The Snow Goose And Small Miracle
Paul Gallico

The Snow Goose - A story  about love in its purest form. A perfect book for when you want to devote some of your Book Club meeting to another activity.

We read this and The Small Miracle ahead of our Book Club Christmas Party. (the two books are usually included in most copies of The Snow Goose but do check)

We still wanted to discuss a book but wanted one that we could all read, during the mayhem that is Christmas, and discuss briefly before our annual award ceremony! This was a perfect choice.

The Plot

A story of a beautiful friendship between a man (Rhayader) living an isolated life in a lighthouse, and a young girl (Fritha).

It is set not far from Dunkirk, which is just across the channel near France.

The girl finds a snow goose and nurses it back to health, setting it free from the lighthouse. The snow goose comes back every year to the lighthouse.

The man eventually dies, having rescued hundreds of soldiers in his small boat from the shores of Dunkirk.

The lightouse is eventually blown up, but the girl (now grown up) manages to resuce one painting with her as a small girl with the snow goose.

The Small Miracle - A parable ( a simple story set to teach us a lesson or show us a morale)  about a boy Pepino & his beloved donkey, Violetta. They are everything to each other but the donkey starts to get sick. Pepino remembers  the stories told to him about St. Francis  & his love of animals & decides to go to the  Basilica of St. Francis to plead with  the Saint to help Violetta. He won't take no for an answer from the Friar and his constant persistence gets him an appointment with the Pope.

And then "The Small Miracle" happens; Pepino is granted an audience with the Pope. Soon, the boy leaves for Assissi armed with the Pope's blessing & letters of permission. At last the vaulted chamber is opened & another miracle occurs; a box belonging to St. Francis is found, containing a clear messsage for us all about, "Poverty, love & faith."  And Hurrah! It also seems that Violetta is beginning to smile again.

Book Club Questions?

The Snow Goose:

What did you enjoy most about this story?

Is the story still relevant today or is it dated? Why or why not?

Discuss the theme of love in this novella - (Rhayader's love for animals, his fellow man and Fritha)

The lighthouse is destroyed at the end of the book. Does this ruin the uplifting feel to the story?

What lessons can we learn from this simple story?

The Little Miracle:

What lessons can we learn from this parable?

Will you do anything differently having read this short story?

Can you think of an example where you have never given up and managed to succeed?


We loved these two very short stories and found them to be uplifting and full of hope. It scored 8/10 at our Book Club Christmas Party.


Both the language & the setting in The Snow Goose is steeped in the past;  a sense of timelessness is evoked around the sea, the light  & the return of the birds, whilst the names are Saxon.

No! It isn't a story about Christmas but it is a story full of hope, promise & love, &, as a result, it is uplifting.

Even though Rhayader dies a glorious death, Fritha is left to mourn & the whole area around the Lighthouse is blown to smithereens, it remains uplifting in its purity & strong messages at a time, both then & now, when the world  at large seemed to be crumbling.

The Small Miracle is a great addition. What a beautiful, beautiful simple story of faith & love; how appropriate at Christmas time, which is when we read these.

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