Ever since he had seen Osa, the goose girl, he longed for the day when he might go home with Morten Goosey-Gander and be a normal human being once more. He wanted to be himself again, so that Osa would not be afraid to talk to him and would not shut the door in his face.
Yes, indeed, he was glad that at last they were speeding southward. He waved his cap and cheered when he saw the first pine forest. In the same manner he greeted the first gray cabin, the first goat, the first cat, and the first chicken.
They were continually meeting birds of passage, flying now in greater flocks than in the spring.
“Where are you bound for, wild geese?” called the passing birds. “Where are you bound for?”
“We, like yourselves, are going abroad,” answered the geese.
“Those goslings of yours aren’t ready to fly,” screamed the others. “They’ll never cross the sea with those puny wings!”
Laplander and reindeer were also leaving the mountains. When the wild geese sighted the reindeer, they circled down and called out:
“Thanks for your company this summer!”
“A pleasant journey to you and a welcome back!” returned the reindeer.
But when the bears saw the wild geese, they pointed them out to the cubs and growled:
“Just look at those geese; they are so afraid of a little cold they don’t dare to stay at home in winter.”
But the old geese were ready with a retort and cried to their goslings:
“Look at those beasts that stay at home and sleep half the year rather than go to the trouble of travelling south!”
Down in the pine forest the young grouse sat huddled together and gazed longingly after the big bird flocks which, amid joy and merriment, proceeded southward.
“When will our turn come?” they asked the mother grouse.
“You will have to stay at home with mamma and papa,” she said.
LEGENDS FROM HAeRJEDALEN
Tuesday, October fourth.
The boy had had three days’ travel in the rain and mist and longed for some sheltered nook, where he might rest awhile.
At last the geese alighted to feed and ease their wings a bit. To his great relief the boy saw an observation tower on a hill close by, and dragged himself to it.
When he had climbed to the top of the tower he found a party of tourists there, so he quickly crawled into a dark corner and was soon sound asleep.
When the boy awoke, he began to feel uneasy because the tourists lingered so long in the tower telling stories. He thought they would never go. Morten Goosey-Gander could not come for him while they were there and he knew, of course, that the wild geese were in a hurry to continue the journey. In the middle of a story he thought he heard honking and the beating of wings, as if the geese were flying away, but he did not dare to venture over to the balustrade to find out if it was so.