The Wonderful Adventures of Nils eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 456 pages of information about The Wonderful Adventures of Nils.

This the game-keeper was only too glad to do, and that was how Karr came to move to the game-keeper’s lodge.

GRAYSKIN’S FLIGHT

From the day that Karr went to live with the game-keeper he abandoned entirely his forbidden chase in the forest.  This was due not only to his having been thoroughly frightened, but also to the fact that he did not wish to make the game-keeper angry at him.  Ever since his new master saved his life the dog loved him above everything else.  He thought only of following him and watching over him.  If he left the house, Karr would run ahead to make sure that the way was clear, and if he sat at home, Karr would lie before the door and keep a close watch on every one who came and went.

When all was quiet at the lodge, when no footsteps were heard on the road, and the game-keeper was working in his garden, Karr would amuse himself playing with the baby elk.

At first the dog had no desire to leave his master even for a moment.  Since he accompanied him everywhere, he went with him to the cow shed.  When he gave the elk calf its milk, the dog would sit outside the stall and gaze at it.  The game-keeper called the calf Grayskin because he thought it did not merit a prettier name, and Karr agreed with him on that point.

Every time the dog looked at it he thought that he had never seen anything so ugly and misshapen as the baby elk, with its long, shambly legs, which hung down from the body like loose stilts.  The head was large, old, and wrinkled, and it always drooped to one side.  The skin lay in tucks and folds, as if the animal had put on a coat that had not been made for him.  Always doleful and discontented, curiously enough he jumped up every time Karr appeared as if glad to see him.

The elk calf became less hopeful from day to day, did not grow any, and at last he could not even rise when he saw Karr.  Then the dog jumped up into the crib to greet him, and thereupon a light kindled in the eyes of the poor creature—­as if a cherished longing were fulfilled.

After that Karr visited the elk calf every day, and spent many hours with him, licking his coat, playing and racing with him, till he taught him a little of everything a forest animal should know.

It was remarkable that, from the time Karr began to visit the elk calf in his stall, the latter seemed more contented, and began to grow.  After he was fairly started, he grew so rapidly that in a couple of weeks the stall could no longer hold him, and he had to be moved into a grove.

When he had been in the grove two months his legs were so long that he could step over the fence whenever he wished.  Then the lord of the manor gave the game-keeper permission to put up a higher fence and to allow him more space.  Here the elk lived for several years, and grew up into a strong and handsome animal.  Karr kept him company as often as he could; but now it was no longer through pity, for a great friendship had sprung up between the two.  The elk was always inclined to be melancholy, listless, and, indifferent, but Karr knew how to make him playful and happy.

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The Wonderful Adventures of Nils from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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