The trip extended further along Vettern’s shores; and after a little they came to Sanna Sanitarium. Some of the patients had gone out on the veranda to enjoy the spring air, and in this way they heard the goose-cackle. “Where are you going?” asked one of them with such a feeble voice that he was scarcely heard. “To that land where there is neither sorrow nor sickness,” answered the boy. “Take us along with you!” said the sick ones. “Not this year,” answered the boy. “Not this year.”
When they had travelled still farther on, they came to Huskvarna. It lay in a valley. The mountains around it were steep and beautifully formed. A river rushed along the heights in long and narrow falls. Big workshops and factories lay below the mountain walls; and scattered over the valley-bottom were the workingmens’ homes, encircled by little gardens; and in the centre of the valley lay the schoolhouse. Just as the wild geese came along, a bell rang, and a crowd of school children marched out in line. They were so numerous that the whole schoolyard was filled with them. “Where are you going? Where are you going?” the children shouted when they heard the wild geese. “Where there are neither books nor lessons to be found,” answered the boy. “Take us along!” shrieked the children. “Not this year, but next,” cried the boy. “Not this year, but next.”
THE BIG BIRD LAKE
JARRO, THE WILD DUCK
On the eastern shore of Vettern lies Mount Omberg; east of Omberg lies Dagmosse; east of Dagmosse lies Lake Takern. Around the whole of Takern spreads the big, even Oestergoeta plain.
Takern is a pretty large lake and in olden times it must have been still larger. But then the people thought it covered entirely too much of the fertile plain, so they attempted to drain the water from it, that they might sow and reap on the lake-bottom. But they did not succeed in laying waste the entire lake—which had evidently been their intention—therefore it still hides a lot of land. Since the draining the lake has become so shallow that hardly at any point is it more than a couple of metres deep. The shores have become marshy and muddy; and out in the lake, little mud-islets stick up above the water’s surface.
Now, there is one who loves to stand with his feet in the water, if he can just keep his body and head in the air, and that is the reed. And it cannot find a better place to grow upon, than the long, shallow Takern shores, and around the little mud-islets. It thrives so well that it grows taller than a man’s height, and so thick that it is almost impossible to push a boat through it. It forms a broad green enclosure around the whole lake, so that it is only accessible in a few places where the people have taken away the reeds.