“Tell Akka I never expected to run across her or any of her flock out here in the sea!” he said, and soared away in a rapid and graceful flight.
“That is the self-same eagle who once brought me back to the wild geese,” the boy remarked, gazing after the bird in astonishment.
The geese had decided to leave the island at dawn, but first they wanted to feed awhile. As they walked about and nibbled, a mountain duck came up to Dunfin.
“I have a message for you from your sisters,” said the duck. “They dare not show themselves among the wild geese, but they asked me to remind you not to leave the island without calling on the old fisherman.”
“That’s so!” exclaimed Dunfin, but she was so frightened now that she would not go alone, and asked the goosey-gander and Thumbietot to accompany her to the hut.
The door was open, so Dunfin entered, but the others remained outside. After a moment they heard Akka give the signal to start, and called Dunfin. A gray goose came out and flew with the wild geese away from the island.
They had travelled quite a distance along the archipelago when the boy began to wonder at the goose who accompanied them. Dunfin always flew lightly and noiselessly, but this one laboured with heavy and noisy wing-strokes. “We are in the wrong company. It is Prettywing that follows us!”
The boy had barely spoken when the goose uttered such an ugly and angry shriek that all knew who she was. Akka and the others turned to her, but the gray goose did not fly away at once. Instead she bumped against the big goosey-gander, snatched Thumbietot, and flew off with him in her bill.
There was a wild chase over the archipelago. Prettywing flew fast, but the wild geese were close behind her, and there was no chance for her to escape.
Suddenly they saw a puff of smoke rise up from the sea, and heard an explosion. In their excitement they had not noticed that they were directly above a boat in which a lone fisherman was seated.
However, none of the geese was hurt; but just there, above the boat, Prettywing opened her bill and dropped Thumbietot into the sea.
A few years ago, at Skansen—the great park just outside of Stockholm where they have collected so many wonderful things—there lived a little old man, named Clement Larsson. He was from Haelsingland and had come to Skansen with his fiddle to play folk dances and other old melodies. As a performer, he appeared mostly in the evening. During the day it was his business to sit on guard in one of the many pretty peasant cottages which have been moved to Skansen from all parts of the country.