Part 1 out of 5
by JOHANNA SPYRI
I Up the Mountain to Alm-Uncle
II At Home with Grandfather
III Out with the Goats
IV The Visit to Grandmother
V Two Visits and What Came of Them
VI A New Chapter about New Things
VII Fraulein Rottenmeier Spends an Uncomfortable Day
VIII There is Great Commotion in the Large House
IX Herr Sesemann Hears of Things that are New to Him
X Another Grandmother
XI Heidi Gains in One Way and Loses in Another
XII A Ghost in the House
XIII A Summer Evening on the Mountain
XIV Sunday Bells
XV Preparations for a journey
XVI A Visitor
XVII A Compensation
XVIII Winter in Dorfli
XIX The Winter Continues
XX News from Distant Friends
XXI How Life went on at Grandfather's
XXII Something Unexpected Happens
XXIII "Good-bye Till We Meet Again"
"Heidi" is a delightful story for children of life in the Alps,
one of many tales written by the Swiss authoress, Johanna Spyri,
who died in her home at Zurich in 1891. She had been well known
to the younger readers of her own country since 1880, when she
published her story, Heimathlos, which ran into three or more
editions, and which, like her other books, as she states on the
title page, was written for those who love children, as well as
for the youngsters themselves. Her own sympathy with the
instincts and longings of the child's heart is shown in her
picture of Heidi. The record of the early life of this Swiss
child amid the beauties of her passionately loved mountain-home
and during her exile in the great town has been for many years a
favorite book of younger readers in Germany and America.
Madame Spyri, like Hans Andersen, had by temperament a peculiar
skill in writing the simple histories of an innocent world. In
all her stories she shows an underlying desire to preserve
children alike from misunderstanding and the mistaken kindness
that frequently hinder the happiness and natural development of
their lives and characters. The authoress, as we feel in reading
her tales, lived among the scenes and people she describes, and
the setting of her stories has the charm of the mountain scenery
amid which she places her small actors.
Her chief works, besides Heidi, were:-- Am Sonntag; Arthur und
Squirrel; Aus dem Leben; Aus den Schweizer Bergen; Aus Nah und
Fern; Aus unserem, Lande; Cornelli wird erzogen; Einer vom Hause
Lesa; 10 Geschichten fur Yung und Alt; Kurze Geschichten, 2
vols.; Gritli's Kinder, 2 vols.; Heimathlos; Im Tilonethal; In
Leuchtensa; Keiner zu Klein Helfer zu sein; Onkel Titus; Schloss
Wildenstein; Sina; Ein Goldener Spruch; Die Hauffer Muhle;
Verschollen, nicht vergessen; Was soll deim aus ihr werden; Was
aus ihr Geworden ist. M.E.
CHAPTER I. UP THE MOUNTAIN TO ALM-UNCLE
From the old and pleasantly situated village of Mayenfeld, a
footpath winds through green and shady meadows to the foot of
the mountains, which on this side look down from their stern and
lofty heights upon the valley below. The land grows gradually
wilder as the path ascends, and the climber has not gone far
before he begins to inhale the fragrance of the short grass and
sturdy mountain-plants, for the way is steep and leads directly
up to the summits above.
On a clear sunny morning in June two figures might be seen
climbing the narrow mountain path; one, a tall strong-looking
girl, the other a child whom she was leading by the hand, and
whose little checks were so aglow with heat that the crimson
color could be seen even through the dark, sunburnt skin. And
this was hardly to be wondered at, for in spite of the hot June
sun the child was clothed as if to keep off the bitterest frost.
She did not look more than five years old, if as much, but what
her natural figure was like, it would have been hard to say, for
she had apparently two, if not three dresses, one above the
other, and over these a thick red woollen shawl wound round
about her, so that the little body presented a shapeless
appearance, as, with its small feet shod in thick, nailed
mountain-shoes, it slowly and laboriously plodded its way up in
the heat. The two must have left the valley a good hour's walk
behind them, when they came to the hamlet known as Dorfli, which
is situated half-way up the mountain. Here the wayfarers met with
greetings from all sides, some calling to them from windows, some
from open doors, others from outside, for the elder girl was now
in her old home. She did not, however, pause in her walk to
respond to her friends' welcoming cries and questions, but passed
on without stopping for a moment until she reached the last of
the scattered houses of the hamlet. Here a voice called to her
from the door: "Wait a moment, Dete; if you are going up higher,
I will come with you."
The girl thus addressed stood still, and the child immediately
let go her hand and seated herself on the ground.
"Are you tired, Heidi?" asked her companion.
"No, I am hot," answered the child.
"We shall soon get to the top now. You must walk bravely on a
little longer, and take good long steps, and in another hour we
shall be there," said Dete in an encouraging voice.
They were now joined by a stout, good-natured-looking woman, who
walked on ahead with her old acquaintance, the two breaking
forth at once into lively conversation about everybody and
everything in Dorfli and its surroundings, while the child
wandered behind them.
"And where are you off to with the child?" asked the one who had
just joined the party. "I suppose it is the child your sister
"Yes," answered Dete. "I am taking her up to Uncle, where she
"The child stay up there with Alm-Uncle! You must be out of your
senses, Dete! How can you think of such a thing! The old man,
however, will soon send you and your proposal packing off home
"He cannot very well do that, seeing that he is her grandfather.
He must do something for her. I have had the charge of the child
till now, and I can tell you, Barbel, I am not going to give up
the chance which has just fallen to me of getting a good place,
for her sake. It is for the grandfather now to do his duty by
"That would be all very well if he were like other people,"
asseverated stout Barbel warmly, "but you know what he is. And
what can he do with a child, especially with one so young! The
child cannot possibly live with him. But where are you thinking
of going yourself?"
"To Frankfurt, where an extra good place awaits me," answered
Dete. "The people I am going to were down at the Baths last
summer, and it was part of my duty to attend upon their rooms.
They would have liked then to take me away with them, but I
could not leave. Now they are there again and have repeated their
offer, and I intend to go with them, you may make up your mind
"I am glad I am not the child!" exclaimed Barbel, with a gesture
of horrified pity. "Not a creature knows anything about the old
man up there! He will have nothing to do with anybody, and never
sets his foot inside a church from one year's end to another.
When he does come down once in a while, everybody clears out of
the way of him and his big stick. The mere sight of him, with
his bushy grey eyebrows and his immense beard, is alarming
enough. He looks like any old heathen or Indian, and few would
care to meet him alone."
"Well, and what of that?" said Dete, in a defiant voice, "he is
the grandfather all the same, and must look after the child. He
is not likely to do her any harm, and if he does, he will be
answerable for it, not I."
"I should very much like to know," continued Barbel, in an
inquiring tone of voice, "what the old man has on his conscience
that he looks as he does, and lives up there on the mountain
like a hermit, hardly ever allowing himself to be seen. All kinds
of things are said about him. You, Dete, however, must certainly
have learnt a good deal concerning him from your sister--am I
"You are right, I did, but I am not going to repeat what I
heard; if it should come to his ears I should get into trouble
Now Barbel had for long past been most anxious to ascertain
particulars about Alm-Uncle, as she could not understand why he
seemed to feel such hatred towards his fellow-creatures, and
insisted on living all alone, or why people spoke about him half
in whispers, as if afraid to say anything against him, and yet
unwilling to take his Part. Moreover, Barbel was in ignorance as
to why all the people in Dorfli called him Alm-Uncle, for he
could not possibly be uncle to everybody living there. As,
however, it was the custom, she did like the rest and called the
old man Uncle. Barbel had only lived in Dorfli since her
marriage, which had taken place not long before. Previous to
that her home had been below in Prattigau, so that she was not
well acquainted with all the events that had ever taken place,
and with all the people who had ever lived in Dorfli and its
neighborhood. Dete, on the contrary, had been born in Dorfli,
and had lived there with her mother until the death of the latter
the year before, and had then gone over to the Baths at Ragatz
and taken service in the large hotel there as chambermaid. On the
morning of this day she had come all the way from Ragatz with
the child, a friend having given them a lift in a hay-cart as far
as Mayenfeld. Barbel was therefore determined not to lose this
good opportunity of satisfying her curiosity. She put her arm
through Dete's in a confidential sort of way, and said: "I know I
can find out the real truth from you, and the meaning of all
these tales that are afloat about him. I believe you know the
whole story. Now do just tell me what is wrong with the old man,
and if he was always shunned as he is now, and was always such a
"How can I possibly tell you whether he was always the same,
seeing I am only six-and-twenty and he at least seventy years of
age; so you can hardly expect me to know much about his youth.
If I was sure, however, that what I tell you would not go the
whole round of Prattigau, I could relate all kinds of things
about him; my mother came from Domleschg, and so did he."
"Nonsense, Dete, what do you mean?" replied Barbel, somewhat
offended, "gossip has not reached such a dreadful pitch in
Prattigau as all that, and I am also quite capable of holding my
tongue when it is necessary."
"Very well then, I will tell you--but just wait a moment," said
Dete in a warning voice, and she looked back to make sure that
the child was not near enough to hear all she was going to
relate; but the child was nowhere to be seen, and must have
turned aside from following her companions some time before,
while these were too eagerly occupied with their conversation to
notice it. Dete stood still and looked around her in all
directions. The footpath wound a little here and there, but
could nevertheless be seen along its whole length nearly to
Dorfli; no one, however, was visible upon it at this moment.
"I see where she is," exclaimed Barbel, "look over there!" and
she pointed to a spot far away from the footpath. "She is
climbing up the slope yonder with the goatherd and his goats. I
wonder why he is so late to-day bringing them up. It happens
well, however, for us, for he can now see after the child, and
you can the better tell me your tale."
"Oh, as to the looking after," remarked Dete, "the boy need not
put himself out about that; she is not by any means stupid for
her five years, and knows how to use her eyes. She notices all
that is going on, as I have often had occasion to remark, and
this will stand her in good stead some day, for the old man has
nothing beyond his two goats and his hut."
"Did he ever have more?" asked Barbel.
"He? I should think so indeed," replied Dete with animation; "he
was owner once of one of the largest farms in Domleschg. He was
the elder of two brothers; the younger was a quiet, orderly man,
but nothing would please the other but to play the grand
gentleman and go driving about the country and mixing with bad
company, strangers that nobody knew. He drank and gambled away
the whole of his property, and when this became known to his
mother and father they died, one shortly after the other, of
sorrow. The younger brother, who was also reduced to beggary,
went off in his anger, no one knew whither, while Uncle himself,
having nothing now left to him but his bad name, also
disappeared. For some time his whereabouts were unknown, then
some one found out that he had gone to Naples as a soldier;
after that nothing more was heard of him for twelve or fifteen
years. At the end of that time he reappeared in Domleschg,
bringing with him a young child, whom he tried to place with some
of his kinspeople. Every door, however, was shut in his face, for
no one wished to have any more to do with him. Embittered by this
treatment, he vowed never to set foot in Domleschg again, and he
then came to Dorfli, where he continued to live with his little
boy. His wife was probably a native of the Grisons, whom he had
met down there, and who died soon after their marriage. He could
not have been entirely without money, for he apprenticed his
son, Tobias, to a carpenter. He was a steady lad, and kindly
received by every one in Dorfli. The old man was, however, still
looked upon with suspicion, and it was even rumoured that he had
been forced to make his escape from Naples, or it might have gone
badly with him, for that he had killed a man, not in fair fight,
you understand, but in some brawl. We, however, did not refuse
to acknowledge our relationship with him, my great-grandmother on
my mother's side having been sister to his grandmother. So we
called him Uncle, and as through my father we are also related to
nearly every family in Dorfli, he became known all over the place
as Uncle, and since he went to live on the mountain side he has
gone everywhere by the name of Alm-Uncle."
"And what happened to Tobias?" asked Barbel, who was listening
with deep interest.
"Wait a moment, I am coming to that, but I cannot tell you
everything at once," replied Dete. "Tobias was taught his trade
in Mels, and when he had served his apprenticeship he came back
to Dorfli and married my sister Adelaide. They had always been
fond of one another, and they got on very well together after
they were married. But their happiness did not last long. Her
husband met with his death only two years after their marriage,
a beam falling upon him as he was working, and killing him on the
spot. They carried him home, and when Adelaide saw the poor
disfigured body of her husband she was so overcome with horror
and grief that she fell into a fever from which she never
recovered. She had always been rather delicate and subject to
curious attacks, during which no one knew whether she was awake
or sleeping. And so two months after Tobias had been carried to
the grave, his wife followed him. Their sad fate was the talk of
everybody far and near, and both in private and public the
general opinion was expressed that it was a punishment which
Uncle had deserved for the godless life he had led. Some went so
far even as to tell him so to his face. Our minister endeavored
to awaken his conscience and exhorted him to repentance, but the
old man grew only more wrathful and obdurate and would not speak
to a soul, and every one did their best to keep out of his way.
All at once we heard that he had gone to live up the Alm and did
not intend ever to come down again, and since then he has led
his solitary life on the mountain side at enmity with God and
man. Mother and I took Adelaide's little one, then only a year
old, into our care. When mother died last year, and I went down
to the Baths to earn some money, I paid old Ursel, who lives in
the village just above, to keep and look after the child. I
stayed on at the Baths through the winter, for as I could sew and
knit I had no difficulty in finding plenty of work, and early in
the spring the same family I had waited on before returned from
Frankfurt, and again asked me to go back with them. And so we
leave the day after to-morrow, and I can assure you, it is an
excellent place for me."
"And you are going to give the child over to the old man up
there? It surprises me beyond words that you can think of doing
such a thing, Dete," said Barbel, in a voice full of reproach.
"What do you mean?" retorted Dete. "I have done my duty by the
child, and what would you have me do with it now? I cannot
certainly take a child of five years old with me to Frankfurt.
But where are you going to yourself, Barbel; we are now half way
up the Alm?"
"We have just reached the place I wanted," answered Barbel. "I
had something to say to the goatherd's wife, who does some
spinning for me in the winter. So good-bye, Dete, and good luck
Dete shook hands with her friend and remained standing while
Barbel went towards a small, dark brown hut, which stood a few
steps away from the path in a hollow that afforded it some
protection from the mountain wind. The hut was situated half way
up the Alm, reckoning from Dorfli, and it was well that it was
provided with some shelter, for it was so broken-down and
dilapidated that even then it must have been very unsafe as a
habitation, for when the stormy south wind came sweeping over
the mountain, everything inside it, doors and windows, shook and
rattled, and all the rotten old beams creaked and trembled. On
such days as this, had the goatherd's dwelling been standing
above on the exposed mountain side, it could not have escaped
being blown straight down into the valley without a moment's
Here lived Peter, the eleven-year-old boy, who every morning
went down to Dorfli to fetch his goats and drive them up on to
the mountain, where they were free to browse till evening on the
delicious mountain plants.
Then Peter, with his light-footed animals, would go running and
leaping down the mountain again till he reached Dorfli, and
there he would give a shrill whistle through his fingers,
whereupon all the owners of the goats would come out to fetch
home the animals that belonged to them. It was generally the
small boys and girls who ran in answer to Peter's whistle, for
they were none of them afraid of the gentle goats, and this was
the only hour of the day through all the summer months that Peter
had any opportunity of seeing his young friends, since the rest
of his time was spent alone with the goats. He had a mother and a
blind grandmother at home, it is true, but he was always obliged
to start off very early in the morning, and only got home late in
the evening from Dorfli, for he always stayed as long as he could
talking and playing with the other children; and so he had just
time enough at home, and that was all, to swallow down his bread
and milk in the morning, and again in the evening to get through
a similar meal, lie down in bed and go to sleep. His father, who
had been known also as the goatherd, having earned his living as
such when younger, had been accidentally killed while cutting
wood some years before. His mother, whose real name was Brigitta,
was always called the goatherd's wife, for the sake of old
association, while the blind grandmother was just "grandmother"
to all the old and young in the neighborhood.
Dete had been standing for a good ten minutes looking about her
in every direction for some sign of the children and the goats.
Not a glimpse of them, however, was to be seen, so she climbed
to a higher spot, whence she could get a fuller view of the
mountain as it sloped beneath her to the valley, while, with
ever-increasing anxiety on her face and in her movements, she
continued to scan the surrounding slopes. Meanwhile the children
were climbing up by a far and roundabout way, for Peter knew
many spots where all kinds of good food, in the shape of shrubs
and plants, grew for his goats, and he was in the habit of
leading his flock aside from the beaten track. The child,
exhausted with the heat and weight of her thick armor of clothes,
panted and struggled after him at first with some difficulty. She
said nothing, but her little eyes kept watching first Peter, as
he sprang nimbly hither and thither on his bare feet, clad only
in his short light breeches, and then the slim-legged goats that
went leaping over rocks and shrubs and up the steep ascents with
even greater ease. All at once she sat herself down on the
ground, and as fast as her little fingers could move, began
pulling off her shoes and stockings. This done she rose, unwound
the hot red shawl and threw it away, and then proceeded to undo
her frock. It was off in a second, but there was still another
to unfasten, for Dete had put the Sunday frock on over the
everyday one, to save the trouble of carrying it. Quick as
lightning the everyday frock followed the other, and now the
child stood up, clad only in her light short-sleeved under
garment, stretching out her little bare arms with glee. She put
all her clothes together in a tidy little heap, and then went
jumping and climbing up after Peter and the goats as nimbly as
any one of the party. Peter had taken no heed of what the child
was about when she stayed behind, but when she ran up to him in
her new attire, his face broke into a grin, which grew broader
still as he looked back and saw the small heap of clothes lying
on the ground, until his mouth stretched almost from ear to ear;
he said nothing, however. The child, able now to move at her
ease, began to enter into conversation with Peter, who had many
questions to answer, for his companion wanted to know how many
goats he had, where he was going to with them, and what he had to
do when he arrived there. At last, after some time, they and the
goats approached the hut and came within view of Cousin Dete.
Hardly had the latter caught sight of the little company climbing
up towards her when she shrieked out: "Heidi, what have you been
doing! What a sight you have made of yourself! And where are your
two frocks and the red wrapper? And the new shoes I bought, and
the new stockings I knitted for you--everything gone! not a thing
left! What can you have been thinking of, Heidi; where are all
The child quietly pointed to a spot below on the mountain side
and answered, "Down there." Dete followed the direction of her
finger; she could just distinguish something lying on the
ground, with a spot of red on the top of it which she had no
doubt was the woollen wrapper.
"You good-for-nothing little thing!" exclaimed Dete angrily,
"what could have put it into your head to do like that? What
made you undress yourself? What do you mean by it?"
"I don't want any clothes," said the child, not showing any sign
of repentance for her past deed.
"You wretched, thoughtless child! have you no sense in you at
all?" continued Dete, scolding and lamenting. "Who is going all
that way down to fetch them; it's a good half-hour's walk!
Peter, you go off and fetch them for me as quickly as you can,
and don't stand there gaping at me, as if you were rooted to the
"I am already past my time," answered Peter slowly, without
moving from the spot where he had been standing with his hands
in his pockets, listening to Dete's outburst of dismay and anger.
"Well, you won't get far if you only keep on standing there with
your eyes staring out of your head," was Dete's cross reply;
"but see, you shall have something nice," and she held out a
bright new piece of money to him that sparkled in the sun. Peter
was immediately up and off down the steep mountain side, taking
the shortest cut, and in an incredibly short space of time had
reached the little heap of clothes, which he gathered up under
his arm, and was back again so quickly that even Dete was
obliged to give him a word of praise as she handed him the
promised money. Peter promptly thrust it into his pocket and his
face beamed with delight, for it was not often that he was the
happy possessor of such riches.
"You can carry the things up for me as far as Uncle's, as you are
going the same way," went on Dete, who was preparing to continue
her climb up the mountain side, which rose in a steep ascent
immediately behind the goatherd's hut. Peter willingly undertook
to do this, and followed after her on his bare feet, with his
left arm round the bundle and the right swinging his goatherd's
stick, while Heidi and the goats went skipping and jumping
joyfully beside him. After a climb of more than three-quarters
of an hour they reached the top of the Alm mountain. Uncle's hut
stood on a projection of the rock, exposed indeed to the winds,
but where every ray of sun could rest upon it, and a full view
could be had of the valley beneath. Behind the hut stood three
old fir trees, with long, thick, unlopped branches. Beyond these
rose a further wall of mountain, the lower heights still
overgrown with beautiful grass and plants, above which were
stonier slopes, covered only with scrub, that led gradually up
to the steep, bare rocky summits.
Against the hut, on the side looking towards the valley, Uncle
had put up a seat. Here he was sitting, his pipe in his mouth
and his hands on his knees, quietly looking out, when the
children, the goats and Cousin Dete suddenly clambered into view.
Heidi was at the top first. She went straight up to the old man,
put out her hand, and said, "Good-evening, Grandfather."
"So, so, what is the meaning of this?" he asked gruffly, as he
gave the child an abrupt shake of the hand, and gazed long and
scrutinisingly at her from under his bushy eyebrows. Heidi
stared steadily back at him in return with unflinching gaze, for
the grandfather, with his long beard and thick grey eyebrows that
grew together over his nose and looked just like a bush, was
such a remarkable appearance, that Heidi was unable to take her
eyes off him. Meanwhile Dete had come up, with Peter after her,
and the latter now stood still a while to watch what was going
"I wish you good-day, Uncle," said Dete, as she walked towards
him, "and I have brought you Tobias and Adelaide's child. You
will hardly recognise her, as you have never seen her since she
was a year old."
"And what has the child to do with me up here?" asked the old
man curtly. "You there," he then called out to Peter, "be off
with your goats, you are none too early as it is, and take mine
Peter obeyed on the instant and quickly disappeared, for the old
man had given him a look that made him feel that he did not want
to stay any longer.
"The child is here to remain with you," Dete made answer. "I
have, I think, done my duty by her for these four years, and now
it is time for you to do yours."
"That's it, is it?" said the old man, as he looked at her with a
flash in his eye. "And when the child begins to fret and whine
after you, as is the way with these unreasonable little beings,
what am I to do with her then?"
"That's your affair," retorted Dete. "I know I had to put up
with her without complaint when she was left on my hands as an
infant, and with enough to do as it was for my mother and self.
Now I have to go and look after my own earnings, and you are the
next of kin to the child. If you cannot arrange to keep her, do
with her as you like. You will be answerable for the result if
harm happens to her, though you have hardly need, I should think,
to add to the burden already on your conscience."
Now Dete was not quite easy in her own conscience about what she
was doing, and consequently was feeling hot and irritable, and
said more than she had intended. As she uttered her last words,
Uncle rose from his seat. He looked at her in a way that made
her draw back a step or two, then flinging out his arm, he said
to her in a commanding voice: "Be off with you this instant, and
get back as quickly as you can to the place whence you came, and
do not let me see your face again in a hurry."
Dete did not wait to be told twice. "Good-bye to you then, and
to you too, Heidi," she called, as she turned quickly away and
started to descend the mountain at a running pace, which she did
not slacken till she found herself safely again at Dorfli, for
some inward agitation drove her forwards as if a steam-engine
was at work inside her. Again questions came raining down upon
her from all sides, for every one knew Dete, as well as all
particulars of the birth and former history of the child, and
all wondered what she had done with it. From every door and
window came voices calling: "Where is the child?" "Where have you
left the child, Dete?" and more and more reluctantly Dete made
answer, "Up there with Alm-Uncle!" "With Alm-Uncle, have I not
told you so already?"
Then the women began to hurl reproaches at her; first one cried
out, "How could you do such a thing!" then another, "To think of
leaving a helpless little thing up there,"--while again and
again came the words, "The poor mite! the poor mite!" pursuing
her as she went along. Unable at last to bear it any longer Dete
ran forward as fast as she could until she was beyond reach of
their voices. She was far from happy at the thought of what she
had done, for the child had been left in her care by her dying
mother. She quieted herself, however, with the idea that she
would be better able to do something for the child if she was
earning plenty of money, and it was a relief to her to think
that she would soon be far away from all these people who were
making such a fuss about the matter, and she rejoiced further
still that she was at liberty now to take such a good place.
CHAPTER II. AT HOME WITH GRANDFATHER
As soon as Dete had disappeared the old man went back to his
bench, and there he remained seated, staring on the ground
without uttering a sound, while thick curls of smoke floated
upward from his pipe. Heidi, meanwhile, was enjoying herself in
her new surroundings; she looked about till she found a shed,
built against the hut, where the goats were kept; she peeped in,
and saw it was empty. She continued her search and presently
came to the fir trees behind the hut. A strong breeze was blowing
through them, and there was a rushing and roaring in their
topmost branches, Heidi stood still and listened. The sound
growing fainter, she went on again, to the farther corner of the
hut, and so round to where her grandfather was sitting. Seeing
that he was in exactly the same position as when she left him,
she went and placed herself in front of the old man, and putting
her hands behind her back, stood and gazed at him. Her
grandfather looked up, and as she continued standing there
without moving, "What is it you want?" he asked.
"I want to see what you have inside the house," said Heidi.
"Come then!" and the grandfather rose and went before her
towards the hut.
"Bring your bundle of clothes in with you," he bid her as she
"I shan't want them any more," was her prompt answer.
The old man turned and looked searchingly at the child, whose
dark eyes were sparkling in delighted anticipation of what she
was going to see inside. "She is certainly not wanting in
intelligence," he murmured to himself. "And why shall you not
want them any more?" he asked aloud.
"Because I want to go about like the goats with their thin light
"Well, you can do so if you like," said her grandfather, "but
bring the things in, we must put them in the cupboard."
Heidi did as she was told. The old man now opened the door and
Heidi stepped inside after him; she found herself in a good-
sized room, which covered the whole ground floor of the hut. A
table and a chair were the only furniture; in one corner stood
the grandfather's bed, in another was the hearth with a large
kettle hanging above it; and on the further side was a large door
in the wall--this was the cupboard. The grandfather opened it;
inside were his clothes, some hanging up, others, a couple of
shirts, and some socks and handkerchiefs, lying on a shelf; on a
second shelf were some plates and cups and glasses, and on a
higher one still, a round loaf, smoked meat, and cheese, for
everything that Alm-Uncle needed for his food and clothing was
kept in this cupboard. Heidi, as soon as it was opened, ran
quickly forward and thrust in her bundle of clothes, as far back
behind her grandfather's things as possible, so that they might
not easily be found again. She then looked carefully round the
room, and asked, "Where am I to sleep, grandfather?"
"Wherever you like," he answered.
Heidi was delighted, and began at once to examine all the nooks
and corners to find out where it would be pleasantest to sleep.
In the corner near her grandfather's bed she saw a short ladder
against the wall; up she climbed and found herself in the
hayloft. There lay a large heap of fresh sweet-smelling hay,
while through a round window in the wall she could see right
down the valley.
"I shall sleep up here, grandfather," she called down to him,
"It's lovely, up here. Come up and see how lovely it is!"
"Oh, I know all about it," he called up in answer.
"I am getting the bed ready now," she called down again, as she
went busily to and fro at her work, "but I shall want you to
bring me up a sheet; you can't have a bed without a sheet, you
want it to lie upon."
"All right," said the grandfather, and presently he went to the
cupboard, and after rummaging about inside for a few minutes he
drew out a long, coarse piece of stuff, which was all he had to
do duty for a sheet. He carried it up to the loft, where he
found Heidi had already made quite a nice bed. She had put an
extra heap of hay at one end for a pillow, and had so arranged it
that, when in bed, she would be able to see comfortably out
through the round window.
"That is capital," said her grandfather; "now we must put on the
sheet, but wait a moment first," and he went and fetched another
large bundle of hay to make the bed thicker, so that the child
should not feel the hard floor under her--"there, now bring it
here." Heidi had got hold of the sheet, but it was almost too
heavy for her to carry; this was a good thing, however, as the
close thick stuff would prevent the sharp stalks of the hay
running through and pricking her. The two together now spread
the sheet over the bed, and where it was too long or too broad,
Heidi quickly tucked it in under the hay. It looked now as tidy
and comfortable a bed as you could wish for, and Heidi stood
gazing thoughtfully at her handiwork.
"We have forgotten something now, grandfather," she said after a
"What's that?" he asked.
"A coverlid; when you get into bed, you have to creep in between
the sheets and the coverlid."
"Oh, that's the way, is it? But suppose I have not got a
coverlid?" said the old man.
"Well, never mind, grandfather," said Heidi in a consoling tone
of voice, "I can take some more hay to put over me," and she was
turning quickly to fetch another armful from the heap, when her
grandfather stopped her. "Wait a moment," he said, and he
climbed down the ladder again and went towards his bed. He
returned to the loft with a large, thick sack, made of flax,
which he threw down, exclaiming, "There, that is better than hay,
is it not?"
Heidi began tugging away at the sack with all her little might,
in her efforts to get it smooth and straight, but her small
hands were not fitted for so heavy a job. Her grandfather came to
her assistance, and when they had got it tidily spread over the
bed, it all looked so nice and warm and comfortable that Heidi
stood gazing at it in delight. "That is a splendid coverlid," she
said, "and the bed looks lovely altogether! I wish it was night,
so that I might get inside it at once."
"I think we might have something to eat first," said the
grandfather, "what do you think?"
Heidi in the excitement of bed-making had forgotten everything
else; but now when she began to think about food she felt
terribly hungry, for she had had nothing to eat since the piece
of bread and little cup of thin coffee that had been her
breakfast early that morning before starting on her long, hot
journey. So she answered without hesitation, "Yes, I think so
"Let us go down then, as we both think alike," said the old man,
and he followed the child down the ladder. Then he went up to
the hearth, pushed the big kettle aside, and drew forward the
little one that was hanging on the chain, and seating himself on
the round-topped, three-legged stool before the fire, blew it up
into a clear bright flame. The kettle soon began to boil, and
meanwhile the old man held a large piece of cheese on a long
iron fork over the fire, turning it round and round till it was
toasted a nice golden yellow color on each side. Heidi watched
all that was going on with eager curiosity. Suddenly some new
idea seemed to come into her head, for she turned and ran to the
cupboard, and then began going busily backwards and forwards.
Presently the grandfather got up and came to the table with a
jug and the cheese, and there he saw it already tidily laid with
the round loaf and two plates and two knives each in its right
place; for Heidi had taken exact note that morning of all that
there was in the cupboard, and she knew which things would be
wanted for their meal.
"Ah, that's right," said the grandfather, "I am glad to see that
you have some ideas of your own," and as he spoke he laid the
toasted cheese on a layer of bread, "but there is still
Heidi looked at the jug that was steaming away invitingly, and
ran quickly back to the cupboard. At first she could only see a
small bowl left on the shelf, but she was not long in
perplexity, for a moment later she caught sight of two glasses
further back, and without an instant's loss of time she returned
with these and the bowl and put them down on the table.
"Good, I see you know how to set about things; but what will you
do for a seat?" The grandfather himself was sitting on the only
chair in the room. Heidi flew to the hearth, and dragging the
three-legged stool up to the table, sat herself down upon it.
"Well, you have managed to find a seat for yourself, I see, only
rather a low one I am afraid," said the grandfather, "but you
would not be tall enough to reach the table even if you sat in
my chair; the first thing now, however, is to have something to
eat, so come along."
With that he stood up, filled the bowl with milk, and placing it
on the chair, pushed it in front of Heidi on her little three-
legged stool, so that she now had a table to herself. Then he
brought her a large slice of bread and a piece of the golden
cheese, and told her to eat. After which he went and sat down on
the corner of the table and began his own meal. Heidi lifted the
bowl with both hands and drank without pause till it was empty,
for the thirst of all her long hot journey had returned upon
her. Then she drew a deep breath--in the eagerness of her thirst
she had not stopped to breathe--and put down the bowl.
"Was the milk nice?" asked her grandfather.
"I never drank any so good before," answered Heidi.
"Then you must have some more," and the old man filled her bowl
again to the brim and set it before the child, who was now
hungrily beginning her bread having first spread it with the
cheese, which after being toasted was soft as butter; the two
together tasted deliciously, and the child looked the picture of
content as she sat eating, and at intervals taking further
draughts of milk. The meal being over, the grandfather went
outside to put the goat-shed in order, and Heidi watched with
interest while he first swept it out, and then put fresh straw
for the goats to sleep upon. Then he went to the little well-
shed, and there he cut some long round sticks, and a small round
board; in this he bored some holes and stuck the sticks into
them, and there, as if made by magic, was a three-legged stool
just like her grandfather's, only higher. Heidi stood and looked
at it, speechless with astonishment.
"What do you think that is?" asked her grandfather.
"It's my stool, I know, because it is such a high one; and it
was made all of a minute," said the child, still lost in wonder
"She understands what she sees, her eyes are in the right
place," remarked the grandfather to himself, as he continued his
way round the hut, knocking in a nail here and there, or making
fast some part of the door, and so with hammer and nails and
pieces of wood going from spot to spot, mending or clearing away
wherever work of the kind was needed. Heidi followed him step by
step, her eyes attentively taking in all that he did, and
everything that she saw was a fresh source of pleasure to her.
And so the time passed happily on till evening. Then the wind
began to roar louder than ever through the old fir trees; Heidi
listened with delight to the sound, and it filled her heart so
full of gladness that she skipped and danced round the old
trees, as if some unheard of joy had come to her. The grandfather
stood and watched her from the shed.
Suddenly a shrill whistle was heard. Heidi paused in her
dancing, and the grandfather came out. Down from the heights
above the goats came springing one after another, with Peter in
their midst. Heidi sprang forward with a cry of joy and rushed
among the flock, greeting first one and then another of her old
friends of the morning. As they neared the hut the goats stood
still, and then two of their number, two beautiful slender
animals, one white and one brown, ran forward to where the
grandfather was standing and began licking his hands, for he was
holding a little salt which he always had ready for his goats on
their return home. Peter disappeared with the remainder of his
flock. Heidi tenderly stroked the two goats in turn, running
first to one side of them and then the other, and jumping about
in her glee at the pretty little animals. "Are they ours,
grandfather? Are they both ours? Are you going to put them in the
shed? Will they always stay with us?"
Heidi's questions came tumbling out one after the other, so that
her grandfather had only time to answer each of them with "Yes,
yes." When the goats had finished licking up the salt her
grandfather told her to go and fetch her bowl and the bread.
Heidi obeyed and was soon back again. The grandfather milked the
white goat and filled her basin, and then breaking off a piece
of bread, "Now eat your supper," he said, "and then go up to bed.
Cousin Dete left another little bundle for you with a nightgown
and other small things in it, which you will find at the bottom
of the cupboard if you want them. I must go and shut up the
goats, so be off and sleep well."
"Good-night, grandfather! good-night. What are their names,
grandfather, what are their names?" she called out as she ran
after his retreating figure and the goats.
"The white one is named Little Swan, and the brown one Little
Bear," he answered.
"Good-night, Little Swan, good-night, Little Bear!" she called
again at the top of her voice, for they were already inside the
shed. Then she sat down on the seat and began to eat and drink,
but the wind was so strong that it almost blew her away; so she
made haste and finished her supper and then went indoors and
climbed up to her bed, where she was soon lying as sweetly and
soundly asleep as any young princess on her couch of silk.
Not long after, and while it was still twilight, the grandfather
also went to bed, for he was up every morning at sunrise, and
the sun came climbing up over the mountains at a very early hour
during these summer months. The wind grew so tempestuous during
the night, and blew in such gusts against the walls, that the
hut trembled and the old beams groaned and creaked. It came
howling and wailing down the chimney like voices of those in
pain, and it raged with such fury among the old fir trees that
here and there a branch was snapped and fell. In the middle of
the night the old man got up. "The child will be frightened," he
murmured half aloud. He mounted the ladder and went and stood by
the child's bed.
Outside the moon was struggling with the dark, fast-driving
clouds, which at one moment left it clear and shining, and the
next swept over it, and all again was dark. Just now the
moonlight was falling through the round window straight on to
Heidi's bed. She lay under the heavy coverlid, her cheeks rosy
with sleep, her head peacefully resting on her little round arm,
and with a happy expression on her baby face as if dreaming of
something pleasant. The old man stood looking down on the
sleeping child until the moon again disappeared behind the
clouds and he could see no more, then he went back to bed.
CHAPTER III. OUT WITH THE GOATS
Heidi was awakened early the next morning by a loud whistle; the
sun was shining through the round window and falling in golden
rays on her bed and on the large heap of hay, and as she opened
her eyes everything in the loft seemed gleaming with gold. She
looked around her in astonishment and could not imagine for a
while where she was. But her grandfather's deep voice was now
heard outside, and then Heidi began to recall all that had
happened: how she had come away from her former home and was now
on the mountain with her grandfather instead of with old Ursula.
The latter was nearly stone deaf and always felt cold, so that
she sat all day either by the hearth in the kitchen or by the
sitting-room stove, and Heidi had been obliged to stay close to
her, for the old woman was so deaf that she could not tell where
the child was if out of her sight. And Heidi, shut up within the
four walls, had often longed to be out of doors. So she felt
very happy this morning as she woke up in her new home and
remembered all the many new things that she had seen the day
before and which she would see again that day, and above all she
thought with delight of the two dear goats. Heidi jumped quickly
out of bed and a very few minutes sufficed her to put on the
clothes which she had taken off the night before, for there were
not many of them. Then she climbed down the ladder and ran
outside the hut. There stood Peter already with his flock of
goats, and the grandfather was just bringing his two out of the
shed to join the others. Heidi ran forward to wish good-morning
to him and the goats.
"Do you want to go with them on to the mountain?" asked her
grandfather. Nothing could have pleased Heidi better, and she
jumped for joy in answer.
"But you must first wash and make yourself tidy. The sun that
shines so brightly overhead will else laugh at you for being
dirty; see, I have put everything ready for you," and her
grandfather pointed as he spoke to a large tub full of water,
which stood in the sun before the door. Heidi ran to it and
began splashing and rubbing, till she quite glistened with
cleanliness. The grandfather meanwhile went inside the hut,
calling to Peter to follow him and bring in his wallet. Peter
obeyed with astonishment, and laid down the little bag which held
his meagre dinner.
"Open it," said the old man, and inside it he put a large piece
of bread and an equally large piece of cheese, which made Peter
open his eyes, for each was twice the size of the two portions
which he had for his own dinner.
"There, now there is only the little bowl to add," continued the
grandfather, "for the child cannot drink her milk as you do from
the goat; she is not accustomed to that. You must milk two
bowlfuls for her when she has her dinner, for she is going with
you and will remain with you till you return this evening; but
take care she does not fall over any of the rocks, do you hear?"
Heidi now came running in. "Will the sun laugh at me now,
grandfather?" she asked anxiously. Her grandfather had left a
coarse towel hanging up for her near the tub, and with this she
had so thoroughly scrubbed her face, arms, and neck, for fear of
the sun, that as she stood there she was as red all over as a
lobster. He gave a little laugh.
"No, there is nothing for him to laugh at now," he assured her.
"But I tell you what--when you come home this evening, you will
have to get right into the tub, like a fish, for if you run
about like the goats you will get your feet dirty. Now you can be
She started joyfully for the mountain. During the night the wind
had blown away all the clouds; the dark blue sky was spreading
overhead, and in its midst was the bright sun shining down on
the green slopes of the mountain, where the flowers opened their
little blue and yellow cups, and looked up to him smiling. Heidi
went running hither and thither and shouting with delight, for
here were whole patches of delicate red primroses, and there the
blue gleam of the lovely gentian, while above them all laughed
and nodded the tender-leaved golden cistus. Enchanted with all
this waving field of brightly-colored flowers, Heidi forgot even
Peter and the goats. She ran on in front and then off to the
side, tempted first one way and then the other, as she caught
sight of some bright spot of glowing red or yellow. And all the
while she was plucking whole handfuls of the flowers which she
put into her little apron, for she wanted to take them all home
and stick them in the hay, so that she might make her bedroom
look just like the meadows outside. Peter had therefore to be on
the alert, and his round eyes, which did not move very quickly,
had more work than they could well manage, for the goats were as
lively as Heidi; they ran in all directions, and Peter had to
follow whistling and calling and swinging his stick to get all
the runaways together again.
"Where have you got to now, Heidi?" he called out somewhat
"Here," called back a voice from somewhere. Peter could see no
one, for Heidi was seated on the ground at the foot of a small
hill thickly overgrown with sweet smelling prunella; the whole
air seemed filled with its fragrance, and Heidi thought she had
never smelt anything so delicious. She sat surrounded by the
flowers, drawing in deep breaths of the scented air.
"Come along here!" called Peter again. "You are not to fall over
the rocks, your grandfather gave orders that you were not to do
"Where are the rocks?" asked Heidi, answering him back. But she
did not move from her seat, for the scent of the flowers seemed
sweeter to her with every breath of wind that wafted it towards
"Up above, right up above. We have a long way to go yet, so come
along! And on the topmost peak of all the old bird of prey sits
That did it. Heidi immediately sprang to her feet and ran up to
Peter with her apron full of flowers.
"You have got enough now," said the boy as they began climbing
up again together. "You will stay here forever if you go on
picking, and if you gather all the flowers now there will be none
This last argument seemed a convincing one to Heidi, and
moreover her apron was already so full that there was hardly room
for another flower, and it would never do to leave nothing to
pick for another day. So she now kept with Peter, and the goats
also became more orderly in their behavior, for they were
beginning to smell the plants they loved that grew on the higher
slopes and clambered up now without pause in their anxiety to
reach them. The spot where Peter generally halted for his goats
to pasture and where he took up his quarters for the day lay at
the foot of the high rocks, which were covered for some distance
up by bushes and fir trees, beyond which rose their bare and
rugged summits. On one side of the mountain the rock was split
into deep clefts, and the grandfather had reason to warn Peter of
danger. Having climbed as far as the halting-place, Peter unslung
his wallet and put it carefully in a little hollow of the ground,
for he knew what the wind was like up there and did not want to
see his precious belongings sent rolling down the mountain by a
sudden gust. Then be threw himself at full length on the warm
ground, for he was tired after all his exertions.
Heidi meanwhile had unfastened her apron and rolling it
carefully round the flowers laid it beside Peter's wallet inside
the hollow; she then sat down beside his outstretched figure and
looked about her. The valley lay far below bathed in the morning
sun. In front of her rose a broad snow-field, high against the
dark-blue sky, while to the left was a huge pile of rocks on
either side of which a bare lofty peak, that seemed to pierce
the blue, looked frowningly down upon, her. The child sat without
moving, her eyes taking in the whole scene, and all around was a
great stillness, only broken by soft, light puffs of wind that
swayed the light bells of the blue flowers, and the shining gold
heads of the cistus, and set them nodding merrily on their
slender stems. Peter had fallen asleep after his fatigue and the
goats were climbing about among the bushes overhead. Heidi had
never felt so happy in her life before. She drank in the golden
sunlight, the fresh air, the sweet smell of the flowers, and
wished for nothing better than to remain there forever. So the
time went on, while to Heidi, who had so often looked up from
the valley at the mountains above, these seemed now to have
faces, and to be looking down at her like old friends. Suddenly
she heard a loud harsh cry overhead and lifting her eyes she saw
a bird, larger than any she had ever seen before, with great,
spreading wings, wheeling round and round in wide circles, and
uttering a piercing, croaking kind of sound above her.
"Peter, Peter, wake up!" called out Heidi. "See, the great bird
is there--look, look!"
Peter got up on hearing her call, and together they sat and
watched the bird, which rose higher and higher in the blue air
till it disappeared behind the grey mountain-tops.
"Where has it gone to?" asked Heidi, who had followed the bird's
movements with intense interest.
"Home to its nest," said Peter.
"Is his home right up there? Oh, how nice to be up so high! why
does he make that noise?"
"Because he can't help it," explained Peter.
"Let us climb up there and see where his nest is," proposed
"Oh! oh! oh!" exclaimed Peter, his disapproval of Heidi's
suggestion becoming more marked with each ejaculation, "why even
the goats cannot climb as high as that, besides didn't Uncle say
that you were not to fall over the rocks?"
Peter now began suddenly whistling and calling in such a loud
manner that Heidi could not think what was happening; but the
goats evidently understood his voice, for one after the other
they came springing down the rocks until they were all assembled
on the green plateau, some continuing to nibble at the juicy
stems, others skipping about here and there or pushing at each
other with their horns for pastime.
Heidi jumped up and ran in and out among them, for it was new to
her to see the goats playing together like this and her delight
was beyond words as she joined in their frolics; she made
personal acquaintance with them all in turn, for they were like
separate individuals to her, each single goat having a
particular way of behavior of its own. Meanwhile Peter had taken
the wallet out of the hollow and placed the pieces of bread and
cheese on the ground in the shape of a square, the larger two on
Heidi's side and the smaller on his own, for he knew exactly
which were hers and which his. Then he took the little bowl and
milked some delicious fresh milk into it from the white goat, and
afterwards set the bowl in the middle of the square. Now he
called Heidi to come, but she wanted more calling than the goats,
for the child was so excited and amused at the capers and lively
games of her new playfellows that she saw and heard nothing else.
But Peter knew how to make himself heard, for he shouted till the
very rocks above echoed his voice, and at last Heidi appeared,
and when she saw the inviting repast spread out upon the ground
she went skipping round it for joy.
"Leave off jumping about, it is time for dinner," said Peter;
"sit down now and begin."
Heidi sat down. "Is the milk for me?" she asked, giving another
look of delight at the beautifully arranged square with the bowl
as a chief ornament in the centre.
"Yes," replied Peter, "and the two large pieces of bread and
cheese are yours also, and when you have drunk up that milk, you
are to have another bowlful from the white goat, and then it
will be my turn."
"And which do you get your milk from?" inquired Heidi.
"From my own goat, the piebald one. But go on now with your
dinner," said Peter, again reminding her it was time to eat.
Heidi now took up the bowl and drank her milk, and as soon as
she had put it down empty Peter rose and filled it again for her.
Then she broke off a piece of her bread and held out the
remainder, which was still larger than Peter's own piece,
together with the whole big slice of cheese to her companion,
saying, "You can have that, I have plenty."
Peter looked at Heidi, unable to speak for astonishment, for
never in all his life could he have said and done like that with
anything he had. He hesitated a moment, for he could not believe
that Heidi was in earnest; but the latter kept on holding out
the bread and cheese, and as Peter still did not take it, she
laid it down on his knees. He saw then that she really meant it;
he seized the food, nodded his thanks and acceptance of her
present, and then made a more splendid meal than he had known
ever since he was a goat-herd. Heidi the while still continued to
watch the goats. "Tell me all their names," she said.
Peter knew these by heart, for having very little else to carry
in his head he had no difficulty in remembering them. So he
began, telling Heidi the name of each goat in turn as he pointed
it out to her. Heidi listened with great attention, and it was
not long before she could herself distinguish the goats from one
another and could call each by name, for every goat had its own
peculiarities which could not easily be mistaken; only one had
to watch them closely, and this Heidi did. There was the great
Turk with his big horns, who was always wanting to butt the
others, so that most of them ran away when they saw him coming
and would have nothing to do with their rough companion. Only
Greenfinch, the slender nimble little goat, was brave enough to
face him, and would make a rush at him, three or four times in
succession, with such agility and dexterity, that the great Turk
often stood still quite astounded not venturing to attack her
again, for Greenfinch was fronting him, prepared for more warlike
action, and her horns were sharp. Then there was little White
Snowflake, who bleated in such a plaintive and beseeching manner
that Heidi already had several times run to it and taken its head
in her hands to comfort it. Just at this moment the pleading
young cry was heard again, and Heidi jumped up running and,
putting her arms round the little creature's neck, asked in a
sympathetic voice, "What is it, little Snowflake? Why do you call
like that as if in trouble?" The goat pressed closer to Heidi in
a confiding way and left off bleating. Peter called out from
where he was sitting--for he had not yet got to the end of his
bread and cheese, "She cries like that because the old goat is
not with her; she was sold at Mayenfeld the day before yesterday,
and so will not come up the mountain any more."
"Who is the old goat?" called Heidi back.
"Why, her mother, of course," was the answer.
"Where is the grandmother?" called Heidi again.
"She has none."
"And the grandfather?"
"She has none."
"Oh, you poor little Snowflake!" exclaimed Heidi, clasping the
animal gently to her, "but do not cry like that any more; see
now, I shall come up here with you every day, so that you will
not be alone any more, and if you want anything you have only to
come to me."
The young animal rubbed its head contentedly against Heidi's
shoulder, and no longer gave such plaintive bleats. Peter now
having finished his meal joined Heidi and the goats, Heidi
having by this time found out a great many things about these.
She had decided that by far the handsomest and best-behaved of
the goats were undoubtedly the two belonging to her grandfather;
they carried themselves with a certain air of distinction and
generally went their own way, and as to the great Turk they
treated him with indifference and contempt.
The goats were now beginning to climb the rocks again, each
seeking for the plants it liked in its own fashion, some jumping
over everything they met till they found what they wanted,
others going more carefully and cropping all the nice leaves by
the way, the Turk still now and then giving the others a poke
with his horns. Little Swan and Little Bear clambered lightly up
and never failed to find the best bushes, and then they would
stand gracefully poised on their pretty legs, delicately nibbling
at the leaves. Heidi stood with her hands behind her back,
carefully noting all they did.
"Peter," she said to the boy who had again thrown himself down
on the ground, "the prettiest of all the goats are Little Swan
and Little Bear."
"Yes, I know they are," was the answer. "Alm-Uncle brushes them
down and washes them and gives them salt, and he has the nicest
shed for them."
All of a sudden Peter leaped to his feet and ran hastily after
the goats. Heidi followed him as fast as she could, for she was
too eager to know what had happened to stay behind. Peter dashed
through the middle of the flock towards that side of the
mountain where the rocks fell perpendicularly to a great depth
below, and where any thoughtless goat, if it went too near, might
fall over and break all its legs. He had caught sight of the
inquisitive Greenfinch taking leaps in that direction, and he was
only just in time, for the animal had already sprung to the edge
of the abyss. All Peter could do was to throw himself down and
seize one of her hind legs. Greenfinch, thus taken by surprise,
began bleating furiously, angry at being held so fast and
prevented from continuing her voyage of discovery. She struggled
to get loose, and endeavored so obstinately to leap forward that
Peter shouted to Heidi to come and help him, for he could not get
up and was afraid of pulling out the goat's leg altogether.
Heidi had already run up and she saw at once the danger both
Peter and the animal were in. She quickly gathered a bunch of
sweet-smelling leaves, and then, holding them under Greenfinch's
nose, said coaxingly, "Come, come, Greenfinch, you must not be
naughty! Look, you might fall down there and break your leg, and
that would give you dreadful pain!"
The young animal turned quickly, and began contentedly eating
the leaves out of Heidi's hand. Meanwhile Peter got on to his
feet again and took hold of Greenfinch by the band round her neck
from which her bell was hung, and Heidi taking hold of her in the
same way on the other side, they led the wanderer back to the
rest of the flock that had remained peacefully feeding. Peter,
now he had his goat in safety, lifted his stick in order to give
her a good beating as punishment, and Greenfinch seeing what was
coming shrank back in fear. But Heidi cried out, "No, no, Peter,
you must not strike her; see how frightened she is!"
"She deserves it," growled Peter, and again lifted his stick.
Then Heidi flung herself against him and cried indignantly, "You
have no right to touch her, it will hurt her, let her alone!"
Peter looked with surprise at the commanding little figure,
whose dark eyes were flashing, and reluctantly he let his stick
drop. "Well I will let her off if you will give me some more of
your cheese to-morrow," he said, for he was determined to have
something to make up to him for his fright.
"You shall have it all, to-morrow and every day, I do not want
it," replied Heidi, giving ready consent to his demand. "And I
will give you bread as well, a large piece like you had to-day;
but then you must promise never to beat Greenfinch, or
Snowflake, or any of the goats."
"All right," said Peter, "I don't care," which meant that he
would agree to the bargain. He now let go of Greenfinch, who
joyfully sprang to join her companions.
And thus imperceptibly the day had crept on to its close, and
now the sun was on the point of sinking out of sight behind the
high mountains. Heidi was again sitting on the ground, silently
gazing at the blue bell-shaped flowers, as they glistened in the
evening sun, for a golden light lay on the grass and flowers, and
the rocks above were beginning to shine and glow. All at once she
sprang to her feet, "Peter! Peter! everything is on fire! All
the rocks are burning, and the great snow mountain and the sky! O
look, look! the high rock up there is red with flame! O the
beautiful, fiery snow! Stand up, Peter! See, the fire has
reached the great bird's nest! look at the rocks! look at the fir
trees! Everything, everything is on fire!"
"It is always like that," said Peter composedly, continuing to
peel his stick; "but it is not really fire."
"What is it then?" cried Heidi, as she ran backwards and
forwards to look first one side and then the other, for she felt
she could not have enough of such a beautiful sight. "What is it,
Peter, what is it?" she repeated.
"It gets like that of itself," explained Peter.
"Look, look!" cried Heidi in fresh excitement, "now they have
turned all rose color! Look at that one covered with snow, and
that with the high, pointed rocks! What do you call them?"
"Mountains have not any names," he answered.
"O how beautiful, look at the crimson snow! And up there on the
rocks there are ever so many roses! Oh! now they are turning
grey! Oh! oh! now all the color has died away! it's all gone,
Peter." And Heidi sat down on the ground looking as full of
distress as if everything had really come to an end.
"It will come again to-morrow," said Peter. "Get up, we must go
home now." He whistled to his goats and together they all
started on their homeward way.
"Is it like that every day, shall we see it every day when we
bring the goats up here?" asked Heidi, as she clambered down the
mountain at Peter's side; she waited eagerly for his answer,
hoping that he would tell her it was so.
"It is like that most days," he replied.
"But will it be like that to-morrow for certain?" Heidi
"Yes, yes, to-morrow for certain," Peter assured her in answer.
Heidi now felt quite happy again, and her little brain was so
full of new impressions and new thoughts that she did not speak
any more until they had reached the hut. The grandfather was
sitting under the fir trees, where he had also put up a seat,
waiting as usual for his goats which returned down the mountain
on this side.
Heidi ran up to him followed by the white and brown goats, for
they knew their own master and stall. Peter called out after
her, "Come with me again to-morrow! Good-night!" For he was
anxious for more than one reason that Heidi should go with him
the next day.
Heidi ran back quickly and gave Peter her hand, promising to go
with him, and then making her way through the goats she once
more clasped Snowflake round the neck, saying in a gentle
soothing voice, "Sleep well, Snowflake, and remember that I shall
be with you again to-morrow, so you must not bleat so sadly any
more." Snowflake gave her a friendly and grateful look, and then
went leaping joyfully after the other goats.
Heidi returned to the fir-trees. "O grandfather," she cried,
even before she had come up to him, "it was so beautiful. The
fire, and the roses on the rocks, and the blue and yellow
flowers, and look what I have brought you!" And opening the apron
that held her flowers she shook them all out at her grandfather's
feet. But the poor flowers, how changed they were! Heidi hardly
knew them again. They looked like dry bits of hay, not a single
little flower cup stood open. "O grandfather, what is the matter
with them?" exclaimed Heidi in shocked surprise, "they were not
like that this morning, why do they look so now?"
"They like to stand out there in the sun and not to be shut up
in an apron," said her grandfather.
"Then I will never gather any more. But, grandfather, why did
the great bird go on croaking so?" she continued in an eager tone
"Go along now and get into your bath while I go and get some
milk; when we are together at supper I will tell you all about
Heidi obeyed, and when later she was sitting on her high stool
before her milk bowl with her grandfather beside her, she
repeated her question, "Why does the great bird go on croaking
and screaming down at us, grandfather?"
"He is mocking at the people who live down below in the
villages, because they all go huddling and gossiping together,
and encourage one another in evil talking and deeds. He calls
out, 'If you would separate and each go your own way and come up
here and live on a height as I do, it would be better for you!'"
There was almost a wildness in the old man's voice as he spoke,
so that Heidi seemed to hear the croaking of the bird again even
"Why haven't the mountains any names?" Heidi went on.
"They have names," answered her grandfather, "and if you can
describe one of them to me that I know I will tell you what it
Heidi then described to him the rocky mountain with the two high
peaks so exactly that the grandfather was delighted. "Just so, I
know it," and he told her its name. "Did you see any other?"
Then Heidi told him of the mountain with the great snow-field,
and how it had been on fire, and had turned rosy-red and then all
of a sudden had grown quite pale again and all the color had
"I know that one too," he said, giving her its name. "So you
enjoyed being out with the goats?"
Then Heidi went on to give him an account of the whole day, and
of how delightful it had all been, and particularly described
the fire that had burst out everywhere in the evening. And then
nothing would do but her grandfather must tell how it came, for
Peter knew nothing about it.
The grandfather explained to her that it was the sun that did
it. "When he says good-night to the mountains he throws his most
beautiful colors over them, so that they may not forget him
before he comes again the next day."
Heidi was delighted with this explanation, and could hardly bear
to wait for another day to come that she might once more climb
up with the goats and see how the sun bid good-night to the
mountains. But she had to go to bed first, and all night she
slept soundly on her bed of hay, dreaming of nothing but of
shining mountains with red roses all over them, among which
happy little Snowflake went leaping in and out.
CHAPTER IV. THE VISIT TO GRANDMOTHER
The next morning the sun came out early as bright as ever, and
then Peter appeared with the goats, and again the two children
climbed up together to the high meadows, and so it went on day
after day till Heidi, passing her life thus among the grass and
flowers, was burnt brown with the sun, and grew so strong and
healthy that nothing ever ailed her. She was happy too, and
lived from day to day as free and lighthearted as the little
birds that make their home among the green forest trees. Then the
autumn came, and the wind blew louder and stronger, and the
grandfather would say sometimes, "To-day you must stay at home,
Heidi; a sudden gust of the wind would blow a little thing like
you over the rocks into the valley below in a moment."
Whenever Peter heard that he must go alone he looked very
unhappy, for he saw nothing but mishaps of all kinds ahead, and
did not know how he should bear the long dull day without Heidi.
Then, too, there was the good meal he would miss, and besides
that the goats on these days were so naughty and obstinate that
he had twice the usual trouble with them, for they had grown so
accustomed to Heidi's presence that they would run in every
direction and refuse to go on unless she was with them. Heidi
was never unhappy, for wherever she was she found something to
interest or amuse her. She liked best, it is true, to go out
with Peter up to the flowers and the great bird, where there was
so much to be seen, and so many experiences to go through among
the goats with their different characters; but she also found her
grandfather's hammering and sawing and carpentering very
entertaining, and if it should chance to be the day when the
large round goat's-milk cheese was made she enjoyed beyond
measure looking on at this wonderful performance, and watching
her grandfather, as with sleeves rolled back, he stirred the
great cauldron with his bare arms. The thing which attracted her
most, however, was the waving and roaring of the three old fir
trees on these windy days. She would run away repeatedly from
whatever she might be doing, to listen to them, for nothing
seemed so strange and wonderful to her as the deep mysterious
sound in the tops of the trees. She would stand underneath them
and look up, unable to tear herself away, looking and listening
while they bowed and swayed and roared as the mighty wind rushed
through them. There was no longer now the warm bright sun that
had shone all through the summer, so Heidi went to the cupboard
and got out her shoes and stockings and dress, for it was
growing colder every day, and when Heidi stood under the fir
trees the wind blew through her as if she was a thin little leaf,
but still she felt she could not stay indoors when she heard the
branches waving outside.
Then it grew very cold, and Peter would come up early in the
morning blowing on his fingers to keep them warm. But he soon
left off coming, for one night there was a heavy fall of snow
and the next morning the whole mountain was covered with it, and
not a single little green leaf was to be seen anywhere upon it.
There was no Peter that day, and Heidi stood at the little window
looking out in wonderment, for the snow was beginning again, and
the thick flakes kept falling till the snow was up to the
window, and still they continued to fall, and the snow grew
higher, so that at last the window could not be opened, and she
and her grandfather were shut up fast within the hut. Heidi
thought this was great fun and ran from one window to the other
to see what would happen next, and whether the snow was going to
cover up the whole hut, so that they would have to light a lamp
although it was broad daylight. But things did not get as bad as
that, and the next day, the snow having ceased, the grandfather
went out and shovelled away the snow round the house, and threw
it into such great heaps that they looked like mountains standing
at intervals on either side the hut. And now the windows and door
could be opened, and it was well it was so, for as Heidi and her
grandfather were sitting one afternoon on their three-legged
stools before the fire there came a great thump at the door
followed by several others, and then the door opened. It was
Peter, who had made all that noise knocking the snow off his
shoes; he was still white all over with it, for he had had to
fight his way through deep snowdrifts, and large lumps of snow
that had frozen upon him still clung to his clothes. He had been
determined, however, not to be beaten and to climb up to the
hut, for it was a week now since he had seen Heidi.
"Good-evening," he said as he came in; then he went and placed
himself as near the fire as he could without saying another
word, but his whole face was beaming with pleasure at finding
himself there. Heidi looked on in astonishment, for Peter was
beginning to thaw all over with the warmth, so that he had the
appearance of a trickling waterfall.
"Well, General, and how goes it with you?" said the grandfather,
"now that you have lost your army you will have to turn to your
pen and pencil."
"Why must he turn to his pen and pencil?" asked Heidi
immediately, full of curiosity.
"During the winter he must go to school," explained her
grandfather, "and learn how to read and write; it's a bit hard,
although useful sometimes afterwards. Am I not right, General?"
"Yes, indeed," assented Peter.
Heidi's interest was now thoroughly awakened, and she had so
many questions to put to Peter about all that was to be done and
seen and heard at school, and the conversation took so long that
Peter had time to get thoroughly dry. Peter had always great
difficulty in putting his thoughts into words, and he found his
share of the talk doubly difficult to-day, for by the time he had
an answer ready to one of Heidi's questions she had already put
two or three more to him, and generally such as required a whole
long sentence in reply.
The grandfather sat without speaking during this conversation,
only now and then a twitch of amusement at the corners of his
mouth showed that he was listening.
"Well, now, General, you have been under fire for some time and
must want some refreshment, come and join us," he said at last,
and as he spoke he rose and went to fetch the supper out of the
cupboard, and Heidi pushed the stools to the table. There was
also now a bench fastened against the wall, for as he was no
longer alone the grandfather had put up seats of various kinds
here and there, long enough to hold two persons, for Heidi had a
way of always keeping close to her grandfather whether he was
walking, sitting or standing. So there was comfortable place for
them all three, and Peter opened his round eyes very wide when
he saw what a large piece of meat Alm-Uncle gave him on his thick
slice of bread. It was a long time since Peter had had anything
so nice to eat. As soon as the pleasant meal was over Peter
began to get ready for returning home, for it was already growing
dark. He had said his "good-night" and his thanks, and was just
going out, when he turned again and said, "I shall come again
next Sunday, this day week, and grandmother sent word that she
would like you to come and see her one day."
It was quite a new idea to Heidi that she should go and pay
anybody a visit, and she could not get it out of her head; so
the first thing she said to her grandfather the next day was, "I
must go down to see the grandmother to-day; she will be expecting
"The snow is too deep," answered the grandfather, trying to put
her off. But Heidi had made up her mind to go, since the
grandmother had sent her that message. She stuck to her
intention and not a day passed but what in the course of it she
said five or six times to her grandfather, "I must certainly go
to-day, the grandmother will be waiting for me."
On the fourth day, when with every step one took the ground
crackled with frost and the whole vast field of snow was hard as
ice, Heidi was sitting on her high stool at dinner with the
bright sun shining in upon her through the window, and again
repeated her little speech, "I must certainly go down to see the
grandmother to-day, or else I shall keep her waiting too long."
The grandfather rose from table, climbed up to the hay-loft and
brought down the thick sack that was Heidi's coverlid, and said,
"Come along then!" The child skipped out gleefully after him
into the glittering world of snow.
The old fir trees were standing now quite silent, their branches
covered with the white snow, and they looked so lovely as they
glittered and sparkled in the sunlight that Heidi jumped for joy
at the sight and kept on calling out, "Come here, come here,
grandfather! The fir trees are all silver and gold!" The
grandfather had gone into the shed and he now came out dragging
a large hand-sleigh along with him; inside it was a low seat, and
the sleigh could be pushed forward and guided by the feet of the
one who sat upon it with the help of a pole that was fastened to
the side. After he had been taken round the fir trees by Heidi
that he might see their beauty from all sides, he got into the
sleigh and lifted the child on to his lap; then he wrapped her
up in the sack, that she might keep nice and warm, and put his
left arm closely round her, for it was necessary to hold her
tight during the coming journey. He now grasped the pole with his
right hand and gave the sleigh a push forward with his two feet.
The sleigh shot down the mountain side with such rapidity that
Heidi thought they were flying through the air like a bird, and
shouted aloud with delight. Suddenly they came to a standstill,
and there they were at Peter's hut. Her grandfather lifted her
out and unwrapped her. "There you are, now go in, and when it
begins to grow dark you must start on your way home again." Then
he left her and went up the mountain, pulling his sleigh after
Heidi opened the door of the hut and stepped into a tiny room
that looked very dark, with a fireplace and a few dishes on a
wooden shelf; this was the little kitchen. She opened another
door, and now found herself in another small room, for the place
was not a herdsman's hut like her grandfather's, with one large
room on the ground floor and a hay-loft above, but a very old
cottage, where everything was narrow and poor and shabby. A
table was close to the door, and as Heidi stepped in she saw a
woman sitting at it, putting a patch on a waistcoat which Heidi
recognised at once as Peter's. In the corner sat an old woman,
bent with age, spinning. Heidi was quite sure this was the
grandmother, so she went up to the spinning-wheel and said, "Good-
day, grandmother, I have come at last; did you think I was a long
The woman raised her head and felt for the hand that the child
held out to her, and when she found it, she passed her own over
it thoughtfully for a few seconds, and then said, "Are you the
child who lives up with Alm-Uncle, are you Heidi?"
"Yes, yes," answered Heidi, "I have just come down in the sleigh
"Is it possible! Why your hands are quite warm! Brigitta, did Alm-
Uncle come himself with the child?"
Peter's mother had left her work and risen from the table and
now stood looking at Heidi with curiosity, scanning her from head
to foot. "I do not know, mother, whether Uncle came himself; it
is hardly likely, the child probably makes a mistake."
But Heidi looked steadily at the woman, not at all as if in any
uncertainty, and said, "I know quite well who wrapped me in my
bedcover and brought me down in the sleigh: it was grandfather."
"There was some truth then perhaps in what Peter used to tell us
of Alm-Uncle during the summer, when we thought he must be
wrong," said grandmother; "but who would ever have believed that
such a thing was possible? I did not think the child would live
three weeks up there. What is she like, Brigitta?"
The latter had so thoroughly examined Heidi on all sides that
she was well able to describe her to her mother.
"She has Adelaide's slenderness of figure, but her eyes are dark
and her hair curly like her father's and the old man's up there:
she takes after both of them, I think."
Heidi meanwhile had not been idle; she had made the round of the
room and looked carefully at everything there was to be seen.
All of a sudden she exclaimed, "Grandmother, one of your shutters
is flapping backwards and forwards; grandfather would put a nail
in and make it all right in a minute, or else it will break one
of the panes some day; look, look, how it keeps on banging!"
"Ah, dear child," said the old woman, "I am not able to see it,
but I can hear that and many other things besides the shutter.
Everything about the place rattles and creaks when the wind is
blowing, and it gets inside through all the cracks and holes.
The house is going to pieces, and in the night, when the two
others are asleep, I often lie awake in fear and trembling,
thinking that the whole place will give way and fall and kill us.
And there is not a creature to mend anything for us, for Peter
does not understand such work."
"But why cannot you see, grandmother, that the shutter is loose.
Look, there it goes again, see, that one there!" And Heidi
pointed to the particular shutter.
"Alas, child, it is not only that I cannot see--I can see,
nothing, nothing," said the grandmother in a voice of
"But if I were to go outside and put back the shutter so that
you had more light, then you could see, grandmother?"
"No, no, not even then, no one can make it light for me again."
"But if you were to go outside among all the white snow, then
surely you would find it light; just come with me, grandmother,
and I will show you." Heidi took hold of the old woman's hand to
lead her along, for she was beginning to feel quite distressed
at the thought of her being without light.
"Let me be, dear child; it is always dark for me now; whether in
snow or sun, no light can penetrate my eyes."
"But surely it does in summer, grandmother," said Heidi, more
and more anxious to find some way out of the trouble, "when the
hot sun is shining down again, and he says good-night to the
mountains, and they all turn on fire, and the yellow flowers
shine like gold, then, you will see, it will be bright and
beautiful for you again."
"Ah, child, I shall see the mountains on fire or the yellow
flowers no more; it will never be light for me again on earth,
At these words Heidi broke into loud crying. In her distress she
kept on sobbing out, "Who can make it light for you again? Can
no one do it? Isn't there any one who can do it?"
The grandmother now tried to comfort the child, but it was not
easy to quiet her. Heidi did not often weep, but when she did
she could not get over her trouble for a long while. The
grandmother had tried all means in her power to allay the child's
grief, for it went to her heart to hear her sobbing so bitterly.
At last she said, "Come here, dear Heidi, come and let me tell
you something. You cannot think how glad one is to hear a kind
word when one can no longer see, and it is such a pleasure to me
to listen to you while you talk. So come and sit beside me and
tell me something; tell me what you do up there, and how
grandfather occupies himself. I knew him very well in old days;
but for many years now I have heard nothing of him, except
through Peter, who never says much."
This was a new and happy idea to Heidi; she quickly dried her
tears and said in a comforting voice, "Wait, grandmother, till I
have told grandfather everything, he will make it light for you
again, I am sure, and will do something so that the house will
not fall; he will put everything right for you."
The grandmother was silent, and Heidi now began to give her a
lively description of her life with the grandfather, and of the
days she spent on the mountain with the goats, and then went on
to tell her of what she did now during the winter, and how her
grandfather was able to make all sorts of things, seats and
stools, and mangers where the hay was put for Little Swan and
Little Bear, besides a new large water-tub for her to bathe in
when the summer came, and a new milk-bowl and spoon, and Heidi
grew more and more animated as she enumerated all the beautiful
things which were made so magically out of pieces of wood; she
then told the grandmother how she stood by him and watched all
he did, and how she hoped some day to be able to make the same
The grandmother listened with the greatest attention, only from
time to time addressing her daughter, "Do you hear that,
Brigitta? Do you hear what she is saying about Uncle?"
The conversation was all at once interrupted by a heavy thump on
the door, and in marched Peter, who stood stock-still, opening
his eyes with astonishment, when he caught sight of Heidi; then
his face beamed with smiles as she called out, "Good-evening,
"What, is the boy back from school already?" exclaimed the
grandmother in surprise. "I have not known an afternoon pass so
quickly as this one for years. How is the reading getting on,
"Just the same," was Peter's answer.
The old woman gave a little sigh. "Ah, well," she said, "I hoped
you would have something different to tell me by this time, as
you are going to be twelve years old this February."
"What was it that you hoped he would have to tell you?" asked
Heidi, interested in all the grandmother said.
"I mean that he ought to have learnt to read a bit by now,"
continued the grandmother. "Up there on the shelf is an old
prayer-book, with beautiful songs in it which I have not heard
for a long time and cannot now remember to repeat to myself, and
I hoped that Peter would soon learn enough to be able to read
one of them to me sometimes; but he finds it too difficult."
"I must get a light, it is getting too dark to see," said
Peter's mother, who was still busy mending his waistcoat. "I feel
too as if the afternoon had gone I hardly know how."
Heidi now jumped up from her low chair, and holding out her hand
hastily to the grandmother said, "Good-night, grandmother, if it
is getting dark I must go home at once," and bidding good-bye to
Peter and his mother she went towards the door. But the
grandmother called out in an anxious voice, "Wait, wait, Heidi;
you must not go alone like that, Peter must go with you; and
take care of the child, Peter, that she does not fall, and don't
let her stand still for fear she should get frozen, do you hear?
Has she got anything warm to put around her throat?"
"I have not anything to put on," called back Heidi, "but I am
sure I shall not be cold," and with that she ran outside and
went off at such a pace that Peter had difficulty in overtaking
her. The grandmother, still in distress, called out to her
daughter, "Run after her, Brigitta; the child will be frozen to
death on such a night as this; take my shawl, run quickly!"
Brigitta ran out. But the children had taken but a few steps
before they saw the grandfather coming down to meet them, and in
another minute his long strides had brought him to their side.
"That's right, Heidi; you have kept your word," said the
grandfather, and then wrapping the sack firmly round her he
lifted her in his arms and strode off with her up the mountain.
Brigitta was just in time to see him do all this, and on her
return to the hut with Peter expressed her astonishment to the
grandmother. The latter was equally surprised, and kept on
saying, "God be thanked that he is good to the child, God be
thanked! Will he let her come to me again, I wonder! the child
has done me so much good. What a loving little heart it is, and
how merrily she tells her tale!" And she continued to dwell with
delight on the thought of the child until she went to bed, still
saying now and again, "If only she will come again! Now I have
really something left in the world to take pleasure in." And
Brigitta agreed with all her mother said, and Peter nodded his
head in approval each time his grandmother spoke, saying, with a
broad smile of satisfaction, "I told you so!"
Meanwhile Heidi was chattering away to her grandfather from
inside her sack; her voice, however, could not reach him through
the many thick folds of her wrap, and as therefore it was
impossible to understand a word she was saying, he called to
her, "Wait till we get home, and then you can tell me all about
it." They had no sooner got inside the hut than Heidi, having
been released from her covering, at once began what she had to
say, "Grandfather, to-morrow we must take the hammer and the long
nails and fasten grandmother's shutter, and drive in a lot more
nails in other places, for her house shakes and rattles all
"We must, must we? who told you that?" asked her grandfather.
"Nobody told me, but I know it for all that," replied Heidi,
"for everything is giving way, and when the grandmother cannot
sleep, she lies trembling for fear at the noise, for she thinks
that every minute the house will fall down on their heads; and
everything now is dark for grandmother, and she does not think
any one can make it light for her again, but you will be able
to, I am sure, grandfather. Think how dreadful it is for her to
be always in the dark, and then to be frightened at what may
happen, and nobody can help her but you. To-morrow we must go and
help her; we will, won't we, grandfather?"
The child was clinging to the old man and looking up at him in
trustful confidence. The grandfather looked down at Heidi for a
while without speaking, and then said, "Yes, Heidi, we will do
something to stop the rattling, at least we can do that; we will
go down about it to-morrow!"
The child went skipping round the room for joy, crying out, "We
shall go to-morrow! we shall go to-morrow!"
The grandfather kept his promise. On the following afternoon he
brought the sleigh out again, and as on the previous day, he set
Heidi down at the door of the grandmother's hut and said, "Go in
now, and when it grows dark, come out again." Then he put the
sack in the sleigh and went round the house.
Heidi had hardly opened the door and sprung into the room when
the grandmother called out from her corner, "It's the child
again! here she comes!" and in her delight she let the thread
drop from her fingers, and the wheel stood still as she
stretched out both her hands in welcome. Heidi ran to her, and
then quickly drew the little stool close up to the old woman, and
seating herself upon it, began to tell and ask her all kinds of
things. All at once came the sound of heavy blows against the
wall of the hut and the grandmother gave such a start of alarm
that she nearly upset the spinning-wheel, and cried in a
trembling voice, "Ah, my God, now it is coming, the house is
going to fall upon us!" But Heidi caught her by the arm, and said
soothingly, "No, no, grandmother, do not be frightened, it is
only grandfather with his hammer; he is mending up everything, so
that you shan't have such fear and trouble."
"Is it possible! is it really possible! so the dear God has not
forgotten us!" exclaimed the grandmother. "Do you hear,
Brigitta, what that noise is? Did you hear what the child says?
Now, as I listen, I can tell it is a hammer; go outside,
Brigitta, and if it is Alm-Uncle, tell him he must come inside a
moment that I may thank him."
Brigitta went outside and found Alm-Uncle in the act of
fastening some heavy pieces of new wood along the wall. She
stepped up to him and said, "Good-evening, Uncle, mother and I
have to thank you for doing us such a kind service, and she would
like to tell you herself how grateful she is; I do not know who
else would have done it for us; we shall not forget your
kindness, for I am sure--"
"That will do," said the old man, interrupting her.
"I know what you think of Alm-Uncle without your telling me. Go
indoors again, I can find out for myself where the mending is
Brigitta obeyed on the spot, for Uncle had a way with him that
made few people care to oppose his will. He went on knocking
with his hammer all round the house, and then mounted the narrow
steps to the roof, and hammered away there, until he had used up
all the nails he had brought with him. Meanwhile it had been
growing dark, and he had hardly come down from the roof and
dragged the sleigh out from behind the goat-shed when Heidi
appeared outside. The grandfather wrapped her up and took her in
his arms as he had done the day before, for although he had to
drag the sleigh up the mountain after him, he feared that if the
child sat in it alone her wrappings would fall off and that she
would be nearly if not quite frozen, so he carried her warm and
safe in his arms.
So the winter went by. After many years of joyless life, the
blind grandmother had at last found something to make her happy;
her days were no longer passed in weariness and darkness, one
like the other without pleasure or change, for now she had
always something to which she could look forward. She listened
for the little tripping footstep as soon as day had come, and
when she heard the door open and knew the child was really there,
she would call out, "God be thanked, she has come again!" And
Heidi would sit by her and talk and tell her everything she knew
in so lively a manner that the grandmother never noticed how the
time went by, and never now as formerly asked Brigitta, "Isn't
the day done yet?" but as the child shut the door behind her on
leaving, would exclaim, "How short the afternoon has seemed;
don't you think so, Brigitta?" And this one would answer, "I do
indeed; it seems as if I had only just cleared away the mid-day
meal." And the grandmother would continue, "Pray God the child is
not taken from me, and that Alm-Uncle continues to let her come!
Does she look well and strong, Brigitta?" And the latter would
answer, "She looks as bright and rosy as an apple."
And Heidi had also grown very fond of the old grandmother, and
when at last she knew for certain that no one could make it
light for her again, she was overcome with sorrow; but the
grandmother told her again that she felt the darkness much less
when Heidi was with her, and so every fine winter's day the child
came travelling down in her sleigh. The grandfather always took
her, never raising any objection, indeed he always carried the
hammer and sundry other things down in the sleigh with him, and
many an afternoon was spent by him in making the goatherd's
cottage sound and tight. It no longer groaned and rattled the
whole night through, and the grandmother, who for many winters
had not been able to sleep in peace as she did now, said she
should never forget what the Uncle had done for her.
CHAPTER V. TWO VISITS AND WHAT CAME OF THEM
Quickly the winter passed, and still more quickly the bright
glad summer, and now another winter was drawing to its close.
Heidi was still as light-hearted and happy as the birds, and
looked forward with more delight each day to the coming spring,
when the warm south wind would roar through the fir trees and
blow away the snow, and the warm sun would entice the blue and
yellow flowers to show their heads, and the long days out on the
mountain would come again, which seemed to Heidi the greatest
joy that the earth could give. Heidi was now in her eighth year;
she had learnt all kinds of useful things from her grandfather;
she knew how to look after the goats as well as any one, and
Little Swan and Bear would follow her like two faithful dogs, and
give a loud bleat of pleasure when they heard her voice. Twice
during the course of this last winter Peter had brought up a
message from the schoolmaster at Dorfli, who sent word to Alm-
Uncle that he ought to send Heidi to school, as she was over the
usual age, and ought indeed to have gone the winter before. Uncle
had sent word back each time that the schoolmaster would find him
at home if he had anything he wished to say to him, but that he
did not intend to send Heidi to school, and Peter had faithfully
delivered his message.
When the March sun had melted the snow on the mountain side and
the snowdrops were peeping out all over the valley, and the fir
trees had shaken off their burden of snow and were again merrily
waving their branches in the air, Heidi ran backwards and
forwards with delight first to the goat-shed then to the fir-
trees, and then to the hut-door, in order to let her grandfather
know how much larger a piece of green there was under the trees,
and then would run off to look again, for she could hardly wait
till everything was green and the full beautiful summer had
clothed the mountain with grass and flowers. As Heidi was thus
running about one sunny March morning, and had just jumped over
the water-trough for the tenth time at least, she nearly fell
backwards into it with fright, for there in front of her, looking
gravely at her, stood an old gentleman dressed in black. When he
saw how startled she was, he said in a kind voice, "Don't be
afraid of me, for I am very fond of children. Shake hands! You
must be the Heidi I have heard of; where is your grandfather?"
"He is sitting by the table, making round wooden spoons," Heidi
informed him, as she opened the door.
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