Study Guide

The Goose Girl Chapter 9

By Shannon Hale

Chapter 9

  • Ani tries to learn the language of the geese, but all the honks, prattles, and hisses aren't something she's used to, and they nip at her legs a lot too.
  • Autumn arrives and Ani does the same thing every day: gets dressed, looks after the geese, and spends time with the other workers.
  • Conrad doesn't talk much, but when he does, he makes fun of Ani for listening to the geese so much, and caring what they're saying, though she doesn't actually care all that much.
  • When one of the missing ganders returns to them one day, Ani tries to figure out where he's been and what he's been up to—the gander is defensive at first, but once Ani offers a big old handful of grass, he warms to her.
  • She names him Jok and takes him back to her place to help him out—he's got a few nasty claw marks on his legs.
  • Ideca helps her by giving Jok a salve to heal his cuts. She observes that Ani always wears a hat—which she thinks is to protect her precious skin, though we know it's really to cover up her hair.
  • The next day, Ani tries talking to the geese again, mimicking their tones and sounds. She must look pretty ridiculous, because Conrad tells everyone she thinks she's a goose.
  • Just then, two street cats wander into the area where Conrad and Ani are taking the geese to roam. This is not a good sign.
  • Immediately, Ani shouts a sound she heard the geese say to each other before when they saw a dog—and it works. The geese huddle together for safety, wrapping their wings around one another to form a barrier for the cats.
  • Right away, Ani knows Conrad saw the cats and didn't warn her—looks like he wanted to see her fail. Hmm… wonder why.
  • As Conrad runs off, Ani notices a horseman riding around the pasture. The guy riding the horse isn't all that good at it though, and the horse hates the way the guy rides, throwing him onto the grass.
  • Ani jumps in and introduces herself to the horse—literally—then she tells him some riders are beneath him, but she wants to be his equal instead.
  • The rider thinks this is all a joke. Why would she talk to the horse? Plus this horse is known for being difficult to tame, and that's why his so-called buddies at the stables gave it to him anyway, to see him fail.
  • Ani rides the horse around for a while, and the rider explains you can't just ride off on someone's horse without asking them, which she knows is right.
  • Despite her guilt, Ani can't help but feel a little happiness riding the horse around—she apologizes to the man, and he takes it pretty easy on her.
  • He's only out there to get away from everything in the palace anyway, but instead of getting a little alone time, he's wound up schooled by a goose girl. He introduces himself as Geric, a palace guard.
  • Since the horse clearly likes Ani better, Geric offers it to her as a gift. Ani is thrilled, but she can't accept it since she's got nowhere to keep a horse now—after all, she's just a goose girl.

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