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The Lilac Fairy Book

How Brave Walter Hunted Wolves
A little back from the high road there stands a house which is called 'Hemgard.' Perhaps
you remember the two beautiful mountain ash trees by the reddish-brown palings, and the
high gate, and the garden with the beautiful barberry bushes which are always the first to
become grown in spring, and which in summer are weighed down with their beautiful
berries.
Behind the garden there is a hedge with tall aspens which rustle in the morning wind,
behind the hedge is a road, behind the road is a wood, and behind the wood the wide
world.
But on the other side of the garden there is a lake, and beyond the lake is a village, and all
around stretch meadows and fields, now yellow, now green.
In the pretty house, which has white window-frames, a neat porch and clean steps, which
are always strewn with finely-cut juniper leaves, Walter's parents live. His brother
Frederick, his sister Lotta, old Lena, Jonah, Caro and Bravo, Putte and Murre, and
Kuckeliku.
Caro lives in the dog house, Bravo in the stable, Putte with the stableman, Murre a little
here and a little there, and Kuckeliku lives in the hen house, that is his kingdom.
Walter is six years old, and he must soon begin to go to school. He cannot read yet, but
he can do many other things. He can turn cartwheels, stand on his head, ride see-saw,
throw snowballs, play ball, crow like a cock, eat bread and butter and drink sour milk,
tear his trousers, wear holes in his elbows, break the crockery in pieces, throw balls
through the windowpanes, draw old men on important papers, walk over the flower-beds,
eat himself sick with gooseberries, and be well after a whipping. For the rest he has a
good heart but a bad memory, and forgets his father's and his mother's admonitions, and
so often gets into trouble and meets with adventures, as you shall hear, but first of all I
must tell you how brave he was and how he hunted wolves.
Once in the spring, a little before Midsummer, Walter heard that there were a great many
wolves in the wood, and that pleased him. He was wonderfully brave when he was in the
midst of his companions or at home with his brothers and sister, then he used often to say
'One wolf is nothing, there ought to be at least four.'
When he wrestled with Klas Bogenstrom or Frithiof Waderfelt and struck them in the
back, he would say 'That is what I shall do to a wolf!' and when he shot arrows at Jonas
and they rattled against his sheepskin coat he would say: 'That is how I should shoot you
if you were a wolf!'
Indeed, some thought that the brave boy boasted a little; but one must indeed believe him
since he said so himself. So Jonas and Lena used to say of him 'Look, there goes Walter,
who shoots the wolves.' And other boys and girls would say 'Look, there goes brave
Walter, who is brave enough to fight with four.'
 
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