Thursday, March 12, 2009

Svenhild Hansen


"Stories are often told of eagles carrying off a lamb or child, but real-life instances capable of proof are very few. It is generally agreed by ornithologists that an eagle is unable to carry a weight in excess of its own, and few of these birds weigh more than twelve pounds. However, there seems no reason to doubt the terrifying experience of four-year-old Svenhild Hansen, who was actually 'kidnapped' by an eagle near Trondheim in Norway in June, 1932. She was playing in the yard of her parents' farmhouse when an eagle swooped down on her, fortunately clutching only her dress in its talons. The giant bird is then said to have carried her 'more than a mile' towards its eyrie. Becoming tired, it deposited her on a ledge eight hundred feet up on a mountain and fifty feet short of the nest. Only the fact that the eagle was seen to fly repeatedly over the spot gave a clue to the panic-stricken parents and a party of searchers. Eventually little Svenhild was found there fast asleep, uninjured except for slight bruising and a few scratches.

"Now a married woman, she keeps the torn frock she then wore as a souvenir of one of the world's most amazing adventures. As it is the habit of eagles to kill their prey before bringing it to the nest, Svenhild's escape must be one of the most extraordinary on record."

--Animal World in Color, Volume 8 - Hunters: Birds, Fish, and Amphibians, edited by Maurice Burton, Childrens Press: Chicago, 1969

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