VERMLAND AND DALSLAND
Wednesday, October fifth.
To-day the boy took advantage of the rest hour, when Akka was feeding apart from the other wild geese, to ask her if that which Bataki had related was true, and Akka could not deny it. The boy made the leader-goose promise that she would not divulge the secret to Morten Goosey-Gander. The big white gander was so brave and generous that he might do something rash were he to learn of the elf’s stipulations.
Later the boy sat on the goose-back, glum and silent, and hung his head. He heard the wild geese call out to the goslings that now they were in Dalarne, they could see Staedjan in the north, and that now they were flying over Oesterdal River to Horrmund Lake and were coming to Vesterdal River. But the boy did not care even to glance at all this.
“I shall probably travel around with wild geese the rest of my life,” he remarked to himself, “and I am likely to see more of this land than I wish.”
He was quite as indifferent when the wild geese called out to him that now they had arrived in Vermland and that the stream they were following southward was Klaraelven.
“I’ve seen so many rivers already,” thought the boy, “why bother to look at one more?”
Even had he been more eager for sight-seeing, there was not very much to be seen, for northern Vermland is nothing but vast, monotonous forest tracts, through which Klaraelven winds—narrow and rich in rapids. Here and there one can see a charcoal kiln, a forest clearing, or a few low, chimneyless huts, occupied by Finns. But the forest as a whole is so extensive one might fancy it was far up in Lapland.
A LITTLE HOMESTEAD
Thursday, October sixth.
The wild geese followed Klaraelven as far as the big iron foundries at Monk Fors. Then they proceeded westward to Fryksdalen. Before they got to Lake Fryken it began to grow dusky, and they lit in a little wet morass on a wooded hill. The morass was certainly a good night quarter for the wild geese, but the boy thought it dismal and rough, and wished for a better sleeping place. While he was still high in the air, he had noticed that below the ridge lay a number of farms, and with great haste he proceeded to seek them out.
They were farther away than he had fancied and several times he was tempted to turn back. Presently the woods became less dense, and he came to a road skirting the edge of the forest. From it branched a pretty birch-bordered lane, which led down to a farm, and immediately he hastened toward it.