The Wonderful Adventures of Nils eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 563 pages of information about The Wonderful Adventures of Nils.

The boy sat on the old ram’s back and saw how they sneaked along.  “Now butt straight forward!” whispered the boy.  The ram butted, and the first fox was thrust—­top over tail—­back to the opening.  “Now butt to the left!” said the boy, and turned the big ram’s head in that direction.  The ram measured a terrific assault that caught the second fox in the side.  He rolled around several times before he got to his feet again and made his escape.  The boy had wished that the third one, too, might have gotten a bump, but this one had already gone.

“Now I think that they’ve had enough for to-night,” said the boy.  “I think so too,” said the big ram.  “Now lie down on my back, and creep into the wool!  You deserve to have it warm and comfortable, after all the wind and storm that you have been out in.”


The next day the big ram went around with the boy on his back, and showed him the island.  It consisted of a single massive mountain.  It was like a large house with perpendicular walls and a flat roof.  First the ram walked up on the mountain-roof and showed the boy the good grazing lands there, and he had to admit that the island seemed to be especially created for sheep.  There wasn’t much else than sheep-sorrel and such little spicy growths as sheep are fond of that grew on the mountain.

But indeed there was something beside sheep fodder to look at, for one who had gotten well up on the steep.  To begin with, the largest part of the sea—­which now lay blue and sunlit, and rolled forward in glittering swells—­was visible.  Only upon one and another point, did the foam spray up.  To the east lay Gottland, with even and long-stretched coast; and to the southwest lay Great Karl’s Island, which was built on the same plan as the little island.  When the ram walked to the very edge of the mountain roof, so the boy could look down the mountain walls, he noticed that they were simply filled with birds’ nests; and in the blue sea beneath him, lay surf-scoters and eider-ducks and kittiwakes and guillemots and razor-bills—­so pretty and peaceful—­busying themselves with fishing for small herring.

“This is really a favoured land,” said the boy.  “You live in a pretty place, you sheep.”  “Oh, yes! it’s pretty enough here,” said the big ram.  It was as if he wished to add something; but he did not, only sighed.  “If you go about here alone you must look out for the crevices which run all around the mountain,” he continued after a little.  And this was a good warning, for there were deep and broad crevices in several places.  The largest of them was called Hell’s Hole.  That crevice was many fathoms deep and nearly one fathom wide.  “If anyone fell down there, it would certainly be the last of him,” said the big ram.  The boy thought it sounded as if he had a special meaning in what he said.

Then he conducted the boy down to the narrow strip of shore.  Now he could see those giants which had frightened him the night before, at close range.  They were nothing but tall rock-pillars.  The big ram called them “cliffs.”  The boy couldn’t see enough of them.  He thought that if there had ever been any trolls who had turned into stone they ought to look just like that.

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