castle, there a cottageI then a lo" manor house a%%eared, or a mansion, "ith many small to"ers# Some stood in gardens, but most of them "ere in the "ild "oods "hich bordered the shores# )es%ite their dissimilarity, they had one %oint of resemblanceHthey "ere not %lain and sombre&loo!ing, li!e other buildings, but "ere gaudily %ainted in stri!ing greens and blues, reds and "hite, li!e children's %layhouses# As the boy sat on the goose's bac! and glanced do"n at the curious shore mansions, )unfin cried out "ith delight' GNo" 9 !no" "here 9 amJ 7ver there lies the ;ity that *loats on the Water#G The boy loo!ed ahead# At first he sa" nothing but some light clouds and mists rolling for"ard over the "ater, but soon he caught sight of some tall s%ires, and then one and another house "ith many ro"s of "indo"s# They a%%eared and disa%%earedHrolling hither and thitherHbut not a stri% of shore did he seeJ /verything over there a%%eared to be resting on the "ater#

Nearer to the city he sa" no more %retty %layhouses along the shoresHonly dingy factories# Great hea%s of coal and "ood "ere stac!ed behind tall %lan!s, and alongside blac!, sooty doc!s lay bul!y freight steamersI but over all "as s%read a shimmering, trans%arent mist, "hich made everything a%%ear so big and strong and "onderful that it "as almost beautiful# The "ild geese fle" %ast factories and freight steamers and "ere nearing the cloud& envelo%ed s%ires# Suddenly all the mists san! to the "ater, save the thin, fleecy ones that circled above their heads, beautifully tinted in blues and %in!s# The other clouds rolled over "ater and land# They entirely obscured the lo"er %ortions of the houses' only the u%%er stories and the roofs and gables "ere visible# Some of the buildings a%%eared to be as high as the To"er of abel# The boy no doubt !ne" that they "ere built u%on hills and mountains, but these he did not seeHonly the houses that seemed to float among the "hite, drifting clouds# 9n reality the buildings "ere dar! and dingy, for the sun in the east "as not shining on them# The boy !ne" that he "as riding above a large city, for he sa" s%ires and house roofs rising from the clouds in every direction# Sometimes an o%ening "as made in the circling mists, and he loo!ed do"n into a running, tortuous streamI but no land could he see# All this "as beautiful to loo! u%on, but he felt Luite distraughtHas one does "hen ha%%ening u%on something one cannot understand# When he had gone beyond the city, he found that the ground "as no longer hidden by clouds, but that shores, streams, and islands "ere again %lainly visible# 8e turned to see the city better, but could not, for no" it loo!ed Luite enchanted# The mists had ta!en on colour from the sunshine and "ere rolling for"ard in the most brilliant reds, blues, and yello"s# The houses "ere "hite, as if built of light, and the "indo"s and s%ires s%ar!led li!e fire# All things floated on the "ater as before# The geese "ere travelling straight east# They fle" over factories and "or!sho%sI then over mansions edging the shores# Steamboats and tugs s"armed on the "aterI but no" they came from the east and "ere steaming "est"ard to"ard the city# The "ild geese fle" on, but instead of the narro" CBlar fiords and the little islands, broader "aters and larger islands s%read under them# At last the land "as left behind and seen no more# They fle" still farther out, "here they found no more large inhabited islandsHonly numberless little roc! islands "ere scattered on the "ater# No" the fiords "ere not cro"ded by the land# The sea lay before them, vast and limitless# 8ere the "ild geese alighted on a cliff island, and as soon as their feet touched the ground the boy turned to )unfin# GWhat city did "e fly over just no"KG he as!ed# G9 don't !no" "hat human beings have named it,G said )unfin# GWe gray geese call it the ';ity that *loats on the Water'#G

)unfin had t"o sisters, Pretty"ing and Goldeye# They "ere strong and intelligent birds, but they did not have such a soft and shiny feather dress as )unfin, nor did they have her s"eet and gentle dis%osition# *rom the time they had been little, yello" goslings, their %arents and relatives and even the old fisherman had %lainly sho"n them that they thought more of )unfin than of them# Therefore the sisters had al"ays hated her# When the "ild geese landed on the cliff island, Pretty"ing and Goldeye "ere feeding on a bit of grass close to the strand, and immediately caught sight of the strangers# GSee, Sister Goldeye, "hat fine&loo!ing geese have come to our islandJG e?claimed Pretty"ing, G9 have rarely seen such graceful birds# )o you notice that they have a "hite goosey&gander among themK )id you ever set eyes on a handsomer birdK 7ne could almost ta!e him for a s"anJG Goldeye agreed "ith her sister that these "ere certainly very distinguished strangers that had come to the island, but suddenly she bro!e off and called' GSister Pretty"ingJ 7h, Sister Pretty"ingJ )on't you see "hom they bring "ith themKG Pretty"ing also caught sight of )unfin and "as so astounded that she stood for a long time "ith her bill "ide o%en, and only hissed# G9t can't be %ossible that it is sheJ 8o" did she manage to get in "ith %eo%le of that classK Why, "e left her at @land to freeMe and starve#G GThe "orse of it is she "ill tattle to father and mother that "e fle" so close to her that "e !noc!ed her "ing out of joint,G said Goldeye# G$ou'll see that it "ill end in our being driven from the islandJG GWe have nothing but trouble in store for us, no" that that young one has come bac!JG sna%%ed Pretty"ing# GStill 9 thin! it "ould be best for us to a%%ear as %leased as %ossible over her return# She is so stu%id that %erha%s she didn't even notice that "e gave her a %ush on %ur%ose#G While Pretty"ing and Goldeye "ere tal!ing in this strain, the "ild geese had been standing on the strand, %luming their feathers after the flight# No" they marched in a long line u% the roc!y shore to the cleft "here )unfin's %arents usually sto%%ed# )unfin's %arents "ere good fol!# They had lived on the island longer than any one else, and it "as their habit to counsel and aid all ne"comers# They too had seen the geese a%%roach, but they had not recogniMed )unfin in the floc!# G9t is strange to see "ild geese land on this island,G remar!ed the goose&master# G9t is a fine floc!Hthat one can see by their flight#G G ut it "on't be easy to find %asturage for so many,G said the goose&"ife, "ho "as gentle and s"eet&tem%ered, li!e )unfin# When A!!a came marching "ith her com%any, )unfin's %arents "ent out to meet her and "elcome her to the island# )unfin fle" from her %lace at the end of the line and lit bet"een her %arents#

GCother and father, 9'm here at lastJG she cried joyously# G)on't you !no" )unfinKG At first the old goose&%arents could not Luite ma!e out "hat they sa", but "hen they recogniMed )unfin they "ere absurdly ha%%y, of course# While the "ild geese and Corten Goosey&Gander and )unfin "ere chattering e?citedly, trying to tell ho" she had been rescued, Pretty"ing and Goldeye came running# They cried Gwelcome) and %retended to be so ha%%y because )unfin "as at home that she "as dee%ly moved# The "ild geese fared "ell on the island and decided not to travel farther until the follo"ing morning# After a "hile the sisters as!ed )unfin if she "ould come "ith them and see the %laces "here they intended to build their nests# She %rom%tly accom%anied them, and sa" that they had %ic!ed out secluded and "ell %rotected nesting %laces# GNo" "here "ill you settle do"n, )unfinKG they as!ed# G9K Why 9 don't intend to remain on the island,G she said# G9'm going "ith the "ild geese u% to La%land#G GWhat a %ity that you must leave usJG said the sisters# G9 should have been very glad to remain here "ith father and mother and you,G said )unfin, Ghad 9 not %romised the big, "hiteHG GWhatJG shrie!ed Pretty"ing# GAre you to have the handsome goosey&ganderK Then it is HG ut here Goldeye gave her a shar% nudge, and she sto%%ed short# The t"o cruel sisters had much to tal! about all the afternoon# They "ere furious because )unfin had a suitor li!e the "hite goosey&gander# They themselves had suitors, but theirs "ere only common gray geese, and, since they had seen Corten Goosey& Gander, they thought them so homely and lo"&bred that they did not "ish even to loo! at them# GThis "ill grieve me to deathJG "him%ered Goldeye# G9f at least it had been you, Sister Pretty"ing, "ho had ca%tured himJG G9 "ould rather see him dead than to go about here the entire summer thin!ing of )unfin's ca%turing a "hite goosey&ganderJG %outed Pretty"ing# 8o"ever, the sisters continued to a%%ear very friendly to"ard )unfin, and in the afternoon Goldeye too! )unfin "ith her, that she might see the one she thought of marrying# G8e's not as attractive as the one you "ill have,G said Goldeye# G ut to ma!e u% for it, one can be certain that he is "hat he is#G GWhat do you mean, GoldeyeKG Luestioned )unfin# At first Goldeye "ould not e?%lain "hat she had meant, but at last she came out "ith it#

GWe have never seen a "hite goose travel "ith "ild geese,G said the sister, Gand "e "onder if he can be be"itched#G G$ou are very stu%id,G retorted )unfin indignantly# G8e is a tame goose, of course#G G8e brings "ith him one "ho is be"itched,G said Goldeye, Gand, under the circumstances, he too must be be"itched# Are you not afraid that he may be a blac! cormorantKG She "as a good tal!er and succeeded in frightening )unfin thoroughly# G$ou don't mean "hat you are saying,G %leaded the little gray goose# G$ou only "ish to frighten meJG G9 "ish "hat is for your good, )unfin,G said Goldeye# G9 can't imagine anything "orse than for you to fly a"ay "ith a blac! cormorantJ ut no" 9 shall tell you somethingHtry to %ersuade him to eat some of the roots 9 have gathered here# 9f he is be"itched, it "ill be a%%arent at once# 9f he is not, he "ill remain as he is#G The boy "as sitting amongst the "ild geese, listening to A!!a and the old goose&master, "hen )unfin came flying u% to him# GThumbietot, ThumbietotJG she cried# GCorten Goosey&Gander is dyingJ 9 have !illed himJG GLet me get u% on your bac!, )unfin, and ta!e me to himJG A"ay they fle", and A!!a and the other "ild geese follo"ed them# When they got to the goosey&gander, he "as lying %rostrate on the ground# 8e could not utter a "ordHonly gas%ed for breath# GTic!le him under the gorge and sla% him on the bac!JG commanded A!!a# The boy did so and %resently the big, "hite gander coughed u% a large, "hite root, "hich had stuc! in his gorge# G8ave you been eating of theseKG as!ed A!!a, %ointing to some roots that lay on the ground# G$es,G groaned the goosey&gander# GThen it "as "ell they stuc! in your throat,G said A!!a, Gfor they are %oisonous# 8ad you s"allo"ed them, you certainly should have died#G G)unfin bade me eat them,G said the goosey&gander# GCy sister gave them to me,G %rotested )unfin, and she told everything# G$ou must be"are of those sisters of yours, )unfinJG "arned A!!a, Gfor they "ish you no good, de%end u%on itJG ut )unfin "as so constituted that she could not thin! evil of any one and, a moment later, "hen Pretty"ing as!ed her to come and meet her intended, she "ent "ith her immediately# G7h, he isn't as handsome as yours,G said the sister, Gbut he's much more courageous and daringJG

G8o" do you !no" he isKG challenged )unfin# G*or some time %ast there has been "ee%ing and "ailing amongst the sea gulls and "ild duc!s on the island# /very morning at daybrea! a strange bird of %rey comes and carries off one of them#G GWhat !ind of a bird is itKG as!ed )unfin# GWe don't !no",G re%lied the sister# G7ne of his !ind has never before been seen on the island, and, strange to say, he has never attac!ed one of us geese# ut no" my intended has made u% his mind to challenge him to&morro" morning, and drive him a"ay#G G7h, 9 ho%e he'll succeedJG said )unfin# G9 hardly thin! he "ill,G returned the sister# G9f my goosey&gander "ere as big and strong as yours, 9 should have ho%e#G G)o you "ish me to as! Corten Goosey&Gander to meet the strange birdKG as!ed )unfin# G9ndeed, 9 doJG e?claimed Pretty"ing e?citedly# G$ou couldn't render me a greater service#G The ne?t morning the goosey&gander "as u% before the sun# 8e stationed himself on the highest %oint of the island and %eered in all directions# Presently he sa" a big, dar! bird coming from the "est# 8is "ings "ere e?ceedingly large, and it "as easy to tell that he "as an eagle# The goosey&gander had not e?%ected a more dangerous adversary than an o"l, and ho" he understood that he could not esca%e this encounter "ith his life# ut it did not occur to him to avoid a struggle "ith a bird "ho "as many times stronger than himself# The great bird s"oo%ed do"n on a sea gull and dug his talons into it# efore the eagle could s%read his "ings, Corten Goosey&Gander rushed u% to him# G)ro% thatJG he shouted, Gand don't come here again or you'll have me to deal "ithJG GWhat !ind of a lunatic are youKG said the eagle# G9t's luc!y for you that 9 never fight "ith geese, or you "ould soon be done forJG Corten Goosey&Gander thought the eagle considered himself too good to fight "ith him and fle" at him, incensed, biting him on the throat and beating him "ith his "ings# This, naturally, the eagle "ould not tolerate and he began to fight, but not "ith his full strength# The boy lay slee%ing in the Luarters "here A!!a and the other "ild geese sle%t, "hen )unfin called' GThumbietot, ThumbietotJ Corten Goosey&Gander is being torn to %ieces by an eagle#G GLet me get u% on your bac!, )unfin, and ta!e me to himJG said the boy#

When they arrived on the scene Corten Goosey&Gander "as badly torn, and bleeding, but he "as still fighting# The boy could not battle "ith the eagleI all that he could do "as to see! more efficient hel%# G8urry, )unfin, and call A!!a and the "ild geeseJG he cried# The instant he said that, the eagle fle" bac! and sto%%ed fighting# GWho's s%ea!ing of A!!aKG he as!ed# 8e sa" Thumbietot and heard the "ild geese hon!ing, so he s%read his "ings# GTell A!!a 9 never e?%ected to run across her or any of her floc! out here in the seaJG he said, and soared a"ay in a ra%id and graceful flight# GThat is the self&same eagle "ho once brought me bac! to the "ild geese,G the boy remar!ed, gaMing after the bird in astonishment# The geese had decided to leave the island at da"n, but first they "anted to feed a"hile# As they "al!ed about and nibbled, a mountain duc! came u% to )unfin# G9 have a message for you from your sisters,G said the duc!# GThey dare not sho" themselves among the "ild geese, but they as!ed me to remind you not to leave the island "ithout calling on the old fisherman#G GThat's soJG e?claimed )unfin, but she "as so frightened no" that she "ould not go alone, and as!ed the goosey&gander and Thumbietot to accom%any her to the hut# The door "as o%en, so )unfin entered, but the others remained outside# After a moment they heard A!!a give the signal to start, and called )unfin# A gray goose came out and fle" "ith the "ild geese a"ay from the island# They had travelled Luite a distance along the archi%elago "hen the boy began to "onder at the goose "ho accom%anied them# )unfin al"ays fle" lightly and noiselessly, but this one laboured "ith heavy and noisy "ing&stro!es# GWe are in the "rong com%any# 9t is Pretty"ing that follo"s usJG The boy had barely s%o!en "hen the goose uttered such an ugly and angry shrie! that all !ne" "ho she "as# A!!a and the others turned to her, but the gray goose did not fly a"ay at once# 9nstead she bum%ed against the big goosey&gander, snatched Thumbietot, and fle" off "ith him in her bill# There "as a "ild chase over the archi%elago# Pretty"ing fle" fast, but the "ild geese "ere close behind her, and there "as no chance for her to esca%e# Suddenly they sa" a %uff of smo!e rise u% from the sea, and heard an e?%losion# 9n their e?citement they had not noticed that they "ere directly above a boat in "hich a lone fisherman "as seated# 8o"ever, none of the geese "as hurtI but just there, above the boat, Pretty"ing o%ened her bill and dro%%ed Thumbietot into the sea#

STOCKHOLM SKANSEN A fe" years ago, at S!ansenHthe great %ar! just outside of Stoc!holm "here they have collected so many "onderful thingsHthere lived a little old man, named ;lement Larsson# 8e "as from 8Blsingland and had come to S!ansen "ith his fiddle to %lay fol! dances and other old melodies# As a %erformer, he a%%eared mostly in the evening# )uring the day it "as his business to sit on guard in one of the many %retty %easant cottages "hich have been moved to S!ansen from all %arts of the country# 9n the beginning ;lement thought that he fared better in his old age than he had ever dared dreamI but after a time he began to disli!e the %lace terribly, es%ecially "hile he "as on "atch duty# 9t "as all very "ell "hen visitors came into the cottage to loo! around, but some days ;lement "ould sit for many hours all alone# Then he felt so homesic! that he feared he "ould have to give u% his %lace# 8e "as very %oor and !ne" that at home he "ould become a charge on the %arish# Therefore he tried to hold out as long as he could, although he felt more unha%%y from day to day# 7ne beautiful evening in the beginning of Cay ;lement had been granted a fe" hours' leave of absence# 8e "as on his "ay do"n the stee% hill leading out of S!ansen, "hen he met an island fisherman coming along "ith his game bag# The fisherman "as an active young man "ho came to S!ansen "ith seafo"l that he had managed to ca%ture alive# ;lement had met him before, many times# The fisherman sto%%ed ;lement to as! if the su%erintendent at S!ansen "as at home# When ;lement had re%lied, he, in turn, as!ed "hat choice thing the fisherman had in his bag# G$ou can see "hat 9 have,G the fisherman ans"ered, Gif in return you "ill give me an idea as to "hat 9 should as! for it#G 8e held o%en the bag and ;lement %ee%ed into it onceHand againHthen Luic!ly dre" bac! a ste% or t"o# GGood gracious, AshbjErnJG he e?claimed# G8o" did you catch that oneKG 8e remembered that "hen he "as a child his mother used to tal! of the tiny fol! "ho lived under the cabin floor# 8e "as not %ermitted to cry or to be naughty, lest he %rovo!e these small %eo%le# After he "as gro"n he believed his mother had made u% these stories about the elves to ma!e him behave himself# ut it had been no invention of his mother's, it seemedI for there, in AshbjErn's bag, lay one of the tiny fol!# There "as a little of the terror natural to childhood left in ;lement, and he felt a shudder run do"n his s%inal column as he %ee%ed into the bag# AshbjErn sa" that he "as frightened and began to laughI but ;lement too! the matter seriously# GTell me, AshbjErn, "here you came across himKG he as!ed# G$ou may be sure that 9 "asn't lying in "ait for himJG said AshbjErn# G8e came to me# 9 started out early this morning and too! my rifle along into the boat# 9 had just %oled a"ay from the shore "hen 9 sighted some "ild geese coming from the east, shrie!ing li!e mad# 9 sent them a shot, but hit none of them# 9nstead this creature came tumbling do"n into the "aterHso close to the boat that 9 only had to %ut my hand out and %ic! him u%#G

G9 ho%e you didn't shoot him, AshbjErnKG G7h, noJ 8e is "ell and soundI but "hen he came do"n, he "as a little daMed at first, so 9 too! advantage of that fact to "ind the ends of t"o sail threads around his an!les and "rists, so that he couldn't run a"ay# '8aJ 8ere's something for S!ansen,' 9 thought instantly#G ;lement gre" strangely troubled as the fisherman tal!ed# All that he had heard about the tiny fol! in his childhoodHof their vindictiveness to"ard enemies and their benevolence to"ard friendsHcame bac! to him# 9t had never gone "ell "ith those "ho had attem%ted to hold one of them ca%tive# G$ou should have let him go at once, AshbjErn,G said ;lement# G9 came %recious near being forced to set him free,G returned the fisherman# G$ou may as "ell !no", ;lement, that the "ild geese follo"ed me all the "ay home, and they criss&crossed over the island the "hole morning, hon!&hon!ing as if they "anted him bac!# Not only they, but the entire %o%ulationHsea gulls, sea s"allo"s, and many others "ho are not "orth a shot of %o"der, alighted on the island and made an a"ful rac!et# When 9 came out they fluttered about me until 9 had to turn bac!# Cy "ife begged me to let him go, but 9 had made u% my mind that he should come here to S!ansen, so 9 %laced one of the children's dolls in the "indo", hid the midget in the bottom of my bag, and started a"ay# The birds must have fancied that it "as he "ho stood in the "indo", for they %ermitted me to leave "ithout %ursuing me#G G)oes it say anythingKG as!ed ;lement# G$es# At first he tried to call to the birds, but 9 "ouldn't have it and %ut a gag in his mouth#G G7h, AshbjErnJG %rotested ;lement# G8o" can you treat him soJ )on't you see that he is something su%ernaturalJG G9 don't !no" "hat he is,G said AshbjErn calmly# GLet others consider that# 9'm satisfied if only 9 can get a good sum for him# No" tell me, ;lement, "hat you thin! the doctor at S!ansen "ould give me#G There "as a long %ause before ;lement re%lied# 8e felt very sorry for the %oor little cha%# 8e actually imagined that his mother "as standing beside him telling him that he must al"ays be !ind to the tiny fol!# G9 have no idea "hat the doctor u% there "ould care to give you, AshbjErn,G he said finally# G ut if you "ill leave him "ith me, 9'll %ay you t"enty !roner for him#G AshbjErn stared at the fiddler in amaMement "hen he heard him name so large a sum# 8e thought that ;lement believed the midget had some mysterious %o"er and might be of service for him# 8e "as by no means certain that the doctor "ould thin! him such a great find or "ould offer to %ay so high a sum for himI so he acce%ted ;lement's %roffer#

The fiddler %o!ed his %urchase into one of his "ide %oc!ets, turned bac! to S!ansen, and "ent into a moss&covered hut, "here there "ere neither visitors nor guards# 8e closed the door after him, too! out the midget, "ho "as still bound hand and foot and gagged, and laid him do"n gently on a bench# GNo" listen to "hat 9 sayJG said ;lement# G9 !no" of course that such as you do not li!e to be seen of men, but %refer to go about and busy yourselves in your o"n "ay# Therefore 9 have decided to give you your libertyHbut only on condition that you "ill remain in this %ar! until 9 %ermit you to leave# 9f you agree to this, nod your head three times#G ;lement gaMed at the midget "ith confident e?%ectation, but the latter did not move a muscle# G$ou shall not fare badly,G continued ;lement# G9'll see to it that you are fed every day, and you "ill have so much to do there that the time "ill not seem long to you# ut you mustn't go else"here till 9 give you leave# No" "e'll agree as to a signal# So long as 9 set your food out in a "hite bo"l you are to stay# When 9 set it out in a blue one you may go#G ;lement %aused again, e?%ecting the midget to give the sign of a%%roval, but he did not stir# G>ery "ell,G said ;lement, Gthen there's no choice but to sho" you to the master of this %lace# Then you'll be %ut in a glass case, and all the %eo%le in the big city of Stoc!holm "ill come and stare at you#G This scared the midget, and he %rom%tly gave the signal# GThat "as right,G said ;lement as he cut the cord that bound the midget's hands# Then he hurried to"ard the door# The boy unloosed the bands around his an!les and tore a"ay the gag before thin!ing of anything else# When he turned to ;lement to than! him, he had gone# :ust outside the door ;lement met a handsome, noble&loo!ing gentleman, "ho "as on his "ay to a %lace close by from "hich there "as a beautiful outloo!# ;lement could not recall having seen the stately old man before, but the latter must surely have noticed ;lement sometime "hen he "as %laying the fiddle, because he sto%%ed and s%o!e to him# GGood day, ;lementJG he said# G8o" do you doK $ou are not ill, are youK 9 thin! you have gro"n a bit thin of late#G There "as such an e?%ression of !indliness about the old gentleman that ;lement %luc!ed u% courage and told him of his homesic!ness# GWhatJG e?claimed the old gentleman# GAre you homesic! "hen you are in Stoc!holmK 9t can't be %ossibleJG 8e loo!ed almost offended# Then he reflected that it "as only an

ignorant old %easant from 8Blsingland that he tal!ed "ithHand so resumed his friendly attitude# GSurely you have never heard ho" the city of Stoc!holm "as foundedK 9f you had, you "ould com%rehend that your an?iety to get a"ay is only a foolish fancy# ;ome "ith me to the bench over yonder and 9 "ill tell you something about Stoc!holm#G When the old gentleman "as seated on the bench he glanced do"n at the city, "hich s%read in all its glory belo" him, and he dre" a dee% breath, as if he "ished to drin! in all the beauty of the landsca%e# Thereu%on he turned to the fiddler# GLoo!, ;lementJG he said, and as he tal!ed he traced "ith his cane a little ma% in the sand in front of them# G8ere lies <%%land, and here, to the south, a %oint juts out, "hich is s%lit u% by a number of bays# And here "e have SErmland "ith another %oint, "hich is just as cut u% and %oints straight north# 8ere, from the "est, comes a la!e filled "ith islands' 9t is La!e CBlar# *rom the east comes another body of "ater, "hich can barely sLueeMe in bet"een the islands and islets# 9t is the /ast Sea# 8ere, ;lement, "here <%%land joins SErmland and CBlaren joins the /ast Sea, comes a short river, in the centre of "hich lie four little islets that divide the river into several tributariesHone of "hich is called NorristrEm but "as formerly Stoc!sund# G9n the beginning these islets "ere common "ooded islands, such as one finds in %lenty on La!e CBlar even to&day, and for ages they "ere entirely uninhabited# They "ere "ell located bet"een t"o bodies of "ater and t"o bodies of landI but this no one remar!ed# $ear after year %assedI %eo%le settled along La!e CBlar and in the archi%elago, but these river islands attracted no settlers# Sometimes it ha%%ened that a seafarer %ut into %ort at one of them and %itched his tent for the nightI but no one remained there long# G7ne day a fisherman, "ho lived on Liding 9sland, out in Salt *iord, steered his boat to"ard La!e CBlar, "here he had such good luc! "ith his fishing that he forgot to start for home in time# 8e got no farther than the four islets, and the best he could do "as to land on one and "ait until later in the night, "hen there "ould be bright moonlight# G9t "as late summer and "arm# The fisherman hauled his boat on land, lay do"n beside it, his head resting u%on a stone, and fell aslee%# When he a"o!e the moon had been u% a long "hile# 9t hung right above him and shone "ith such s%lendour that it "as li!e broad daylight# GThe man jum%ed to his feet and "as about to %ush his boat into the "ater, "hen he sa" a lot of blac! s%ec!s moving out in the stream# A school of seals "as heading full s%eed for the island# When the fisherman sa" that they intended to cra"l u% on land, he bent do"n for his s%ear, "hich he al"ays too! "ith him in the boat# ut "hen he straightened u%, he sa" no seals# 9nstead, there stood on the strand the most beautiful young maidens, dressed in green, trailing satin robes, "ith %earl cro"ns u%on their heads# The fisherman understood that these "ere mermaids "ho lived on desolate roc! islands far out at sea and had assumed seal disguises in order to come u% on land and enjoy the moonlight on the green islets# G8e laid do"n the s%ear very cautiously, and "hen the young maidens came u% on the island to %lay, he stole behind and surveyed them# 8e had heard that sea&nym%hs "ere

so beautiful and fascinating that no one could see them and not be enchanted by their charmsI and he had to admit that this "as not too much to say of them# GWhen he had stood for a "hile under the shado" of the trees and "atched the dance, he "ent do"n to the strand, too! one of the seal s!ins lying there, and hid it under a stone# Then he "ent bac! to his boat, lay do"n beside it, and %retended to be aslee%# GPresently he sa" the young maidens tri% do"n to the strand to don their seal s!ins# At first all "as %lay and laughter, "hich "as changed to "ee%ing and "ailing "hen one of the mermaids could not find her seal robe# 8er com%anions ran u% and do"n the strand and hel%ed her search for it, but no trace could they find# While they "ere see!ing they noticed that the s!y "as gro"ing %ale and the day "as brea!ing, so they could tarry no longer, and they all s"am a"ay, leaving behind the one "hose seal s!in "as missing# She sat on the strand and "e%t# GThe fisherman felt sorry for her, of course, but he forced himself to lie still till daybrea!# Then he got u%, %ushed the boat into the "ater, and ste%%ed into it to ma!e it a%%ear that he sa" her by chance after he had lifted the oars# G'Who are youK' he called out# 'Are you shi%"rec!edK' GShe ran to"ard him and as!ed if he had seen her seal s!in# The fisherman loo!ed as if he did not !no" "hat she "as tal!ing about# She sat do"n again and "e%t# Then he determined to ta!e her "ith him in the boat# ';ome "ith me to my cottage,' he commanded, 'and my mother "ill ta!e care of you# $ou can't stay here on the island, "here you have neither food nor shelterJ' 8e tal!ed so convincingly that she "as %ersuaded to ste% into his boat# G oth the fisherman and his mother "ere very !ind to the %oor mermaid, and she seemed to be ha%%y "ith them# She gre" more contented every day and hel%ed the older "oman "ith her "or!, and "as e?actly li!e any other island lassHonly she "as much %rettier# 7ne day the fisherman as!ed her if she "ould be his "ife, and she did not object, but at once said yes# GPre%arations "ere made for the "edding# The mermaid dressed as a bride in her green, trailing robe "ith the shimmering %earl cro"n she had "orn "hen the fisherman first sa" her# There "as neither church nor %arson on the island at that time, so the bridal %arty seated themselves in the boats to ro" u% to the first church they should find# GThe fisherman had the mermaid and his mother in his boat, and he ro"ed so "ell that he "as far ahead of all the others# When he had come so far that he could see the islet in the river, "here he "on his bride, he could not hel% smiling# G'What are you smiling atK' she as!ed# G'7h, 9'm thin!ing of that night "hen 9 hid your seal s!in,' ans"ered the fishermanI for he felt so sure of her that he thought there "as no longer any need for him to conceal anything#

G'What are you sayingK' as!ed the bride, astonished# 'Surely 9 have never %ossessed a seal s!inJ' 9t a%%eared she had forgotten everything# G')on't you recollect ho" you danced "ith the mermaidsK' he as!ed# G'9 don't !no" "hat you mean,' said the bride# '9 thin! that you must have dreamed a strange dream last night#' G9f 9 sho" you your seal s!in, you'll %robably believe meJ' laughed the fisherman, %rom%tly turning the boat to"ard the islet# They ste%%ed ashore and he brought the seal s!in out from under the stone "here he had hidden it# G ut the instant the bride set eyes on the seal s!in she gras%ed it and dre" it over her head# 9t snuggled close to herHas if there "as life in itHand immediately she thre" herself into the stream# GThe bridegroom sa" her s"im a"ay and %lunged into the "ater after herI but he could not catch u% to her# When he sa" that he couldn't sto% her in any other "ay, in his grief he seiMed his s%ear and hurled it# 8e aimed better than he had intended, for the %oor mermaid gave a %iercing shrie! and disa%%eared in the de%ths# GThe fisherman stood on the strand "aiting for her to a%%ear again# 8e observed that the "ater around him began to ta!e on a soft sheen, a beauty that he had never seen before# 9t shimmered in %in! and "hite, li!e the colour&%lay on the inside of sea shells# GAs the glittering "ater la%%ed the shores, the fisherman thought that they too "ere transformed# They began to blossom and "aft their %erfumes# A soft sheen s%read over them and they also too! on a beauty "hich they had never %ossessed before# G8e understood ho" all this had come to %ass# *or it is thus "ith mermaids' one "ho beholds them must needs find them more beautiful than any one else, and the mermaid's blood being mi?ed "ith the "ater that bathed the shores, her beauty "as transferred to both# All "ho sa" them must love them and yearn for them# This "as their legacy from the mermaid#G When the stately old gentleman had got thus far in his narrative he turned to ;lement and loo!ed at him# ;lement nodded reverently but made no comment, as he did not "ish to cause a brea! in the story# GNo" you must bear this in mind, ;lement,G the old gentleman continued, "ith a roguish glint in his eyes# G*rom that time on %eo%le emigrated to the islands# At first only fishermen and %easants settled there, but others, too, "ere attracted to them# 7ne day the !ing and his earl sailed u% the stream# They started at once to tal! of these islands, having observed they "ere so situated that every vessel that sailed to"ard La!e CBlar had to %ass them# The earl suggested that there ought to be a loc! %ut on the channel "hich could be o%ened or closed at "ill, to let in merchant vessels and shut out %irates# GThis idea "as carried out,G said the old gentleman, as he rose and began to trace in the sand again "ith his cane# G7n the largest of these islands the earl erected a fortress "ith

a strong to"er, "hich "as called '=Brnan#' And around the island a "all "as built# 8ere, at the north and south ends of the "all, they made gates and %laced strong to"ers over them# Across the other islands they built bridgesI these "ere li!e"ise eLui%%ed "ith high to"ers# 7ut in the "ater, round about, they %ut a "reath of %iles "ith bars that could o%en and close, so that no vessel could sail %ast "ithout %ermission# GTherefore you see, ;lement, the four islands "hich had lain so long unnoticed "ere soon strongly fortified# ut this "as not all, for the shores and the sound tem%ted %eo%le, and before long they came from all Luarters to settle there# They built a church, "hich has since been called 'Stor!yr!an#' 8ere it stands, near the castle# And here, "ithin the "alls, "ere the little huts the %ioneers built for themselves# They "ere %rimitive, but they served their %ur%ose# Core "as not needed at that time to ma!e the %lace %ass for a city# And the city "as named Stoc!holm# GThere came a day, ;lement, "hen the earl "ho had begun the "or! "ent to his final rest, and Stoc!holm "as "ithout a master builder# Con!s called the Gray *riars came to the country# Stoc!holm attracted them# They as!ed %ermission to erect a monastery there, so the !ing gave them an islandHone of the smaller onesHthis one facing La!e CBlar# There they built, and the %lace "as called Gray *riars' 9sland# 7ther mon!s came, called the lac! *riars# They, too, as!ed for right to build in Stoc!holm, near the south gate# 7n this, the larger of the islands north of the city, a '8oly Ghost 8ouse,' or hos%ital, "as builtI "hile on the smaller one thrifty men %ut u% a mill, and along the little islands close by the mon!s fished# As you !no", there is only one island no", for the canal bet"een the t"o has filled u%I but it is still called 8oly Ghost 9sland# GAnd no", ;lement, all the little "ooded islands "ere dotted "ith houses, but still %eo%le !e%t streaming inI for these shores and "aters have the %o"er to dra" %eo%le to them# 8ither came %ious "omen of the 7rder of Saint ;lara and as!ed for ground to build u%on# *or them there "as no choice but to settle on the north shore, at Norrmalm, as it is called# $ou may be sure that they "ere not over %leased "ith this location, for across Norrmalm ran a high ridge, and on that the city had its gallo"s hill, so that it "as a detested s%ot# Nevertheless the Poor ;lares erected their church and their convent on the strand belo" the ridge# After they "ere established there they soon found %lenty of follo"ers# <%on the ridge itself "ere built a hos%ital and a church, consecrated to Saint Goran, and just belo" the ridge a church "as erected to Saint :acob# GAnd even at SEdermalm, "here the mountain rises %er%endicularly from the strand, they began to build# There they raised a church to Saint Cary# G ut you must not thin! that only cloister fol! moved to Stoc!holmJ There "ere also many othersH%rinci%ally German tradesmen and artisans# These "ere more s!illed than the S"edes, and "ere "ell received# They settled "ithin the "alls of the city "here they %ulled do"n the "retched little cabins that stood there and built high, magnificent stone houses# ut s%ace "as not %lentiful "ithin the "alls, therefore they had to build the houses close together, "ith gables facing the narro" by&lanes# So you see, ;lement, that Stoc!holm could attract %eo%leJG At this %oint in the narrative another gentleman a%%eared and "al!ed ra%idly do"n the %ath to"ard the man "ho "as tal!ing to ;lement, but he "aved his hand, and the other

remained at a distance# The dignified old gentleman still sat on the bench beside the fiddler# GNo", ;lement, you must render me a service,G he said# G9 have no time to tal! more "ith you, but 9 "ill send you a boo! about Stoc!holm and you must read it from cover to cover# 9 have, so to s%ea!, laid the foundations of Stoc!holm for you# Study the rest out for yourself and learn ho" the city has thrived and changed# (ead ho" the little, narro", "all&enclosed city on the islands has s%read into this great sea of houses belo" us# (ead ho", on the s%ot "here the dar! to"er =Brnan once stood, the beautiful, light castle belo" us "as erected and ho" the Gray *riars' church has been turned into the burial %lace of the S"edish !ingsI read ho" islet after islet "as built u% "ith factoriesI ho" the ridge "as lo"ered and the sound filled inI ho" the truc! gardens at the south and north ends of the city have been converted into beautiful %ar!s or built&u% LuartersI ho" the =ing's %rivate deer %ar! has become the %eo%le's favourite %leasure resort# $ou must ma!e yourself at home here, ;lement# This city does not belong e?clusively to the Stoc!holmers# 9t belongs to you and to all S"edes# GAs you read about Stoc!holm, remember that 9 have s%o!en the truth, for the city has the %o"er to dra" every one to it# *irst the =ing moved here, then the nobles built their %alaces here, and then one after another "as attracted to the %lace, so that no", as you see, Stoc!holm is not a city unto itself or for nearby districtsI it has gro"n into a city for the "hole !ingdom# G$ou !no", ;lement, that there are judicial courts in every %arish throughout the land, but in Stoc!holm they have jurisdiction for the "hole nation# $ou !no" that there are judges in every district court in the country, but at Stoc!holm there is only one court, to "hich all the others are accountable# $ou !no" that there are barrac!s and troo%s in every %art of the land, but those at Stoc!holm command the "hole army# /very"here in the country you "ill find railroads, but the "hole great national system is controlled and managed at Stoc!holmI here you "ill find the governing boards for the clergy, for teachers, for %hysicians, for bailiffs and jurors# This is the heart of your country, ;lement# All the change you have in your %oc!et is coined here, and the %ostage stam%s you stic! on your letters are made here# There is something here for every S"ede# 8ere no one need feel homesic!, for here all S"edes are at home# GAnd "hen you read of all that has been brought here to Stoc!holm, thin! too of the latest that the city has attracted to itself' these old&time %easant cottages here at S!ansenI the old dancesI the old costumes and house&furnishingsI the musicians and story&tellers# /verything good of the old times Stoc!holm has tem%ted here to S!ansen to do it honour, that it may, in turn, stand before the %eo%le "ith rene"ed glory# G ut, first and last, remember as you read about Stoc!holm that you are to sit in this %lace# $ou must see ho" the "aves s%ar!le in joyous %lay and ho" the shores shimmer "ith beauty# $ou "ill come under the s%ell of their "itchery, ;lement#G The handsome old gentleman had raised his voice, so that it rang out strong and commanding, and his eyes shone# Then he rose, and, "ith a "ave of his hand to ;lement, "al!ed a"ay# ;lement understood that the one "ho had been tal!ing to him "as a great man, and he bo"ed to him as lo" as he could#

The ne?t day came a royal lac!ey "ith a big red boo! and a letter for ;lement, and in the letter it said that the boo! "as from the =ing# After that the little old man, ;lement Larsson, "as lightheaded for several days, and it "as im%ossible to get a sensible "ord out of him# When a "ee! had gone by, he "ent to the su%erintendent and gave in his notice# 8e sim%ly had to go home# GWhy must you go homeK ;an't you learn to be content hereKG as!ed the doctor# G7h, 9'm contented here,G said ;lement# GThat matter troubles me no longer, but 9 must go home all the same#G ;lement "as Luite %erturbed because the =ing had said that he should learn all about Stoc!holm and be ha%%y there# ut he could not rest until he had told every one at home that the =ing had said those "ords to him# 8e could not renounce the idea of standing on the church !noll at home and telling high and lo" that the =ing had been so !ind to him, that he had sat beside him on the bench, and had sent him a boo!, and had ta!en the time to tal! to himHa %oor fiddlerHfor a "hole hour, in order to cure him of his homesic!ness# 9t "as good to relate this to the La%landers and )alecarlian %easant girls at S!ansen, but "hat "as that com%ared to being able to tell of it at homeK /ven if ;lement "ere to end in the %oorhouse, it "ouldn't be so hard after this# 8e "as a totally different man from "hat he had been, and he "ould be res%ected and honoured in a very different "ay# This ne" yearning too! %ossession of ;lement# 8e sim%ly had to go u% to the doctor and say that he must go home# GORGO, THE EAGLE IN THE MOUNTAIN GLEN *ar u% among the mountains of La%land there "as an old eagle's nest on a ledge "hich %rojected from a high cliff# The nest "as made of dry t"igs of %ine and s%ruce, interlaced one "ith another until they formed a %erfect net"or!# $ear by year the nest had been re%aired and strengthened# 9t "as about t"o metres "ide, and nearly as high as a La%lander's hut# The cliff on "hich the eagle's nest "as situated to"ered above a big glen, "hich "as inhabited in summer by a floc! of "ild geese, as it "as an e?cellent refuge for them# 9t "as so secluded bet"een cliffs that not many !ne" of it, even among the La%landers themselves# 9n the heart of this glen there "as a small, round la!e in "hich "as an abundance of food for the tiny goslings, and on the tufted la!e shores "hich "ere covered "ith osier bushes and d"arfed birches the geese found fine nesting %laces# 9n all ages eagles had lived on the mountain, and geese in the glen# /very year the former carried off a fe" of the latter, but they "ere very careful not to ta!e so many that

the "ild geese "ould be afraid to remain in the glen# The geese, in their turn, found the eagles Luite useful# They "ere robbers, to be sure, but they !e%t other robbers a"ay# T"o years before Nils 8olgersson travelled "ith the "ild geese the old leader&goose, A!!a from =ebne!aise, "as standing at the foot of the mountain slo%e loo!ing to"ard the eagle's nest# The eagles "ere in the habit of starting on their chase soon after sunriseI during the summers that A!!a had lived in the glen she had "atched every morning for their de%arture to find if they sto%%ed in the glen to hunt, or if they fle" beyond it to other hunting grounds# She did not have to "ait long before the t"o eagles left the ledge on the cliff# Stately and terror&stri!ing they soared into the air# They directed their course to"ard the %lain, and A!!a breathed a sigh of relief# The old leader&goose's days of nesting and rearing of young "ere over, and during the summer she %assed the time going from one goose range to another, giving counsel regarding the brooding and care of the young# Aside from this she !e%t an eye out not only for eagles but also for mountain fo? and o"ls and all other enemies "ho "ere a menace to the "ild geese and their young# About noontime A!!a began to "atch for the eagles again# This she had done every day during all the summers that she had lived in the glen# She could tell at once by their flight if their hunt had been successful, and in that event she felt relieved for the safety of those "ho belonged to her# ut on this %articular day she had not seen the eagles return# G9 must be getting old and stu%id,G she thought, "hen she had "aited a time for them# GThe eagles have %robably been home this long "hile#G 9n the afternoon she loo!ed to"ard the cliff again, e?%ecting to see the eagles %erched on the roc!y ledge "here they usually too! their afternoon restI to"ard evening, "hen they too! their bath in the dale la!e, she tried again to get sight of them, but failed# Again she bemoaned the fact that she "as gro"ing old# She "as so accustomed to having the eagles on the mountain above her that she could not imagine the %ossibility of their not having returned# The follo"ing morning A!!a "as a"a!e in good season to "atch for the eaglesI but she did not see them# 7n the other hand, she heard in the morning stillness a cry that sounded both angry and %laintive, and it seemed to come from the eagles' nest# G;an there %ossibly be anything amiss "ith the eaglesKG she "ondered# She s%read her "ings Luic!ly, and rose so high that she could %erfectly "ell loo! do"n into the nest# There she sa" neither of the eagles# There "as no one in the nest save a little half& fledged eaglet "ho "as screaming for food# A!!a san! do"n to"ard the eagles' nest, slo"ly and reluctantly# 9t "as a gruesome %lace to come toJ 9t "as %lain "hat !ind of robber fol! lived thereJ 9n the nest and on the cliff ledge lay bleached bones, bloody feathers, %ieces of s!in, hares' heads, birds' bea!s, and the tufted cla"s of grouse# The eaglet, "ho "as lying in the midst of this,

"as re%ulsive to loo! u%on, "ith his big, ga%ing bill, his a"!"ard, do"n&clad body, and his undevelo%ed "ings "here the %ros%ective Luills stuc! out li!e thorns# At last A!!a conLuered her re%ugnance and alighted on the edge of the nest, at the same time glancing about her an?iously in every direction, for each second she e?%ected to see the old eagles coming bac!# G9t is "ell that some one has come at last,G cried the baby eagle# G*etch me some food at onceJG GWell, "ell, don't be in such haste,G said A!!a# GTell me first "here your father and mother are#G GThat's "hat 9 should li!e to !no" myself# They "ent off yesterday morning and left me a lemming to live u%on "hile they "ere a"ay# $ou can believe that "as eaten long ago# 9t's a shame for mother to let me starve in this "ayJG A!!a began to thin! that the eagles had really been shot, and she reasoned that if she "ere to let the eaglet starve she might %erha%s be rid of the "hole robber tribe for all time# ut it "ent very much against her not to succour a deserted young one so far as she could# GWhy do you sit there and stareKG sna%%ed the eaglet# G)idn't you hear me say 9 "ant foodKG A!!a s%read her "ings and san! do"n to the little la!e in the glen# A moment later she returned to the eagles' nest "ith a salmon trout in her bill# The eaglet fle" into a tem%er "hen she dro%%ed the fish in front of him# G)o you thin! 9 can eat such stuffKG he shrie!ed, %ushing it aside, and trying to stri!e A!!a "ith his bill# G*etch me a "illo" grouse or a lemming, do you hearKG A!!a stretched her head for"ard, and gave the eaglet a shar% ni% in the nec!# GLet me say to you,G remar!ed the old goose, Gthat if 9'm to %rocure food for you, you must be satisfied "ith "hat 9 give you# $our father and mother are dead, and from them you can get no hel%I but if you "ant to lie here and starve to death "hile you "ait for grouse and lemming, 9 shall not hinder you#G When A!!a had s%o!en her mind she %rom%tly retired, and did not sho" her face in the eagles' nest again for some time# ut "hen she did return, the eaglet had eaten the fish, and "hen she dro%%ed another in front of him he s"allo"ed it at once, although it "as %lain that he found it very distasteful# A!!a had im%osed u%on herself a tedious tas!# The old eagles never a%%eared again, and she alone had to %rocure for the eaglet all the food he needed# She gave him fish and frogs and he did not seem to fare badly on this diet, but gre" big and strong# 8e soon forgot his %arents, the eagles, and fancied that A!!a "as his real mother# A!!a, in turn, loved him as if he had been her o"n child# She tried to give him a good bringing u%, and to cure him of his "ildness and overbearing "ays#

After a fortnight A!!a observed that the time "as a%%roaching for her to moult and %ut on a ne" feather dress so as to be ready to fly# *or a "hole moon she "ould be unable to carry food to the baby eaglet, and he might starve to death# So A!!a said to him one day' GGorgo, 9 can't come to you any more "ith fish# /verything de%ends no" u%on your %luc!H"hich means can you dare to venture into the glen, so 9 can continue to %rocure food for youK $ou must choose bet"een starvation and flying do"n to the glen, but that, too, may cost you your life#G Without a second's hesitation the eaglet ste%%ed u%on the edge of the nest# arely ta!ing the trouble to measure the distance to the bottom, he s%read his tiny "ings and started a"ay# 8e rolled over and over in s%ace, but nevertheless made enough use of his "ings to reach the ground almost unhurt# )o"n there in the glen Gorgo %assed the summer in com%any "ith the little goslings, and "as a good comrade for them# Since he regarded himself as a gosling, he tried to live as they livedI "hen they s"am in the la!e he follo"ed them until he came near dro"ning# 9t "as most embarrassing to him that he could not learn to s"im, and he "ent to A!!a and com%lained of his inability# GWhy can't 9 s"im li!e the othersKG he as!ed# G$our cla"s gre" too hoo!ed, and your toes too large "hile you "ere u% there on the cliff,G A!!a re%lied# G ut you'll ma!e a fine bird all the same#G The eaglet's "ings soon gre" so large that they could carry himI but not until autumn, "hen the goslings learned to fly, did it da"n u%on him that he could use them for flight# There came a %roud time for him, for at this s%ort he "as the %eer of them all# 8is com%anions never stayed u% in the air any longer than they had to, but he stayed there nearly the "hole day, and %ractised the art of flying# So far it had not occurred to him that he "as of another s%ecies than the geese, but he could not hel% noting a number of things that sur%rised him, and he Luestioned A!!a constantly# GWhy do grouse and lemming run and hide "hen they see my shado" on the cliffKG he Lueried# GThey don't sho" such fear of the other goslings#G G$our "ings gre" too big "hen you "ere on the cliff,G said A!!a# G9t is that "hich frightens the little "retches# ut don't be unha%%y because of that# $ou'll be a fine bird all the same#G After the eagle had learned to fly, he taught himself to fish, and to catch frogs# ut by and by he began to %onder this also# G8o" does it ha%%en that 9 live on fish and frogsKG he as!ed# GThe other goslings don't#G GThis is due to the fact that 9 had no other food to give you "hen you "ere on the cliff,G said A!!a# G ut don't let that ma!e you sad# $ou'll be a fine bird all the same#G When the "ild geese began their autumn moving, Gorgo fle" along "ith the floc!, regarding himself all the "hile as one of them# The air "as filled "ith birds "ho "ere

on their "ay south, and there "as great e?citement among them "hen A!!a a%%eared "ith an eagle in her train# The "ild goose floc! "as continually surrounded by s"arms of the curious "ho loudly e?%ressed their astonishment# A!!a bade them be silent, but it "as im%ossible to sto% so many "agging tongues# GWhy do they call me an eagleKG Gorgo as!ed re%eatedly, gro"ing more and more e?as%erated# G;an't they see that 9'm a "ild gooseK 9'm no bird&eater "ho %reys u%on his !ind# 8o" dare they give me such an ugly nameKG 7ne day they fle" above a barn yard "here many chic!ens "al!ed on a dum% hea% and %ic!ed# GAn eagleJ An eagleJG shrie!ed the chic!ens, and started to run for shelter# ut Gorgo, "ho had heard the eagles s%o!en of as savage criminals, could not control his anger# 8e sna%%ed his "ings together and shot do"n to the ground, stri!ing his talons into one of the hens# G9'll teach you, 9 "ill, that 9'm no eagleJG he screamed furiously, and struc! "ith his bea!# That instant he heard A!!a call to him from the air, and rose obediently# The "ild goose fle" to"ard him and began to re%rimand him# GWhat are you trying to doKG she cried, beating him "ith her bill# GWas it %erha%s your intention to tear that %oor hen to %iecesKG ut "hen the eagle too! his %unishment from the "ild goose "ithout a %rotest, there arose from the great bird throng around them a %erfect storm of taunts and gibes# The eagle heard this, and turned to"ard A!!a "ith flaming eyes, as though he "ould have li!ed to attac! her# ut he suddenly changed his mind, and "ith Luic! "ing stro!es bounded into the air, soaring so high that no call could reach himI and he sailed around u% there as long as the "ild geese sa" him# T"o days later he a%%eared again in the "ild goose floc!# G9 !no" "ho 9 am,G he said to A!!a# GSince 9 am an eagle, 9 must live as becomes an eagleI but 9 thin! that "e can be friends all the same# $ou or any of yours 9 shall never attac!#G ut A!!a had set her heart on successfully training an eagle into a mild and harmless bird, and she could not tolerate his "anting to do as he chose# G)o you thin! that 9 "ish to be the friend of a bird&eaterKG she as!ed# GLive as 9 have taught you to live, and you may travel "ith my floc! as heretofore#G oth "ere %roud and stubborn, and neither of them "ould yield# 9t ended in A!!a's forbidding the eagle to sho" his face in her neighbourhood, and her anger to"ard him "as so intense that no one dared s%ea! his name in her %resence# After that Gorgo roamed around the country, alone and shunned, li!e all great robbers# 8e "as often do"nhearted, and certainly longed many a time for the days "hen he thought himself a "ild goose, and %layed "ith the merry goslings# Among the animals he had a great re%utation for courage# They used to say of him that he feared no one but his foster&mother, A!!a# And they could also say of him that he never used violence against a "ild goose#


Gorgo "as only three years old, and had not as yet thought about marrying and %rocuring a home for himself, "hen he "as ca%tured one day by a hunter, and sold to the S!ansen SoElogical Garden, "here there "ere already t"o eagles held ca%tive in a cage built of iron bars and steel "ires# The cage stood out in the o%en, and "as so large that a cou%le of trees had easily been moved into it, and Luite a large cairn "as %iled u% in there# Not"ithstanding all this, the birds "ere unha%%y# They sat motionless on the same s%ot nearly all day# Their %retty, dar! feather dresses became rough and lustreless, and their eyes "ere riveted "ith ho%eless longing on the s!y "ithout# )uring the first "ee! of Gorgo's ca%tivity he "as still a"a!e and full of life, but later a heavy tor%or came u%on him# 8e %erched himself on one s%ot, li!e the other eagles, and stared at vacancy# 8e no longer !ne" ho" the days %assed# 7ne morning "hen Gorgo sat in his usual tor%or, he heard some one call to him from belo"# 8e "as so dro"sy that he could barely rouse himself enough to lo"er his glance# GWho is calling meKG he as!ed# G7h, GorgoJ )on't you !no" meK 9t's Thumbietot "ho used to fly around "ith the "ild geese#G G9s A!!a also ca%turedKG as!ed Gorgo in the tone of one "ho is trying to collect his thoughts after a long slee%# GNoI A!!a, the "hite goosey&gander, and the "hole floc! are %robably safe and sound u% in La%land at this season,G said the boy# G9t's only 9 "ho am a %risoner here#G As the boy "as s%ea!ing he noticed that Gorgo averted his glance, and began to stare into s%ace again# GGolden eagleJG cried the boyI G9 have not forgotten that once you carried me bac! to the "ild geese, and that you s%ared the "hite goosey&gander's lifeJ Tell me if 9 can be of any hel% to youJG Gorgo scarcely raised his head# G)on't disturb me, Thumbietot,G he ya"ned# G9'm sitting here dreaming that 9 am free, and am soaring a"ay u% among the clouds# 9 don't "ant to be a"a!e#G G$ou must rouse yourself, and see "hat goes on around you,G the boy admonished, Gor you "ill soon loo! as "retched as the other eagles#G G9 "ish 9 "ere as they areJ They are so lost in their dreams that nothing more can trouble them,G said the eagle# When night came, and all three eagles "ere aslee%, there "as a light scra%ing on the steel "ires stretched across the to% of the cage# The t"o listless old ca%tives did not allo" themselves to be disturbed by the noise, but Gorgo a"a!ened#

GWho's thereK Who is moving u% on the roofKG he as!ed# G9t's Thumbietot, Gorgo,G ans"ered the boy# G9'm sitting here filing a"ay at the steel "ires so that you can esca%e#G The eagle raised his head, and sa" in the night light ho" the boy sat and filed the steel "ires at the to% of the cage# 8e felt ho%eful for an instant, but soon discouragement got the u%%er hand# G9'm a big bird, Thumbietot,G said GorgoI Gho" can you ever manage to file a"ay enough "ires for me to come outK $ou'd better Luit that, and leave me in %eace#G G7h, go to slee%, and don't bother about meJG said the boy# G9'll not be through to&night nor to&morro" night, but 9 shall try to free you in time for here you'll become a total "rec!#G Gorgo fell aslee%# When he a"o!e the ne?t morning he sa" at a glance that a number of "ires had been filed# That day he felt less dro"sy than he had done in the %ast# 8e s%read his "ings, and fluttered from branch to branch to get the stiffness out of his joints# 7ne morning early, just as the first strea! of sunlight made its a%%earance, Thumbietot a"a!ened the eagle# GTry no", GorgoJG he "his%ered# The eagle loo!ed u%# The boy had actually filed off so many "ires that no" there "as a big hole in the "ire netting# Gorgo fla%%ed his "ings and %ro%elled himself u%"ard# T"ice he missed and fell bac! into the cageI but finally he succeeded in getting out# With %roud "ing stro!es he soared into the clouds# Little Thumbietot sat and gaMed after him "ith a mournful e?%ression# 8e "ished that some one "ould come and give him his freedom too# The boy "as domiciled no" at S!ansen# 8e had become acLuainted "ith all the animals there, and had made many friends among them# 8e had to admit that there "as so much to see and learn there that it "as not difficult for him to %ass the time# To be sure his thoughts "ent forth every day to Corten Goosey&Gander and his other comrades, and he yearned for them# G9f only 9 "eren't bound by my %romise,G he thought, G9'd find some bird to ta!e me to themJG 9t may seem strange that ;lement Larsson had not restored the boy's liberty, but one must remember ho" e?cited the little fiddler had been "hen he left S!ansen# The morning of his de%arture he had thought of setting out the midget's food in a blue bo"l, but, unluc!ily, he had been unable to find one# All the S!ansen fol!HLa%%s, %easant girls, artisans, and gardenersHhad come to bid him good&bye, and he had had no time to search for a blue bo"l# 9t "as time to start, and at the last moment he had to as! the old La%lander to hel% him#

G7ne of the tiny fol! ha%%ens to be living here at S!ansen,G said ;lement, Gand every morning 9 set out a little food for him# Will you do me the favour of ta!ing these fe" co%%ers and %urchasing a blue bo"l "ith themK Put a little gruel and mil! in it, and to& morro" morning set it out under the ste%s of ollnBs cottage#G The old La%lander loo!ed sur%rised, but there "as no time for ;lement to e?%lain further, as he had to be off to the rail"ay station# The La%lander "ent do"n to the MoElogical village to %urchase the bo"l# As he sa" no blue one that he thought a%%ro%riate, he bought a "hite one, and this he conscientiously filled and set out every morning# That "as "hy the boy had not been released from his %ledge# 8e !ne" that ;lement had gone a"ay, but he "as not allo"ed to leave# That night the boy longed more than ever for his freedom# This "as because summer had come no" in earnest# )uring his travels he had suffered much in cold and stormy "eather, and "hen he first came to S!ansen he had thought that %erha%s it "as just as "ell that he had been com%elled to brea! the journey# 8e "ould have been froMen to death had he gone to La%land in the month of Cay# ut no" it "as "armI the earth "as green&clad, birches and %o%lars "ere clothed in their satiny foliage, and the cherry trees Hin fact all the fruit treesH"ere covered "ith blossoms# The berry bushes had green berries on their stemsI the oa!s had carefully unfolded their leaves, and %eas, cabbages, and beans "ere gro"ing in the vegetable garden at S!ansen# GNo" it must be "arm u% in La%land,G thought the boy# G9 should li!e to be seated on Corten Goosey&Gander's bac! on a fine morning li!e thisJ 9t "ould be great fun to ride around in the "arm, still air, and loo! do"n at the ground, as it no" lies dec!ed "ith green grass, and embellished "ith %retty blossoms#G 8e sat musing on this "hen the eagle suddenly s"oo%ed do"n from the s!y, and %erched beside the boy, on to% of the cage# G9 "anted to try my "ings to see if they "ere still good for anything,G said Gorgo# G$ou didn't su%%ose that 9 meant to leave you here in ca%tivityK Get u% on my bac!, and 9'll ta!e you to your comrades#G GNo, that's im%ossibleJG the boy ans"ered# G9 have %ledged my "ord that 9 "ould stay here till 9 am liberated#G GWhat sort of nonsense are you tal!ingKG %rotested Gorgo# G9n the first %lace they brought you here against your "illI then they forced you to %romise that you "ould remain here# Surely you must understand that such a %romise one need not !ee%KG G7h, no, 9 must !ee% it,G said the boy# G9 than! you all the same for your !ind intention, but you can't hel% me#G G7h, can't 9KG said Gorgo# GWe'll see about thatJG 9n a t"in!ling he gras%ed Nils 8olgersson in his big talons, and rose "ith him to"ard the s!ies, disa%%earing in a northerly direction#

ON OVER G STRIKLAND THE PRECIOUS GIRDLE Wednesday, *une fifteenth# The eagle !e%t on flying until he "as a long distance north of Stoc!holm# Then he san! to a "ooded hilloc! "here he rela?ed his hold on the boy# The instant Thumbietot "as out of Gorgo's clutches he started to run bac! to the city as fast as he could# The eagle made a long s"oo%, caught u% to the boy, and sto%%ed him "ith his cla"# G)o you %ro%ose to go bac! to %risonKG he demanded# GThat's my affair# 9 can go "here 9 li!e, for all of youJG retorted the boy, trying to get a"ay# Thereu%on the eagle gri%%ed him "ith his strong talons, and rose in the air# No" Gorgo circled over the entire %rovince of <%%land and did not sto% again until he came to the great "ater&falls at Tlv!arleby "here he alighted on a roc! in the middle of the rushing ra%ids belo" the roaring falls# Again he rela?ed his hold on the ca%tive# The boy sa" that here there "as no chance of esca%e from the eagle# Above them the "hite scum "all of the "ater&fall came tumbling do"n, and round about the river rushed along in a mighty torrent# Thumbietot "as very indignant to thin! that in this "ay he had been forced to become a %romise&brea!er# 8e turned his bac! to the eagle and "ould not s%ea! to him# No" that the bird had set the boy do"n in a %lace from "hich he could not run a"ay, he told him confidentially that he had been brought u% by A!!a from =ebne!aise, and that he had Luarrelled "ith his foster&mother# GNo", Thumbietot, %erha%s you understand "hy 9 "ish to ta!e you bac! to the "ild geese,G he said# G9 have heard that you are in great favour "ith A!!a, and it "as my %ur%ose to as! you to ma!e %eace bet"een us#G As soon as the boy com%rehended that the eagle had not carried him off in a s%irit of contrariness, he felt !indly to"ard him# G9 should li!e very much to hel% you,G he returned, Gbut 9 am bound by my %romise#G Thereu%on he e?%lained to the eagle ho" he had fallen into ca%tivity and ho" ;lement Larsson had left S!ansen "ithout setting him free# Nevertheless the eagle "ould not relinLuish his %lan# GListen to me, Thumbietot,G he said# GCy "ings can carry you "herever you "ish to go, and my eyes can search out "hatever you "ish to find# Tell me ho" the man loo!s "ho

e?acted this %romise from you, and 9 "ill find him and ta!e you to him# Then it is for you to do the rest#G Thumbietot a%%roved of the %ro%osition# G9 can see, Gorgo, that you have had a "ise bird li!e A!!a for a foster&mother,G the boy remar!ed# 8e gave a gra%hic descri%tion of ;lement Larsson, and added that he had heard at S!ansen that the little fiddler "as from 8Blsingland# GWe'll search for him through the "hole of 8BlsinglandHfrom Ljungby to CellansjEI from Great Countain to 8ornland,G said the eagle# GTo&morro" before sundo"n you shall have a tal! "ith the manJG G9 fear you are %romising more than you can %erform,G doubted the boy# G9 should be a mighty %oor eagle if 9 couldn't do that much,G said Gorgo# So "hen Gorgo and Thumbietot left Tlv!arleby they "ere good friends, and the boy "illingly too! his mount for a ride on the eagle's bac!# Thus he had an o%%ortunity to see much of the country# When clutched in the eagle's talons he had seen nothing# Perha%s it "as just as "ell, for in the forenoon he had travelled over <%sala, @sterby's big factories, the )annemora Cine, and the ancient castle of @rbyhus, and he "ould have been sadly disa%%ointed at not seeing them had he !no"n of their %ro?imity# The eagle bore him s%eedily over GBstri!land# 9n the southern %art of the %rovince there "as very little to tem%t the eye# ut as they fle" north"ard, it began to be interesting# GThis country is clad in a s%ruce s!irt and a gray&stone jac!et,G thought the boy# G ut around its "aist it "ears a girdle "hich has not its match in value, for it is embroidered "ith blue la!es and green groves# The great iron"or!s adorn it li!e a ro" of %recious stones, and its buc!le is a "hole city "ith castles and cathedrals and great clusters of houses#G When the travellers arrived in the northern forest region, Gorgo alighted on to% of a mountain# As the boy dismounted, the eagle said' GThere's game in this forest, and 9 can't forget my late ca%tivity and feel really free until 9 have gone a&hunting# $ou "on't mind my leaving you for a "hileKG GNo, of course, 9 "on't,G the boy assured him# G$ou may go "here you li!e if only you are bac! here by sundo"n,G said the eagle, as he fle" off#

The boy sat on a stone gaMing across the bare, roc!y ground and the great forests round about# 8e felt rather lonely# ut soon he heard singing in the forest belo", and sa" something bright moving amongst the trees# Presently he sa" a blue and yello" banner, and he !ne" by the songs and the merry chatter that it "as being borne at the head of a %rocession# 7n it came, u% the "inding %athI he "ondered "here it and those "ho follo"ed it "ere going# 8e couldn't believe that anybody "ould come u% to such an ugly, desolate "aste as the %lace "here he sat# ut the banner "as nearing the forest border, and behind it marched many ha%%y %eo%le for "hom it had led the "ay# Suddenly there "as life and movement all over the mountain %lainI after that there "as so much for the boy to see that he didn't have a dull moment#

7n the mountain's broad bac!, "here Gorgo left Thumbietot, there had been a forest fire ten years before# Since that time the charred trees had been felled and removed, and the great fire&s"e%t area had begun to dec! itself "ith green along the edges, "here it s!irted the healthy forest# 8o"ever, the larger %art of the to% "as still barren and a%%allingly desolate# ;harred stum%s, standing sentinel&li!e bet"een the roc! ledges, bore "itness that once there had been a fine forest hereI but no fresh roots s%rang from the ground# 7ne day in the early summer all the children in the %arish had assembled in front of the schoolhouse near the fire&s"e%t mountain# /ach child carried either a s%ade or a hoe on its shoulder, and a bas!et of food in its hand# As soon as all "ere assembled, they marched in a long %rocession to"ard the forest# The banner came first, "ith the teachers on either side of itI then follo"ed a cou%le of foresters and a "agon load of %ine shrubs and s%ruce seedsI then the children# The %rocession did not %ause in any of the birch groves near the settlements, but marched on dee% into the forest# As it moved along, the fo?es stuc! their heads out of the lairs in astonishment, and "ondered "hat !ind of bac!"oods %eo%le these "ere# As they marched %ast old coal %its "here charcoal !ilns "ere fired every autumn, the cross& bea!s t"isted their hoo!ed bills, and as!ed one another "hat !ind of coalers these might be "ho "ere no" thronging the forest# *inally, the %rocession reached the big, burnt mountain %lain# The roc!s had been stri%%ed of the fine t"in&flo"er cree%ers that once covered themI they had been robbed of the %retty silver moss and the attractive reindeer moss# Around the dar! "ater gathered in clefts and hollo"s there "as no" no "ood&sorrel# The little %atches of soil in crevices and bet"een stones "ere "ithout ferns, "ithout star&flo"ers, "ithout all the green and red and light and soft and soothing things "hich usually clothe the forest ground# 9t "as as if a bright light flashed u%on the mountain "hen all the %arish children covered it# 8ere again "as something s"eet and delicateI something fresh and rosyI something young and gro"ing# Perha%s these children "ould bring to the %oor abandoned forest a little ne" life#

When the children had rested and eaten their luncheon, they seiMed hoes and s%ades and began to "or!# The foresters sho"ed them "hat to do# They set out shrub after shrub on every clear s%ot of earth they could find# As they "or!ed, they tal!ed Luite !no"ingly among themselves of ho" the little shrubs they "ere %lanting "ould bind the soil so that it could not get a"ay, and of ho" ne" soil "ould form under the trees# y and by seeds "ould dro%, and in a fe" years they "ould be %ic!ing both stra"berries and ras%berries "here no" there "ere only bare roc!s# The little shrubs "hich they "ere %lanting "ould gradually become tall trees# Perha%s big houses and great s%lendid shi%s "ould be built from themJ 9f the children had not come here and %lanted "hile there "as still a little soil in the clefts, all the earth "ould have been carried a"ay by "ind and "ater, and the mountain could never more have been clothed in green# G9t "as "ell that "e came,G said the children# GWe "ere just in the nic! of timeJG They felt very im%ortant# While they "ere "or!ing on the mountain, their %arents "ere at home# y and by they began to "onder ho" the children "ere getting along# 7f course it "as only a jo!e about their %lanting a forest, but it might be amusing to see "hat they "ere trying to do# So %resently both fathers and mothers "ere on their "ay to the forest# When they came to the outlying stoc! farms they met some of their neighbours# GAre you going to the fire&s"e%t mountainKG they as!ed# GThat's "here "e're bound for#G GTo have a loo! at the childrenKG G$es, to see "hat they're u% to#G G9t's only %lay, of course#G G9t isn't li!ely that there "ill be many forest trees %lanted by the youngsters# We have brought the coffee %ot along so that "e can have something "arm to drin!, since "e must stay there all day "ith only lunch&bas!et %rovisions#G So the %arents of the children "ent on u% the mountain# At first they thought only of ho" %retty it loo!ed to see all the rosy&chee!ed little children scattered over the gray hills# Later, they observed ho" the children "ere "or!ingHho" some "ere setting out shrubs, "hile others "ere digging furro"s and so"ing seeds# 7thers again "ere %ulling u% heather to %revent its cho!ing the young trees# They sa" that the children too! the "or! seriously and "ere so intent u%on "hat they "ere doing that they scarcely had time to glance u%# The fathers and mothers stood for a moment and loo!ed onI then they too began to %ull u% heatherHjust for the fun of it# The children "ere the instructors, for they "ere already trained, and had to sho" their elders "hat to do#

Thus it ha%%ened that all the gro"n&u%s "ho had come to "atch the children too! %art in the "or!# Then, of course, it became greater fun than before# y and by the children had even more hel%# 7ther im%lements "ere needed, so a cou%le of long&legged boys "ere sent do"n to the village for s%ades and hoes# As they ran %ast the cabins, the stay& at&homes came out and as!ed' GWhat's "rongK 8as there been an accidentKG GNo, indeedJ ut the "hole %arish is u% on the fire&s"e%t mountain %lanting a forest#G G9f the "hole %arish is there, "e can't stay at homeJG So %arty after %arty of %easants "ent cro"ding to the to% of the burnt mountain# They stood a moment and loo!ed on# The tem%tation to join the "or!ers "as irresistible# G9t's a %leasure to so" one's o"n acres in the s%ring, and to thin! of the grain that "ill s%ring u% from the earth, but this "or! is even more alluring,G they thought# Not only slender blades "ould come from that so"ing, but mighty trees "ith tall trun!s and sturdy branches# 9t meant giving birth not merely to a summer's grain, but to many years' gro"ths# 9t meant the a"a!ening hum of insects, the song of the thrush, the %lay of grouse and all !inds of life on the desolate mountain# Coreover, it "as li!e raising a memorial for coming generations# They could have left a bare, treeless height as a heritage# 9nstead they "ere to leave a glorious forest# ;oming generations "ould !no" their forefathers had been a good and "ise fol! and they "ould remember them "ith reverence and gratitude# A DAY IN H LSINGLAND A LARGE GREEN LEAF Thursday, *une sixteenth# The follo"ing day the boy travelled over 8Blsingland# 9t s%read beneath him "ith ne", %ale&green shoots on the %ine trees, ne" birch leaves in the groves, ne" green grass in the meado"s, and s%routing grain in the fields# 9t "as a mountainous country, but directly through it ran a broad, light valley from either side of "hich branched other valleysHsome short and narro", some broad and long# GThis land resembles a leaf,G thought the boy, Gfor it's as green as a leaf, and the valleys subdivide it in about the same "ay as the veins of a leaf are foliated#G The branch valleys, li!e the main one, "ere filled "ith la!es, rivers, farms, and villages# They snuggled, light and smiling, bet"een the dar! mountains until they "ere gradually sLueeMed together by the hills# There they "ere so narro" that they could not hold more than a little broo!# 7n the high land bet"een the valleys there "ere %ine forests "hich had no even ground to gro" u%on# There "ere mountains standing all about, and the forest covered the "hole, li!e a "oolly hide stretched over a bony body#

9t "as a %icturesLue country to loo! do"n u%on, and the boy sa" a good deal of it, because the eagle "as trying to find the old fiddler, ;lement Larsson, and fle" from ravine to ravine loo!ing for him# A little later in the morning there "as life and movement on every farm# The doors of the cattle sheds "ere thro"n "ide o%en and the co"s "ere let out# They "ere %rettily coloured, small, su%%le and s%rightly, and so sure&footed that they made the most comic lea%s and bounds# After them came the calves and shee%, and it "as %lainly to be seen that they, too, "ere in the best of s%irits# 9t gre" livelier every moment in the farm yards# A cou%le of young girls "ith !na%sac!s on their bac!s "al!ed among the cattleI a boy "ith a long s"itch !e%t the shee% together, and a little dog ran in and out among the co"s, bar!ing at the ones that tried to gore him# The farmer hitched a horse to a cart loaded "ith tubs of butter, bo?es of cheese, and all !inds of eatables# The %eo%le laughed and chattered# They and the beasts "ere ali!e merryHas if loo!ing for"ard to a day of real %leasure# A moment later all "ere on their "ay to the forest# 7ne of the girls "al!ed in the lead and coa?ed the cattle "ith %retty, musical calls# The animals follo"ed in a long line# The she%herd boy and the shee%&dog ran hither and thither, to see that no creature turned from the right courseI and last came the farmer and his hired man# They "al!ed beside the cart to %revent its being u%set, for the road they follo"ed "as a narro", stony forest %ath# 9t may have been the custom for all the %easants in 8Blsingland to send their cattle into the forests on the same dayHor %erha%s it only ha%%ened so that yearI at any rate the boy sa" ho" %rocessions of ha%%y %eo%le and cattle "andered out from every valley and every farm and rushed into the lonely forest, filling it "ith life# *rom the de%ths of the dense "oods the boy heard the she%herd maidens' songs and the tin!le of the co" bells# Cany of the %rocessions had long and difficult roads to travelI and the boy sa" ho" they tram%ed through marshes, ho" they had to ta!e roundabout "ays to get %ast "indfalls, and ho", time and again, the carts bum%ed against stones and turned over "ith all their contents# ut the %eo%le met all the obstacles "ith jo!es and laughter# 9n the afternoon they came to a cleared s%ace "here cattle sheds and a cou%le of rude cabins had been built# The co"s mooed "ith delight as they tram%ed on the luscious green grass in the yards bet"een the cabins, and at once began graMing# The %easants, "ith merry chatter and banter, carried "ater and "ood and all that had been brought in the carts into the larger cabin# Presently smo!e rose from the chimney and then the dairymaids, the she%herd boy, and the men sLuatted u%on a flat roc! and ate their su%%er# Gorgo, the eagle, "as certain that he should find ;lement Larsson among those "ho "ere off for the forest# Whenever he sa" a stoc! farm %rocession, he san! do"n and scrutiniMed it "ith his shar% eyesI but hour after hour %assed "ithout his finding the one he sought# After much circling around, to"ard evening they came to a stony and desolate tract east of the great main valley# There the boy sa" another outlying stoc! farm under him# The

%eo%le and the cattle had arrived# The men "ere s%litting "ood, and the dairymaids "ere mil!ing the co"s# GLoo! thereJG said Gorgo# G9 thin! "e've got him#G 8e san!, and, to his great astonishment, the boy sa" that the eagle "as right# There indeed stood little ;lement Larsson cho%%ing "ood# Gorgo alighted on a %ine tree in the thic! "oods a little a"ay from the house# G9 have fulfilled my obligation,G said the eagle, "ith a %roud toss of his head# GNo" you must try and have a "ord "ith the man# 9'll %erch here at the to% of the thic! %ine and "ait for you#G

The day's "or! "as done at the forest ranches, su%%er "as over, and the %easants sat about and chatted# 9t "as a long time since they had been in the forest of a summer's night, and they seemed reluctant to go to bed and slee%# 9t "as as light as day, and the dairymaids "ere busy "ith their needle&"or!# /ver and anon they raised their heads, loo!ed to"ard the forest and smiled# GNo" "e are here againJG they said# The to"n, "ith its unrest, faded from their minds, and the forest, "ith its %eaceful stillness, enfolded them# When at home they had "ondered ho" they should ever be able to endure the loneliness of the "oodsI but once there, they felt that they "ere having their best time# Cany of the young girls and young men from neighbouring ranches had come to call u%on them, so that there "ere Luite a lot of fol! seated on the grass before the cabins, but they did not find it easy to start conversation# The men "ere going home the ne?t day, so the dairymaids gave them little commissions and bade them ta!e greetings to their friends in the village# This "as nearly all that had been said# Suddenly the eldest of the dairy girls loo!ed u% from her "or! and said laughingly' GThere's no need of our sitting here so silent to&night, for "e have t"o story&tellers "ith us# 7ne is ;lement Larsson, "ho sits beside me, and the other is ernhard from SunnasjE, "ho stands bac! there gaMing to"ard lac!'s (idge# 9 thin! that "e should as! each of them to tell us a story# To the one "ho entertains us the better 9 shall give the muffler 9 am !nitting#G This %ro%osal "on hearty a%%lause# The t"o com%etitors offered lame e?cuses, naturally, but "ere Luic!ly %ersuaded# ;lement as!ed ernhard to begin, and he did not object# 8e !ne" little of ;lement Larsson, but assumed that he "ould come out "ith some story about ghosts and trolls# As he !ne" that %eo%le li!ed to listen to such things, he thought it best to choose something of the same sort# GSome centuries ago,G he began, Ga dean here in )elsbo to"nshi% "as riding through the dense forest on a Ne" $ear's /ve# 8e "as on horsebac!, dressed in fur coat and ca%# 7n the %ommel of his saddle hung a satchel in "hich he !e%t the communion service, the Prayer&boo!, and the clerical robe# 8e had been summoned on a %arochial errand to

a remote forest settlement, "here he had tal!ed "ith a sic! %erson until late in the evening# No" he "as on his "ay home, but feared that he should not get bac! to the rectory until after midnight# GAs he had to sit in the saddle "hen he should have been at home in his bed, he "as glad it "as not a rough night# The "eather "as mild, the air still and the s!ies overcast# ehind the clouds hung a full round moon "hich gave some light, although it "as out of sight# ut for that faint light it "ould have been im%ossible for him to distinguish %aths from fields, for that "as a sno"less "inter, and all things had the same grayish&bro"n colour# GThe horse the dean rode "as one he %riMed very highly# 8e "as strong and sturdy, and Luite as "ise as a human being# 8e could find his "ay home from any %lace in the to"nshi%# The dean had observed this on several occasions, and he relied u%on it "ith such a sense of security that he never troubled himself to thin! "here he "as going "hen he rode that horse# So he came along no" in the gray night, through the be"ildering forest, "ith the reins dangling and his thoughts far a"ay# G8e "as thin!ing of the sermon he had to %reach on the morro", and of much else besides, and it "as a long time before it occurred to him to notice ho" far along he "as on his home"ard "ay# When he did glance u%, he sa" that the forest "as as dense about him as at the beginning, and he "as some"hat sur%rised, for he had ridden so long that he should have come to the inhabited %ortion of the to"nshi%# G)elsbo "as about the same then as no"# The church and %arsonage and all the large farms and villages "ere at the northern end of the to"nshi%, "hile at the southern %art there "ere only forests and mountains# The dean sa" that he "as still in the un%o%ulated district and !ne" that he "as in the southern %art and must ride to the north to get home# There "ere no stars, nor "as there a moon to guide himI but he "as a man "ho had the four cardinal %oints in his head# 8e had the %ositive feeling that he "as travelling south"ard, or %ossibly east"ard# G8e intended to turn the horse at once, but hesitated# The animal had never strayed, and it did not seem li!ely that he "ould do so no"# 9t "as more li!ely that the dean "as mista!en# 8e had been far a"ay in thought and had not loo!ed at the road# So he let the horse continue in the same direction, and again lost himself in his reverie# GSuddenly a big branch struc! him and almost s"e%t him off the horse# Then he realiMed that he must find out "here he "as# G8e glanced do"n and sa" that he "as riding over a soft marsh, "here there "as no beaten %ath# The horse trotted along at a bris! %ace and sho"ed no uncertainty# Again the dean "as %ositive that he "as going in the "rong direction, and no" he did not hesitate to interfere# 8e seiMed the reins and turned the horse about, guiding him bac! to the road"ay# No sooner "as he there than he turned again and made straight for the "oods# GThe dean "as certain that he "as going "rong, but because the beast "as so %ersistent he thought that %robably he "as trying to find a better road, and let him go along#

GThe horse did very "ell, although he had no %ath to follo"# 9f a %reci%ice obstructed his "ay, he climbed it as nimbly as a goat, and later, "hen they had to descend, he bunched his hoofs and slid do"n the roc!y inclines# G'Cay he only find his "ay home before church hourJ' thought the dean# '9 "onder ho" the )elsbo fol! "ould ta!e it if 9 "ere not at my church on timeK' G8e did not have to brood over this long, for soon he came to a %lace that "as familiar to him# 9t "as a little cree! "here he had fished the summer before# No" he sa" it "as as he had fearedHhe "as in the de%ths of the forest, and the horse "as %lodding along in a south&easterly direction# 8e seemed determined to carry the dean as far from church and rectory as he could# GThe clergyman dismounted# 8e could not let the horse carry him into the "ilderness# 8e must go home# And, since the animal %ersisted in going in the "rong direction, he decided to "al! and lead him until they came to more familiar roads# The dean "ound the reins around his arm and began to "al!# 9t "as not an easy matter to tram% through the forest in a heavy fur coatI but the dean "as strong and hardy and had little fear of overe?ertion# GThe horse, mean"hile, caused him fresh an?iety# 8e "ould not follo" but %lanted his hoofs firmly on the ground# GAt last the dean "as angry# 8e had never beaten that horse, nor did he "ish to do so no"# 9nstead, he thre" do"n the reins and "al!ed a"ay# G'We may as "ell %art com%any here, since you "ant to go your o"n "ay,' he said# G8e had not ta!en more than t"o ste%s before the horse came after him, too! a cautious gri% on his coat sleeve and sto%%ed him# The dean turned and loo!ed the horse straight in the eyes, as if to search out "hy he behaved so strangely# GAfter"ard the dean could not Luite understand ho" this "as %ossible, but it is certain that, dar! as it "as, he %lainly sa" the horse's face and read it li!e that of a human being# 8e realiMed that the animal "as in a terrible state of a%%rehension and fear# 8e gave his master a loo! that "as both im%loring and re%roachful# G'9 have served you day after day and done your bidding,' he seemed to say# 'Will you not follo" me this one nightK' GThe dean "as touched by the a%%eal in the animal's eyes# 9t "as clear that the horse needed his hel% to&night, in one "ay or another# eing a man through and through, the dean %rom%tly determined to follo" him# Without further delay he s%rang into the saddle# 'Go onJ' he said# '9 "ill not desert you since you "ant me# No one shall say of the dean in )elsbo that he refused to accom%any any creature "ho "as in trouble#' G8e let the horse go as he "ished and thought only of !ee%ing his seat# 9t %roved to be a haMardous and troublesome journeyHu%hill most of the "ay# The forest "as so thic! that he could not see t"o feet ahead, but it a%%eared to him that they "ere ascending a

high mountain# The horse climbed %erilous stee%s# 8ad the dean been guiding, he should not have thought of riding over such ground# G'Surely you don't intend to go u% to lac!'s (idge, do youK' laughed the dean, "ho !ne" that "as one of the highest %ea!s in 8Blsingland# G)uring the ride he discovered that he and the horse "ere not the only ones "ho "ere out that night# 8e heard stones roll do"n and branches crac!le, as if animals "ere brea!ing their "ay through the forest# 8e remembered that "olves "ere %lentiful in that section and "ondered if the horse "ished to lead him to an encounter "ith "ild beasts# GThey mounted u% and u%, and the higher they "ent the more scattered "ere the trees# At last they rode on almost bare highland, "here the dean could loo! in every direction# 8e gaMed out over immeasurable tracts of land, "hich "ent u% and do"n in mountains and valleys covered "ith sombre forests# 9t "as so dar! that he had difficulty in seeing any orderly arrangementI but %resently he could ma!e out "here he "as# G'Why of course it's lac!'s (idge that 9've come toJ' he remar!ed to himself# '9t can't be any other mountain, for there, in the "est, 9 see :arv 9sland, and to the east the sea glitters around Ag 9sland# To"ard the north also 9 see something shiny# 9t must be )ellen# 9n the de%ths belo" me 9 see "hite smo!e from Nian *alls# $es, 9'm u% on lac!'s (idge# What an adventureJ' GWhen they "ere at the summit the horse sto%%ed behind a thic! %ine, as if to hide# The dean bent for"ard and %ushed aside the branches, that he might have an unobstructed vie"# GThe mountain's bald %late confronted him# 9t "as not em%ty and desolate, as he had antici%ated# 9n the middle of the o%en s%ace "as an immense boulder around "hich many "ild beasts had gathered# A%%arently they "ere holding a conclave of some sort# GNear to the big roc! he sa" bears, so firmly and heavily built that they seemed li!e fur& clad bloc!s of stone# They "ere lying do"n and their little eyes blin!ed im%atientlyI it "as obvious that they had come from their "inter slee% to attend court, and that they could hardly !ee% a"a!e# ehind them, in tight ro"s, "ere hundreds of "olves# They "ere not slee%y, for "olves are more alert in "inter than in summer# They sat u%on their haunches, li!e dogs, "hi%%ing the ground "ith their tails and %antingHtheir tongues lolling far out of their ja"s# ehind the "olves the lyn? s!ul!ed, stiff&legged and clumsy, li!e missha%en cats# They "ere loath to be among the other beasts, and hissed and s%at "hen one came near them# The ro" bac! of the lyn? "as occu%ied by the "olverines, "ith dog faces and bear coats# They "ere not ha%%y on the ground, and they stam%ed their %ads im%atiently, longing to get into the trees# ehind them, covering the entire s%ace to the forest border, lea%ed the fo?es, the "easels, and the martens# These "ere small and %erfectly formed, but they loo!ed even more savage and bloodthirsty than the larger beasts# GAll this the dean %lainly sa", for the "hole %lace "as illuminated# <%on the huge roc! at the centre "as the Wood&nym%h, "ho held in her hand a %ine torch "hich burned in a big red flame# The Nym%h "as as tall as the tallest tree in the forest# She "ore a s%ruce&

brush mantle and had s%ruce&cone hair# She stood very still, her face turned to"ard the forest# She "as "atching and listening# GThe dean sa" everything as %lain as %lain could be, but his astonishment "as so great that he tried to combat it, and "ould not believe the evidence of his o"n eyes# G'Such things cannot %ossibly ha%%enJ' he thought# '9 have ridden much too long in the blea! forest# This is only an o%tical illusion#' GNevertheless he gave the closest attention to the s%ectacle, and "ondered "hat "as about to be done# G8e hadn't long to "ait before he caught the sound of a familiar bell, coming from the de%ths of the forest, and the ne?t moment he heard footfalls and crac!ling of branchesH as "hen many animals brea! through the forest# GA big herd of cattle "as climbing the mountain# They came through the forest in the order in "hich they had marched to the mountain ranches# *irst came the bell co" follo"ed by the bull, then the other co"s and the calves# The shee%, closely herded, follo"ed# After them came the goats, and last "ere the horses and colts# The shee%&dog trotted along beside the shee%I but neither she%herd nor she%herdess attended them# GThe dean thought it heart&rending to see the tame animals coming straight to"ard the "ild beasts# 8e "ould gladly have bloc!ed their "ay and called '8altJ' but he understood that it "as not "ithin human %o"er to sto% the march of the cattle on this nightI therefore he made no move# GThe domestic animals "ere in a state of torment over that "hich they had to face# 9f it ha%%ened to be the bell co"'s turn, she advanced "ith droo%ing head and faltering ste%# The goats had no desire either to %lay or to butt# The horses tried to bear u% bravely, but their bodies "ere all of a Luiver "ith fright# The most %athetic of all "as the shee%&dog# 8e !e%t his tail bet"een his legs and cra"led on the ground# GThe bell co" led the %rocession all the "ay u% to the Wood&nym%h, "ho stood on the boulder at the to% of the mountain# The co" "al!ed around the roc! and then turned to"ard the forest "ithout any of the "ild beasts touching her# 9n the same "ay all the cattle "al!ed unmolested %ast the "ild beasts# GAs the creatures filed %ast, the dean sa" the Wood&nym%h lo"er her %ine torch over one and another of them# G/very time this occurred the beasts of %rey bro!e into loud, e?ultant roarsH %articularly "hen it "as lo"ered over a co" or some other large creature# The animal that sa" the torch turning to"ard it uttered a %iercing shrie!, as if it had received a !nife thrust in its flesh, "hile the entire herd to "hich it belonged bello"ed their lamentations# GThen the dean began to com%rehend the meaning of "hat he sa"# Surely he had heard that the animals in )elsbo assembled on lac!'s (idge every Ne" $ear's /ve, that the Wood&nym%h might mar! out "hich among the tame beasts "ould that year be %rey for

the "ild beasts# The dean %itied the %oor creatures that "ere at the mercy of savage beasts, "hen in reality they should have no master but man# GThe leading herd had only just left "hen another bell tin!led, and the cattle from another farm tram%ed to the mountain to%# These came in the same order as the first and marched %ast the Wood&nym%h, "ho stood there, stern and solemn, indicating animal after animal for death# G8erd u%on herd follo"ed, "ithout a brea! in the line of %rocession# Some "ere so small that they included only one co" and a fe" shee%I others consisted of only a %air of goats# 9t "as a%%arent that these "ere from very humble homes, but they too "ere com%elled to %ass in revie"# GThe dean thought of the )elsbo farmers, "ho had so much love for their beasts# ')id they but !no" of it, surely they "ould not allo" a re%etition of thisJ' he thought# 'They "ould ris! their o"n lives rather than let their cattle "ander amongst bears and "olves, to be doomed by the Wood&nym%hJ' GThe last herd to a%%ear "as the one from the rectory farm# The dean heard the sound of the familiar bell a long "ay off# The horse, too, must have heard it, for he began to sha!e in every limb, and "as bathed in s"eat# G'So it is your turn no" to %ass before the Wood&nym%h to receive your sentence,' the dean said to the horse# ')on't be afraidJ No" 9 !no" "hy you brought me here, and 9 shall not leave you#' GThe fine cattle from the %arsonage farm emerged from the forest and marched to the Wood&nym%h and the "ild beasts# Last in the line "as the horse that had brought his master to lac!'s (idge# The dean did not leave the saddle, but let the animal ta!e him to the Wood&nym%h# G8e had neither !nife nor gun for his defence, but he had ta!en out the Prayer&boo! and sat %ressing it to his heart as he e?%osed himself to battle against evil# GAt first it a%%eared as if none had observed him# The dean's cattle filed %ast the Wood& nym%h in the same order as the others had done# She did not "ave the torch to"ard any of these, but as soon as the intelligent horse ste%%ed for"ard, she made a movement to mar! him for death# G9nstantly the dean held u% the Prayer&boo!, and the torchlight fell u%on the cross on its cover# The Wood&nym%h uttered a loud, shrill cry and let the torch dro% from her hand# G9mmediately the flame "as e?tinguished# 9n the sudden transition from light to dar!ness the dean sa" nothing, nor did he hear anything# About him reigned the %rofound stillness of a "ilderness in "inter# GThen the dar! clouds %arted, and through the o%ening ste%%ed the full round moon to shed its light u%on the ground# The dean sa" that he and the horse "ere alone on the summit of lac!'s (idge# Not one of the many "ild beasts "as there# The ground had

not been tram%led by the herds that had %assed over itI but the dean himself sat "ith his Prayer&boo! before him, "hile the horse under him stood trembling and foaming# G y the time the dean reached home he no longer !ne" "hether or not it had been a dream, a vision, or realityHthis that he had seenI but he too! it as a "arning to him to remember the %oor creatures "ho "ere at the mercy of "ild beasts# 8e %reached so %o"erfully to the )elsbo %easants that in his day all the "olves and bears "ere e?terminated from that section of the country, although they may have returned since his time#G 8ere ernhard ended his story# 8e received %raise from all sides and it seemed to be a foregone conclusion that he "ould get the %riMe# The majority thought it almost a %ity that ;lement had to com%ete "ith him# ut ;lement, undaunted, began' G7ne day, "hile 9 "as living at S!ansen, just outside of Stoc!holm, and longing for homeHG Then he told about the tiny midget he had ransomed so that he "ould not have to be confined in a cage, to be stared at by all the %eo%le# 8e told, also, that no sooner had he %erformed this act of mercy than he "as re"arded for it# 8e tal!ed and tal!ed, and the astonishment of his hearers gre" greater and greaterI but "hen he came to the royal lac!ey and the beautiful boo!, all the dairymaids dro%%ed their needle&"or! and sat staring at ;lement in o%en&eyed "onder at his marvellous e?%eriences# As soon as ;lement had finished, the eldest of the dairymaids announced that he should have the muffler# G ernhard related only things that ha%%ened to another, but ;lement has himself been the hero of a true story, "hich 9 consider far more im%ortant#G 9n this all concurred# They regarded ;lement "ith very different eyes after hearing that he had tal!ed "ith the =ing, and the little fiddler "as afraid to sho" ho" %roud he felt# ut at the very height of his elation some one as!ed him "hat had become of the midget# G9 had no time to set out the blue bo"l for him myself,G said ;lement, Gso 9 as!ed the old La%lander to do it# What has become of him since then 9 don't !no"#G No sooner had he s%o!en than a little %ine cone came along and struc! him on the nose# 9t did not dro% from a tree, and none of the %easants had thro"n it# 9t "as sim%ly im%ossible to tell "hence it had come# GAha, ;lementJG "in!ed the dairymaid, Git a%%ears as if the tiny fol! "ere listening to us# $ou should not have left it to another to set out that blue bo"lJG IN MEDELPAD Friday, *une se!enteenth#

The boy and the eagle "ere out bright and early the ne?t morning# Gorgo ho%ed that he "ould get far u% into West othnia that day# As luc! "ould have it, he heard the boy remar! to himself that in a country li!e the one through "hich they "ere no" travelling it must be im%ossible for %eo%le to live# The land "hich s%read belo" them "as Southern Cedel%ad# When the eagle heard the boy's remar!, he re%lied' G<% here they have forests for fields#G The boy thought of the contrast bet"een the light, golden&rye fields "ith their delicate blades that s%ring u% in one summer, and the dar! s%ruce forest "ith its solid trees "hich too! many years to ri%en for harvest# G7ne "ho has to get his livelihood from such a field must have a deal of %atienceJG he observed# Nothing more "as said until they came to a %lace "here the forest had been cleared, and the ground "as covered "ith stum%s and lo%%ed&off branches# As they fle" over this ground, the eagle heard the boy mutter to himself that it "as a mighty ugly and %overty& stric!en %lace# GThis field "as cleared last "inter,G said the eagle# The boy thought of the harvesters at home, "ho rode on their rea%ing machines on fine summer mornings, and in a short time mo"ed a large field# ut the forest field "as harvested in "inter# The lumbermen "ent out in the "ilderness "hen the sno" "as dee%, and the cold most severe# 9t "as tedious "or! to fell even one tree, and to he" do"n a forest such as this they must have been out in the o%en many "ee!s# GThey have to be hardy men to mo" a field of this !ind,G he said# When the eagle had ta!en t"o more "ing stro!es, they sighted a log cabin at the edge of the clearing# 9t had no "indo"s and only t"o loose boards for a door# The roof had been covered "ith bar! and t"igs, but no" it "as ga%ing, and the boy could see that inside the cabin there "ere only a fe" big stones to serve as a fire%lace, and t"o board benches# When they "ere above the cabin the eagle sus%ected that the boy "as "ondering "ho could have lived in such a "retched hut as that# GThe rea%ers "ho mo"ed the forest field lived there,G the eagle said# The boy remembered ho" the rea%ers in his home had returned from their day's "or!, cheerful and ha%%y, and ho" the best his mother had in the larder "as al"ays s%read for themI "hile here, after the arduous "or! of the day, they must rest on hard benches in a cabin that "as "orse than an outhouse# And "hat they had to eat he could not imagine# G9 "onder if there are any harvest festivals for these labourersKG he Luestioned# A little farther on they sa" belo" them a "retchedly bad road "inding through the forest# 9t "as narro" and MigMag, hilly and stony, and cut u% by broo!s in many %laces#

As they fle" over it the eagle !ne" that the boy "as "ondering "hat "as carted over a road li!e that# G7ver this road the harvest "as conveyed to the stac!,G the eagle said# The boy recalled "hat fun they had at home "hen the harvest "agons dra"n by t"o sturdy horses, carried the grain from the field# The man "ho drove sat %roudly on to% of the loadI the horses danced and %ric!ed u% their ears, "hile the village children, "ho "ere allo"ed to climb u%on the sheaves, sat there laughing and shrie!ing, half&%leased, half&frightened# ut here the great logs "ere dra"n u% and do"n stee% hillsI here the %oor horses must be "or!ed to their limit, and the driver must often be in %eril# G9'm afraid there has been very little cheer along this road,G the boy observed# The eagle fle" on "ith %o"erful "ing stro!es, and soon they came to a river ban! covered "ith logs, chi%s, and bar!# The eagle %erceived that the boy "ondered "hy it loo!ed so littered u% do"n there# G8ere the harvest has been stac!ed,G the eagle told him# The boy thought of ho" the grain stac!s in his %art of the country "ere %iled u% close to the farms, as if they "ere their greatest ornaments, "hile here the harvest "as borne to a desolate river strand, and left there# G9 "onder if any one out in this "ilderness counts his stac!s, and com%ares them "ith his neighbour'sKG he said# A little later they came to Ljungen, a river "hich glides through a broad valley# 9mmediately everything "as so changed that they might "ell thin! they had come to another country# The dar! s%ruce forest had sto%%ed on the inclines above the valley, and the slo%es "ere clad in light&stemmed birches and as%ens# The valley "as so broad that in many %laces the river "idened into la!es# Along the shores lay a large flourishing to"n# As they soared above the valley the eagle realiMed that the boy "as "ondering if the fields and meado"s here could %rovide a livelihood for so many %eo%le# G8ere live the rea%ers "ho mo" the forest fields,G the eagle said# The boy "as thin!ing of the lo"ly cabins and the hedged&in farms do"n in S!Ane "hen he e?claimed' GWhy, here the %easants live in real manors# 9t loo!s as if it might be "orth one's "hile to "or! in the forestJG The eagle had intended to travel straight north, but "hen he had flo"n out over the river he understood that the boy "ondered "ho handled the timber after it "as stac!ed on the river ban!# The boy recollected ho" careful they had been at home never to let a grain be "asted, "hile here "ere great rafts of logs floating do"n the river, uncared for# 8e could not

believe that more than half of the logs ever reached their destination# Cany "ere floating in midstream, and for them all "ent smoothlyI others moved close to the shore, bum%ing against %oints of land, and some "ere left behind in the still "aters of the cree!s# 7n the la!es there "ere so many logs that they covered the entire surface of the "ater# These a%%eared to be lodged for an indefinite %eriod# At the bridges they stuc!I in the falls they "ere bunched, then they "ere %yramided and bro!en in t"oI after"ard, in the ra%ids, they "ere bloc!ed by the stones and massed into great hea%s# G9 "onder ho" long it ta!es for the logs to get to the millKG said the boy# The eagle continued his slo" flight do"n (iver Ljungen# 7ver many %laces he %aused in the air on outs%read "ings, that the boy might see ho" this !ind of harvest "or! "as done# Presently they came to a %lace "here the loggers "ere at "or!# The eagle mar!ed that the boy "ondered "hat they "ere doing# GThey are the ones "ho ta!e care of all the belated harvest,G the eagle said# The boy remembered the %erfect ease "ith "hich his %eo%le at home had driven their grain to the mill# 8ere the men ran alongside the shores "ith long boat&hoo!s, and "ith toil and effort urged the logs along# They "aded out in the river and "ere soa!ed from to% to toe# They jum%ed from stone to stone far out into the ra%ids, and they tram%ed on the rolling log hea%s as calmly as though they "ere on flat ground# They "ere daring and resolute men# GAs 9 "atch this, 9'm reminded of the iron&moulders in the mining districts, "ho juggle "ith fire as if it "ere %erfectly harmless,G remar!ed the boy# GThese loggers %lay "ith "ater as if they "ere its masters# They seem to have subjugated it so that it dare not harm them#G Gradually they neared the mouth of the river, and othnia ay "as beyond them# Gorgo fle" no farther straight ahead, but "ent north"ard along the coast# efore they had travelled very far they sa" a lumber cam% as large as a small city# While the eagle circled bac! and forth above it, he heard the boy remar! that this %lace loo!ed interesting# G8ere you have the great lumber cam% called Svartvi!,G the eagle said# The boy thought of the mill at home, "hich stood %eacefully embedded in foliage, and moved its "ings very slo"ly# This mill, "here they grind the forest harvest, stood on the "ater# The mill %ond "as cro"ded "ith logs# 7ne by one the hel%ers seiMed them "ith their cant&hoo!s, cro"ded them into the chutes and hurried them along to the "hirling sa"s# What ha%%ened to the logs inside, the boy could not see, but he heard loud buMMing and roaring, and from the other end of the house small cars ran out, loaded "ith "hite %lan!s# The cars ran on shining trac!s do"n to the lumber yard, "here the %lan!s "ere %iled in ro"s, forming streetsHli!e bloc!s of houses in a city# 9n one %lace they "ere building ne" %ilesI in another they "ere %ulling do"n old ones# These "ere carried

aboard t"o large vessels "hich lay "aiting for cargo# The %lace "as alive "ith "or!men, and in the "oods, bac! of the yard, they had their homes# GThey'll soon manage to sa" u% all the forests in Cedel%ad the "ay they "or! here,G said the boy# The eagle moved his "ings just a little, and carried the boy above another large cam%, very much li!e the first, "ith the mill, yard, "harf, and the homes of the "or!men# GThis is called =u!i!enborg,G the eagle said# 8e fla%%ed his "ings slo"ly, fle" %ast t"o big lumber cam%s, and a%%roached a large city# When the eagle heard the boy as! the name of it, he criedI GThis is Sundsvall, the manor of the lumber districts#G The boy remembered the cities of S!Ane, "hich loo!ed so old and gray and solemnI "hile here in the blea! North the city of Sundsvall faced a beautiful bay, and loo!ed young and ha%%y and beaming# There "as something odd about the city "hen one sa" it from above, for in the middle stood a cluster of tall stone structures "hich loo!ed so im%osing that their match "as hardly to be found in Stoc!holm# Around the stone buildings there "as a large o%en s%ace, then came a "reath of frame houses "hich loo!ed %retty and cosy in their little gardensI but they seemed to be conscious of the fact that they "ere very much %oorer than the stone houses, and dared not venture into their neighbourhood# GThis must be both a "ealthy and %o"erful city,G remar!ed the boy# G;an it be %ossible that the %oor forest soil is the source of all thisKG The eagle fla%%ed his "ings again, and "ent over to Aln 9sland, "hich lies o%%osite Sundsvall# The boy "as greatly sur%rised to see all the sa"mills that dec!ed the shores# 7n Aln 9sland they stood, one ne?t another, and on the mainland o%%osite "ere mill u%on mill, lumber yard u%on lumber yard# 8e counted forty, at least, but believed there "ere many more# G8o" "onderful it all loo!s from u% hereJG he marvelled# GSo much life and activity 9 have not seen in any %lace save this on the "hole tri%# 9t is a great country that "e haveJ Wherever 9 go, there is al"ays something ne" for %eo%le to live u%on#G A MORNING IN NGERMANLAND THE BREAD Saturday, *une eighteenth# Ne?t morning, "hen the eagle had flo"n some distance into Dngermanland, he remar!ed that to&day he "as the one "ho "as hungry, and must find something to eatJ 8e set the boy do"n in an enormous %ine on a high mountain ridge, and a"ay he fle"#

The boy found a comfortable seat in a cleft branch from "hich he could loo! do"n over Dngermanland# 9t "as a glorious morningJ The sunshine gilded the treeto%sI a soft breeMe %layed in the %ine needlesI the s"eetest fragrance "as "afted through the forestI a beautiful landsca%e s%read before himI and the boy himself "as ha%%y and care&free# 8e felt that no one could be better off# 8e had a %erfect outloo! in every direction# The country "est of him "as all %ea!s and table&land, and the farther a"ay they "ere, the higher and "ilder they loo!ed# To the east there "ere also many %ea!s, but these san! lo"er and lo"er to"ard the sea, "here the land became %erfectly flat# /very"here he sa" shining rivers and broo!s "hich "ere having a troublesome journey "ith ra%ids and falls so long as they ran bet"een mountains, but s%read out clear and broad as they neared the shore of the coast# othnia ay "as dotted "ith islands and notched "ith %oints, but farther out "as o%en, blue "ater, li!e a summer s!y# When the boy had had enough of the landsca%e he unloosed his !na%sac!, too! out a morsel of fine "hite bread, and began to eat# G9 don't thin! 9've ever tasted such good bread,G said he# GAnd ho" much 9 have leftJ There's enough to last me for a cou%le of days#G As he munched he thought of ho" he had come by the bread# G9t must be because 9 got it in such a nice "ay that it tastes so good to me,G he said# The golden eagle had left Cedel%ad the evening before# 8e had hardly crossed the border into Dngermanland "hen the boy caught a glim%se of a fertile valley and a river, "hich sur%assed anything of the !ind he had seen before# As the boy glanced do"n at the rich valley, he com%lained of feeling hungry# 8e had had no food for t"o "hole days, he said, and no" he "as famished# Gorgo did not "ish to have it said that the boy had fared "orse in his com%any than "hen he travelled "ith the "ild geese, so he slac!ened his s%eed# GWhy haven't you s%o!en of this beforeKG he as!ed# G$ou shall have all the food you "ant# There's no need of your starving "hen you have an eagle for a travelling com%anion#G :ust then the eagle sighted a farmer "ho "as so"ing a field near the river strand# The man carried the seeds in a bas!et sus%ended from his nec!, and each time that it "as em%tied he refilled it from a seed sac! "hich stood at the end of the furro"# The eagle reasoned it out that the sac! must be filled "ith the best food that the boy could "ish for, so he darted to"ard it# ut before the bird could get there a terrible clamour arose about him# S%arro"s, cro"s, and s"allo"s came rushing u% "ith "ild shrie!s, thin!ing that the eagle meant to s"oo% do"n u%on some bird# GA"ay, a"ay, robberJ A"ay, a"ay, bird&!illerJG they cried# They made such a rac!et that it attracted the farmer, "ho came running, so that Gorgo had to flee, and the boy got no seed#

The small birds behaved in the most e?traordinary manner# Not only did they force the eagle to flee, they %ursued him a long distance do"n the valley, and every"here the %eo%le heard their cries# Women came out and cla%%ed their hands so that it sounded li!e a volley of mus!etry, and the men rushed out "ith rifles# The same thing "as re%eated every time the eagle s"e%t to"ard the ground# The boy abandoned the ho%e that the eagle could %rocure any food for him# 9t had never occurred to him before that Gorgo "as so much hated# 8e almost %itied him# 9n a little "hile they came to a homestead "here the house"ife had just been ba!ing# She had set a %latter of sugared buns in the bac! yard to cool and "as standing beside it, "atching, so that the cat and dog should not steal the buns# The eagle circled do"n to the yard, but dared not alight right under the eyes of the %easant "oman# 8e fle" u% and do"n, irresoluteI t"ice he came do"n as far as the chimney, then rose again# The %easant "oman noticed the eagle# She raised her head and follo"ed him "ith her glance# G8o" %eculiarly he actsJG she remar!ed# G9 believe he "ants one of my buns#G She "as a beautiful "oman, tall and fair, "ith a cheery, o%en countenance# Laughing heartily, she too! a bun from the %latter, and held it above her head# G9f you "ant it, come and ta!e itJG she challenged# While the eagle did not understand her language, he !ne" at once that she "as offering him the bun# With lightning s%eed, he s"oo%ed to the bread, snatched it, and fle" to"ard the heights# When the boy sa" the eagle snatch the bread he "e%t for joyHnot because he "ould esca%e suffering hunger for a fe" days, but because he "as touched by the %easant "oman's sharing her bread "ith a savage bird of %rey# Where he no" sat on the %ine branch he could recall at "ill the tall, fair "oman as she stood in the yard and held u% the bread# She must have !no"n that the large bird "as a golden eagleHa %lunderer, "ho "as usually "elcomed "ith loud shotsI doubtless she had also seen the Lueer changeling he bore on his bac!# ut she had not thought of "hat they "ere# As soon as she understood that they "ere hungry, she shared her good bread "ith them# G9f 9 ever become human again,G thought the boy, G9 shall loo! u% the %retty "oman "ho lives near the great river, and than! her for her !indness to us#G

While the boy "as still at his brea!fast he smelled a faint odour of smo!e coming from the north# 8e turned and sa" a tiny s%iral, "hite as a mist, rise from a forest ridgeHnot

from the one nearest him, but from the one beyond it# 9t loo!ed strange to see smo!e in the "ild forest, but it might be that a mountain stoc! farm lay over yonder, and the "omen "ere boiling their morning coffee# 9t "as remar!able the "ay that smo!e increased and s%readJ 9t could not come from a ranch, but %erha%s there "ere charcoal !ilns in the forest# The smo!e increased every moment# No" it curled over the "hole mountain to%# 9t "as not %ossible that so much smo!e could come from a charcoal !iln# There must be a conflagration of some sort, for many birds fle" over to the nearest ridge# 8a"!s, grouse, and other birds, "ho "ere so small that it "as im%ossible to recogniMe them at such a distance, fled from the fire# The tiny "hite s%iral of smo!e gre" to a thic! "hite cloud "hich rolled over the edge of the ridge and san! to"ard the valley# S%ar!s and fla!es of soot shot u% from the clouds, and here and there one could see a red flame in the smo!e# A big fire "as raging over there, but "hat "as burningK Surely there "as no large farm hidden in the forest# The source of such a fire must be more than a farm# No" the smo!e came not only from the ridge, but from the valley belo" it, "hich the boy could not see, because the ne?t ridge obstructed his vie"# Great clouds of smo!e ascendedI the forest itself "as burningJ 9t "as difficult for him to gras% the idea that the fresh, green %ines could burn# 9f it really "ere the forest that "as burning, %erha%s the fire might s%read all the "ay over to him# 9t seemed im%robableI but he "ished the eagle "ould soon return# 9t "ould be best to be a"ay from this# The mere smell of the smo!e "hich he dre" in "ith every breath "as a torture# All at once he heard a terrible crac!ling and s%uttering# 9t came from the ridge nearest him# There, on the highest %oint, stood a tall %ine li!e the one in "hich he sat# A moment before it had been a gorgeous red in the morning light# No" all the needles flashed, and the %ine caught fire# Never before had it loo!ed so beautifulJ ut this "as the last time it could e?hibit any beauty, for the %ine "as the first tree on the ridge to burn# 9t "as im%ossible to tell ho" the flames had reached it# 8ad the fire flo"n on red "ings, or cra"led along the ground li!e a sna!eK 9t "as not easy to say, but there it "as at all events# The great %ine burned li!e a birch stem# Ah, loo!J No" smo!e curled u% in many %laces on the ridge# The forest fire "as both bird and sna!e# 9t could fly in the air over "ide stretches, or steal along the ground# The "hole ridge "as ablaMeJ There "as a hasty flight of birds that circled u% through the smo!e li!e big fla!es of soot# They fle" across the valley and came to the ridge "here the boy sat# A horned o"l %erched beside him, and on a branch just above him a hen ha"! alighted# These "ould have been dangerous neighbours at any other time, but no" they did not even glance in his directionHonly stared at the fire# Probably they could not ma!e out "hat "as "rong "ith the forest# A marten ran u% the %ine to the ti% of a branch, and loo!ed at the burning heights# ;lose beside the marten sat a sLuirrel, but they did not a%%ear to notice each other#

No" the fire came rushing do"n the slo%e, hissing and roaring li!e a tornado# Through the smo!e one could see the flames dart from tree to tree# efore a branch caught fire it "as first envelo%ed in a thin veil of smo!e, then all the needles gre" red at one time, and it began to crac!le and blaMe# 9n the glen belo" ran a little broo!, bordered by elms and small birches# 9t a%%eared as if the flames "ould halt there# Leafy trees are not so ready to ta!e fire as fir trees# The fire did %ause as if before a gate that could sto% it# 9t glo"ed and crac!led and tried to lea% across the broo! to the %ine "oods on the other side, but could not reach them# *or a short time the fire "as thus restrained, then it shot a long flame over to the large, dry %ine that stood on the slo%e, and this "as soon ablaMe# The fire had crossed the broo!J The heat "as so intense that every tree on the mountain "as ready to burn# With the roar and rush of the maddest storm and the "ildest torrent the forest fire fle" over to the ridge# Then the ha"! and the o"l rose and the marten dashed do"n the tree# 9n a fe" seconds more the fire "ould reach the to% of the %ine, and the boy, too, "ould have to be moving# 9t "as not easy to slide do"n the long, straight %ine trun!# 8e too! as firm a hold of it as he could, and slid in long stretches bet"een the !notty branchesI finally he tumbled headlong to the ground# 8e had no time to find out if he "as hurtHonly to hurry a"ay# The fire raced do"n the %ine li!e a raging tem%estI the ground under his feet "as hot and smouldering# 7n either side of him ran a lyn? and an adder, and right beside the sna!e fluttered a mother grouse "ho "as hurrying along "ith her little do"ny chic!s# When the refugees descended the mountain to the glen they met %eo%le fighting the fire# They had been there for some time, but the boy had been gaMing so intently in the direction of the fire that he had not noticed them before# 9n this glen there "as a broo!, bordered by a ro" of leaf trees, and bac! of these trees the %eo%le "or!ed# They felled the fir trees nearest the elms, di%%ed "ater from the broo! and %oured it over the ground, "ashing a"ay heather and myrtle to %revent the fire from stealing u% to the birch brush# They, too, thought only of the fire "hich "as no" rushing to"ard them# The fleeing animals ran in and out among the men's feet, "ithout attracting attention# No one struc! at the adder or tried to catch the mother grouse as she ran bac! and forth "ith her little %ee%ing birdlings# They did not even bother about Thumbietot# 9n their hands they held great, charred %ine branches "hich had dro%%ed into the broo!, and it a%%eared as if they intended to challenge the fire "ith these "ea%ons# There "ere not many men, and it "as strange to see them stand there, ready to fight, "hen all other living creatures "ere fleeing# As the fire came roaring and rushing do"n the slo%e "ith its intolerable heat and suffocating smo!e, ready to hurl itself over broo! and leaf&tree "all in order to reach the o%%osite shore "ithout having to %ause, the %eo%le dre" bac! at first as if unable to "ithstand itI but they did not flee far before they turned bac!#

The conflagration raged "ith savage force, s%ar!s %oured li!e a rain of fire over the leaf trees, and long tongues of flame shot hissingly out from the smo!e, as if the forest on the other side "ere suc!ing them in# ut the leaf&tree "all "as an obstruction behind "hich the men "or!ed# When the ground began to smoulder they brought "ater in their vessels and dam%ened it# When a tree became "reathed in smo!e they felled it at once, thre" it do"n and %ut out the flames# Where the fire cre%t along the heather, they beat it "ith the "et %ine branches and smothered it# The smo!e "as so dense that it envelo%ed everything# 7ne could not %ossibly see ho" the battle "as going, but it "as easy enough to understand that it "as a hard fight, and that several times the fire came near %enetrating farther# ut thin!J After a "hile the loud roar of the flames decreased, and the smo!e cleared# y that time the leaf trees had lost all their foliage, the ground under them "as charred, the faces of the men "ere blac!ened by smo!e and dri%%ing "ith s"eatI but the forest fire "as conLuered# 9t had ceased to flame u%# Soft "hite smo!e cre%t along the ground, and from it %ee%ed out a lot of blac! stum%s# This "as all there "as left of the beautiful forestJ The boy scrambled u% on a roc!, so that he might see ho" the fire had been Luenched# ut no" that the forest "as saved, his %eril began# The o"l and the ha"! simultaneously turned their eyes to"ard him# :ust then he heard a familiar voice calling to him# Gorgo, the golden eagle, came s"ee%ing through the forest, and soon the boy "as soaring among the cloudsHrescued from every %eril# WESTBOTTOM AND LAPLAND THE FIVE SCOUTS 7nce, at S!ansen, the boy had sat under the ste%s at ollnBs cottage and had overheard ;lement Larsson and the old La%lander tal! about Norrland# oth agreed that it "as the most beautiful %art of S"eden# ;lement thought that the southern %art "as the best, "hile the La%lander favoured the northern %art# As they argued, it became %lain that ;lement had never been farther north than 8BrnEsand# The La%lander laughed at him for s%ea!ing "ith such assurance of %laces that he had never seen# G9 thin! 9 shall have to tell you a story, ;lement, to give you some idea of La%land, since you have not seen it,G volunteered the La%lander# G9t shall not be said of me that 9 refuse to listen to a story,G retorted ;lement, and the old La%lander began'

G9t once ha%%ened that the birds "ho lived do"n in S"eden, south of the great SamUland, thought that they "ere overcro"ded there and suggested moving north"ard# GThey came together to consider the matter# The young and eager birds "ished to start at once, but the older and "iser ones %assed a resolution to send scouts to e?%lore the ne" country# G'Let each of the five great bird families send out a scout,' said the old and "ise birds, 'to learn if there is room for us all u% thereHfood and hiding %laces#' G*ive intelligent and ca%able birds "ere immediately a%%ointed by the five great bird families# GThe forest birds selected a grouse, the field birds a lar!, the sea birds a gull, the fresh& "ater birds a loon, and the cliff birds a sno" s%arro"# GWhen the five chosen ones "ere ready to start, the grouse, "ho "as the largest and most commanding, said' G'There are great stretches of land ahead# 9f "e travel together, it "ill be long before "e cover all the territory that "e must e?%lore# 9f, on the other hand, "e travel singlyHeach one e?%loring his s%ecial %ortion of the countryHthe "hole business can be accom%lished in a fe" days#' GThe other scouts thought the suggestion a good one, and agreed to act u%on it# G9t "as decided that the grouse should e?%lore the midlands# The lar! "as to travel to the east"ard, the sea gull still farther east, "here the land bordered on the sea, "hile the loon should fly over the territory "est of the midlands, and the sno" s%arro" to the e?treme "est# G9n accordance "ith this %lan, the five birds fle" over the "hole Northland# Then they turned bac! and told the assembly of birds "hat they had discovered# GThe gull, "ho had travelled along the sea&coast, s%o!e first# G'The North is a fine country,' he said# 'The sounds are full of fish, and there are %oints and islands "ithout number# Cost of these are uninhabited, and the birds "ill find %lenty of room there# The humans do a little fishing and sailing in the sounds, but not enough to disturb the birds# 9f the sea birds follo" my advice, they "ill move north immediately#' GWhen the gull had finished, the lar!, "ho had e?%lored the land bac! from the coast, s%o!e' G'9 don't !no" "hat the gull means by his islands and %oints,' said the lar!# 9 have travelled only over great fields and flo"ery meado"s# 9 have never before seen a country crossed by some large streams# Their shores are dotted "ith homesteads, and at the mouth of the rivers are citiesI but for the most %art the country is very desolate# 9f the field birds follo" my advice, they "ill move north immediately#'

GAfter the lar! came the grouse, "ho had flo"n over the midlands# G'9 !no" neither "hat the lar! means "ith his meado"s nor the gull "ith his islands and %oints,' said he# '9 have seen only %ine forests on this "hole tri%# There are also many rushing streams and great stretches of moss&gro"n s"am% landI but all that is not river or s"am% is forest# 9f the forest birds follo" my advice, they "ill move north immediately#' GAfter the grouse came the loon, "ho had e?%lored the borderland to the "est# G9 don't !no" "hat the grouse means by his forests, nor do 9 !no" "here the eyes of the lar! and the gull could have been,' remar!ed the loon# There's hardly any land u% there Honly big la!es# et"een beautiful shores glisten clear, blue mountain la!es, "hich %our into roaring "ater&falls# 9f the fresh&"ater birds follo" my advice, they "ill move north immediately#' GThe last s%ea!er "as the sno" s%arro", "ho had flo"n along the "estern boundary# G'9 don't !no" "hat the loon means by his la!es, nor do 9 !no" "hat countries the grouse, the lar!, and the gull can have seen,' he said# '9 found one vast mountainous region u% north# 9 didn't run across any fields or any %ine forests, but %ea! after %ea! and highlands# 9 have seen ice fields and sno" and mountain broo!s, "ith "ater as "hite as mil!# No farmers nor cattle nor homesteads have 9 seen, but only La%%s and reindeer and huts met my eyes# 9f the cliff birds follo" my advice, they "ill move north immediately#' GWhen the five scouts had %resented their re%orts to the assembly, they began to call one another liars, and "ere ready to fly at each other to %rove the truth of their arguments# G ut the old and "ise birds "ho had sent them out, listened to their accounts "ith joy, and calmed their fighting %ro%ensities# G'$ou mustn't Luarrel among yourselves,' they said# 'We understand from your re%orts that u% north there are large mountain tracts, a big la!e region, great forest lands, a "ide %lain, and a big grou% of islands# This is more than "e have e?%ectedHmore than many a mighty !ingdom can boast "ithin its borders#'G

Saturday, *une eighteenth# The boy had been reminded of the old La%lander's story because he himself "as no" travelling over the country of "hich he had s%o!en# The eagle told him that the e?%anse of coast "hich s%read beneath them "as Westbottom, and that the blue ridges far to the "est "ere in La%land# 7nly to be once more seated comfortably on Gorgo's bac!, after all that he had suffered during the forest fire, "as a %leasure# esides, they "ere having a fine tri%# The flight "as so easy that at times it seemed as if they "ere standing still in the air# The eagle

beat and beat his "ings, "ithout a%%earing to move from the s%otI on the other hand, everything under them seemed in motion# The "hole earth and all things on it moved slo"ly south"ard# The forests, the fields, the fences, the rivers, the cities, the islands, the sa"millsHall "ere on the march# The boy "ondered "hither they "ere bound# 8ad they gro"n tired of standing so far north, and "ished to move to"ard the southK Amid all the objects in motion there "as only one that stood still' that "as a rail"ay train# 9t stood directly under them, for it "as "ith the train as "ith GorgoHit could not move from the s%ot# The locomotive sent forth smo!e and s%ar!s# The clatter of the "heels could be heard all the "ay u% to the boy, but the train did not seem to move# The forests rushed byI the flag station rushed byI fences and telegra%h %oles rushed byI but the train stood still# A broad river "ith a long bridge came to"ard it, but the river and the bridge glided along under the train "ith %erfect ease# *inally a rail"ay station a%%eared# The station master stood on the %latform "ith his red flag, and moved slo"ly to"ard the train# When he "aved his little flag, the locomotive belched even dar!er smo!e curls than before, and "histled mournfully because it had to stand still# All of a sudden it began to move to"ard the south, li!e everything else# The boy sa" all the coach doors o%en and the %assengers ste% out "hile both cars and %eo%le "ere moving south"ard# 8e glanced a"ay from the earth and tried to loo! straight ahead# Staring at the Lueer rail"ay train had made him diMMyI but after he had gaMed for a moment at a little "hite cloud, he "as tired of that and loo!ed do"n againHthin!ing all the "hile that the eagle and himself "ere Luite still and that everything else "as travelling on south# *ancyJ Su%%ose the grain field just then running along under himH"hich must have been ne"ly so"n for he had seen a green blade on itH"ere to travel all the "ay do"n to S!Ane "here the rye "as in full bloom at this seasonJ <% here the %ine forests "ere different' the trees "ere bare, the branches short and the needles "ere almost blac!# Cany trees "ere bald at the to% and loo!ed sic!ly# 9f a forest li!e that "ere to journey do"n to =olmArden and see a real forest, ho" inferior it "ould feelJ The gardens "hich he no" sa" had some %retty bushes, but no fruit trees or lindens or chestnut treesHonly mountain ash and birch# There "ere some vegetable beds, but they "ere not as yet hoed or %lanted# G9f such an a%ology for a garden "ere to come trailing into SErmland, the %rovince of gardens, "ouldn't it thin! itself a %oor "ilderness by com%arisonKG 9magine an immense %lain li!e the one no" gliding beneath him, coming under the very eyes of the %oor SmAland %easantsJ They "ould hurry a"ay from their meagre garden %lots and stony fields, to begin %lo"ing and so"ing# There "as one thing, ho"ever, of "hich this Northland had more than other lands, and that "as light# Night must have set in, for the cranes stood slee%ing on the morassI but it "as as light as day# The sun had not travelled south"ard, li!e every other thing# 9nstead,

it had gone so far north that it shone in the boy's face# To all a%%earance, it had no notion of setting that night# 9f this light and this sun "ere only shining on West >emmenhEgJ 9t "ould suit the boy's father and mother to a dot to have a "or!ing day that lasted t"enty&four hours# Sunday, *une nineteenth# The boy raised his head and loo!ed around, %erfectly be"ildered# 9t "as mighty LueerJ 8ere he lay slee%ing in some %lace "here he had not been before# No, he had never seen this glen nor the mountains round aboutI and never had he noticed such %uny and shrun!en birches as those under "hich he no" lay# Where "as the eagleK The boy could see no sign of him# Gorgo must have deserted him# Well, here "as another adventureJ The boy lay do"n again, closed his eyes, and tried to recall the circumstances under "hich he had dro%%ed to slee%# 8e remembered that as long as he "as travelling over Westbottom he had fancied that the eagle and he "ere at a standstill in the air, and that the land under them "as moving south"ard# As the eagle turned north"est, the "ind had come from that side, and again he had felt a current of air, so that the land belo" had sto%%ed moving and he had noticed that the eagle "as bearing him on"ard "ith terrific s%eed# GNo" "e are flying into La%land,G Gorgo had said, and the boy had bent for"ard, so that he might see the country of "hich he had heard so much# ut he had felt rather disa%%ointed at not seeing anything but great tracts of forest land and "ide marshes# *orest follo"ed marsh and marsh follo"ed forest# The monotony of the "hole finally made him so slee%y that he had nearly dro%%ed to the ground# 8e said to the eagle that he could not stay on his bac! another minute, but must slee% a"hile# Gorgo had %rom%tly s"oo%ed to the ground, "here the boy had dro%%ed do"n on a moss tuft# Then Gorgo %ut a talon around him and soared into the air "ith him again# GGo to slee%, ThumbietotJG he cried# GThe sunshine !ee%s me a"a!e and 9 "ant to continue the journey#G Although the boy hung in this uncomfortable %osition, he actually doMed and dreamed# 8e dreamed that he "as on a broad road in southern S"eden, hurrying along as fast as his little legs could carry him# 8e "as not alone, many "ayfarers "ere tram%ing in the same direction# ;lose beside him marched grain&filled rye blades, blossoming corn flo"ers, and yello" daisies# 8eavily laden a%%le trees "ent %uffing along, follo"ed by vine&covered bean stal!s, big clusters of "hite daisies, and masses of berry bushes# Tall beeches and oa!s and lindens strolled leisurely in the middle of the road, their branches s"aying, and they ste%%ed aside for none# et"een the boy's tiny feet darted the little flo"ersH"ild stra"berry blossoms, "hite anemones, clover, and forget&me&nots# At

first he thought that only the vegetable family "as on the march, but %resently he sa" that animals and %eo%le accom%anied them# The insects "ere buMMing around advancing bushes, the fishes "ere s"imming in moving ditches, the birds "ere singing in strolling trees# oth tame and "ild beasts "ere racing, and amongst all this %eo%le moved along Hsome "ith s%ades and scythes, others "ith a?es, and others, again, "ith fishing nets# The %rocession marched "ith gladness and gayety, and he did not "onder at that "hen he sa" "ho "as leading it# 9t "as nothing less than the Sun itself that rolled on li!e a great shining head "ith hair of many&hued rays and a countenance beaming "ith merriment and !indlinessJ G*or"ard, marchJG it !e%t calling out# GNone need feel an?ious "hilst 9 am here# *or"ard, marchJG G9 "onder "here the Sun "ants to ta!e us toKG remar!ed the boy# A rye blade that "al!ed beside him heard him, and immediately ans"ered' G8e "ants to ta!e us u% to La%land to fight the 9ce Witch#G Presently the boy noticed that some of the travellers hesitated, slo"ed u%, and finally stood Luite still# 8e sa" that the tall beech tree sto%%ed, and that the roebuc! and the "heat blade tarried by the "ayside, li!e"ise the blac!berry bush, the little yello" buttercu%, the chestnut tree, and the grouse# 8e glanced about him and tried to reason out "hy so many sto%%ed# Then he discovered that they "ere no longer in southern S"eden# The march had been so ra%id that they "ere already in Svealand# <% there the oa! began to move more cautiously# 9t %aused a"hile to consider, too! a fe" faltering ste%s, then came to a standstill# GWhy doesn't the oa! come alongKG as!ed the boy# G9t's afraid of the 9ce Witch,G said a fair young birch that tri%%ed along so boldly and cheerfully that it "as a joy to "atch it# The cro"d hurried on as before# 9n a short time they "ere in Norrland, and no" it mattered not ho" much the Sun cried and coa?edH the a%%le tree sto%%ed, the cherry tree sto%%ed, the rye blade sto%%edJ The boy turned to them and as!ed' GWhy don't you come alongK Why do you desert the SunKG GWe dare notJ We're afraid of the 9ce Witch, "ho lives in La%land,G they ans"ered# The boy com%rehended that they "ere far north, as the %rocession gre" thinner and thinner# The rye blade, the barley, the "ild stra"berry, the blueberry bush, the %ea stal!, the currant bush had come along as far as this# The el! and the domestic co" had been "al!ing side by side, but no" they sto%%ed# The Sun no doubt "ould have been almost deserted if ne" follo"ers had not ha%%ened along# 7sier bushes and a lot of brushy

vegetation joined the %rocession# La%s and reindeer, mountain o"l and mountain fo? and "illo" grouse follo"ed# Then the boy heard something coming to"ard them# 8e sa" great rivers and cree!s s"ee%ing along "ith terrible force# GWhy are they in such a hurryKG he as!ed# GThey are running a"ay from the 9ce Witch, "ho lives u% in the mountains#G All of a sudden the boy sa" before him a high, dar!, turreted "all# 9nstantly the Sun turned its beaming face to"ard this "all and flooded it "ith light# Then it became a%%arent that it "as no "all, but the most glorious mountains, "hich loomed u%Hone behind another# Their %ea!s "ere rose&coloured in the sunlight, their slo%es aMure and gold&tinted# G7n"ard, on"ardJG urged the Sun as it climbed the stee% cliffs# GThere's no danger so long as 9 am "ith you#G ut half "ay u%, the bold young birch desertedHalso the sturdy %ine and the %ersistent s%ruce, and there, too, the La%lander, and the "illo" brush deserted# At last, "hen the Sun reached the to%, there "as no one but the little tot, Nils 8olgersson, "ho had follo"ed it# The Sun rolled into a cave, "here the "alls "ere bedec!ed "ith ice, and Nils 8olgersson "anted to follo", but farther than the o%ening of the cave he dared not venture, for in there he sa" something dreadful# *ar bac! in the cave sat an old "itch "ith an ice body, hair of icicles, and a mantle of sno"J At her feet lay three blac! "olves, "ho rose and o%ened their ja"s "hen the Sun a%%roached# *rom the mouth of one came a %iercing cold, from the second a blustering north "ind, and from the third came im%enetrable dar!ness# GThat must be the 9ce Witch and her tribe,G thought the boy# 8e understood that no" "as the time for him to flee, but he "as so curious to see the outcome of the meeting bet"een the Sun and the 9ce Witch that he tarried# The 9ce Witch did not moveHonly turned her hideous face to"ard the Sun# This continued for a short time# 9t a%%eared to the boy that the "itch "as beginning to sigh and tremble# 8er sno" mantle fell, and the three ferocious "olves ho"led less savagely# Suddenly the Sun cried' GNo" my time is u%JG and rolled out of the cave# Then the 9ce Witch let loose her three "olves# 9nstantly the North Wind, ;old, and )ar!ness rushed from the cave and began to chase the Sun#

G)rive him outJ )rive him bac!JG shrie!ed the 9ce Witch# G;hase him so far that he can never come bac!J Teach him that La%land is C9N/JG ut Nils 8olgersson felt so unha%%y "hen he sa" that the Sun "as to be driven from La%land that he a"a!ened "ith a cry# When he recovered his senses, he found himself at the bottom of a ravine# ut "here "as GorgoK 8o" "as he to find out "here he himself "asK 8e arose and loo!ed all around him# Then he ha%%ened to glance u%"ard and sa" a %eculiar structure of %ine t"igs and branches that stood on a cliff&ledge# GThat must be one of those eagle nests that GorgoHG ut this "as as far as he got# 8e tore off his ca%, "aved it in the air, and cheered# No" he understood "here Gorgo had brought him# This "as the very glen "here the "ild geese lived in summer, and just above it "as the eagles' cliff#

8e "ould meet Corten Goosey&Gander and A!!a and all the other comrades in a fe" moments# 8urrahJ

All "as still in the glen# The sun had not yet ste%%ed above the cliffs, and Nils 8olgersson !ne" that it "as too early in the morning for the geese to be a"a!e# The boy "al!ed along leisurely and searched for his friends# efore he had gone very far, he %aused "ith a smile, for he sa" such a %retty sight# A "ild goose "as slee%ing in a neat little nest, and beside her stood her goosey&gander# 8e too, sle%t, but it "as obvious that he had stationed himself thus near her that he might be on hand in the %ossible event of danger# The boy "ent on "ithout disturbing them and %ee%ed into the "illo" brush that covered the ground# 9t "as not long before he s%ied another goose cou%le# These "ere strangers, not of his floc!, but he "as so ha%%y that he began to humHjust because he had come across "ild geese# 8e %ee%ed into another bit of brush"ood# There at last he sa" t"o that "ere familiar# 9t "as certainly NeljB that "as nesting there, and the goosey&gander "ho stood beside her "as surely =olme# Why, of courseJ The boy had a good mind to a"a!en them, but he let them slee% on, and "al!ed a"ay# 9n the ne?t brush he sa" >iisi and =uusi, and not far from them he found $!si and =a!si# All four "ere aslee%, and the boy %assed by "ithout disturbing them# As he a%%roached the ne?t brush, he thought he sa" something "hite shimmering among the bushes, and the heart of him thum%ed "ith joy# $es, it "as as he e?%ected# 9n there sat the dainty )unfin on an egg&filled nest# eside her stood her "hite goosey&gander#

Although he sle%t, it "as easy to see ho" %roud he "as to "atch over his "ife u% here among the La%land mountains# The boy did not care to "a!en the goosey&gander, so he "al!ed on# 8e had to see! a long time before he came across any more "ild geese# *inally, he sa" on a little hilloc! something that resembled a small, gray moss tuft, and he !ne" that there "as A!!a from =ebne!aise# She stood, "ide a"a!e, loo!ing about as if she "ere !ee%ing "atch over the "hole glen# GGood morning, Cother A!!aJG said the boy# GPlease don't "a!en the other geese yet a"hile, for 9 "ish to s%ea! "ith you in %rivate#G The old leader&goose came rushing do"n the hill and u% to the boy# *irst she seiMed hold of him and shoo! him, then she stro!ed him "ith her bill before she shoo! him again# ut she did not say a "ord, since he as!ed her not to "a!en the others# Thumbietot !issed old Cother A!!a on both chee!s, then he told her ho" he had been carried off to S!ansen and held ca%tive there# GNo" 9 must tell you that Smirre *o?, short of an ear, sat im%risoned in the fo?es' cage at S!ansen,G said the boy# GAlthough he "as very mean to us, 9 couldn't hel% feeling sorry for him# There "ere many other fo?es in the cageI and they seemed Luite contented there, but Smirre sat all the "hile loo!ing dejected, longing for liberty# G9 made many good friends at S!ansen, and 9 learned one day from the La%% dog that a man had come to S!ansen to buy fo?es# 8e "as from some island far out in the ocean# All the fo?es had been e?terminated there, and the rats "ere about to get the better of the inhabitants, so they "ished the fo?es bac! again# GAs soon as 9 learned of this, 9 "ent to Smirre's cage and said to him' G'To&morro" some men are coming here to get a %air of fo?es# )on't hide, Smirre, but !ee% "ell in the foreground and see to it that you are chosen# Then you'll be free again#' G8e follo"ed my suggestion, and no" he is running at large on the island# What say you to this, Cother A!!aK 9f you had been in my %lace, "ould you not have done li!e"iseKG G$ou have acted in a "ay that ma!es me "ish 9 had done that myself,G said the leader& goose %roudly# G9t's a relief to !no" that you a%%rove,G said the boy# GNo" there is one thing more 9 "ish to as! you about' G7ne day 9 ha%%ened to see Gorgo, the eagleHthe one that fought "ith Corten Goosey& GanderHa %risoner at S!ansen# 8e "as in the eagles' cage and loo!ed %itifully forlorn# 9 "as thin!ing of filing do"n the "ire roof over him and letting him out, but 9 also thought of his being a dangerous robber and bird&eater, and "ondered if 9 should be

doing right in letting loose such a %lunderer, and if it "ere not better, %erha%s, to let him stay "here he "as# What say you, Cother A!!aK Was it right to thin! thusKG GNo, it "as not rightJG retorted A!!a# GSay "hat you "ill about the eagles, they are %roud birds and greater lovers of freedom than all others# 9t is not right to !ee% them in ca%tivity# )o you !no" "hat 9 "ould suggestK This' that, as soon as you are "ell rested, "e t"o ma!e the tri% together to the big bird %rison, and liberate Gorgo#G GThat is just the "ord 9 "as e?%ecting from you, Cother A!!a,G returned the boy eagerly# GThere are those "ho say that you no longer have any love in your heart for the one you reared so tenderly, because he lives as eagles must live# ut 9 !no" no" that it isn't true# And no" 9 "ant to see if Corten Goosey&Gander is a"a!e# GCean"hile, if you "ish to say a 'than! you' to the one "ho brought me here to you, 9 thin! you'll find him u% there on the cliff ledge, "here once you found a hel%less eaglet#G OSA, THE GOOSE GIRL, AND LITTLE MATS The year that Nils 8olgersson travelled "ith the "ild geese everybody "as tal!ing about t"o little children, a boy and a girl, "ho tram%ed through the country# They "ere from Sunnerbo to"nshi%, in SmAland, and had once lived "ith their %arents and four brothers and sisters in a little cabin on the heath# While the t"o children, 7sa and Cats, "ere still small, a %oor, homeless "oman came to their cabin one night and begged for shelter# Although the %lace could hardly hold the family, she "as ta!en in and the mother s%read a bed for her on the floor# 9n the night she coughed so hard that the children fancied the house shoo!# y morning she "as too ill to continue her "anderings# The children's father and mother "ere as !ind to her as could be# They gave u% their bed to her and sle%t on the floor, "hile the father "ent to the doctor and brought her medicine# The first fe" days the sic! "oman behaved li!e a savageI she demanded constant attention and never uttered a "ord of than!s# Later she became more subdued and finally begged to be carried out to the heath and left there to die# When her hosts "ould not hear of this, she told them that the last fe" years she had roamed about "ith a band of gi%sies# She herself "as not of gi%sy blood, but "as the daughter of a "ell&to&do farmer# She had run a"ay from home and gone "ith the nomads# She believed that a gi%sy "oman "ho "as angry at her had brought this sic!ness u%on her# Nor "as that all' The gi%sy "oman had also cursed her, saying that all "ho too! her under their roof or "ere !ind to her should suffer a li!e fate# She believed this, and therefore begged them to cast her out of the house and never to see her again# She did not "ant to bring misfortune do"n u%on such good %eo%le# ut the %easants refused to do her bidding# 9t "as Luite %ossible that they "ere alarmed, but they "ere not the !ind of fol! "ho could turn out a %oor, sic! %erson#

Soon after that she died, and then along came the misfortunes# efore, there had never been anything but ha%%iness in that cabin# 9ts inmates "ere %oor, yet not so very %oor# The father "as a ma!er of "eavers' combs, and mother and children hel%ed him "ith the "or!# *ather made the frames, mother and the older children did the binding, "hile the smaller ones %laned the teeth and cut them out# They "or!ed from morning until night, but the time %assed %leasantly, es%ecially "hen father tal!ed of the days "hen he travelled about in foreign lands and sold "eavers' combs# *ather "as so jolly that sometimes mother and the children "ould laugh until their sides ached at his funny Lui%s and jo!es# The "ee!s follo"ing the death of the %oor vagabond "oman lingered in the minds of the children li!e a horrible nightmare# They !ne" not if the time had been long or short, but they remembered that they "ere al"ays having funerals at home# 7ne after another they lost their brothers and sisters# At last it "as very still and sad in the cabin# The mother !e%t u% some measure of courage, but the father "as not a bit li!e himself# 8e could no longer "or! nor jest, but sat from morning till night, his head buried in his hands, and only brooded# 7nceHthat "as after the third burialHthe father had bro!en out into "ild tal!, "hich frightened the children# 8e said that he could not understand "hy such misfortunes should come u%on them# They had done a !indly thing in hel%ing the sic! "oman# ;ould it be true, then, that the evil in this "orld "as more %o"erful than the goodK The mother tried to reason "ith him, but she "as unable to soothe him# A fe" days later the eldest "as stric!en# She had al"ays been the father's favourite, so "hen he realiMed that she, too, must go, he fled from all the misery# The mother never said anything, but she thought it "as best for him to be a"ay, as she feared that he might lose his reason# 8e had brooded too long over this one idea' that God had allo"ed a "ic!ed %erson to bring about so much evil# After the father "ent a"ay they became very %oor# *or a"hile he sent them money, but after"ard things must have gone badly "ith him, for no more came# The day of the eldest daughter's burial the mother closed the cabin and left home "ith the t"o remaining children, 7sa and Cats# She "ent do"n to S!Ane to "or! in the beet fields, and found a %lace at the :ordberga sugar refinery# She "as a good "or!er and had a cheerful and generous nature# /verybody li!ed her# Cany "ere astonished because she could be so calm after all that she had %assed through, but the mother "as very strong and %atient# When any one s%o!e to her of her t"o sturdy children, she only said' G9 shall soon lose them also,G "ithout a Luaver in her voice or a tear in her eye# She had accustomed herself to e?%ect nothing else# ut it did not turn out as she feared# 9nstead, the sic!ness came u%on herself# She had gone to S!ane in the beginning of summerI before autumn she "as gone, and the children "ere left alone#

While their mother "as ill she had often said to the children they must remember that she never regretted having let the sic! "oman sto% "ith them# 9t "as not hard to die "hen one had done right, she said, for then one could go "ith a clear conscience# efore the mother %assed a"ay, she tried to ma!e some %rovision for her children# She as!ed the %eo%le "ith "hom she lived to let them remain in the room "hich she had occu%ied# 9f the children only had a shelter they "ould not become a burden to any one# She !ne" that they could ta!e care of themselves# 7sa and Cats "ere allo"ed to !ee% the room on condition that they "ould tend the geese, as it "as al"ays hard to find children "illing to do that "or!# 9t turned out as the mother e?%ected' they did maintain themselves# The girl made candy, and the boy carved "ooden toys, "hich they sold at the farm houses# They had a talent for trading and soon began buying eggs and butter from the farmers, "hich they sold to the "or!ers at the sugar refinery# 7sa "as the older, and, by the time she "as thirteen, she "as as res%onsible as a gro"n "oman# She "as Luiet and serious, "hile Cats "as lively and tal!ative# 8is sister used to say to him that he could outcac!le the geese# When the children had been at :ordberga for t"o years, there "as a lecture given one evening at the schoolhouse# /vidently it "as meant for gro"n&u%s, but the t"o SmAland children "ere in the audience# They did not regard themselves as children, and fe" %ersons thought of them as such# The lecturer tal!ed about the dread disease called the White Plague, "hich every year carried off so many %eo%le in S"eden# 8e s%o!e very %lainly and the children understood every "ord# After the lecture they "aited outside the schoolhouse# When the lecturer came out they too! hold of hands and "al!ed gravely u% to him, as!ing if they might s%ea! to him# The stranger must have "ondered at the t"o rosy, baby&faced children standing there tal!ing "ith an earnestness more in !ee%ing "ith %eo%le thrice their ageI but he listened graciously to them# They related "hat had ha%%ened in their home, and as!ed the lecturer if he thought their mother and their sisters and brothers had died of the sic!ness he had described# G>ery li!ely,G he ans"ered# G9t could hardly have been any other disease#G 9f only the mother and father had !no"n "hat the children learned that evening, they might have %rotected themselves# 9f they had burned the clothing of the vagabond "omanI if they had scoured and aired the cabin and had not used the old bedding, all "hom the children mourned might have been living yet# The lecturer said he could not say %ositively, but he believed that none of their dear ones "ould have been sic! had they understood ho" to guard against the infection# 7sa and Cats "aited a"hile before %utting the ne?t Luestion, for that "as the most im%ortant of all# 9t "as not true then that the gi%sy "oman had sent the sic!ness because they had befriended the one "ith "hom she "as angry# 9t "as not something s%ecial that had stric!en only them# The lecturer assured them that no %erson had the %o"er to bring sic!ness u%on another in that "ay#

Thereu%on the children than!ed him and "ent to their room# They tal!ed until late that night# The ne?t day they gave notice that they could not tend geese another year, but must go else"here# Where "ere they goingK Why, to try to find their father# They must tell him that their mother and the other children had died of a common ailment and not something s%ecial brought u%on them by an angry %erson# They "ere very glad that they had found out about this# No" it "as their duty to tell their father of it, for %robably he "as still trying to solve the mystery# 7sa and Cats set out for their old home on the heath# When they arrived they "ere shoc!ed to find the little cabin in flames# They "ent to the %arsonage and there they learned that a railroad "or!man had seen their father at Calmberget, far u% in La%land# 8e had been "or!ing in a mine and %ossibly "as still there# When the clergyman heard that the children "anted to go in search of their father he brought forth a ma% and sho"ed them ho" far it "as to Calmberget and tried to dissuade them from ma!ing the journey, but the children insisted that they must find their father# 8e had left home believing something that "as not true# They must find him and tell him that it "as all a mista!e# They did not "ant to s%end their little savings buying rail"ay tic!ets, therefore they decided to go all the "ay on foot, "hich they never regretted, as it %roved to be a remar!ably beautiful journey# efore they "ere out of SmAland, they sto%%ed at a farm house to buy food# The house"ife "as a !ind, motherly soul "ho too! an interest in the children# She as!ed them "ho they "ere and "here they came from, and they told her their story# G)ear, dearJ )ear, dearJG she inter%olated time and again "hen they "ere s%ea!ing# Later she %etted the children and stuffed them "ith all !inds of goodies, for "hich she "ould not acce%t a %enny# When they rose to than! her and go, the "oman as!ed them to sto% at her brother's farm in the ne?t to"nshi%# 7f course the children "ere delighted# GGive him my greetings and tell him "hat has ha%%ened to you,G said the %easant "oman# This the children did and "ere "ell treated# *rom every farm after that it "as al"ays' G9f you ha%%en to go in such and such a direction, sto% there or there and tell them "hat has ha%%ened to you#G 9n every farm house to "hich they "ere sent there "as al"ays a consum%tive# So 7sa and Cats "ent through the country unconsciously teaching the %eo%le ho" to combat that dreadful disease# Long, long ago, "hen the blac! %lague "as ravaging the country, 't"as said that a boy and a girl "ere seen "andering from house to house# The boy carried a ra!e, and if he sto%%ed and ra!ed in front of a house, it meant that there many should die, but not allI for the ra!e has coarse teeth and does not ta!e everything "ith it# The girl carried a broom, and if she came along and s"e%t before a door, it meant that all "ho lived "ithin must dieI for the broom is an im%lement that ma!es a clean s"ee%#

9t seems Luite remar!able that in our time t"o children should "ander through the land because of a cruel sic!ness# ut these children did not frighten %eo%le "ith the ra!e and the broom# They said rather' GWe "ill not content ourselves "ith merely ra!ing the yard and s"ee%ing the floors, "e "ill use mo% and brush, "ater and soa%# We "ill !ee% clean inside and outside of the door and "e ourselves "ill be clean in both mind and body# 9n this "ay "e "ill conLuer the sic!ness#G 7ne day, "hile still in La%land, A!!a too! the boy to Calmberget, "here they discovered little Cats lying unconscious at the mouth of the %it# 8e and 7sa had arrived there a short time before# That morning he had been roaming about, ho%ing to come across his father# 8e had ventured too near the shaft and been hurt by flying roc!s after the setting off of a blast# Thumbietot ran to the edge of the shaft and called do"n to the miners that a little boy "as injured# 9mmediately a number of labourers came rushing u% to little Cats# T"o of them carried him to the hut "here he and 7sa "ere staying# They did all they could to save him, but it "as too late# Thumbietot felt so sorry for %oor 7sa# 8e "anted to hel% and comfort herI but he !ne" that if he "ere to go to her no", he "ould only frighten herHsuch as he "asJ The night after the burial of little Cats, 7sa straight"ay shut herself in her hut# She sat alone recalling, one after another, things her brother had said and done# There "as so much to thin! about that she did not go straight to bed, but sat u% most of the night# The more she thought of her brother the more she realiMed ho" hard it "ould be to live "ithout him# At last she dro%%ed her head on the table and "e%t# GWhat shall 9 do no" that little Cats is goneKG she sobbed# 9t "as far along to"ard morning and 7sa, s%ent by the strain of her hard day, finally fell aslee%# She dreamed that little Cats softly o%ened the door and ste%%ed into the room# G7sa, you must go and find father,G he said# G8o" can 9 "hen 9 don't even !no" "here he isKG she re%lied in her dream# G)on't "orry about that,G returned little Cats in his usual, cheery "ay# G9'll send some one to hel% you#G :ust as 7sa, the goose girl, dreamed that little Cats had said this, there "as a !noc! at the door# 9t "as a real !noc!Hnot something she heard in the dream, but she "as so held by the dream that she could not tell the real from the unreal# As she "ent on to o%en the door, she thought' GThis must be the %erson little Cats %romised to send me#G

She "as right, for it "as Thumbietot come to tal! to her about her father# When he sa" that she "as not afraid of him, he told her in a fe" "ords "here her father "as and ho" to reach him# While he "as s%ea!ing, 7sa, the goose girl, gradually regained consciousnessI "hen he had finished she "as "ide a"a!e# Then she "as so terrified at the thought of tal!ing "ith an elf that she could not say than! you or anything else, but Luic!ly shut the door# As she did that she thought she sa" an e?%ression of %ain flash across the elf's face, but she could not hel% "hat she did, for she "as beside herself "ith fright# She cre%t into bed as Luic!ly as she could and dre" the covers over her head# Although she "as afraid of the elf, she had a feeling that he meant "ell by her# So the ne?t day she made haste to do as he had told her# WITH THE LAPLANDERS 7ne afternoon in :uly it rained frightfully u% around La!e Luossajaure# The La%landers, "ho lived mostly in the o%en during the summer, had cra"led under the tent and "ere sLuatting round the fire drin!ing coffee# The ne" settlers on the east shore of the la!e "or!ed diligently to have their homes in readiness before the severe Arctic "inter set in# They "ondered at the La%landers, "ho had lived in the far north for centuries "ithout even thin!ing that better %rotection "as needed against cold and storm than thin tent covering# The La%landers, on the other hand, "ondered at the ne" settlers giving themselves so much needless, hard "or!, "hen nothing more "as necessary to live comfortably than a fe" reindeer and a tent# They only had to drive the %oles into the ground and s%read the covers over them, and their abodes "ere ready# They did not have to trouble themselves about decorating or furnishing# The %rinci%al thing "as to scatter some s%ruce t"igs on the floor, s%read a fe" s!ins, and hang the big !ettle, in "hich they coo!ed their reindeer meat, on a chain sus%ended from the to% of the tent %oles# While the La%landers "ere chatting over their coffee cu%s, a ro" boat coming from the =iruna side %ulled ashore at the La%%s' Luarters# A "or!man and a young girl, bet"een thirteen and fourteen, ste%%ed from the boat# The girl "as 7sa# The La%% dogs bounded do"n to them, bar!ing loudly, and a native %o!ed his head out of the tent o%ening to see "hat "as going on# 8e "as glad "hen he sa" the "or!man, for he "as a friend of the La%landersHa !indly and sociable man, "ho could s%ea! their native tongue# The La%% called to him to cra"l under the tent#

G$ou're just in time, SEderbergJG he said# GThe coffee %ot is on the fire# No one can do any "or! in this rain, so come in and tell us the ne"s#G The "or!man "ent in, and, "ith much ado and amid a great deal of laughter and jo!ing, %laces "ere made for SEderberg and 7sa, though the tent "as already cro"ded to the limit "ith natives# 7sa understood none of the conversation# She sat dumb and loo!ed in "onderment at the !ettle and coffee %otI at the fire and smo!eI at the La%% men and La%% "omenI at the children and dogsI the "alls and floorI the coffee cu%s and tobacco %i%esI the multi&coloured costumes and crude im%lements# All this "as ne" to her# Suddenly she lo"ered her glance, conscious that every one in the tent "as loo!ing at her# SEderberg must have said something about her, for no" both La%% men and La%% "omen too! the short %i%es from their mouths and stared at her in o%en&eyed "onder and a"e# The La%lander at her side %atted her shoulder and nodded, saying in S"edish, Gbra, braJG Qgood, goodJR A La%% "oman filled a cu% to the brim "ith coffee and %assed it under difficulties, "hile a La%% boy, "ho "as about her o"n age, "riggled and cra"led bet"een the sLuatters over to her# 7sa felt that SEderberg "as telling the La%landers that she had just buried her little brother, Cats# She "ished he "ould find out about her father instead# The elf had said that he lived "ith the La%%s, "ho cam%ed "est of La!e Luossajaure, and she had begged leave to ride u% on a sand truc! to see! him, as no regular %assenger trains came so far# oth labourers and foremen had assisted her as best they could# An engineer had sent SEderberg across the la!e "ith her, as he s%o!e La%%ish# She had ho%ed to meet her father as soon as she arrived# 8er glance "andered an?iously from face to face, but she sa" only natives# 8er father "as not there# She noticed that the La%%s and the S"ede, SEderberg, gre" more and more earnest as they tal!ed among themselves# The La%%s shoo! their heads and ta%%ed their foreheads, as if they "ere s%ea!ing of some one that "as not Luite right in his mind# She became so uneasy that she could no longer endure the sus%ense and as!ed SEderberg "hat the La%landers !ne" of her father# GThey say he has gone fishing,G said the "or!man# GThey're not sure that he can get bac! to the cam% to&nightI but as soon as the "eather clears, one of them "ill go in search of him#G Thereu%on he turned to the La%%s and "ent on tal!ing to them# 8e did not "ish to give 7sa an o%%ortunity to Luestion him further about :on /sserson#

7la Ser!a himself, "ho "as the most distinguished man among the La%%s, had said that he "ould find 7sa's father, but he a%%eared to be in no haste and sat huddled outside the tent, thin!ing of :on /sserson and "ondering ho" best to tell him of his daughter's arrival# 9t "ould reLuire di%lomacy in order that :on /sserson might not become alarmed and flee# 8e "as an odd sort of man "ho "as afraid of children# 8e used to say that the sight of them made him so melancholy that he could not endure it#

While 7la Ser!a deliberated, 7sa, the goose girl, and Asla!, the young La%% boy "ho had stared so hard at her the night before, sat on the ground in front of the tent and chatted# Asla! had been to school and could s%ea! S"edish# 8e "as telling 7sa about the life of the GSamUfol!,G assuring her that they fared better than other %eo%le# 7sa thought that they lived "retchedly, and told him so# G$ou don't !no" "hat you are tal!ing aboutJG said Asla! curtly# G7nly sto% "ith us a "ee! and you shall see that "e are the ha%%iest %eo%le on earth#G G9f 9 "ere to sto% here a "hole "ee!, 9 should be cho!ed by all the smo!e in the tent,G 7sa retorted# G)on't say thatJG %rotested the boy# G$ou !no" nothing of us# Let me tell you something "hich "ill ma!e you understand that the longer you stay "ith us the more contented you "ill become#G Thereu%on Asla! began to tell 7sa ho" a sic!ness called GThe lac! PlagueG once raged throughout the land# 8e "as not certain as to "hether it had s"e%t through the real GSamUland,G "here they no" "ere, but in :Bmtland it had raged so brutally that among the SamUfol!, "ho lived in the forests and mountains there, all had died e?ce%t a boy of fifteen# Among the S"edes, "ho lived in the valleys, none "as left but a girl, "ho "as also fifteen years old# The boy and girl se%arately tram%ed the desolate country all "inter in search of other human beings# *inally, to"ard s%ring, the t"o met# Asla! continued' GThe S"edish girl begged the La%% boy to accom%any her south"ard, "here she could meet %eo%le of her o"n race# She did not "ish to tarry longer in :Bmtland, "here there "ere only vacant homesteads# 9'll ta!e you "herever you "ish to go,' said the boy, 'but not before "inter# 9t's s%ring no", and my reindeer go "est"ard to"ard the mountains# $ou !no" that "e "ho are of the SamUfol! must go "here our reindeer ta!e us#' The S"edish girl "as the daughter of "ealthy %arents# She "as used to living under a roof, slee%ing in a bed, and eating at a table# She had al"ays des%ised the %oor mountaineers and thought that those "ho lived under the o%en s!y "ere most unfortunateI but she "as afraid to return to her home, "here there "ere none but the dead# 'At least let me go "ith you to the mountains,' she said to the boy, 'so that 9 sha'n't have to tram% about here all alone and never hear the sound of a human voice#' GThe boy "illingly assented, so the girl "ent "ith the reindeer to the mountains# GThe herd yearned for the good %astures there, and every day tram%ed long distances to feed on the moss# There "as not time to %itch tents# The children had to lie on the sno"y ground and slee% "hen the reindeer sto%%ed to graMe# The girl often sighed and com%lained of being so tired that she must turn bac! to the valley# Nevertheless she "ent along to avoid being left "ithout human com%anionshi%# GWhen they reached the highlands the boy %itched a tent for the girl on a %retty hill that slo%ed to"ard a mountain broo!#

G9n the evening he lassoed and mil!ed the reindeer, and gave the girl mil! to drin!# 8e brought forth dried reindeer meat and reindeer cheese, "hich his %eo%le had sto"ed a"ay on the heights "hen they "ere there the summer before# GStill the girl grumbled all the "hile, and "as never satisfied# She "ould eat neither reindeer meat nor reindeer cheese, nor "ould she drin! reindeer mil!# She could not accustom herself to sLuatting in the tent or to lying on the ground "ith only a reindeer s!in and some s%ruce t"igs for a bed# GThe son of the mountains laughed at her "oes and continued to treat her !indly# GAfter a fe" days, the girl "ent u% to the boy "hen he "as mil!ing and as!ed if she might hel% him# She ne?t undertoo! to ma!e the fire under the !ettle, in "hich the reindeer meat "as to be coo!ed, then to carry "ater and to ma!e cheese# So the time %assed %leasantly# The "eather "as mild and food "as easily %rocured# Together they set snares for game, fished for salmon&trout in the ra%ids and %ic!ed cloud&berries in the s"am%# GWhen the summer "as gone, they moved farther do"n the mountains, "here %ine and leaf forests meet# There they %itched their tent# They had to "or! hard every day, but fared better, for food "as even more %lentiful than in the summer because of the game# GWhen the sno" came and the la!es began to freeMe, they dre" farther east to"ard the dense %ine forests# GAs soon as the tent "as u%, the "inter's "or! began# The boy taught the girl to ma!e t"ine from reindeer sine"s, to treat s!ins, to ma!e shoes and clothing of hides, to ma!e combs and tools of reindeer horn, to travel on s!is, and to drive a sledge dra"n by reindeer# GWhen they had lived through the dar! "inter and the sun began to shine all day and most of the night, the boy said to the girl that no" he "ould accom%any her south"ard, so that she might meet some of her o"n race# GThen the girl loo!ed at him astonished# G'Why do you "ant to send me a"ayK' she as!ed# ')o you long to be alone "ith your reindeerK' G'9 thought that you "ere the one that longed to get a"ayK' said the boy# G'9 have lived the life of the SamUfol! almost a year no",' re%lied the girl# 9 can't return to my %eo%le and live the shut&in life after having "andered freely on mountains and in forests# )on't drive me a"ay, but let me stay here# $our "ay of living is better than ours#' GThe girl stayed "ith the boy for the rest of her life, and never again did she long for the valleys# And you, 7sa, if you "ere to stay "ith us only a month, you could never again %art from us#G

With these "ords, Asla!, the La%% boy, finished his story# :ust then his father, 7la Ser!a, too! the %i%e from his mouth and rose# 7ld 7la understood more S"edish than he "as "illing to have any one !no", and he had overheard his son's remar!s# While he "as listening, it had suddenly flashed on him ho" he should handle this delicate matter of telling :on /sserson that his daughter had come in search of him# 7la Ser!a "ent do"n to La!e Luossajaure and had "al!ed a short distance along the strand, "hen he ha%%ened u%on a man "ho sat on a roc! fishing# The fisherman "as gray&haired and bent# 8is eyes blin!ed "earily and there "as something slac! and hel%less about him# 8e loo!ed li!e a man "ho had tried to carry a burden too heavy for him, or to solve a %roblem too difficult for him, "ho had become bro!en and des%ondent over his failure# G$ou must have had luc! "ith your fishing, :on, since you've been at it all nightKG said the mountaineer in La%%ish, as he a%%roached# The fisherman gave a start, then glanced u%# The bait on his hoo! "as gone and not a fish lay on the strand beside him# 8e hastened to rebait the hoo! and thro" out the line# 9n the meantime the mountaineer sLuatted on the grass beside him# GThere's a matter that 9 "anted to tal! over "ith you,G said 7la# G$ou !no" that 9 had a little daughter "ho died last "inter, and "e have al"ays missed her in the tent#G G$es, 9 !no",G said the fisherman abru%tly, a cloud %assing over his faceHas though he disli!ed being reminded of a dead child# G9t's not "orth "hile to s%end one's life grieving,G said the La%lander# G9 su%%ose it isn't#G GNo" 9'm thin!ing of ado%ting another child# )on't you thin! it "ould be a good ideaKG GThat de%ends on the child, 7la#G G9 "ill tell you "hat 9 !no" of the girl,G said 7la# Then he told the fisherman that around midsummer&time, t"o strange childrenHa boy and a girlHhad come to the mines to loo! for their father, but as their father "as a"ay, they had stayed to a"ait his return# While there, the boy had been !illed by a blast of roc!# Thereu%on 7la gave a beautiful descri%tion of ho" brave the little girl had been, and of ho" she had "on the admiration and sym%athy of everyone# G9s that the girl you "ant to ta!e into your tentKG as!ed the fisherman# G$es,G returned the La%%# GWhen "e heard her story "e "ere all dee%ly touched and said among ourselves that so good a sister "ould also ma!e a good daughter, and "e ho%ed that she "ould come to us#G

The fisherman sat Luietly thin!ing a moment# 9t "as %lain that he continued the conversation only to %lease his friend, the La%%# G9 %resume the girl is one of your raceKG GNo,G said 7la, Gshe doesn't belong to the SamUfol!#G GPerha%s she's the daughter of some ne" settler and is accustomed to the life hereKG GNo, she's from the far south,G re%lied 7la, as if this "as of small im%ortance# The fisherman gre" more interested# GThen 9 don't believe that you can ta!e her,G he said# G9t's doubtful if she could stand living in a tent in "inter, since she "as not brought u% that "ay#G GShe "ill find !ind %arents and !ind brothers and sisters in the tent,G insisted 7la Ser!a# G9t's "orse to be alone than to freeMe#G The fisherman became more and more Mealous to %revent the ado%tion# 9t seemed as if he could not bear the thought of a child of S"edish %arents being ta!en in by La%landers# G$ou said just no" that she had a father in the mine#G G8e's dead,G said the La%% abru%tly# G9 su%%ose you have thoroughly investigated this matter, 7laKG GWhat's the use of going to all that troubleKG disdained the La%%# G9 ought to !no"J Would the girl and her brother have been obliged to roam about the country if they had a father livingK Would t"o children have been forced to care for themselves if they had a fatherK The girl herself thin!s he's alive, but 9 say that he must be dead#G The man "ith the tired eyes turned to 7la# GWhat is the girl's name, 7laKG he as!ed# The mountaineer thought a"hile, then said' G9 can't remember it# 9 must as! her#G GAs! herJ 9s she already hereKG GShe's do"n at the cam%#G GWhat, 7laJ 8ave you ta!en her in before !no"ing her father's "ishesKG GWhat do 9 care for her fatherJ 9f he isn't dead, he's %robably the !ind of man "ho cares nothing for his child# 8e may be glad to have another ta!e her in hand#G

The fisherman thre" do"n his rod and rose "ith an alertness in his movements that bes%o!e ne" life# G9 don't thin! her father can be li!e other fol!,G continued the mountaineer# G9 dare say he is a man "ho is haunted by gloomy forebodings and therefore can not "or! steadily# What !ind of a father "ould that be for the girlKG While 7la "as tal!ing the fisherman started u% the strand# GWhere are you goingKG Lueried the La%%# G9'm going to have a loo! at your foster&daughter, 7la#G GGoodJG said the La%%# G;ome along and meet her# 9 thin! you'll say that she "ill be a good daughter to me#G The S"ede rushed on so ra%idly that the La%lander could hardly !ee% %ace "ith him# After a moment 7la said to his com%anion' GNo" 9 recall that her name is 7saHthis girl 9'm ado%ting#G The other man only !e%t hurrying along and old 7la Ser!a "as so "ell %leased that he "anted to laugh aloud# When they came in sight of the tents, 7la said a fe" "ords more# GShe came here to us SamUfol! to find her father and not to become my foster&child# ut if she doesn't find him, 9 shall be glad to !ee% her in my tent#G The fisherman hastened all the faster# G9 might have !no"n that he "ould be alarmed "hen 9 threatened to ta!e his daughter into the La%%s' Luarters,G laughed 7la to himself# When the man from =iruna, "ho had brought 7sa to the tent, turned bac! later in the day, he had t"o %eo%le "ith him in the boat, "ho sat close together, holding handsHas if they never again "anted to %art# They "ere :on /sserson and his daughter# oth "ere unli!e "hat they had been a fe" hours earlier# The father loo!ed less bent and "eary and his eyes "ere clear and good, as if at last he had found the ans"er to that "hich had troubled him so long# 7sa, the goose girl, did not glance longingly about, for she had found some one to care for her, and no" she could be a child again# HOMEWARD BOUND!

THE FIRST TRAVELLING DAY Saturday, +ctober first# The boy sat on the goosey&gander's bac! and rode u% amongst the clouds# Some thirty geese, in regular order, fle" ra%idly south"ard# There "as a rustling of feathers and the many "ings beat the air so noisily that one could scarcely hear one's o"n voice# A!!a from =ebne!aise fle" in the leadI after her came $!si and =a!si, =olme and NeljB, >iisi and =uusi, Corten Goosey&Gander and )unfin# The si? goslings "hich had accom%anied the floc! the autumn before had no" left to loo! after themselves# 9nstead, the old geese "ere ta!ing "ith them t"enty&t"o goslings that had gro"n u% in the glen that summer# /leven fle" to the right, eleven to the leftI and they did their best to fly at even distances, li!e the big birds# The %oor youngsters had never before been on a long tri% and at first they had difficulty in !ee%ing u% "ith the ra%id flight# GA!!a from =ebne!aiseJ A!!a from =ebne!aiseJG they cried in %laintive tones# GWhat's the matterKG said the leader&goose shar%ly# G7ur "ings are tired of moving, our "ings are tired of movingJG "ailed the young ones# GThe longer you !ee% it u%, the better it "ill go,G ans"ered the leader&goose, "ithout slac!ening her s%eed# And she "as Luite right, for "hen the goslings had flo"n t"o hours longer, they com%lained no more of being tired# ut in the mountain glen they had been in the habit of eating all day long, and very soon they began to feel hungry# GA!!a, A!!a, A!!a from =ebne!aiseJG "ailed the goslings %itifully# GWhat's the trouble no"KG as!ed the leader&goose# GWe're so hungry, "e can't fly any moreJG "him%ered the goslings# GWe're so hungry, "e can't fly any moreJG GWild geese must learn to eat air and drin! "ind,G said the leader&goose, and !e%t right on flying# 9t actually seemed as if the young ones "ere learning to live on "ind and air, for "hen they had flo"n a little longer, they said nothing more about being hungry# The goose floc! "as still in the mountain regions, and the old geese called out the names of all the %ea!s as they fle" %ast, so that the youngsters might learn them# When they had been calling out a "hile' GThis is Porsotjo!!o, this is SBrja!tjo!!o, this is Sulitelma,G and so on, the goslings became im%atient again#

GA!!a, A!!a, A!!aJG they shrie!ed in heart&rending tones# GWhat's "rongKG said the leader&goose# GWe haven't room in our heads for any more of those a"ful namesJG shrie!ed the goslings# GThe more you %ut into your heads the more you can get into them,G retorted the leader& goose, and continued to call out the Lueer names# The boy sat thin!ing that it "as about time the "ild geese betoo! themselves south"ard, for so much sno" had fallen that the ground "as "hite as far as the eye could see# There "as no use denying that it had been rather disagreeable in the glen to"ard the last# (ain and fog had succeeded each other "ithout any relief, and even if it did clear u% once in a "hile, immediately frost set in# erries and mushrooms, u%on "hich the boy had subsisted during the summer, "ere either froMen or decayed# *inally he had been com%elled to eat ra" fish, "hich "as something he disli!ed# The days had gro"n short and the long evenings and late mornings "ere rather tiresome for one "ho could not slee% the "hole time that the sun "as a"ay# No", at last, the goslings' "ings had gro"n, so that the geese could start for the south# The boy "as so ha%%y that he laughed and sang as he rode on the goose's bac!# 9t "as not only on account of the dar!ness and cold that he longed to get a"ay from La%landI there "ere other reasons too# The first "ee!s of his sojourn there the boy had not been the least bit homesic!# 8e thought he had never before seen such a glorious country# The only "orry he had had "as to !ee% the mosLuitoes from eating him u%# The boy had seen very little of the goosey&gander, because the big, "hite gander thought only of his )unfin and "as un"illing to leave her for a moment# 7n the other hand, Thumbietot had stuc! to A!!a and Gorgo, the eagle, and the three of them had %assed many ha%%y hours together# The t"o birds had ta!en him "ith them on long tri%s# 8e had stood on sno"&ca%%ed Count =ebne!aise, had loo!ed do"n at the glaciers and visited many high cliffs seldom tram%ed by human feet# A!!a had sho"n him dee%&hidden mountain dales and had let him %ee% into caves "here mother "olves brought u% their young# 8e had also made the acLuaintance of the tame reindeer that graMed in herds along the shores of the beautiful Torne La!e, and he had been do"n to the great falls and brought greetings to the bears that lived thereabouts from their friends and relatives in Westmanland# /ver since he had seen 7sa, the goose girl, he longed for the day "hen he might go home "ith Corten Goosey&Gander and be a normal human being once more# 8e "anted to be himself again, so that 7sa "ould not be afraid to tal! to him and "ould not shut the door in his face# $es, indeed, he "as glad that at last they "ere s%eeding south"ard# 8e "aved his ca% and cheered "hen he sa" the first %ine forest# 9n the same manner he greeted the first gray cabin, the first goat, the first cat, and the first chic!en#

They "ere continually meeting birds of %assage, flying no" in greater floc!s than in the s%ring# GWhere are you bound for, "ild geeseKG called the %assing birds# GWhere are you bound forKG GWe, li!e yourselves, are going abroad,G ans"ered the geese# GThose goslings of yours aren't ready to fly,G screamed the others# GThey'll never cross the sea "ith those %uny "ingsJG La%lander and reindeer "ere also leaving the mountains# When the "ild geese sighted the reindeer, they circled do"n and called out' GThan!s for your com%any this summerJG GA %leasant journey to you and a "elcome bac!JG returned the reindeer# ut "hen the bears sa" the "ild geese, they %ointed them out to the cubs and gro"led' G:ust loo! at those geeseI they are so afraid of a little cold they don't dare to stay at home in "inter#G ut the old geese "ere ready "ith a retort and cried to their goslings' GLoo! at those beasts that stay at home and slee% half the year rather than go to the trouble of travelling southJG )o"n in the %ine forest the young grouse sat huddled together and gaMed longingly after the big bird floc!s "hich, amid joy and merriment, %roceeded south"ard# GWhen "ill our turn comeKG they as!ed the mother grouse# G$ou "ill have to stay at home "ith mamma and %a%a,G she said# LEGENDS FROM H RJEDALEN Tuesday, +ctober fourth# The boy had had three days' travel in the rain and mist and longed for some sheltered noo!, "here he might rest a"hile# At last the geese alighted to feed and ease their "ings a bit# To his great relief the boy sa" an observation to"er on a hill close by, and dragged himself to it# When he had climbed to the to% of the to"er he found a %arty of tourists there, so he Luic!ly cra"led into a dar! corner and "as soon sound aslee%#

When the boy a"o!e, he began to feel uneasy because the tourists lingered so long in the to"er telling stories# 8e thought they "ould never go# Corten Goosey&Gander could not come for him "hile they "ere there and he !ne", of course, that the "ild geese "ere in a hurry to continue the journey# 9n the middle of a story he thought he heard hon!ing and the beating of "ings, as if the geese "ere flying a"ay, but he did not dare to venture over to the balustrade to find out if it "as so# At last, "hen the tourists "ere gone, and the boy could cra"l from his hiding %lace, he sa" no "ild geese, and no Corten Goosey&Gander came to fetch him# 8e called, G8ere am 9, "here are youKG as loud as he could, but his travelling com%anions did not a%%ear# Not for a second did he thin! they had deserted himI but he feared that they had met "ith some misha% and "as "ondering "hat he should do to find them, "hen ata!i, the raven, lit beside him# The boy never dreamed that he should greet ata!i "ith such a glad "elcome as he no" gave him# G)ear ata!i,G he burst forth# G8o" fortunate that you are hereJ Caybe you !no" "hat has become of Corten Goosey&Gander and the "ild geeseKG G9've just come "ith a greeting from them,G re%lied the raven# GA!!a sa" a hunter %ro"ling about on the mountain and therefore dared not stay to "ait for you, but has gone on ahead# Get u% on my bac! and you shall soon be "ith your friends#G The boy Luic!ly seated himself on the raven's bac! and ata!i "ould soon have caught u% "ith the geese had he not been hindered by a fog# 9t "as as if the morning sun had a"a!ened it to life# Little light veils of mist rose suddenly from the la!e, from fields, and from the forest# They thic!ened and s%read "ith marvellous ra%idity, and soon the entire ground "as hidden from sight by "hite, rolling mists# ata!i fle" along above the fog in clear air and s%ar!ling sunshine, but the "ild geese must have circled do"n among the dam% clouds, for it "as im%ossible to sight them# The boy and the raven called and shrie!ed, but got no res%onse# GWell, this is a stro!e of ill luc!JG said ata!i finally# G ut "e !no" that they are travelling to"ard the south, and of course 9'll find them as soon as the mist clears#G The boy "as distressed at the thought of being %arted from Corten Goosey&Gander just no", "hen the geese "ere on the "ing, and the big "hite one might meet "ith all sorts of misha%s# After Thumbietot had been sitting "orrying for t"o hours or more, he remar!ed to himself that, thus far, there had been no misha%, and it "as not "orth "hile to lose heart# :ust then he heard a rooster cro"ing do"n on the ground, and instantly he bent for"ard on the raven's bac! and called out' GWhat's the name of the country 9'm travelling overKG G9t's called 8Brjedalen, 8Brjedalen, 8Brjedalen,G cro"ed the rooster#

G8o" does it loo! do"n there "here you areKG the boy as!ed# G;liffs in the "est, "oods in the east, broad valleys across the "hole country,G re%lied the rooster# GThan! you,G cried the boy# G$ou give a clear account of it#G When they had travelled a little farther, he heard a cro" ca"ing do"n in the mist# GWhat !ind of %eo%le live in this countryKG shouted the boy# GGood, thrifty %easants,G ans"ered the cro"# GGood, thrifty %easants#G GWhat do they doKG as!ed the boy# GWhat do they doKG GThey raise cattle and fell forests,G ca"ed the cro"# GThan!s,G re%lied the boy# G$ou ans"er "ell#G A bit farther on he heard a human voice yodeling and singing do"n in the mist# G9s there any large city in this %art of the countryKG the boy as!ed# GWhatH"hatH"ho is it that callsKG cried the human voice# G9s there any large city in this regionKG the boy re%eated# G9 "ant to !no" "ho it is that calls,G shouted the human voice# G9 might have !no"n that 9 could get no information "hen 9 as!ed a human being a civil Luestion,G the boy retorted# 9t "as not long before the mist "ent a"ay as suddenly as it had come# Then the boy sa" a beautiful landsca%e, "ith high cliffs as in :Bmtland, but there "ere no large, flourishing settlements on the mountain slo%es# The villages lay far a%art, and the farms "ere small# ata!i follo"ed the stream south"ard till they came "ithin sight of a village# There he alighted in a stubble field and let the boy dismount# G9n the summer grain gre" on this ground,G said ata!i# GLoo! around and see if you can't find something eatable#G The boy acted u%on the suggestion and before long he found a blade of "heat# As he %ic!ed out the grains and ate them, ata!i tal!ed to him# G)o you see that mountain to"ering directly south of usKG he as!ed# G$es, of course, 9 see it,G said the boy# G9t is called SonfjBllet,G continued the ravenI Gyou can imagine that "olves "ere %lentiful there once u%on a time#G

G9t must have been an ideal %lace for "olves,G said the boy# GThe %eo%le "ho lived here in the valley "ere freLuently attac!ed by them,G remar!ed the raven# GPerha%s you remember a good "olf story you could tell meKG said the boy# G9've been told that a long, long time ago the "olves from SonfjBllet are su%%osed to have "aylaid a man "ho had gone out to %eddle his "ares,G began ata!i# G8e "as from 8ede, a village a fe" miles do"n the valley# 9t "as "inter time and the "olves made for him as he "as driving over the ice on La!e Ljusna# There "ere about nine or ten, and the man from 8ede had a %oor old horse, so there "as very little ho%e of his esca%ing# GWhen the man heard the "olves ho"l and sa" ho" many there "ere after him, he lost his head, and it did not occur to him that he ought to dum% his cas!s and jugs out of the sledge, to lighten the load# 8e only "hi%%ed u% the horse and made the best s%eed he could, but he soon observed that the "olves "ere gaining on him# The shores "ere desolate and he "as fourteen miles from the nearest farm# 8e thought that his final hour had come, and "as %aralyMed "ith fear# GWhile he sat there, terrified, he sa" something move in the brush, "hich had been set in the ice to mar! out the roadI and "hen he discovered "ho it "as that "al!ed there, his fear gre" more and more intense# GWild beasts "ere not coming to"ard him, but a %oor old "oman, named *inn&Calin, "ho "as in the habit of roaming about on high"ays and by"ays# She "as a hunchbac!, and slightly lame, so he recogniMed her at a distance# GThe old "oman "as "al!ing straight to"ard the "olves# The sledge had hidden them from her vie", and the man com%rehended at once that, if he "ere to drive on "ithout "arning her, she "ould "al! right into the ja"s of the "ild beasts, and "hile they "ere rending her, he "ould have time enough to get a"ay# GThe old "oman "al!ed slo"ly, bent over a cane# 9t "as %lain that she "as doomed if he did not hel% her, but even if he "ere to sto% and ta!e her into the sledge, it "as by no means certain that she "ould be safe# Core than li!ely the "olves "ould catch u% "ith them, and he and she and the horse "ould all be !illed# 8e "ondered if it "ere not better to sacrifice one life in order that t"o might be s%aredHthis flashed u%on him the minute he sa" the old "oman# 8e had also time to thin! ho" it "ould be "ith him after"ardHif %erchance he might not regret that he had not succoured herI or if %eo%le should some day learn of the meeting and that he had not tried to hel% her# 9t "as a terrible tem%tation# G'9 "ould rather not have seen her,' he said to himself# G:ust then the "olves ho"led savagely# The horse reared, %lunged for"ard, and dashed %ast the old beggar "oman# She, too, had heard the ho"ling of the "olves, and, as the man from 8ede drove by, he sa" that the old "oman !ne" "hat a"aited her# She stood motionless, her mouth o%en for a cry, her arms stretched out for hel%# ut she neither

cried nor tried to thro" herself into the sledge# Something seemed to have turned her to stone# '9t "as 9,' thought the man# '9 must have loo!ed li!e a demon as 9 %assed#' G8e tried to feel satisfied, no" that he "as certain of esca%eI but at that very moment his heart re%roached him# Never before had he done a dastardly thing, and he felt no" that his "hole life "as blasted# G'Let come "hat may,' he said, and reined in the horse, '9 cannot leave her alone "ith the "olvesJ' G9t "as "ith great difficulty that he got the horse to turn, but in the end he managed it and %rom%tly drove bac! to her# G' e Luic! and get into the sledge,' he said grufflyI for he "as mad "ith himself for not leaving the old "oman to her fate# G'$ou might stay at home once in a"hile, you old hagJ' he gro"led# 'No" both my horse and 9 "ill come to grief on your account#' GThe old "oman did not say a "ord, but the man from 8ede "as in no mood to s%are her# G'The horse has already tram%ed thirty&five miles to&day, and the load hasn't lightened any since you got u% on itJ' he grumbled, 'so that you must understand he'll soon be e?hausted#' GThe sledge runners crunched on the ice, but for all that he heard ho" the "olves %anted, and !ne" that the beasts "ere almost u%on him# G'9t's all u% "ith usJ' he said# 'Cuch good it "as, either to you or to me, this attem%t to save you, *inn&CalinJ' G<% to this %oint the old "oman had been silentHli!e one "ho is accustomed to ta!e abuseHbut no" she said a fe" "ords# G'9 can't understand "hy you don't thro" out your "ares and lighten the load# $ou can come bac! again to&morro" and gather them u%#' GThe man realiMed that this "as sound advice and "as sur%rised that he had not thought of it before# 8e tossed the reins to the old "oman, loosed the ro%es that bound the cas!s, and %itched them out# The "olves "ere right u%on them, but no" they sto%%ed to e?amine that "hich "as thro"n on the ice, and the travellers again had the start of them# G'9f this does not hel% you,' said the old "oman, 'you understand, of course, that 9 "ill give myself u% to the "olves voluntarily, that you may esca%e#' GWhile she "as s%ea!ing the man "as trying to %ush a heavy bre"er's vat from the long sledge# As he tugged at this he %aused, as if he could not Luite ma!e u% his mind to thro" it outI but, in reality, his mind "as ta!en u% "ith something altogether different#

G'Surely a man and a horse "ho have no infirmities need not let a feeble old "oman be devoured by "olves for their sa!esJ' he thought# 'There must be some other "ay of salvation# Why, of course, there isJ 9t's only my stu%idity that hinders me from finding the "ay#' GAgain he started to %ush the vat, then %aused once more and burst out laughing# GThe old "oman "as alarmed and "ondered if he had gone mad, but the man from 8ede "as laughing at himself because he had been so stu%id all the "hile# 9t "as the sim%lest thing in the "orld to save all three of them# 8e could not imagine "hy he had not thought of it before# G'Listen to "hat 9 say to you, CalinJ' he said# '9t "as s%lendid of you to be "illing to thro" yourself to the "olves# ut you "on't have to do that because 9 !no" ho" "e can all three be hel%ed "ithout endangering the life of any# (emember, "hatever 9 may do, you are to sit still and drive do"n to LinsBll# There you must "a!en the to"ns%eo%le and tell them that 9'm alone out here on the ice, surrounded by "olves, and as! them to come and hel% me#' GThe man "aited until the "olves "ere almost u%on the sledge# Then he rolled out the big bre"er's vat, jum%ed do"n, and cra"led in under it# G9t "as a huge vat, large enough to hold a "hole ;hristmas bre"# The "olves %ounced u%on it and bit at the hoo%s, but the vat "as too heavy for them to move# They could not get at the man inside# G8e !ne" that he "as safe and laughed at the "olves# After a bit he "as serious again# G'*or the future, "hen 9 get into a tight %lace, 9 shall remember this vat, and 9 shall bear in mind that 9 need never "rong either myself or others, for there is al"ays a third "ay out of a difficulty if only one can hit u%on it#'G With this ata!i closed his narrative# The boy noticed that the raven never s%o!e unless there "as some s%ecial meaning bac! of his "ords, and the longer he listened to him, the more thoughtful he became# G9 "onder "hy you told me that storyKG remar!ed the boy# G9 just ha%%ened to thin! of it as 9 stood here, gaMing u% at SonfjBllet,G re%lied the raven# No" they had travelled farther do"n La!e Ljusna and in an hour or so they came to =olsBtt, close to the border of 8Blsingland# 8ere the raven alighted near a little hut that had no "indo"sHonly a shutter# *rom the chimney rose s%ar!s and smo!e, and from "ithin the sound of heavy hammering "as heard# GWhenever 9 see this smithy,G observed the raven, G9'm reminded that, in former times, there "ere such s!illed blac!smiths here in 8Brjedalen, more es%ecially in this villageH that they couldn't be matched in the "hole country#G

GPerha%s you also remember a story about themKG said the boy# G$es,G returned ata!i, G9 remember one about a smith from 8Brjedalen "ho once invited t"o other master blac!smithsHone from )alecarlia and one from >ermlandHto com%ete "ith him at nail&ma!ing# The challenge "as acce%ted and the three blac!smiths met here at =olsBtt# The )alecarlian began# 8e forged a doMen nails, so even and smooth and shar% that they couldn't be im%roved u%on# After him came the >ermlander# 8e, too, forged a doMen nails, "hich "ere Luite %erfect and, moreover, he finished them in half the time that it too! the )alecarlian# When the judges sa" this they said to the 8Brjedal smith that it "ouldn't be "orth "hile for him to try, since he could not forge better than the )alecarlian or faster than the >ermlander# G'9 sha'n't give u%J There must be still another "ay of e?celling,' insisted the 8Brjedal smith# G8e %laced the iron on the anvil "ithout heating it at the forgeI he sim%ly hammered it hot and forged nail after nail, "ithout the use of either anvil or bello"s# None of the judges had ever seen a blac!smith "ield a hammer more masterfully, and the 8Brjedal smith "as %roclaimed the best in the land#G With these remar!s ata!i subsided, and the boy gre" even more thoughtful# G9 "onder "hat your %ur%ose "as in telling me thatKG he Lueried# GThe story dro%%ed into my mind "hen 9 sa" the old smithy again,G said ata!i in an offhand manner# The t"o travellers rose again into the air and the raven carried the boy south"ard till they came to LillhBrdal Parish, "here he alighted on a leafy mound at the to% of a ridge# G9 "onder if you !no" u%on "hat mound you are standingKG said ata!i# The boy had to confess that he did not !no"# GThis is a grave,G said ata!i# G eneath this mound lies the first settler in 8Brjedalen#G GPerha%s you have a story to tell of him tooKG said the boy# G9 haven't heard much about him, but 9 thin! he "as a Nor"egian# 8e had served "ith a Nor"egian !ing, got into his bad graces, and had to flee the country# GLater he "ent over to the S"edish !ing, "ho lived at <%sala, and too! service "ith him# ut, after a time, he as!ed for the hand of the !ing's sister in marriage, and "hen the !ing "ouldn't give him such a high&born bride, he elo%ed "ith her# y that time he had managed to get himself into such disfavour that it "asn't safe for him to live either in Nor"ay or S"eden, and he did not "ish to move to a foreign country# ' ut there must still be a course o%en to me,' he thought# With his servants and treasures, he journeyed through )alecarlia until he arrived in the desolate forests beyond the outs!irts of the %rovince# There he settled, built houses and bro!e u% land# Thus, you see, he "as the first man to settle in this %art of the country#G

As the boy listened to the last story, he loo!ed very serious# G9 "onder "hat your object is in telling me all thisKG he re%eated# ata!i t"isted and turned and scre"ed u% his eyes, and it "as some time before he ans"ered the boy# GSince "e are here alone,G he said finally, G9 shall ta!e this o%%ortunity to Luestion you regarding a certain matter# G8ave you ever tried to ascertain u%on "hat terms the elf "ho transformed you "as to restore you to a normal human beingKG GThe only sti%ulation 9've heard anything about "as that 9 should ta!e the "hite goosey& gander u% to La%land and bring him bac! to S!Ane, safe and sound#G G9 thought as much,G said ata!iI Gfor "hen last "e met, you tal!ed confidently of there being nothing more contem%tible than deceiving a friend "ho trusts one# $ou'd better as! A!!a about the terms# $ou !no", 9 dare say, that she "as at your home and tal!ed "ith the elf#G GA!!a hasn't told me of this,G said the boy "onderingly# GShe must have thought that it "as best for you not to !no" just "hat the elf did say# Naturally she "ould rather hel% you than Corten Goosey&Gander#G G9t is singular, ata!i, that you al"ays have a "ay of ma!ing me feel unha%%y and an?ious,G said the boy# G9 dare say it might seem so,G continued the raven, Gbut this time 9 believe that you "ill be grateful to me for telling you that the elf's "ords "ere to this effect' $ou "ere to become a normal human being again if you "ould bring bac! Corten Goosey&Gander that your mother might lay him on the bloc! and cho% his head off#G The boy lea%ed u%# GThat's only one of your base fabrications,G he cried indignantly# G$ou can as! A!!a yourself,G said ata!i# G9 see her coming u% there "ith her "hole floc!# And don't forget "hat 9 have told you to&day# There is usually a "ay out of all difficulties, if only one can find it# 9 shall be interested to see "hat success you have#G VERMLAND AND DALSLAND Wednesday, +ctober fifth# To&day the boy too! advantage of the rest hour, "hen A!!a "as feeding a%art from the other "ild geese, to as! her if that "hich ata!i had related "as true, and A!!a could

not deny it# The boy made the leader&goose %romise that she "ould not divulge the secret to Corten Goosey&Gander# The big "hite gander "as so brave and generous that he might do something rash "ere he to learn of the elf's sti%ulations# Later the boy sat on the goose&bac!, glum and silent, and hung his head# 8e heard the "ild geese call out to the goslings that no" they "ere in )alarne, they could see StBdjan in the north, and that no" they "ere flying over @sterdal (iver to 8orrmund La!e and "ere coming to >esterdal (iver# ut the boy did not care even to glance at all this# G9 shall %robably travel around "ith "ild geese the rest of my life,G he remar!ed to himself, Gand 9 am li!ely to see more of this land than 9 "ish#G 8e "as Luite as indifferent "hen the "ild geese called out to him that no" they had arrived in >ermland and that the stream they "ere follo"ing south"ard "as =larBlven# G9've seen so many rivers already,G thought the boy, G"hy bother to loo! at one moreKG /ven had he been more eager for sight&seeing, there "as not very much to be seen, for northern >ermland is nothing but vast, monotonous forest tracts, through "hich =larBlven "indsHnarro" and rich in ra%ids# 8ere and there one can see a charcoal !iln, a forest clearing, or a fe" lo", chimneyless huts, occu%ied by *inns# ut the forest as a "hole is so e?tensive one might fancy it "as far u% in La%land#

Thursday, +ctober sixth# The "ild geese follo"ed =larBlven as far as the big iron foundries at Con! *ors# Then they %roceeded "est"ard to *ry!sdalen# efore they got to La!e *ry!en it began to gro" dus!y, and they lit in a little "et morass on a "ooded hill# The morass "as certainly a good night Luarter for the "ild geese, but the boy thought it dismal and rough, and "ished for a better slee%ing %lace# While he "as still high in the air, he had noticed that belo" the ridge lay a number of farms, and "ith great haste he %roceeded to see! them out# They "ere farther a"ay than he had fancied and several times he "as tem%ted to turn bac!# Presently the "oods became less dense, and he came to a road s!irting the edge of the forest# *rom it branched a %retty birch&bordered lane, "hich led do"n to a farm, and immediately he hastened to"ard it# *irst the boy entered a farm yard as large as a city mar!et%lace and enclosed by a long ro" of red houses# As he crossed the yard, he sa" another farm "here the d"elling& house faced a gravel %ath and a "ide la"n# ac! of the house there "as a garden thic! "ith foliage# The d"elling itself "as small and humble, but the garden "as edged by a ro" of e?ceedingly tall mountain&ash trees, so close together that they formed a real "all around it# 9t a%%eared to the boy as if he "ere coming into a great, high&vaulted chamber, "ith the lovely blue s!y for a ceiling# The mountain&ash "ere thic! "ith clusters of red berries, the grass %lots "ere still green, of course, but that night there "as a full moon, and as the bright moonlight fell u%on the grass it loo!ed as "hite as silver#

No human being "as in sight and the boy could "ander freely "herever he "ished# When he "as in the garden he sa" something "hich almost %ut him in good humour# 8e had climbed a mountain&ash to eat berries, but before he could reach a cluster he caught sight of a barberry bush, "hich "as also full of berries# 8e slid along the ash branch and clambered u% into the barberry bush, but he "as no sooner there than he discovered a currant bush, on "hich still hung long red clusters# Ne?t he sa" that the garden "as full of gooseberries and ras%berries and dog&rose bushesI that there "ere cabbages and turni%s in the vegetable beds and berries on every bush, seeds on the herbs and grain&filled ears on every blade# And there on the %athHno, of course he could not mista!e itH"as a big red a%%le "hich shone in the moonlight# The boy sat do"n at the side of the %ath, "ith the big red a%%le in front of him, and began cutting little %ieces from it "ith his sheath !nife# G9t "ouldn't be such a serious matter to be an elf all one's life if it "ere al"ays as easy to get good food as it is here,G he thought# 8e sat and mused as he ate, "ondering finally if it "ould not be as "ell for him to remain here and let the "ild geese travel south "ithout him# G9 don't !no" for the life of me ho" 9 can ever e?%lain to Corten Goosey&Gander that 9 cannot go home,G thought he# G9t "ould be better "ere 9 to leave him altogether# 9 could gather %rovisions enough for the "inter, as "ell as the sLuirrels do, and if 9 "ere to live in a dar! corner of the stable or the co" shed, 9 shouldn't freeMe to death#G :ust as he "as thin!ing this, he heard a light rustle over his head, and a second later something "hich resembled a birch stum% stood on the ground beside him# The stum% t"isted and turned, and t"o bright dots on to% of it glo"ed li!e coals of fire# 9t loo!ed li!e some enchantment# 8o"ever, the boy soon remar!ed that the stum% had a hoo!ed bea! and big feather "reaths around its glo"ing eyes# Then he !ne" that this "as no enchantment# G9t is a real %leasure to meet a living creature,G remar!ed the boy# GPerha%s you "ill be good enough to tell me the name of this %lace, Crs# ro"n 7"l, and "hat sort of fol! live here#G That evening, as on all other evenings, the o"l had %erched on a rung of the big ladder %ro%%ed against the roof, from "hich she had loo!ed do"n to"ard the gravel "al!s and grass %lots, "atching for rats# >ery much to her sur%rise, not a single grays!in had a%%eared# She sa" instead something that loo!ed li!e a human being, but much, much smaller, moving about in the garden# GThat's the one "ho is scaring a"ay the ratsJG thought the o"l# GWhat in the "orld can it beK 9t's not a sLuirrel, nor a !itten, nor a "easel,G she observed# G9 su%%ose that a bird "ho has lived on an old %lace li!e this as long as 9 have ought to !no" about everything in the "orldI but this is beyond my com%rehension,G she concluded#

She had been staring at the object that moved on the gravel %ath until her eyes burned# *inally curiosity got the better of her and she fle" do"n to the ground to have a closer vie" of the stranger# When the boy began to s%ea!, the o"l bent for"ard and loo!ed him u% and do"n# G8e has neither cla"s nor horns,G she remar!ed to herself, Gyet "ho !no"s but he may have a %oisonous fang or some even more dangerous "ea%on# 9 must try to find out "hat he %asses for before 9 venture to touch him#G GThe %lace is called CArbac!a,G said the o"l, Gand gentlefol! lived here once u%on a time# ut you, yourself, "ho are youKG G9 thin! of moving in here,G volunteered the boy "ithout ans"ering the o"l's Luestion# GWould it be %ossible, do you thin!KG G7h, yesHbut it's not much of a %lace no" com%ared to "hat it "as once,G said the o"l# G$ou can "eather it here 9 dare say# 9t all de%ends u%on "hat you e?%ect to live on# )o you intend to ta!e u% the rat chaseKG G7h, by no meansJG declared the boy# GThere is more fear of the rats eating me than that 9 shall do them any harm#G G9t can't be that he is as harmless as he says,G thought the bro"n o"l# GAll the same 9 believe 9'll ma!e an attem%tV#G She rose into the air, and in a second her cla"s "ere fastened in Nils 8olgersson's shoulder and she "as trying to hac! at his eyes# The boy shielded both eyes "ith one hand and tried to free himself "ith the other, at the same time calling "ith all his might for hel%# 8e realiMed that he "as in deadly %eril and thought that this time, surely, it "as all over "ith himJ No" 9 must tell you of a strange coincidence' The very year that Nils 8olgersson travelled "ith the "ild geese there "as a "oman "ho thought of "riting a boo! about S"eden, "hich "ould be suitable for children to read in the schools# She had thought of this from ;hristmas time until the follo"ing autumnI but not a line of the boo! had she "ritten# At last she became so tired of the "hole thing that she said to herself' G$ou are not fitted for such "or!# Sit do"n and com%ose stories and legends, as usual, and let another "rite this boo!, "hich has got to be serious and instructive, and in "hich there must not be one untruthful "ord#G 9t "as as good as settled that she "ould abandon the idea# ut she thought, very naturally, it "ould have been agreeable to "rite something beautiful about S"eden, and it "as hard for her to relinLuish her "or!# *inally, it occurred to her that maybe it "as because she lived in a city, "ith only gray streets and house "alls around her, that she could ma!e no head"ay "ith the "riting# Perha%s if she "ere to go into the country, "here she could see "oods and fields, that it might go better# She "as from >ermland, and it "as %erfectly clear to her that she "ished to begin the boo! "ith that %rovince# *irst of all she "ould "rite about the %lace "here she had

gro"n u%# 9t "as a little homestead, far removed from the great "orld, "here many old& time habits and customs "ere retained# She thought that it "ould be entertaining for children to hear of the manifold duties "hich had succeeded one another the year around# She "anted to tell them ho" they celebrated ;hristmas and Ne" $ear and /aster and Cidsummer )ay in her homeI "hat !ind of house furnishings they hadI "hat the !itchen and larder "ere li!e, and ho" the co" shed, stable, lodge, and bath house had loo!ed# ut "hen she "as to "rite about it the %en "ould not move# Why this "as she could not in the least understandI nevertheless it "as so# True, she remembered it all just as distinctly as if she "ere still living in the midst of it# She argued "ith herself that since she "as going into the country any"ay, %erha%s she ought to ma!e a little tri% to the old homestead that she might see it again before "riting about it# She had not been there in many years and did not thin! it half bad to have a reason for the journey# 9n fact she had al"ays longed to be there, no matter in "hat %art of the "orld she ha%%ened to be# She had seen many %laces that "ere more %retentious and %rettier# ut no"here could she find such comfort and %rotection as in the home of her childhood# 9t "as not such an easy matter for her to go home as one might thin!, for the estate had been sold to %eo%le she did not !no"# She felt, to be sure, that they "ould receive her "ell, but she did not care to go to the old %lace to sit and tal! "ith strangers, for she "anted to recall ho" it had been in times gone by# That "as "hy she %lanned it so as to arrive there late in the evening, "hen the day's "or! "as done and the %eo%le "ere indoors# She had never imagined that it "ould be so "onderful to come homeJ As she sat in the cart and drove to"ard the old homestead she fancied that she "as gro"ing younger and younger every minute, and that soon she "ould no longer be an oldish %erson "ith hair that "as turning gray, but a little girl in short s!irts "ith a long fla?en braid# As she recogniMed each farm along the road, she could not %icture anything else than that everything at home "ould be as in bygone days# 8er father and mother and brothers and sisters "ould be standing on the %orch to "elcome herI the old house!ee%er "ould run to the !itchen "indo" to see "ho "as coming, and Nero and *reja and another dog or t"o "ould come bounding and jum%ing u% on her# The nearer she a%%roached the %lace the ha%%ier she felt# 9t "as autumn, "hich meant a busy time "ith a round of duties# 9t must have been all these varying duties "hich %revented home from ever being monotonous# All along the "ay the farmers "ere digging %otatoes, and %robably they "ould be doing li!e"ise at her home# That meant that they must begin immediately to grate %otatoes and ma!e %otato flour# The autumn had been a mild oneI she "ondered if everything in the garden had already been stored# The cabbages "ere still out, but %erha%s the ho%s had been %ic!ed, and all the a%%les# 9t "ould be "ell if they "ere not having house cleaning at home# Autumn fair time "as dra"ing nigh, every"here the cleaning and scouring had to be done before the fair o%ened# That "as regarded as a great eventHmore es%ecially by the servants# 9t "as a %leasure to go into the !itchen on Car!et /ve and see the ne"ly scoured floor stre"n "ith juni%er t"igs, the "hite"ashed "alls and the shining co%%er utensils "hich "ere sus%ended from the ceiling#

/ven after the fair festivities "ere over there "ould not be much of a breathing s%ell, for then came the "or! on the fla?# )uring dog days the fla? had been s%read out on a meado" to mould# No" it "as laid in the old bath house, "here the stove "as lighted to dry it out# When it "as dry enough to handle all the "omen in the neighbourhood "ere called together# They sat outside the bath house and %ic!ed the fla? to %ieces# Then they beat it "ith s"ingles, to se%arate the fine "hite fibres from the dry stems# As they "or!ed, the "omen gre" gray "ith dustI their hair and clothing "ere covered "ith fla? seed, but they did not seem to mind it# All day the s"ingles %ounded, and the chatter "ent on, so that "hen one "ent near the old bath house it sounded as if a blustering storm had bro!en loose there# After the "or! "ith the fla?, came the big hard&tac! ba!ing, the shee% shearing, and the servants' moving time# 9n November there "ere busy slaughter days, "ith salting of meats, sausage ma!ing, ba!ing of blood %udding, and candle stee%ing# The seamstress "ho used to ma!e u% their homes%un dresses had to come at this time, of course, and those "ere al"ays t"o %leasant "ee!sH"hen the "omen fol! sat together and busied themselves "ith se"ing# The cobbler, "ho made shoes for the entire household, sat "or!ing at the same time in the men&servants' Luarters, and one never tired of "atching him as he cut the leather and soled and heeled the shoes and %ut eyelets in the shoestring holes# ut the greatest rush came around ;hristmas time# Lucia )ayH"hen the housemaid "ent about dressed in "hite, "ith candles in her hair, and served coffee to everybody at five in the morningHcame as a sort of reminder that for the ne?t t"o "ee!s they could not count on much slee%# *or no" they must bre" the ;hristmas ale, stee% the ;hristmas fish in lye, and do their ;hristmas ba!ing and ;hristmas scouring# She "as in the middle of the ba!ing, "ith %ans of ;hristmas buns and coo!y %latters all around her, "hen the driver dre" in the reins at the end of the lane as she had reLuested# She started li!e one suddenly a"a!ened from a sound slee%# 9t "as dismal for her "ho had just dreamed herself surrounded by all her %eo%le to be sitting alone in the late evening# As she ste%%ed from the "agon and started to "al! u% the long lane that she might come unobserved to her old home, she felt so !eenly the contrast bet"een then and no" that she "ould have %referred to turn bac!# G7f "hat use is it to come hereKG she sighed# G9t can't be the same as in the old daysJG 7n the other hand she felt that since she had travelled such a long distance, she "ould see the %lace at all events, so continued to "al! on, although she "as more de%ressed "ith every ste% that she too!# She had heard that it "as very much changedI and it certainly "asJ ut she did not observe this no" in the evening# She thought, rather, that everything "as Luite the same# There "as the %ond, "hich in her youth had been full of car% and "here no one dared fish, because it "as father's "ish that the car% should be left in %eace# 7ver there "ere the men&servants' Luarters, the larder and barn, "ith the farm yard bell over one gable and the "eather&vane over the other# The house yard "as li!e a circular room, "ith no outloo! in any direction, as it had been in her father's timeHfor he had not the heart to cut do"n as much as a bush#

She lingered in the shado" under the big mountain&ash at the entrance to the farm, and stood loo!ing about her# As she stood there a strange thing ha%%enedI a floc! of doves came and lit beside her# She could hardly believe that they "ere real birds, for doves are not in the habit of moving about after sundo"n# 9t must have been the beautiful moonlight that had a"a!ened these# They must have thought it "as da"n and flo"n from their dove&cotes, only to become confused, hardly !no"ing "here they "ere# When they sa" a human being they fle" over to her, as if she "ould set them right# There had been many floc!s of doves at the manor "hen her %arents lived there, for the doves "ere among the creatures "hich her father had ta!en under his s%ecial care# 9f one ever mentioned the !illing of a dove, it %ut him in a bad humour# She "as %leased that the %retty birds had come to meet her in the old home# Who could tell but the doves had flo"n out in the night to sho" her they had not forgotten that once u%on a time they had a good home there# Perha%s her father had sent his birds "ith a greeting to her, so that she "ould not feel so sad and lonely "hen she came to her former home# As she thought of this, there "elled u% "ithin her such an intense longing for the old times that her eyes filled "ith tears# Life had been beautiful in this %lace# They had had "ee!s of "or! bro!en by many holiday festivities# They had toiled hard all day, but at evening they had gathered around the lam% and read Tegner and (uneberg, GFru) Lenngren and GMamsell) remer# They had cultivated grain, but also roses and jasmine# They had s%un fla?, but had sung fol!&songs as they s%un# They had "or!ed hard at their history and grammar, but they had also %layed theatre and "ritten verses# They had stood at the !itchen stove and %re%ared food, but had learned, also, to %lay the flute and guitar, the violin and %iano# They had %lanted cabbages and turni%s, %eas and beans in one garden, but they had another full of a%%les and %ears and all !inds of berries# They had lived by themselves, and this "as "hy so many stories and legends "ere sto"ed a"ay in their memories# They had "orn homes%un clothes, but they had also been able to lead care&free and inde%endent lives# GNo"here else in the "orld do they !no" ho" to get so much out of life as they did at one of these little homesteads in my childhoodJG she thought# GThere "as just enough "or! and just enough %lay, and every day there "as a joy# 8o" 9 should love to come bac! here againJ No" that 9 have seen the %lace, it is hard to leave it#G Then she turned to the floc! of doves and said to themHlaughing at herself all the "hile' GWon't you fly to father and tell him that 9 long to come homeK 9 have "andered long enough in strange %laces# As! him if he can't arrange it so that 9 may soon turn bac! to my childhood's home#G The moment she had said this the floc! of doves rose and fle" a"ay# She tried to follo" them "ith her eyes, but they vanished instantly# 9t "as as if the "hole "hite com%any had dissolved in the shimmering air#

The doves had only just gone "hen she heard a cou%le of %iercing cries from the garden, and as she hastened thither she sa" a singular sight# There stood a tiny midget, no taller than a hand's breadth, struggling "ith a bro"n o"l# At first she "as so astonished that she could not move# ut "hen the midget cried more and more %itifully, she ste%%ed u% Luic!ly and %arted the fighters# The o"l s"ung herself into a tree, but the midget stood on the gravel %ath, "ithout attem%ting either to hide or to run a"ay# GThan!s for your hel%,G he said# G ut it "as very stu%id of you to let the o"l esca%e# 9 can't get a"ay from here, because she is sitting u% in the tree "atching me#G G9t "as thoughtless of me to let her go# ut to ma!e amends, can't 9 accom%any you to your homeKG as!ed she "ho "rote stories, some"hat sur%rised to thin! that in this une?%ected fashion she had got into conversation "ith one of the tiny fol!# Still she "as not so much sur%rised after all# 9t "as as if all the "hile she had been a"aiting some e?traordinary e?%erience, "hile she "al!ed in the moonlight outside her old home# GThe fact is, 9 had thought of sto%%ing here over night,G said the midget# G9f you "ill only sho" me a safe slee%ing %lace, 9 shall not be obliged to return to the forest before daybrea!#G GCust 9 sho" you a %lace to slee%K Are you not at home hereKG G9 understand that you ta!e me for one of the tiny fol!,G said the midget, Gbut 9'm a human being, li!e yourself, although 9 have been transformed by an elf#G GThat is the most remar!able thing 9 have ever heardJ Wouldn't you li!e to tell me ho" you ha%%ened to get into such a %lightKG The boy did not mind telling her of his adventures, and, as the narrative %roceeded, she "ho listened to him gre" more and more astonished and ha%%y# GWhat luc! to run across one "ho has travelled all over S"eden on the bac! of a gooseJG thought she# G:ust this "hich he is relating 9 shall "rite do"n in my boo!# No" 9 need "orry no more over that matter# 9t "as "ell that 9 came home# To thin! that 9 should find such hel% as soon as 9 came to the old %laceJG 9nstantly another thought flashed into her mind# She had sent "ord to her father by the doves that she longed for home, and almost immediately she had received hel% in the matter she had %ondered so long# Cight not this be the father's ans"er to her %rayerK THE TREASURE ON THE ISLAND ON THEIR WAY TO THE SEA Friday, +ctober se!enth# *rom the very start of the autumn tri% the "ild geese had flo"n straight southI but "hen they left *ry!sdalen they veered in another direction, travelling over "estern >ermland and )alsland, to"ard ohuslBn#

That "as a jolly tri%J The goslings "ere no" so used to flying that they com%lained no more of fatigue, and the boy "as fast recovering his good humour# 8e "as glad that he had tal!ed "ith a human being# 8e felt encouraged "hen she said to him that if he "ere to continue doing good to all "hom he met, as heretofore, it could not end badly for him# She "as not able to tell him ho" to get bac! his natural form, but she had given him a little ho%e and assurance, "hich ins%ired the boy to thin! out a "ay to %revent the big "hite gander from going home# G)o you !no", Corten Goosey&Gander, that it "ill be rather monotonous for us to stay at home all "inter after having been on a tri% li!e this,G he said, as they "ere flying far u% in the air# G9'm sitting here thin!ing that "e ought to go abroad "ith the geese#G GSurely you are not in earnestJG said the goosey&gander# Since he had %roved to the "ild geese his ability to travel "ith them all the "ay to La%land, he "as %erfectly satisfied to get bac! to the goose %en in 8olger Nilsson's co" shed# The boy sat silently a "hile and gaMed do"n on >ermland, "here the birch "oods, leafy groves, and gardens "ere clad in red and yello" autumn colours# G9 don't thin! 9've ever seen the earth beneath us as lovely as it is to&dayJG he finally remar!ed# GThe la!es are li!e blue satin bands# )on't you thin! it "ould be a %ity to settle do"n in West >emminghEg and never see any more of the "orldKG G9 thought you "anted to go home to your mother and father and sho" them "hat a s%lendid boy you had becomeKG said the goosey&gander# All summer he had been dreaming of "hat a %roud moment it "ould be for him "hen he should alight in the house yard before 8olger Nilsson's cabin and sho" )unfin and the si? goslings to the geese and chic!ens, the co"s and the cat, and to Cother 8olger Nilsson herself, so that he "as not very ha%%y over the boy's %ro%osal# GNo", Corten Goosey&Gander, don't you thin! yourself that it "ould be hard never to see anything more that is beautifulJG said the boy# G9 "ould rather see the fat grain fields of SEderslBtt than these lean hills,G ans"ered the goosey&gander# G ut you must !no" very "ell that if you really "ish to continue the tri%, 9 can't be %arted from you#G GThat is just the ans"er 9 had e?%ected from you,G said the boy, and his voice betrayed that he "as relieved of a great an?iety# Later, "hen they travelled over ohuslBn, the boy observed that the mountain stretches "ere more continuous, the valleys "ere more li!e little ravines blasted in the roc! foundation, "hile the long la!es at their base "ere as blac! as if they had come from the under"orld# This, too, "as a glorious country, and as the boy sa" it, "ith no" a stri% of sun, no" a shado", he thought that there "as something strange and "ild about it# 8e !ne" not "hy, but the idea came to him that once u%on a time there "ere many strong and brave heroes in these mystical regions "ho had %assed through many dangerous and

daring adventures# The old %assion of "anting to share in all sorts of "onderful adventures a"o!e in him# G9 might %ossibly miss not being in danger of my life at least once every day or t"o,G he thought# GAnyho" it's best to be content "ith things as they are#G 8e did not s%ea! of this idea to the big "hite gander, because the geese "ere no" flying over ohuslBn "ith all the s%eed they could muster, and the goosey&gander "as %uffing so hard that he "ould not have had the strength to re%ly# The sun "as far do"n on the horiMon, and disa%%eared every no" and then behind a hillI still the geese !e%t forging ahead# *inally, in the "est, they sa" a shining stri% of light, "hich gre" broader and broader "ith every "ing stro!e# Soon the sea s%read before them, mil! "hite "ith a shimmer of rose red and s!y blue, and "hen they had circled %ast the coast cliffs they sa" the sun again, as it hung over the sea, big and red and ready to %lunge into the "aves# As the boy gaMed at the broad, endless sea and the red evening sun, "hich had such a !indly glo" that he dared to loo! straight at it, he felt a sense of %eace and calm %enetrate his soul# G9t's not "orth "hile to be sad, Nils 8olgersson,G said the Sun# GThis is a beautiful "orld to live in both for big and little# 9t is also good to be free and ha%%y, and to have a great dome of o%en s!y above you#G

The geese stood slee%ing on a little roc! islet just beyond *jBllbac!a# When it dre" on to"ard midnight, and the moon hung high in the heavens, old A!!a shoo! the slee%iness out of her eyes# After that she "al!ed around and a"a!ened $!si and =a!si, =olme and NeljB, >iisi and =uusi, and, last of all, she gave Thumbietot a nudge "ith her bill that startled him# GWhat is it, Cother A!!aKG he as!ed, s%ringing u% in alarm# GNothing serious,G assured the leader&goose# G9t's just this' "e seven "ho have been long together "ant to fly a short distance out to sea to&night, and "e "ondered if you "ould care to come "ith us#G The boy !ne" that A!!a "ould not have %ro%osed this move had there not been something im%ortant on foot, so he %rom%tly seated himself on her bac!# The flight "as straight "est# The "ild geese first fle" over a belt of large and small islands near the coast, then over a broad e?%anse of o%en sea, till they reached the large cluster !no"n as the >Bder 9slands# All of them "ere lo" and roc!y, and in the moonlight one could see that they "ere rather large# A!!a loo!ed at one of the smallest islands and alighted there# 9t consisted of a round, gray stone hill, "ith a "ide cleft across it, into "hich the sea had cast fine, "hite sea sand and a fe" shells#

As the boy slid from the goose's bac! he noticed something Luite close to him that loo!ed li!e a jagged stone# ut almost at once he sa" that it "as a big vulture "hich had chosen the roc! island for a night harbour# efore the boy had time to "onder at the geese rec!lessly alighting so near a dangerous enemy, the bird fle" u% to them and the boy recogniMed Gorgo, the eagle# /vidently A!!a and Gorgo had arranged the meeting, for neither of them "as ta!en by sur%rise# GThis "as good of you, Gorgo,G said A!!a# G9 didn't e?%ect that you "ould be at the meeting %lace ahead of us# 8ave you been here longKG G9 came early in the evening,G re%lied Gorgo# G ut 9 fear that the only %raise 9 deserve is for !ee%ing my a%%ointment "ith you# 9've not been very successful in carrying out the orders you gave me#G G9'm sure, Gorgo, that you have done more than you care to admit,G assured A!!a# G ut before you relate your e?%eriences on the tri%, 9 shall as! Thumbietot to hel% me find something "hich is su%%osed to be buried on this island#G The boy stood gaMing admiringly at t"o beautiful shells, but "hen A!!a s%o!e his name, he glanced u%# G$ou must have "ondered, Thumbietot, "hy "e turned out of our course to fly here to the West Sea,G said A!!a# GTo be fran!, 9 did thin! it strange,G ans"ered the boy# G ut 9 !ne", of course, that you al"ays have some good reason for "hatever you do#G G$ou have a good o%inion of me,G returned A!!a, Gbut 9 almost fear you "ill lose it no", for it's very %robable that "e have made this journey in vain# GCany years ago it ha%%ened that t"o of the other old geese and myself encountered frightful storms during a s%ring flight and "ere "ind&driven to this island# When "e discovered that there "as only o%en sea before us, "e feared "e should be s"e%t so far out that "e should never find our "ay bac! to land, so "e lay do"n on the "aves bet"een these bare cliffs, "here the storm com%elled us to remain for several days# GWe suffered terribly from hungerI once "e ventured u% to the cleft on this island in search of food# We couldn't find a green blade, but "e sa" a number of securely tied bags half buried in the sand# We ho%ed to find grain in the bags and %ulled and tugged at them till "e tore the cloth# 8o"ever, no grain %oured out, but shining gold %ieces# *or such things "e "ild geese had no use, so "e left them "here they "ere# We haven't thought of the find in all these yearsI but this autumn something has come u% to ma!e us "ish for gold# GWe do not !no" that the treasure is still here, but "e have travelled all this "ay to as! you to loo! into the matter#G

With a shell in either hand the boy jum%ed do"n into the cleft and began to scoo% u% the sand# 8e found no bags, but "hen he had made a dee% hole he heard the clin! of metal and sa" that he had come u%on a gold %iece# Then he dug "ith his fingers and felt many coins in the sand# So he hurried bac! to A!!a# GThe bags have rotted and fallen a%art,G he e?claimed, Gand the money lies scattered all through the sand#G GThat's "ellJG said A!!a# GNo" fill in the hole and smooth it over so no one "ill notice the sand has been disturbed#G The boy did as he "as told, but "hen he came u% from the cleft he "as astonished to see that the "ild geese "ere lined u%, "ith A!!a in the lead, and "ere marching to"ard him "ith great solemnity# The geese %aused in front of him, and all bo"ed their heads many times, loo!ing so grave that he had to doff his ca% and ma!e an obeisance to them# GThe fact is,G said A!!a, G"e old geese have been thin!ing that if Thumbietot had been in the service of human beings and had done as much for them as he has for us they "ould not let him go "ithout re"arding him "ell#G G9 haven't hel%ed youI it is you "ho have ta!en good care of me,G returned the boy# GWe thin! also,G continued A!!a, Gthat "hen a human being has attended us on a "hole journey he shouldn't be allo"ed to leave us as %oor as "hen he came#G G9 !no" that "hat 9 have learned this year "ith you is "orth more to me than gold or lands,G said the boy# GSince these gold coins have been lying unclaimed in the cleft all these years, 9 thin! that you ought to have them,G declared the "ild goose# G9 thought you said something about needing this money yourselves,G reminded the boy# GWe do need it, so as to be able to give you such recom%ense as "ill ma!e your mother and father thin! you have been "or!ing as a goose boy "ith "orthy %eo%le#G The boy turned half round and cast a glance to"ard the sea, then faced about and loo!ed straight into A!!a's bright eyes# G9 thin! it strange, Cother A!!a, that you turn me a"ay from your service li!e this and %ay me off before 9 have given you notice,G he said# GAs long as "e "ild geese remain in S"eden, 9 trust that you "ill stay "ith us,G said A!!a# G9 only "anted to sho" you "here the treasure "as "hile "e could get to it "ithout going too far out of our course#G

GAll the same it loo!s as if you "ished to be rid of me before 9 "ant to go,G argued Thumbietot# GAfter all the good times "e have had together, 9 thin! you ought to let me go abroad "ith you#G When the boy said this, A!!a and the other "ild geese stretched their long nec!s straight u% and stood a moment, "ith bills half o%en, drin!ing in air# GThat is something 9 haven't thought about,G said A!!a, "hen she recovered herself# G efore you decide to come "ith us, "e had better hear "hat Gorgo has to say# $ou may as "ell !no" that "hen "e left La%land the agreement bet"een Gorgo and myself "as that he should travel to your home do"n in S!Ane to try to ma!e better terms for you "ith the elf#G GThat is true,G affirmed Gorgo, Gbut as 9 have already told you, luc! "as against me# 9 soon hunted u% 8olger Nilsson's croft and after circling u% and do"n over the %lace a cou%le of hours, 9 caught sight of the elf, s!ul!ing along bet"een the sheds# G9mmediately 9 s"oo%ed do"n u%on him and fle" off "ith him to a meado" "here "e could tal! together "ithout interru%tion# G9 told him that 9 had been sent by A!!a from =ebne!aise to as! if he couldn't give Nils 8olgersson easier terms# G'9 only "ish 9 couldJ' he ans"ered, 'for 9 have heard that he has conducted himself "ell on the tri%I but it is not in my %o"er to do so#' GThen 9 "as "rathy and said that 9 "ould bore out his eyes unless he gave in# G'$ou may do as you li!e,' he retorted, 'but as to Nils 8olgersson, it "ill turn out e?actly as 9 have said# $ou can tell him from me that he "ould do "ell to return soon "ith his goose, for matters on the farm are in a bad sha%e# 8is father has had to forfeit a bond for his brother, "hom he trusted# 8e has bought a horse "ith borro"ed money, and the beast "ent lame the first time he drove it# Since then it has been of no earthly use to him# Tell Nils 8olgersson that his %arents have had to sell t"o of the co"s and that they must give u% the croft unless they receive hel% from some"here#G When the boy heard this he fro"ned and clenched his fists so hard that the nails dug into his flesh# G9t is cruel of the elf to ma!e the conditions so hard for me that 9 can not go home and relieve my %arents, but he sha'n't turn me into a traitor to a friendJ Cy father and mother are sLuare and u%right fol!# 9 !no" they "ould rather forfeit my hel% than have me come bac! to them "ith a guilty conscience#G THE JOURNEY TO VEMMINGHG Thursday, ,o!ember third#

7ne day in the beginning of November the "ild geese fle" over 8alland (idge and into S!Ane# *or several "ee!s they had been resting on the "ide %lains around *al!E%ing# As many other "ild goose floc!s also sto%%ed there, the gro"n geese had had a %leasant time visiting "ith old friends, and there had been all !inds of games and races bet"een the younger birds# Nils 8olgersson had not been ha%%y over the delay in WestergEtland# 8e had tried to !ee% a stout heartI but it "as hard for him to reconcile himself to his fate# G9f 9 "ere only "ell out of S!Ane and in some foreign land,G he had thought, G9 should !no" for certain that 9 had nothing to ho%e for, and "ould feel easier in my mind#G *inally, one morning, the geese started out and fle" to"ard 8alland# 9n the beginning the boy too! very little interest in that %rovince# 8e thought there "as nothing ne" to be seen there# ut "hen the "ild geese continued the journey farther south, along the narro" coast&lands, the boy leaned over the goose's nec! and did not ta!e his glance from the ground# 8e sa" the hills gradually disa%%ear and the %lain s%read under him, at the same time he noticed that the coast became less rugged, "hile the grou% of islands beyond thinned and finally vanished and the broad, o%en sea came clear u% to firm land# 8ere there "ere no more forests' here the %lain "as su%reme# 9t s%read all the "ay to the horiMon# A land that lay so e?%osed, "ith field u%on field, reminded the boy of S!Ane# 8e felt both ha%%y and sad as he loo!ed at it# G9 can't be very far from home,G he thought# Cany times during the tri% the goslings had as!ed the old geese' G8o" does it loo! in foreign landsKG GWait, "aitJ $ou shall soon see,G the old geese had ans"ered# When the "ild geese had %assed 8alland (idge and gone a distance into S!Ane, A!!a called out' GNo" loo! do"nJ Loo! all aroundJ 9t is li!e this in foreign lands#G :ust then they fle" over SEder (idge# The "hole long range of hills "as clad in beech "oods, and beautiful, turreted castles %ee%ed out here and there# Among the trees graMed roe&buc!, and on the forest meado" rom%ed the hares# 8unters' horns sounded from the forestsI the loud baying of dogs could be heard all the "ay u% to the "ild geese# road avenues "ound through the trees and on these ladies and gentlemen "ere driving in %olished carriages or riding fine horses# At the foot of the ridge lay (ing La!e "ith the ancient osjE ;loister on a narro" %eninsula# G)oes it loo! li!e this in foreign landsKG as!ed the goslings#

G9t loo!s e?actly li!e this "herever there are forest&clad ridges,G re%lied A!!a, Gonly one doesn't see many of them# WaitJ $ou shall see ho" it loo!s in general#G A!!a led the geese farther south to the great S!Ane %lain# There it s%read, "ith grain fieldsI "ith acres and acres of sugar beets, "here the beet&%ic!ers "ere at "or!I "ith lo" "hite"ashed farm& and outhousesI "ith numberless little "hite churchesI "ith ugly, gray sugar refineries and small villages near the rail"ay stations# Little beech& encircled meado" la!es, each of them adorned by its o"n stately manor, shimmered here and there# GNo" loo! do"nJ Loo! carefullyJG called the leader&goose# GThus it is in foreign lands, from the altic coast all the "ay do"n to the high Al%s# *arther than that 9 have never travelled#G When the goslings had seen the %lain, the leader&goose fle" do"n the @resund coast# S"am%y meado"s slo%ed gradually to"ard the sea# 9n some %laces "ere high, stee% ban!s, in others drift&sand fields, "here the sand lay hea%ed in ban!s and hills# *ishing hamlets stood all along the coast, "ith long ro"s of lo", uniform bric! houses, "ith a lighthouse at the edge of the brea!"ater, and bro"n fishing nets hanging in the drying yard# GNo" loo! do"nJ Loo! "ellJ This is ho" it loo!s along the coasts in foreign lands#G After A!!a had been flying about in this manner a long time she alighted suddenly on a marsh in >emminghEg to"nshi% and the boy could not hel% thin!ing that she had travelled over S!Ane just to let him see that his "as a country "hich could com%are favourably "ith any in the "orld# This "as unnecessary, for the boy "as not thin!ing of "hether the country "as rich or %oor# *rom the moment that he had seen the first "illo" grove his heart ached "ith homesic!ness#

Tuesday, ,o!ember eighth# The atmos%here "as dull and haMy# The "ild geese had been feeding on the big meado" around S!eru% church and "ere having their noonday rest "hen A!!a came u% to the boy# G9t loo!s as if "e should have calm "eather for a"hile,G she remar!ed, Gand 9 thin! "e'll cross the altic to&morro"#G G9ndeedJG said the boy abru%tly, for his throat contracted so that he could hardly s%ea!# All along he had cherished the ho%e that he "ould be released from the enchantment "hile he "as still in S!Ane# GWe are Luite near West >emminghEg no",G said A!!a, Gand 9 thought that %erha%s you might li!e to go home for a"hile# 9t may be some time before you have another o%%ortunity to see your %eo%le#G

GPerha%s 9 had better not,G said the boy hesitatingly, but something in his voice betrayed that he "as glad of A!!a's %ro%osal# G9f the goosey&gander remains "ith us, no harm can come to him,G A!!a assured# G9 thin! you had better find out ho" your %arents are getting along# $ou might be of some hel% to them, even if you're not a normal boy#G G$ou are right, Cother A!!a# 9 should have thought of that long ago,G said the boy im%ulsively# The ne?t second he and the leader&goose "ere on their "ay to his home# 9t "as not long before A!!a alighted behind the stone hedge encircling the little farm# GStrange ho" natural everything loo!s around hereJG the boy remar!ed, Luic!ly clambering to the to% of the hedge, so that he could loo! about# G9t seems to me only yesterday that 9 first sa" you come flying through the air#G G9 "onder if your father has a gun,G said A!!a suddenly# G$ou may be sure he has,G returned the boy# G9t "as just the gun that !e%t me at home that Sunday morning "hen 9 should have been at church#G GThen 9 don't dare to stand here and "ait for you,G said A!!a# G$ou had better meet us at SmygahE! early to&morro" morning, so that you may stay at home over night#G G7h, don't go yet, Cother A!!aJG begged the boy, jum%ing from the hedge# 8e could not tell just "hy it "as, but he felt as if something "ould ha%%en, either to the "ild goose or to himself, to %revent their future meeting# GNo doubt you see that 9'm distressed because 9 cannot get bac! my right formI but 9 "ant to say to you that 9 don't regret having gone "ith you last s%ring,G he added# G9 "ould rather forfeit the chance of ever being human again than to have missed that tri%#G A!!a breathed Luic!ly before she ans"ered# GThere's a little matter 9 should have mentioned to you before this, but since you are not going bac! to your home for good, 9 thought there "as no hurry about it# Still it may as "ell be said no"#G G$ou !no" very "ell that 9 am al"ays glad to do your bidding,G said the boy# G9f you have learned anything at all from us, Thumbietot, you no longer thin! that the humans should have the "hole earth to themselves,G said the "ild goose, solemnly# G(emember you have a large country and you can easily afford to leave a fe" bare roc!s, a fe" shallo" la!es and s"am%s, a fe" desolate cliffs and remote forests to us %oor, dumb creatures, "here "e can be allo"ed to live in %eace# All my days 9 have

been hounded and hunted# 9t "ould be a comfort to !no" that there is a refuge some"here for one li!e me#G G9ndeed, 9 should be glad to hel% if 9 could,G said the boy, Gbut it's not li!ely that 9 shall ever again have any influence among human beings#G GWell, "e're standing here tal!ing as if "e "ere never to meet again,G said A!!a, Gbut "e shall see each other to&morro", of course# No" 9'll return to my floc!#G She s%read her "ings and started to fly, but came bac! and stro!ed Thumbietot u% and do"n "ith her bill before she fle" a"ay# 9t "as broad daylight, but no human being moved on the farm and the boy could go "here he %leased# 8e hastened to the co" shed, because he !ne" that he could get the best information from the co"s# 9t loo!ed rather barren in their shed# 9n the s%ring there had been three fine co"s there, but no" there "as only oneHCayrose# 9t "as Luite a%%arent that she yearned for her comrades# 8er head droo%ed sadly, and she had hardly touched the feed in her crib# GGood day, CayroseJG said the boy, running fearlessly into her stall# G8o" are mother and fatherK 8o" are the cat and the chic!ensK What has become of Star and Gold&LilyKG When Cayrose heard the boy's voice she started, and a%%eared as if she "ere going to gore him# ut she "as not so Luic!&tem%ered no" as formerly, and too! time to loo! "ell at Nils 8olgersson# 8e "as just as little no" as "hen he "ent a"ay, and "ore the same clothesI yet he "as com%letely changed# The Nils 8olgersson that "ent a"ay in the s%ring had a heavy, slo" gait, a dra"ling s%eech, and slee%y eyes# The one that had come bac! "as lithe and alert, ready of s%eech, and had eyes that s%ar!led and danced# 8e had a confident bearing that commanded res%ect, little as he "as# Although he himself did not loo! ha%%y, he ins%ired ha%%iness in others# GCooJG bello"ed Cayrose# GThey told me that he "as changed, but 9 couldn't believe it# Welcome home, Nils 8olgerssonJ Welcome homeJ This is the first glad moment 9 have !no"n for ever so longJG GThan! you, CayroseJG said the boy, "ho "as very ha%%y to be so "ell received# GNo" tell me all about father and mother#G GThey have had nothing but hardshi% ever since you "ent a"ay,G said Cayrose# GThe horse has been a costly care all summer, for he has stood in the stable the "hole time and not earned his feed# $our father is too soft&hearted to shoot him and he can't sell him# 9t "as on account of the horse that both Star and Gold&Lily had to be sold#G

There "as something else the boy "anted badly to !no", but he "as diffident about as!ing the Luestion %oint blan!# Therefore he said' GCother must have felt very sorry "hen she discovered that Corten Goosey&Gander had flo"nKG GShe "ouldn't have "orried much about Corten Goosey&Gander had she !no"n the "ay he came to leave# She grieves most at the thought of her son having run a"ay from home "ith a goosey&gander#G G)oes she really thin! that 9 stole the goosey&ganderKG said the boy# GWhat else could she thin!KG G*ather and mother must fancy that 9've been roaming about the country, li!e a common tram%KG GThey thin! that you've gone to the dogs,G said Cayrose# GThey have mourned you as one mourns the loss of the dearest thing on earth#G As soon as the boy heard this, he rushed from the co" shed and do"n to the stable# 9t "as small, but clean and tidy# /verything sho"ed that his father had tried to ma!e the %lace comfortable for the ne" horse# 9n the stall stood a strong, fine animal that loo!ed "ell fed and "ell cared for# GGood day to youJG said the boy# G9 have heard that there's a sic! horse in here# Surely it can't be you, "ho loo! so healthy and strong#G The horse turned his head and stared fi?edly at the boy# GAre you the sonKG he Lueried# G9 have heard many bad re%orts of him# ut you have such a good face, 9 couldn't believe that you "ere he, did 9 not !no" that he "as transformed into an elf#G G9 !no" that 9 left a bad name behind me "hen 9 "ent a"ay from the farm,G admitted Nils 8olgersson# GCy o"n mother thin!s 9 am a thief# ut "hat matters itH9 sha'n't tarry here long# Cean"hile, 9 "ant to !no" "hat ails you#G GPity you're not going to stay,G said the horse, Gfor 9 have the feeling that you and 9 might become good friends# 9've got something in my footHthe %oint of a !nife, or something shar%Hthat's all that ails me# 9t has gone so far in that the doctor can't find it, but it cuts so that 9 can't "al!# 9f you "ould only tell your father "hat's "rong "ith me, 9'm sure that he could hel% me# 9 should li!e to be of some use# 9 really feel ashamed to stand here and feed "ithout doing any "or!#G G9t's "ell that you have no real illness,G remar!ed Nils 8olgersson# G9 must attend to this at once, so that you "ill be all right again# $ou don't mind if 9 do a little scratching on your hoof "ith my !nife, do youKG

Nils 8olgersson had just finished, "hen he heard the sound of voices# 8e o%ened the stable door a little and %ee%ed out# 8is father and mother "ere coming do"n the lane# 9t "as easy to see that they "ere bro!en by many sorro"s# 8is mother had many lines on her face and his father's hair had turned gray# She "as tal!ing "ith him about getting a loan from her brother&in&la"# GNo, 9 don't "ant to borro" any more money,G his father said, as they "ere %assing the stable# GThere's nothing Luite so hard as being in debt# 9t "ould be better to sell the cabin#G G9f it "ere not for the boy, 9 shouldn't mind selling it,G his mother demurred# G ut "hat "ill become of him, if he returns some day, "retched and %oorHas he's li!ely to beH and "e not hereKG G$ou're right about that,G the father agreed# G ut "e shall have to as! the fol!s "ho ta!e the %lace to receive him !indly and to let him !no" that he's "elcome bac! to us# We sha'n't say a harsh "ord to him, no matter "hat he may be, shall "e motherKG GNo, indeedJ 9f 9 only had him again, so that 9 could be certain he is not starving and freeMing on the high"ays, 9'd as! nothing moreJG Then his father and mother "ent in, and the boy heard no more of their conversation# 8e "as ha%%y and dee%ly moved "hen he !ne" that they loved him so dearly, although they believed he had gone astray# 8e longed to rush into their arms# G ut %erha%s it "ould be an even greater sorro" "ere they to see me as 9 no" am#G While he stood there, hesitating, a cart drove u% to the gate# The boy smothered a cry of sur%rise, for "ho should ste% from the cart and go into the house yard but 7sa, the goose girl, and her fatherJ They "al!ed hand in hand to"ard the cabin# When they "ere about half "ay there, 7sa sto%%ed her father and said' GNo" remember, father, you are not to mention the "ooden shoe or the geese or the little bro"nie "ho "as so li!e Nils 8olgersson that if it "as not himself it must have had some connection "ith him#G G;ertainly notJG said :on /sserson# G9 shall only say that their son has been of great hel% to you on several occasionsH"hen you "ere trying to find meHand that therefore "e have come to as! if "e can't do them a service in return, since 9'm a rich man no" and have more than 9 need, than!s to the mine 9 discovered u% in La%land#G G9 !no", father, that you can say the right thing in the right "ay,G 7sa commended# G9t is only that one %articular thing that 9 don't "ish you to mention#G

They "ent into the cabin, and the boy "ould have li!ed to hear "hat they tal!ed about in thereI but he dared not venture near the house# 9t "as not long before they came out again, and his father and mother accom%anied them as far as the gate# 8is %arents "ere strangely ha%%y# They a%%eared to have gained a ne" hold on life# When the visitors "ere gone, father and mother lingered at the gate gaMing after them# G9 don't feel unha%%y any longer, since 9've heard so much that is good of our Nils,G said his mother# GPerha%s he got more %raise than he really deserved,G %ut in his father thoughtfully# GWasn't it enough for you that they came here s%ecially to say they "anted to hel% us because our Nils had served them in many "aysK 9 thin!, father, that you should have acce%ted their offer#G GNo, mother, 9 don't "ish to acce%t money from any one, either as a gift or a loan# 9n the first %lace 9 "ant to free myself from all debt, then "e "ill "or! our "ay u% again# We're not so very old, are "e, motherKG The father laughed heartily as he said this# G9 believe you thin! it "ill be fun to sell this %lace, u%on "hich "e have e?%ended such a lot of time and hard "or!,G %rotested the mother# G7h, you !no" "hy 9'm laughing,G the father retorted# G9t "as the thought of the boy's having gone to the bad that "eighed me do"n until 9 had no strength or courage left in me# No" that 9 !no" he still lives and has turned out "ell, you'll see that 8olger Nilsson has some grit left#G The mother "ent in alone, and the boy made haste to hide in a corner, for his father "al!ed into the stable# 8e "ent over to the horse and e?amined its hoof, as usual, to try to discover "hat "as "rong "ith it# GWhat's thisJG he cried, discovering some letters scratched on the hoof# G(emove the shar% %iece of iron from the foot,G he read and glanced around inLuiringly# 8o"ever, he ran his fingers along the under side of the hoof and loo!ed at it carefully# G9 verily believe there is something shar% hereJG he said# While his father "as busy "ith the horse and the boy sat huddled in a corner, it ha%%ened that other callers came to the farm# The fact "as that "hen Corten Goosey&Gander found himself so near his old home he sim%ly could not resist the tem%tation of sho"ing his "ife and children to his old com%anions on the farm# So he too! )unfin and the goslings along, and made for home# There "as not a soul in the barn yard "hen the goosey&gander came along# 8e alighted, confidently "al!ed all around the %lace, and sho"ed )unfin ho" lu?uriously he had lived "hen he "as a tame goose#

When they had vie"ed the entire farm, he noticed that the door of the co" shed "as o%en# GLoo! in here a moment,G he said, Gthen you "ill see ho" 9 lived in former days# 9t "as very different from cam%ing in s"am%s and morasses, as "e do no"#G The goosey&gander stood in the door"ay and loo!ed into the co" shed# GThere's not a soul in here,G he said# G;ome along, )unfin, and you shall see the goose %en# )on't be afraidI there's no danger#G *orth"ith the goosey&gander, )unfin, and all si? goslings "addled into the goose %en, to have a loo! at the elegance and comfort in "hich the big "hite gander had lived before he joined the "ild geese# GThis is the "ay it used to be' here "as my %lace and over there "as the trough, "hich "as al"ays filled "ith oats and "ater,G e?%lained the goosey&gander# GWaitJ there's some fodder in it no"#G With that he rushed to the trough and began to gobble u% the oats# ut )unfin "as nervous# GLet's go out againJG she said# G7nly t"o more grains,G insisted the goosey&gander# The ne?t second he let out a shrie! and ran for the door, but it "as too lateJ The door slammed, the mistress stood "ithout and bolted it# They "ere loc!ed inJ The father had removed a shar% %iece of iron from the horse's hoof and stood contentedly stro!ing the animal "hen the mother came running into the stable# G;ome, father, and see the ca%ture 9've madeJG GNo, "ait a minuteJG said the father# GLoo! here, first# 9 have discovered "hat ailed the horse#G G9 believe our luc! has turned,G said the mother# G7nly fancyJ the big "hite goosey& gander that disa%%eared last s%ring must have gone off "ith the "ild geese# 8e has come bac! to us in com%any "ith seven "ild geese# They "al!ed straight into the goose %en, and 9've shut them all in#G GThat's e?traordinary,G remar!ed the father# G ut best of all is that "e don't have to thin! any more that our boy stole the goosey&gander "hen he "ent a"ay#G G$ou're Luite right, father,G she said# G ut 9'm afraid "e'll have to !ill them to&night# 9n t"o days is Corten Gooseday.15 and "e must ma!e haste if "e e?%ect to get them to mar!et in time#G

.*ootnote 1' 9n S"eden the 1-th of November is called Corten Gooseday and corres%onds to the American Than!sgiving )ay#5 G9 thin! it "ould be outrageous to butcher the goosey&gander, no" that he has returned to us "ith such a large family,G %rotested 8olger Nilsson# G9f times "ere easier "e'd let him liveI but since "e're going to move from here, "e can't !ee% geese# ;ome along no" and hel% me carry them into the !itchen,G urged the mother# They "ent out together and in a fe" moments the boy sa" his father coming along "ith Corten Goosey&Gander and )unfinHone under each arm# 8e and his "ife "ent into the cabin# The goosey&gander cried' GThumbietot, come and hel% meJGHas he al"ays did "hen in %erilHalthough he "as not a"are that the boy "as at hand# Nils 8olgersson heard him, yet he lingered at the door of the co" shed# 8e did not hesitate because he !ne" that it "ould be "ell for him if the goosey&gander "ere beheadedHat that moment he did not even remember thisHbut because he shran! from being seen by his %arents# GThey have a hard enough time of it already,G he thought# GCust 9 bring them a ne" sorro"KG ut "hen the door closed on the goosey&gander, the boy "as aroused# 8e dashed across the house yard, s%rang u% on the board&"al! leading to the entrance door and ran into the hall"ay, "here he !ic!ed off his "ooden shoes in the old accustomed "ay, and "al!ed to"ard the door# All the "hile it "ent so much against the grain to a%%ear before his father and mother that he could not raise his hand to !noc!# G ut this concerns the life of the goosey&gander,G he said to himselfHGhe "ho has been my best friend ever since 9 last stood here#G 9n a t"in!ling the boy remembered all that he and the goosey&gander had suffered on ice&bound la!es and stormy seas and among "ild beasts of %rey# 8is heart s"elled "ith gratitudeI he conLuered himself and !noc!ed on the door# G9s there some one "ho "ishes to come inKG as!ed his father, o%ening the door# GCother, you sha'n't touch the goosey&ganderJG cried the boy# 9nstantly both the goosey&gander and )unfin, "ho lay on a bench "ith their feet tied, gave a cry of joy, so that he "as sure they "ere alive#

Some one else gave a cry of joyHhis motherJ GCy, but you have gro"n tall and handsomeJG she e?claimed# The boy had not entered the cabin, but "as standing on the doorste%, li!e one "ho is not Luite certain ho" he "ill be received# GThe Lord be %raised that 9 have you bac! againJG said his mother, laughing and crying# G;ome in, my boyJ ;ome inJG GWelcomeJG added his father, and not another "ord could he utter# ut the boy still lingered at the threshold# 8e could not com%rehend "hy they "ere so glad to see himHsuch as he "as# Then his mother came and %ut her arms around him and dre" him into the room, and he !ne" that he "as all right# GCother and fatherJG he cried# G9'm a big boy# 9 am a human being againJG THE PARTING WITH THE WILD GEESE Wednesday, ,o!ember ninth# The boy arose before da"n and "andered do"n to the coast# 8e "as standing alone on the strand east of Smyge fishing hamlet before sunrise# 8e had already been in the %en "ith Corten Goosey&Gander to try to rouse him, but the big "hite gander had no desire to leave home# 8e did not say a "ord, but only stuc! his bill under his "ing and "ent to slee% again# To all a%%earances the "eather %romised to be almost as %erfect as it had been that s%ring day "hen the "ild geese came to S!Ane# There "as hardly a ri%%le on the "aterI the air "as still and the boy thought of the good %assage the geese "ould have# 8e himself "as as yet in a !ind of daMeHsometimes thin!ing he "as an elf, sometimes a human being# When he sa" a stone hedge alongside the road, he "as afraid to go farther until he had made sure that no "ild animal or vulture lur!ed behind it# >ery soon he laughed to himself and rejoiced because he "as big and strong and did not have to be afraid of anything# When he reached the coast he stationed himself, big as he "as, at the very edge of the strand, so that the "ild geese could see him# 9t "as a busy day for the birds of %assage# ird calls sounded on the air continuously# The boy smiled as he thought that no one but himself understood "hat the birds "ere saying to one another# Presently "ild geese came flyingI one big floc! follo"ing another# G:ust so it's not my geese that are going a"ay "ithout bidding me fare"ell,G he thought# 8e "anted so much to tell them ho" everything had turned out, and to sho" them that he "as no longer an elf but a human being#

There came a floc! that fle" faster and cac!led louder than the others, and something told him that this must be the floc!, but no" he "as not Luite so sure about it as he "ould have been the day before# The floc! slac!ened its flight and circled u% and do"n along the coast# The boy !ne" it "as the right one, but he could not understand "hy the geese did not come straight do"n to him# They could not avoid seeing him "here he stood# 8e tried to give a call that "ould bring them do"n to him, but only thin!J his tongue "ould not obey him# 8e could not ma!e the right soundJ 8e heard A!!a's calls, but did not understand "hat she said# GWhat can this meanK 8ave the "ild geese changed their languageKG he "ondered# 8e "aved his ca% to them and ran along the shore calling# G8ere am 9, "here are youKG ut this seemed only to frighten the geese# They rose and fle" farther out to sea# At last he understood# They did not !no" that he "as human, had not recogniMed him# 8e could not call them to him because human beings can not s%ea! the language of birds# 8e could not s%ea! their language, nor could he understand it# Although the boy "as very glad to be released from the enchantment, still he thought it hard that because of this he should be %arted from his old comrades# 8e sat do"n on the sands and buried his face in his hands# What "as the use of his gaMing after them any moreK Presently he heard the rustle of "ings# 7ld mother A!!a had found it hard to fly a"ay from Thumbietot, and turned bac!, and no" that the boy sat Luite still she ventured to fly nearer to him# Suddenly something must have told her "ho he "as, for she lit close beside him# Nils gave a cry of joy and too! old A!!a in his arms# The other "ild geese cro"ded round him and stro!ed him "ith their bills# They cac!led and chattered and "ished him all !inds of good luc!, and he, too, tal!ed to them and than!ed them for the "onderful journey "hich he had been %rivileged to ma!e in their com%any# All at once the "ild geese became strangely Luiet and "ithdre" from him, as if to say' GAlasJ he is a man# 8e does not understand us' "e do not understand himJG Then the boy rose and "ent over to A!!aI he stro!ed her and %atted her# 8e did the same to $!si and =a!si, =olme and NeljB, >iisi and =uusiHthe old birds "ho had been his com%anions from the very start# After that he "al!ed farther u% the strand# 8e !ne" %erfectly "ell that the sorro"s of the birds do not last long, and he "anted to %art "ith them "hile they "ere still sad at losing him#

As he crossed the shore meado"s he turned and "atched the many floc!s of birds that "ere flying over the sea# All "ere shrie!ing their coa?ing callsHonly one goose floc! fle" silently on as long as he could follo" it "ith his eyes# The "edge "as %erfect, the s%eed good, and the "ing stro!es strong and certain# The boy felt such a yearning for his de%arting comrades that he almost "ished he "ere Thumbietot again and could travel over land and sea "ith a floc! of "ild geese# TABLE OF PRONUNCIATION The final e is sounded in S!Ane, Sirle, Gri%e, etc# The - in S!Ane and SmAland is %ronounced li!e o in ore# . is li!e the /nglish y# Nuolja, 7vi!sfjBllen, Sjangeli, :arro, etc#, should sound as if they "ere s%elled li!e this' Nuolya, 7vi!sfyellen, Syang .one syllable5 elee, $arro, etc# g, "hen follo"ed by e, i, y, /, 0, is also li!e y# /?am%le, GEta is %ronounced $Eta# When g is follo"ed by a, o, u, or -, it is hard, as in go# " in Norr!E%ing, Lin!E%ing, =ivi! Q%ronounced ;heevee!R, etc#, is li!e ch in cheer# " is hard "hen it %recedes a, o, u, or -# /?am%le, =a!si, =olmi, etc# / is %ronounced li!e / in fare# /?am%le, *Brs# There is no sound in the /nglish language "hich corres%onds to the S"edish 0# 9t is li!e the *rench eu in jeu# Gri%e is %ronounced Gree%&e# 9n Sirle, the first syllable has the same sound as sir, in siru%# The names "hich Ciss LagerlEf has given to the animals are descri%tive# Smirre *o?, is cunning fo?# Sirle SLuirrel, is graceful, or nimble sLuirrel# Gri%e 7tter, means grabbing or clutching otter# Cons is a %et name a%%lied to catsI li!e our tommy or %ussy# Consie house&cat is eLuivalent to Tommy house&cat# CArten gAs!arl QCorten Goosie&ganderR is a %et name for a tame gander, just as "e use )ic!ie&bird for a %et bird#

*ru is the S"edish for Crs# This title is usually a%%lied to gentle"omen only# The author has used this meaning of Gfru#G A Goa&Nisse is an elf&!ing, and corres%onds to the /nglish Puc! or (obin Goodfello"#

/nd of the Project Gutenberg / oo! of The Wonderful Adventures of Nils by Selma Lagerloef 666 /N) 7* T89S P(7:/;T G<T/N /(G / 77= T8/ W7N)/(*<L A)>/NT<(/S 7* N9LS 666 66666 This file should be named 1-234&O#t?t or 1-234&O#Mi% 66666 This and all associated files of various formats "ill be found in' htt%'WW"""#gutenberg#netW1W-W2W3W1-234W Produced by )avid Schaal and PG )istributed Proofreaders