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On the desolate Essex marshes, a young girl named Fritha arrives at a remote lighthouse seeking help from its lonely inhabitant: Philip Rhayader, a crippled artist who has established a bird sanctuary on his land. The girl brings to him a wounded snow goose, which the gentle Philip takes under his care. Soon a friendship blossoms as he and Fritha nurse the bird back to health, though as the years pass, Fritha visits the lighthouse only when the snow goose is there. Then the outbreak of World War II draws Philip away from his home to help in the war effort—and suddenly Fritha has a new reason to return to the lighthouse.