Apr 9, 2014
The Wonderful Adventures of Nils: A Boy and His Goose
14-year old Nils Holgersson had a thing for geese.
The star of The Wonderful Adventures of Nils (1906) and The Further Adventures of Nils (1907) by gay Swedish novelist Selma Lagerlof, Nils is a bad boy who torments animals, until he shrinks down to their size. He and a domestic goose named Morton join a pack of wild geese and fly off to Lapland.
Finally Nils matures enough to return to human form. He is now a man, but he no longer understands the language of the geese, and he must abandon his friends (picture by Taya Strizhakova).
There's a lot of gay symbolism in the "queer" boy trying to fit in.
The books were envisioned as school texts: Nils visits every province of Sweden, and hears about their geography and economic output. But kids -- and adults -- loved them. They are still best-sellers in Sweden.
Otherwise Nils is wonderfully free of the girl-craziness that besets most other adolescents in children's literature.