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.

One day they flew above a barn yard where many chickens walked on a dump heap and picked.  “An eagle!  An eagle!” shrieked the chickens, and started to run for shelter.  But Gorgo, who had heard the eagles spoken of as savage criminals, could not control his anger.  He snapped his wings together and shot down to the ground, striking his talons into one of the hens.  “I’ll teach you, I will, that I’m no eagle!” he screamed furiously, and struck with his beak.

That instant he heard Akka call to him from the air, and rose obediently.  The wild goose flew toward him and began to reprimand him.  “What are you trying to do?” she cried, beating him with her bill.  “Was it perhaps your intention to tear that poor hen to pieces?” But when the eagle took his punishment from the wild goose without a protest, there arose from the great bird throng around them a perfect storm of taunts and gibes.  The eagle heard this, and turned toward Akka with flaming eyes, as though he would have liked to attack her.  But he suddenly changed his mind, and with quick wing strokes bounded into the air, soaring so high that no call could reach him; and he sailed around up there as long as the wild geese saw him.

Two days later he appeared again in the wild goose flock.

“I know who I am,” he said to Akka.  “Since I am an eagle, I must live as becomes an eagle; but I think that we can be friends all the same.  You or any of yours I shall never attack.”

But Akka had set her heart on successfully training an eagle into a mild and harmless bird, and she could not tolerate his wanting to do as he chose.

“Do you think that I wish to be the friend of a bird-eater?” she asked.  “Live as I have taught you to live, and you may travel with my flock as heretofore.”

Both were proud and stubborn, and neither of them would yield.  It ended in Akka’s forbidding the eagle to show his face in her neighbourhood, and her anger toward him was so intense that no one dared speak his name in her presence.

After that Gorgo roamed around the country, alone and shunned, like all great robbers.  He was often downhearted, and certainly longed many a time for the days when he thought himself a wild goose, and played with the merry goslings.

Among the animals he had a great reputation for courage.  They used to say of him that he feared no one but his foster-mother, Akka.  And they could also say of him that he never used violence against a wild goose.

IN CAPTIVITY

Gorgo was only three years old, and had not as yet thought about marrying and procuring a home for himself, when he was captured one day by a hunter, and sold to the Skansen Zooelogical Garden, where there were already two eagles held captive in a cage built of iron bars and steel wires.  The cage stood out in the open, and was so large that a couple of trees had easily been moved into it, and quite a large cairn was piled up in there.  Notwithstanding all this, the birds were unhappy.  They sat motionless on the same spot nearly all day.  Their pretty, dark feather dresses became rough and lustreless, and their eyes were riveted with hopeless longing on the sky without.

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