The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico, adapted by Nick Warburton

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BBC Radio 4, 31 May 2010
Last year (2009) the Radio 4 programme Open Book asked various authors to champion a favourite 'neglected classic.' Michael Morpurgo chose Paul Gallico's The Snow Goose - not surprisingly, perhaps, in view of the fact that his story "War Horse" depicts a friendship between a boy and his horse which takes them both into the horror of World War I. "The Snow Goose" won the listeners' vote for their favourite 'neglected classic,' and has now been dramatized for the Classic Serial slot by Nick Warburton.
First published in 1940, The Snow Goose is a sentimental tale involving the developing relationship between Philip, a reclusive lighthouse keeper (Steven Mackintosh) and a young local girl Fritha (Georgia Groome). Together they discover a snow goose, who - like Philip - has been wounded by gunshot. With a combination of love and devotion the two of them nurse the goose back to health; and in subsequent years the bird revists them during its migration.
However this idyllic atmosphere cannot last: the Second World War begins, and Philip is summoned out of his Essex to take his boat over to France to help rescue stranded troops during the Dunkirk evacuation. He saves several hundred men, but drowns himself. However the troops themselves are saved: Private Potton (Michael Shelford), notices the goose flying above them, almost as if the animal was trying to guarantee their safety. The bird returns to the now-grown-up Fritha, who interprets its return as a sign of Philip's taking leave of her. This makes her very upset, as she realizes how much she loves him. The novella ends with the lighthouse being completely destroyed by a German Luftwaffe pilot, save for one portrait Fritha manages to recover - a picture of herself as a young girl cradling the snow goose in her arms.
A charming tale, depicting the power of love and devotion to overcome even the hardest heart and the most excessive or senseless acts of violence, this adaptation revealed how Gallico's novella retains its importance - as well as its charm - for today's listeners, seven decades after its original appearance.