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"The Wonderful Adventures of Nils" is a work of fiction by the Swedish author Selma Lagerlöf. It was originally published in two books, "The Wonderful Adventures of Nils" in 1906 and "Further Adventures of Nils" in 1907. The background for its publication was a commission from the National Teachers Association in 1902, which asked Lagerlöf to write a geography reader for the public schools. She devoted three years to Nature study and to familiarizing herself with animal and bird life. She also sought out hitherto unpublished folklore and legends of the different provinces, which she then ingeniously wove into this story.
The story is about Nils Holgersson, a boy who is transformed into a leprechaun and who travels around Sweden on the back of a goose. The journey begins on the 20th of March 1898 and ends on the 8th of November of that same year, when Nils returns to Västra Vemmenhög. The story has been translated into more the 60 languages and appeals to readers of all ages. With superb storytelling, it beautifully unites the story's fantasy with its purpose of providing knowledge about Sweden.
Selma Lagerlöf (1858-1940) has written a series of novels and short stories about peasant life in Sweden. Her first novel "Gösta Berling's Saga" was made into the 1924 eponymous silent film featuring Greta Garbo, as well as into the 1925 Zandonai opera "I Cavalieri di Ekebù". Lagerlöf was the first female writer to win the Nobel Prize in literature, which was awarded to her in 1909. She was also the first female member of the Swedish Academy, which she entered in 1914.