68 HOW BRAVE WALTER HUNTED WOLVES
trousers, wear holes in his elbows, break the crockery in pieces, throw balls through the windowpanes, draw old men on important papers, walk over the flower-beds, eat himself sick with gooseberries, and be well after a whipping. For the rest he has a good heart but a bad memory, and forgets his father's and his mother's admonitions, and so often gets into trouble and meets with adventures, as you shall hear, but first of all I must tell you how brave he was and how he hunted wolves.
Once in the spring, a little before Midsummer, Walter heard that there were a great many wolves in the wood, and that pleased him. He was wonderfully brave when he was in the midst of his companions or at home with his brothers and sister, then he used often to say ' One wolf is nothing, there ought to be at least four.''
When he wrestled with Klas Bogenstrom or Frithiof Waderfelt and struck them in the back, he would say ' That is what I shall do to a wolf ! ' and when he shot arrows at Jonas and they rattled against his sheepskin coat he would say : ' That is how I should shoot you if you were a wolf !'
Indeed, some thought that the brave boy boasted a little ; but one must indeed believe him since he said so himself. So Jonas and Lena used to say of him ' Look, there goes Walter, who shoots the wolves.' And other boys and girls would say ' Look, there goes brave Walter, who is brave enough to fight with four.'
There was no one so fully convinced of this as Walter himself, and one day he prepared himself for a real wolf hunt. He took with him his drum, which had holes in one end since the time he had climbed up on it to reach a cluster of rowan berries, and his tin sabre, which was a little broken, because he had with incredible courage fought his way through a whole unfriendly army of gooseberry bushes.
He did not forget to arm himself quite to the teeth writh his pop-gun, his bow, and his air-pistol. He had a