These days, interdisciplinary projects and cross-curricular interlinking of learning are all the fashion, and stressed teachers sigh in frustration over the tour de force of teaching not only their own subject, but of successfully implementing relevant connections to other areas as well in order to make learning more meaningful to an increasingly lazy, naughty and careless student body. Think again - or read Selma Lagerlöf, and you will be pleased to discover that: a) your interdisciplinary project combining a learning unit in geography, biology, history, literature, ethics, Nordic mythology and life skills is offered to you on a Nobel silver plate. Following young Nils Holgersson on his magical journey through the various landscapes of Sweden is a special experience, as it combines features of a fairy tale adventure with genuine geography and biology knowledge.
There was a white goose on the farm, and one spring day he took it into his head to fly off with a flock of wild geese who were passing by. But many months later, Selma's grandmother was astonished to see that the goose had returned. Delighted, Selma's grandmother led the goose family to the barn, where they could eat from the trough with the other fowl. She just took out the little knife she used for slaughtering geese; and an hour later there was not one goose left alive in the barn. The legend is that if they can sell a single thing to a mortal, they will be allowed to return to the world; but they never do." Nils feels his heart is going to break. He could so easily have saved all these good people and their city, but he has failed them.
"Ora, proprio lanno in cui Nils viaggiava con le oche, cera una persona che pensava di continuo a un libro che intendeva scrivere sulla Svezia, un libro di lettura per le scuole. Mettiti a tavolino, inventa fiabe e novelle come hai sempre fatto, e lascia ad altri la cura di scrivere un libro istruttivo e serio, e in cui soprattutto non si trovi una parola che non sia veritiera!"
With wild geese flying over the farm, a farm goose attempts to fly off with them and, when Nils grabs hold, the two of them end up on an adventure This book involves a lot of the history and natural world of Sweden, which is a beautiful country. It reminded me a little of BB and his, The Little Grey Men go Down the Bright Stream, if not in the actual storyline, but in the way the countryside and natural beauty was so integral to the book.
Lagerlöf does a great job, not only in describing the Swedish landscape, but also in describing and telling Nils' story.
I was about 10 years old, and looking for something to read on a quiet Sunday afternoon in summer, when I ran across a battered and faded copy of The Wonderful Adventures of Nils. Originally published in Sweden in 1906-7, it tells the story of a naughty farmer's lad who has what we would today call attitude, toward his parents, toward farming, and toward the animals on the farm.
Born in the forested countryside of Sweden she was told many of the classic Swedish fairytales, which she would later use as inspiration in her magic realist writings. Her visit to Palestine and a colony of Christians there, would inspire her to write Jerusalem, her story of Swedish farmers converting into a evangelical Christian group and travelling to "The American Colony" in Jerusalem.