• "Youlre back," he said happily, and then asked briefly "Hey, whatls up?" His face was honest yet upset at the same time. I could not lie to him. Facing the ground I said: "Itls true"…

    "Damn them then!" and he mounted the horse and galloped away. The next day, riding on their horses through the fog, they all went to the Milk Valley. But they found nothing, nothing at all, not even a forlorn cat, only the houses and the stables, all empty and abandoned.

    The s’ender cows with long horns never again showed up at the markets. Ten years went by. One summer day I mounted my horse and went to the abandoned village.

    I could not find the homes anymore, and could not recognize the place; only the river was as white as before, with white rocks and green grass on the edges. I walked on the hills till the evening, went into the water, and saw that it was shallow; it hardly covered the horsels hoofs and was s’owly boiling.

    I started to go forth in the direction of the river, from one side of the river to the other. I was thinking…with a wife like Arina I wouldnlt mind if I sold the cattle or not, or hmm, I wouldn't be that upset. Is she still that beautiful, as an adult? With a goose for a mother…

    The children are beautiful to make the adults protect them, itls only a defense weapon of the species, when they grow up they start looking like their parents; but for sure I would love her still, and if she got to look like her mother, I would know that she is hidden there in a goose-woman and that would be enough for me.

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