Rus Articles Journal

How the Swedish textbook on geography became the well-known fairy tale? Selma Lagerlof`s memory of

- korotyshy Niels Holgersson and his goose squadron to me had to meet the kid the whole three times. In sense - to get acquainted anew. The remarkable Soviet animated film of 1955 " was the first acquaintance, certainly; The Bewitched boy .

Following in line. About as far as it free, I learned, being already an adult when at last the full version of the book in L. Braude`s translation fell of me into hands. At once there was a question: and whether much at us will be the children capable to master this version where continually it is necessary to be torn through detailed descriptions of the Swedish provinces, local realities and natural sketches? Why the favourite fairy tale of the Swedish children is so heavy for our children? The reasons of it are directly connected with history of creation of the book...

The dream to become the writer pursued the Swedish girl Selma Ottilia Luvisu Lagerlof from 7 years. Development of her violent imagination was promoted by circumstances not of the most pleasant character. With 3 - x years paralyzed Selma, and, confined to the bed, the girl could for hours and hours listened to the fairy tales told by her beloved grandmother.

And then in Selma`s life there was an event, quite comparable to fantastic. At nine-year age it is sent for treatment to Stockholm. And capital doctors manage to make impossible - the girl began to go again, though will limp until the end of life.

Writing, as we know, put unreliable therefore Selma graduated from normal school and Landskruna began to work at school for girls in. In 1885 it the grief - yes overtook not one again, but whole two. Hotly beloved father, and an entail property of a family of Lagerlof - Morbakka died - right there sold for debts.

Strangely enough, children`s dream helped to correct financial welfare for the teacher. In 1891 she participates in a literary competition and writes the novel The Saga about Yyosta Berlige . Romantic work sounded is so fresh against domination of realistic style that Saga quickly the love of readers and enthusiastic praises of critics got. Five years later Selma already felt rather well-founded to throw teacher`s craft and completely to be given to creativity.

At the beginning of the XX century the head of the General union of teachers of national schools - Alfred Dalin - initiated courageous pedagogical experiment. He thought: and what if to create school textbooks not in habitual dry style, and similar to fascinating literary works? It is no wonder that among the first applicants capable to embody this hard idea, there was Selma Lagerlof. She was both a teacher, and the writer rolled into one therefore at once refused coauthors.

Selma Lagerlof:

Mentally I asked myself a question: what does the child have to know first of all what he has to have a fresh, live idea of? And the answer, itself certainly, arose: the first that kids have to learn, is their own country .


In a word, the writer undertook the textbook on the Swedish geography. However, she did not refuse assistance. The same Alfred Dalin distributed on different corners of Sweden questionnaires with the purpose to receive interesting local material on ethnography and folklore. Work on the book began in 1904, and first progressed very hardly.

From Lagerlof`s letter to Dalin:

Still work on the textbook convinced me, perhaps, only of how a little we know about our country; the truth, perhaps, I should tell: as I know about it a little. I read that it is necessary on geology, zoology, botany, history! All sciences it is so impossible stepped forward since I graduated from school!


Material collected, but Selma did not want that the book appeared in the form of separate fragments. It needed the binding subject line to which, as on a thread, it would be possible to string geographical data and local legends. In search of inspiration the writer personally makes a trip across Sweden - Smoland, Blyoking, Norrland visits provinces and even goes down in mine of the Falunsky mine.

In the tour it could not pass by the beautiful province Vyormland where her native and lost Morbakka settled down.

If to trust the writer, during Morbakki`s visit she was overtaken by inspiration. Suddenly it seemed to it that she sees tiny to the boy whom the owl tries to seize. Later this history straight will be included directly in the fairy tale together with Lagerlof.

The real reminiscence of the surprising case which occurred in Morbakke of her childhood became the second starting point of a plot. Once the white guinea goose ran away from Lagerlof`s estate together with pack of wild geese, and later time returned... with a goose and a brood of gooses! And, at last, the last - solving - impact on a plot of the fairy tale was exerted by Kipling`s works with his speaking animals.

So the long-awaited central subject thread was born. The boy turned by the brownie into a liliputik makes on a back of a guinea goose of Morten a dizzy trip with wild goose pack through all Sweden. He observes different provinces, the cities, villages, plants, meets locals and their customs, listens to legends and stories. And at the same time, of course, itself constantly endures dangerous and fascinating adventures.

However Niels`s travel - not just adventure. During tests harmful and even cruel boy learns to love, to empathize, help others and to forgive. It cannot set up other person, even any more to remove from itself(himself) a paternoster. And at the end of the book Niels helps to be released from captivity to the immemorial enemy of goose pack - Smirre`s fox. Not without reason in one of questionnaires on the question Your favourite virtue? the Christian Lagerlof answered: Mercy .

However the writer is interested not only people. The huge number of pages of the book is devoted to the nature of Sweden. Here not only animals, but even the rivers, rocks and the wood talk. Selma of one of the first set people thinking on ecology, on preservation of habitat from encroachments of the person.

On November 24, 1906 first volume Surprising travel of Niels Holgersson with wild geese across Sweden appeared on counters of shops. In a year also the second appeared in time.

At once I will tell that the fairy tale caused delight not in all Swedish critics. Many of those who looked at work with uchebno - the pedagogical point of view accused the writer of geographical and biological inaccuracies, reproached that the province Smoland is represented too poor, and the province Golland at all is only mentioned. In it there was a truth grain - for the full school textbook Niels not really - that it was good. More likely, it was a remarkable grant for additional reading.

However most of the Swedish readers did not bother over scientific subtleties and came to love the book very much. The Swedish poet Karl Snoylsky enthusiastically wrote that this fairy tale installed life and paints in dry desert sand of the school lesson . It was echoed by the Swedish researcher Niels Aftselius: Instead of writing the reference book for students of university, she presented to children incentive to knowledge .

After Niels Selma Lagerlof`s glory gets at first national, and then and the world scope. In 1909 the writer becomes the first woman - the Nobel Prize laureate on literature, and in 1914 the first woman - the member of the Swedish Academy.

Having got an award, Selma right there redeems the native manor to Morbakk where she lives for the rest of the natural (she died on March 16, 1940). After death of the writer of Morbakk turns into the museum. And Niels astride a goose becomes one of informal symbols of Shchvetion.

Fairy tale scattered all over the world, without excluding also the Soviet Union. However, there she experienced considerable transformations about which I will talk in the following article.