“She came here to us Samefolk to find her father and not to become my foster-child. But if she doesn’t find him, I shall be glad to keep her in my tent.”
The fisherman hastened all the faster.
“I might have known that he would be alarmed when I threatened to take his daughter into the Lapps’ quarters,” laughed Ola to himself.
When the man from Kiruna, who had brought Osa to the tent, turned back later in the day, he had two people with him in the boat, who sat close together, holding hands—as if they never again wanted to part.
They were Jon Esserson and his daughter. Both were unlike what they had been a few hours earlier.
The father looked less bent and weary and his eyes were clear and good, as if at last he had found the answer to that which had troubled him so long.
Osa, the goose girl, did not glance longingly about, for she had found some one to care for her, and now she could be a child again.
THE FIRST TRAVELLING DAY
Saturday, October first.
The boy sat on the goosey-gander’s back and rode up amongst the clouds. Some thirty geese, in regular order, flew rapidly southward. There was a rustling of feathers and the many wings beat the air so noisily that one could scarcely hear one’s own voice. Akka from Kebnekaise flew in the lead; after her came Yksi and Kaksi, Kolme and Neljae, Viisi and Kuusi, Morten Goosey-Gander and Dunfin. The six goslings which had accompanied the flock the autumn before had now left to look after themselves. Instead, the old geese were taking with them twenty-two goslings that had grown up in the glen that summer. Eleven flew to the right, eleven to the left; and they did their best to fly at even distances, like the big birds.
The poor youngsters had never before been on a long trip and at first they had difficulty in keeping up with the rapid flight.
“Akka from Kebnekaise! Akka from Kebnekaise!” they cried in plaintive tones.
“What’s the matter?” said the leader-goose sharply.
“Our wings are tired of moving, our wings are tired of moving!” wailed the young ones.
“The longer you keep it up, the better it will go,” answered the leader-goose, without slackening her speed. And she was quite right, for when the goslings had flown two hours longer, they complained no more of being tired.
But in the mountain glen they had been in the habit of eating all day long, and very soon they began to feel hungry.
“Akka, Akka, Akka from Kebnekaise!” wailed the goslings pitifully.
“What’s the trouble now?” asked the leader-goose.
“We’re so hungry, we can’t fly any more!” whimpered the goslings. “We’re so hungry, we can’t fly any more!”
“Wild geese must learn to eat air and drink wind,” said the leader-goose, and kept right on flying.