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      We were accustomed to watching the ducks who chose our lake each year-a pair or two of mallards,a few blue-winged teals,some mudhens,once even a pair of wood ducks.And the prevopis summer a pair of beavers had taken up residence,starting us at first with occasional loud tail slaps.But this was the first time we'd been blessed with geese,and we were excited later in the spring when Lila,using the binoculars,watched them begin nesting preparations along the southeast corner of the lake.That was the shallowest end ,filled with reeds and bullrushes,and plenty of willows close to the lake,poplars and an occasional birch farther back up the hill.At the edge of the lake was an old muskrat house,from a time when there had been more water,and the geese had chosen that as a nesting site,only about three hundred yards form our house.
      By that time the geese were becoming accustomed to us,though we weren't trying to tame them.Lila sometimes rowed our small rowboat around the lake,and we both took occasional walks down to the shore below the house.But once we realized they had chosen to nest in the southeast corner,we began to avoid the section.
      I suppose it was three weeks later that disaster struck.I was dozing on the verandah,weary from a long day in the fields,and Lila was hoeing weeds in the garden beside the house.
      Lila's shouts roused me,but she was already halfway down the hill,hoe in hand ,before I realized what was happening.Loudhonks,I could almost call them screams,issued from the southeast corner of the lake ,and also the sound of wings beating frantically against bullrshes or branches.But in the grayness of near dusk it was impossible to see what was occurring.
      I ran after Lila,but she had a good start on me.She was at the nest befor I caught up to her,and by then the noise and confusion had stopped.Lila was leaning on her hoe,panting from her effort,furous tears pouring down her cheeks as she surveyed the battle site before her.I ley loose a string of choive words when I saw it.


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