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Once upon a time in a small town far away, there hatched a little gosling.  This gosling was named Hope as she was the only egg that hatched that year to loving, but older parents.  Her father was about 20 and her mother 11 years.  Geese can live for a long time, even up to 50 years, but they can’t have babies much over the age of 10, so Hope was most likely going to be their last child, and they did so dote on her.  They never left her side from the day she was born until she was almost a year old.


The day she lost them started as any other day, but the sky was quite dark and forbidding that morning.  It grew worse as the day went on and she became quite frightened when the thunder and lightening got worse and worse.  She and her Mom and Dad huddled together in the barn trying to stay out of the wind.  Suddenly, a great wind came and as the barn was lifted off the ground, she found herself swept away also.  She tried to fly, but couldn’t fight her way out of the violent winds.  She never knew whether her parents were alright as she never saw them again.


When the great wind almost threw her away, she glided to the ground and looked around.  She didn’t recognize anything…not one single thing!  Her wings were so battered, she would never be able to get off the ground.  Being a farm goose, a Toulouse, she really couldn’t fly much anyway, but she would have tried to get back home.  She wanted to be with her parents more than anything.  After crying for a while, she tucked her head in her wing and went sound asleep under a big bush.


When she awoke, a young man was standing beside her and she was very afraid, but he spoke softly to her and seemed to mean her no harm so when he started walking slowly away, she followed.  If there was anything she needed now, it was a friend.  He led her to a strange farm where there were all kinds of ducks, geese and chickens, most of whom seemed to have a problem of one kind or another.  She saw one poor little duck with crippled foot, another with a broken wing.  None seemed particularly unhappy, however.  The young man offered her some grain in his hand, and continued to talk to her.  Soon, he picked her up and put some kind of stuff on her bumps, cuts and bruises.  Then he took her into a little house and placed her on some soft, clean straw and left.  With a full tummy and comfortable bed, she tried cleaning up a bit and fell asleep again for awhile.


The days went peacefully by as she made a few friends with whom she shared her story of the great and terrible wind.  It seemed all of them had some bad story.  Some had been attacked by animals, some hit by cars, but all had been rescued by the same young man.  They called him Friend, and loved him very much.


Every now and then, other people arrived at the farm and took one or two of the birds away with them.  One day, a family came and took her away.  She didn’t want to leave, and the car ride was very scary, though exciting.  The drive wasn’t long, though, and she was deposited in a lovely back yard which she soon discovered had a pond and another goose.  She was now almost 2 years old and not at all disappointed when she discovered the goose was a gander! 


They became good friends and, in time, mates.  All geese want children; they are the most important things in their lives, but Hope and Henry, as she called him, had very special reasons for wanting children.  He and his first mate had never had any even though she had laid eggs and religiously set them.  They never knew why none hatched alive and well, but it was a great sadness to them.  She had passed away at a young age, so he supposed she had never been strong.  He had been heartbroken and only survived her loss by telling himself he would find another mate sometime and have the children she wanted so much.  Having been so loved and spoiled as an only child by her parents, the only thing that she had missed, before the great wind, was a big family.  Now she was anxious to have a very large family of her  own.  She laid many eggs, but everytime, the people came and took them away before they had a chance to hatch; most of time even before she had enough to set on.  She tried hiding her nest, but she couldn’t find a good hiding place in the open yard.  The only shelter was a couple of trees and the little shed where she and Henry spent the nights.  They gave each other comfort and always said, “next year”, as Hope kept on hoping.


The family they lived with pretty much left them alone.  They fed them, of course, and, at first, had talked to them and tried to pet them, but the kids were rough and chased them around the yard, so they kept their distance.  The family apparently enjoyed the eggs and the beauty of the geese in their yard, frequently sitting on the back porch and watching them quietly graze or float on the pond.


After several years, Hope and Henry were surprised when the family brought a little gosling out on the porch.  It was so little and so cute and the family seemed to like it a lot.  Hope just had to get a closer look for as much as she wanted one, she had never had the opportunity to actually get close to one.  Henry told her to mind her own business and stay away, but Hope was overcome with curiosity and envy.  Just as she got up her nerve to go closer, they took the gosling inside. 


Even though Henry wanted her to be more cautious, he was really only afraid she would be hurt and disappointed.  He wasn’t at all afraid of the people, but they had had a kind of understanding for years of keeping the peace by leaving each other alone.  Hope had accepted that arrangement as normal and Henry was very worried about her upsetting the apple cart.  In his heart, he wanted to see the baby as much as she did, and finally admitted that to Hope.  Neither one of them slept much that night and were up very early in the morning.  Hope didn’t take her eyes off the back door waiting for them to come out again.  Finally, she got so impatient; she went all around the house peeping into windows trying to get a glimpse of the little one.


Once, when the father came out to get their feed and clean out the shed, she followed him all around quietly murmuring to him in hopes he would understand what she wanted.  He was very much surprised when she actually let him touch her head, but then he went inside again.  Again, Hope and Henry watched and waited.


Late that afternoon, the mother finally brought the gosling out again.  This time, Hope could wait no longer.  She ran up to the porch and quivering with joy and excitement, stretched her neck out over the baby and toward the mother in a great show of happiness and affection.  Sadly, it had the opposite affect on the mother.  She grabbed the gosling up and ran into the house! 


Hope was crushed.  She had no idea what she had done wrong, and Henry wasn’t much help.  He kept saying she should have stayed in the yard where she belonged.  He didn’t say it in a cross way; he simply hated to see sweet Hope so distraught and unhappy.  Hope decided that next time, if there was a next time, she would  control herself and try to get closer and closer a little bit at a time.  She had to wait a couple of days, but sure enough here came the mother with the gosling out the back door.  When she sat down with the gosling in her lap, Hope carefully approached her.  The woman seemed a little nervous, but let her come within a foot or so, before she put out her hand to shoo Hope away.  Hope did back up, but her neck started quivering, and the woman got up and went inside again.


Things were definitely at an impasse.  Hope couldn’t stop her neck from quivering; it was very hard to control the impulse to stretch it over the baby, but when she did it, the woman was obviously frightened of her.  What she had here was a failure to communicate!  The woman surely thought Hope wanted to hurt her or the baby and that was the last thing Hope wanted to do.  Hope was so sad, she went into the shed, tucked her head into her wing and wouldn’t come out no matter what Henry said.


Next morning, the man came out to feed them and clean the shed as usual, but he couldn’t get Hope to move or eat.  He gave up, but came out again with his wife later in the day.  Hope still wouldn’t move.  They both started worrying about her.


The next day, they came out to see her again, but his time they had the young man who had rescued Hope with them.  She was very glad to see him and not only got up, but stretched her quivering neck out to rub against his leg.  He picked her up and she wrapped her neck around him.  It was so nice to see the Friend.  The woman said, “Oh, my goodness, I’ve made such a big mistake!  She has only done that when I had the gosling with me and I thought she was trying to hurt it or me.  All the time, she was trying to show how much she liked it!  I bet she wants the baby.”


Since the gosling was a little rescue that she had only planned to take care of until it was old enough to fend for itself on a farm, she decided to put her in with Hope and see how it worked out for a while.  Her only worry was how Henry would react, so the man put a fence up in the shed to keep Hope and the baby separated from Henry.   


It was soon obvious that both Hope and Henry were miserable with this arrangement, so they finally let Henry join them watching them very carefully to make sure the baby didn’t get hurt.  From that day on the story of the adoption was told all over town and, Hope, Henry and little Happy were well known as THE FAMILY.


by Nancy Townsend


NOTE:  Even tho' this is a fictional story, you should know that all the actions attributed to the geese are true to their behavior.  The geese in the above picture did indeed "ask" for a baby when they saw their human Mom with one, and she got them this baby.  They dote on it.  Also, when a goose quivers it's neck and stretches it, slightly raised toward you, it means they like you and usually want a hug! 

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Understanding can open doors to magical worlds!