Wednesday, January 12, 2011

For a moment Frith thought the snow goose was going to land in the old enclosure, as the pinioned geese set up a welcoming gabble. But it only skimmed low, then soared up again, flew in a wide, graceful spiral once around the old light, and then began to climb. Watching it, Frith saw no longer the snow goose but the soul of Rhayader taking farewell of her before departing for ever.
She was no longer flying with it! but earth-bound. She stretched her arms up into the sky and stood on tip-toes, reaching, and cried: "God-speed, Godspeed, Philip!"
Frith’s tears were stilled. She stood watching silently long after the goose had vanished. Then she went into the lighthouse and secured the picture that Rhayader had painted of her. Hugging it to her breast, she wended her way homeward along the old seawall.
Each night, for many weeks thereafter, Frith came to the lighthouse and fed the pinioned birds. Then one early morning a German pilot on a dawn raid mistook the old abandoned light for an active military objective, dived on to it, a screaming steel hawk, and blew it and all it contained into oblivion.
That evening when Fritha came, the sea had moved in through the breached walls and covered it over. Nothing was left to break the utter desolation. No marsh fowl had dared to return. Only the fright-less gulls wheeled and soared and mewed their plaint over the place where it had been.

Paul Gallico, "The Snow Goose"

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