It’s a portrait of a young girl called Fritha with a wounded snow goose in her arms, and the story behind it is a sad one.
The man who had painted this portrait, a disabled artist called Rhayader, died during the war. He had known Fritha years earlier when, one day, she brought the wounded snow goose to him at the lighthouse where he lived, hoping he could heal the goose. He did, and every year ever after, the snow goose would visit the lighthouse in its annual migration…an occasion celebrated by Rhayader and Fritha every year as their friendship silently turned into love over the years. She realized it after he died.
This is the plot of a short novel titled ‘The Snow Goose’ by Paul Gallico, a very touching story that inspired my favorite band, Camel, who issued a concept album based on the novel in 1975. Having read the novel, the music brings tears to my eyes every time I listen to it and remember the fate of this love. Here is a short instrumental piece called ‘Sanctuary’ from the album: