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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 456 pages of information about The Wonderful Adventures of Nils.

The storm continued all day, and, at last, Akka began to wonder if she and her flock would perish.  They were now dead tired, and nowhere did they see any place where they might rest.  Toward evening she no longer dared to lie down on the sea, because now it filled up all of a sudden with large ice-cakes, which struck against each other, and she feared they should be crushed between these.  A couple of times the wild geese tried to stand on the ice-crust; but one time the wild storm swept them into the water; another time, the merciless seals came creeping up on the ice.

At sundown the wild geese were once more up in the air.  They flew on—­fearful for the night.  The darkness seemed to come upon them much too quickly this night—­which was so full of dangers.

It was terrible that they, as yet, saw no land.  How would it go with them if they were forced to stay out on the sea all night?  They would either be crushed between the ice-cakes or devoured by seals or separated by the storm.

The heavens were cloud-bedecked, the moon hid itself, and the darkness came quickly.  At the same time all nature was filled with a horror which caused the most courageous hearts to quail.  Distressed bird-travellers’ cries had sounded over the sea all day long, without anyone having paid the slightest attention to them; but now, when one no longer saw who it was that uttered them, they seemed mournful and terrifying.  Down on the sea, the ice-drifts crashed against each other with a loud rumbling noise.  The seals tuned up their wild hunting songs.  It was as though heaven and earth were, about to clash.

THE SHEEP

The boy sat for a moment and looked down into the sea.  Suddenly he thought that it began to roar louder than ever.  He looked up.  Right in front of him—­only a couple of metres away—­stood a rugged and bare mountain-wall.  At its base the waves dashed into a foaming spray.  The wild geese flew straight toward the cliff, and the boy did not see how they could avoid being dashed to pieces against it.  Hardly had he wondered that Akka hadn’t seen the danger in time, when they were over by the mountain.  Then he also noticed that in front of them was the half-round entrance to a grotto.  Into this the geese steered; and the next moment they were safe.

The first thing the wild geese thought of—­before they gave themselves time to rejoice over their safety—­was to see if all their comrades were also harboured.  Yes, there were Akka, Iksi, Kolmi, Nelja, Viisi, Knusi, all the six goslings, the goosey-gander, Dunfin and Thumbietot; but Kaksi from Nuolja, the first left-hand goose, was missing—­and no one knew anything about her fate.

When the wild geese discovered that no one but Kaksi had been separated from the flock, they took the matter lightly.  Kaksi was old and wise.  She knew all their byways and their habits, and she, of course, would know how to find her way back to them.

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