Moni the Goat-Boy
Johanna Spyri et al
Online Distributed Proofreading Team
MONI THE GOAT-BOY
BY JOHANNA SPYRI
Author Of "Heidi"
TRANSLATED BY HELEN B. DOLE
ILLUSTRATED IN COLOR BY CHARLES COPELAND
[Illustration: "_In the midst of the flock came the goat-boy_."]
I. ALL IS WELL WITH MONI
II. MONI'S LIFE IN THE MOUNTAINS
III. A VISIT
IV. MONI CAN NO LONGER SING
V. MONI SINGS AGAIN
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
"In the midst of the flock came the goat-boy" _frontispiece_
"Moni climbed with his goats for an hour longer"
"Jorgli had opened his hand. In it lay a cross set with a large
number of stones"
ALL IS WELL WITH MONI
It is a long, steep climb up to the Bath House at Fideris, after leaving
the road leading up through the long valley of Prattigau. The horses
pant so hard on their way up the mountain that you prefer to dismount
and clamber up on foot to the green summit.
After a long ascent, you come first to the village of Fideris, which
lies on the pleasant green height, and from there you go on farther
into the mountains, until the lonely buildings connected with the
Baths appear, surrounded on all sides by rocky mountains. The only
trees that grow up there are firs, covering the peaks and rocks, and
it would all look very gloomy if the delicate mountain flowers with
their brilliant coloring were not peeping forth everywhere through the
low pasture grass.
One clear summer evening two ladies stepped out of the Bath House and
went along the narrow footpath, which begins to mount not far from the
house and soon becomes very steep as it ascends to the high, towering
crags. At the first projection they stood still and looked around, for
this was the very first time they had come to the Baths.
"It is not very lively up here, Aunt," said the younger, as she let her
eyes wander around. "Nothing but rocks and fir woods, and then another
mountain and more fir trees on it. If we are to stay here six weeks, I
should like occasionally to see something more amusing."
"It would not be very amusing, at all events, if you should lose your
diamond cross up here, Paula," replied the aunt, as she tied together
the red velvet ribbon from which hung the sparkling cross. "This is the
third time I have fastened the ribbon since we arrived; I don't know
whether it is your fault or the ribbon's, but I do know that you would
be very sorry if it were lost."
"No, no," exclaimed Paula, decidedly, "the cross must not be lost, on
any account. It came from my grandmother and is my greatest treasure."
Paula herself seized the ribbon, and tied two or three knots one after
the other, to make it hold fast. Suddenly she pricked up her ears:
"Listen, listen, Aunt, now something really lively is coming."
A merry song sounded from far above them; then came a long, shrill
yodel; then there was singing again.
The ladies looked upwards, but could see no living thing. The footpath
was very crooked, often passing between tall bushes and then between
projecting slopes, so that from below one could see up only a very short
distance. But now there suddenly appeared something alive on the slopes
above, in every place where the narrow path could be seen, and louder
and nearer sounded the singing.
"See, see, Aunt, there! Here! See there! See there!" exclaimed Paula
with great delight, and before the aunt was aware of it, three, four
goats came bounding down, and more and more of them, each wearing around
the neck a little bell so that the sound came from every direction. In
the midst of the flock came the goat-boy leaping along, and singing his
song to the very end:
"And in winter I am happy,
For weeping is in vain,
And, besides, the glad springtime
Will soon come again."
Then he sounded a frightful yodel and immediately with his flock stood
right before the ladies, for with his bare feet he leaped as nimbly and
lightly as his little goats.
"I wish you good evening!" he said as he looked gayly at the two ladies,
and would have continued on his way. But the goat-boy with the merry
eyes pleased the ladies.
"Wait a minute," said Paula. "Are you the goat-boy of Fideris? Do the
goats belong to the village below?"
"Yes, to be sure!" was the reply.
"Do you go up there with them every day?"
"Is that so? and what is your name?"
"Moni is my name--"
"Will you sing me the song once more, that you have just sung? We heard
only one verse."
"It is too long," explained Moni; "it would be too late for the goats,
they must go home." He straightened his weather-beaten cap, swung his
rod in the air, and called to the goats which had already begun to
nibble all around: "Home! Home!"
"You will sing to me some other time, Moni, won't you?" called Paula
"Surely I will, and good night!" he called back, then trotted along with
the goats, and in a short time the whole flock stood still below, a few
steps from the Bath House by the rear building, for here Moni had to
leave the goats belonging to the house, the beautiful white one and the
black one with the pretty little kid. Moni treated the last with great
care, for it was a delicate little creature and he loved it more than
all the others. It was so attached to him that it ran after him
continually all day long. He now led it very tenderly along and placed
it in its shed; then he said:
"There, Maggerli, now sleep well; are you tired? It is really a long
way up there, and you are still so little. Now lie right down, so, in
the nice straw!"
After he had put Maggerli to bed in this way, he hurried along with his
flock, first up to the hill in front of the Baths, and then down the
road to the village.
Here he took out his little horn and blew so vigorously into it, that it
resounded far down into the valley. From all the scattered houses the
children now came running out; each rushed upon his goat, which he knew
a long way off; and from the houses near by, one woman and then another
seized her little goat by the cord or the horn, and in a short time the
entire flock was separated and each creature came to its own place.
Finally Moni stood alone with the brown one, his own goat, and with her
he now went to the little house on the side of the mountain, where his
grandmother was waiting for him, in the doorway.
"Has all gone well, Moni?" she asked pleasantly, and then led the brown
goat to her shed, and immediately began to milk her. The grandmother was
still a robust woman and cared for everything herself in the house and
in the shed and everywhere kept order. Moni stood in the doorway of the
shed and watched his grandmother. When the milking was ended, she went
into the little house and said: "Come, Moni, you must be hungry."
She had everything already prepared. Moni had only to sit down at the
table; she seated herself next him, and although nothing stood on the
table but the bowl of corn-meal mush cooked with the brown goat's milk,
Moni hugely enjoyed his supper. Then he told his grandmother what he had
done through the day, and as soon as the meal was ended he went to bed,
for in the early dawn he would have to start forth again with the flock.
In this way Moni had already spent two summers. He had been goat-boy so
long and become so accustomed to this life and grown up together with
his little charges that he could think of nothing else. Moni had lived
with his grandmother ever since he could remember. His mother had died
when he was still very little; his father soon after went with others to
military service in Naples, in order to earn something, as he said, for
he thought he could get more pay there.
His wife's mother was also poor, but she took her daughter's deserted
baby boy, little Solomon, home at once and shared what she had with him.
He brought a blessing to her cottage and she had never suffered want.
Good old Elizabeth was very popular with every one in the whole village,
and when, two years before, another goat-boy had to be appointed, Moni
was chosen with one accord, since every one was glad for the
hard-working Elizabeth that now Moni would be able to earn something.
The pious grandmother had never let Moni start away a single morning,
without reminding him:
"Moni, never forget how near you are up there to the dear Lord, and that
He sees and hears everything, and you can hide nothing from His eyes.
But never forget, either, that He is near to help you. So you have
nothing to fear, and if you can call upon no human being up there, you
have only to call to the dear Lord in your need, and He will hear you
immediately and come to your aid."
So from the very first Moni went full of trust up to the lonely
mountains and the highest crags, and never had the slightest fear of
dread, for he always thought:
"The higher up, the nearer I am to the dear Lord, and so all the safer
whatever may happen."
So Moni had neither care nor trouble and could enjoy everything he did
from morning till night. It was no wonder that he whistled and sang and
yodeled continually, for he had to give vent to his great happiness.
MONI'S LIFE IN THE MOUNTAINS
The following morning Paula awoke earlier than ever before; a loud
singing had awakened her out of sleep.
"That is surely the goat-boy so soon," she said, springing out of bed
and running to the window.
Quite right. With fresh, red cheeks there stood Moni below, and he had
just brought the old goat and the little kid out of the goat shed. Now
he swung his rod in the air, the goats leaped and sprang around him,
and then he went along with the whole flock. Suddenly Moni raised his
voice again and sang until the mountains echoed:
"Up yonder in the fir trees
Sing the birds in a choir,
And after the rain comes,
Comes the son like a fire."
"To-day he must sing his whole song for me once," said Paula, for Moni
had now disappeared and she could no longer understand the words of his
[Illustration: "_Moni climbed with his goats for an hour longer_."]
In the sky the rosy morning clouds were disappearing and a cool mountain
breeze rustled around Moni's ears, as he climbed up. This he thought
just right. He yodeled with satisfaction from the first ledge so
lustily down into the valley that many of the sleepers in the Bath House
below opened their eyes in amazement, then closed them again at once,
for they recognized the sound and knew that they could have an hour
longer to sleep, since the goat-boy always came so early. Meanwhile Moni
climbed with his goats for an hour longer, farther and farther up to the
high cliffs above.
The higher up he mounted, the broader and more beautiful became the
view. From time to time he looked around him, then gazed up into the
bright sky, which was becoming bluer and bluer, then began to sing with
all his might, louder and louder and more merrily the higher he came:
"Up yonder in the fir trees,
Sing the birds in a choir,
And after the rain comes,
Comes the sun like a fire.
"And the sun and the stars
And the moon in the night,
The dear Lord has made them
To give us delight.
"In the spring there are flowers--
They are yellow and gold,
And so blue is the sky then
My joy can't be told.
"And in summer there are berries,
There are plenty if it's fine,
And the red ones and black ones,
I eat all from the vine.
"If there are nuts in the bushes
I know what to do.
Where the goats like to nibble,
There I can hunt too.
"And in winter I'm happy,
For weeping's in vain,
And, besides, the glad springtime
Will soon come again."
Now the height was reached where he usually stayed, and where he was
going to remain for a while to-day. It was a little green table-land,
with so broad a projection that one could see from the top all round
about and far, far down into the valley. This projection was called the
Pulpit-rock, and here Moni could often stay for hours at a time, gazing
about him and whistling away, while his little goats quite contentedly
sought their feed around him.
As soon as Moni arrived, he took his provision bag from his back, laid
it in a little hole in the ground, which he had dug out for this
purpose, then went to the Pulpit-rock and threw himself on the grass in
order to enjoy himself fully.
The sky had now become a deep blue; above were the high mountains with
peaks towering to the sky and great ice-fields appearing, and far away
down below the green valley shone in the morning light. Moni lay there,
looking about, singing and whistling. The mountain wind cooled his warm
face, and as soon as he stopped whistling, the birds piped all the more
lustily and flew up into the blue sky. Moni was indescribably happy.
From time to time Maggerli came to Moni and rubbed her head around on
his shoulder, as she always did out of sheer affection. Then she bleated
quite fondly, went to Moni's other side and rubbed her head on the other
shoulder. The other goats also, first one and then another, came to look
at their keeper and each had her own way of paying the visit.
The brown one, his own goat, came very cautiously and looked at him to
see if he was all right, then she would stand and gaze at him until he
said: "Yes, yes, Braunli, it's all right, go and look for your fodder."
The young white one and Swallow, so called because she was so small and
nimble and darted everywhere, like swallows into their holes, always
rushed together upon Moni, so that they would have thrown him down, if
he had not already been stretched out on the ground, and then they
immediately, darted off again.
The shiny Blackie, the goat belonging to the landlord of the Bath
House, Maggerli's mother, was a little proud; she came only to within a
few steps of Moni, looked at him with her head lifted, as if she
wouldn't appear too familiar, and then went her way again. The big
Sultan, the billy-goat, never showed himself but once, then he pushed
away all he found near Moni, and bleated several times as significantly
as if he had information to give about the condition of the flock, whose
leader he felt himself to be.
Little Maggerli alone never allowed herself to be crowded away from her
protector; if the billy-goat came and tried to push her aside, she crept
so far under Moni's arm or head that the big Sultan no longer came near
her, and so under Moni's protection the little kid was not the least bit
afraid of him. Otherwise she would have trembled if he came near her.
Thus the sunny morning had passed; Moni had already taken his midday
meal and now stood thinking as he leaned on his stick, which he often
needed there, for it was very useful in climbing up and down. He was
thinking whether he would go up to a new side of the rocks, for he
wanted to go higher this afternoon with the goats, but the question was,
to which side? He decided to take the left, for in that direction were
the three Dragon-stones, around which grew such tender shrubs that it
was a real feast for the goats.
The way was steep, and there were dangerous places in the rugged wall of
rock; but he knew a good path, and the goats were so sensible and did
not easily go astray. He began to climb and all his goats gayly
clambered after him, some in front, some behind him, little Maggerli
always quite close to him; occasionally he held her fast and pulled her
along with him, when he came to a very steep place.
All went quite well and now they were at the top, and with high bounds
the goats ran immediately to the green bushes, for they knew well the
fine feed which they had often nibbled up here before.
"Be quiet! Be quiet!" commanded Moni, "don't push each other to the
steep places, for in a moment one of you might go down and have your
legs broken. Swallow! Swallow! what are you thinking of?" he called
full of excitement, up to the goat, for the nimble Swallow had climbed
up to the high Dragon-stones and was now standing on the outermost edge
of one of them and looking quite impertinently down on him. He climbed
up quickly, for only a single step more and Swallow would be lying
below at the foot of the precipice. Moni was very agile; in a few
minutes he had climbed up on the crag, quickly seized Swallow by the
leg, and pulled her down.
"Now come with me, you foolish little beast, you," scolded Moni, as he
dragged Swallow along with him to the others, and held her fast for a
while, until she had taken a good bite of a shrub and thought no more of
"Where is Maggerli?" screamed Moni suddenly, as he noticed Blackie
standing alone in a steep place, and not eating, but quietly looking
around her. The little young kid was always near Moni, or running after
"What have you done with your little kid, Blackie?" he called in alarm
and sprang towards the goat. She seemed quite strange, was not eating,
but stood still in the same spot and pricked up her ears inquiringly.
Moni placed himself beside her and looked up and down. Now he heard a
faint, pitiful bleating; it was Maggerli's voice, and it came from below
so plaintive and beseeching. Moni lay down on the ground and leaned
over. There below something was moving; now he saw quite plainly, far
down Maggerli was hanging to the bough of a tree which grew out of the
rock, and was moaning pitifully; she must have fallen over.
Fortunately the bough had caught her, otherwise she would have fallen
into the ravine and met a sorry death. Even now if she could no
longer hold to the bough, she would fall into the depths and be
dashed to pieces.
In the greatest anguish he called down: "Hold fast, Maggerli, hold fast
to the bough! See, I am coming to get you!" But how could he reach
there? The wall of rock was so steep here, Moni saw very well that it
would be impossible to go down that way. But the little goat must be
down there somewhere near the Rain-rock, the overhanging stone under
which good protection was to be found in rainy weather; the goat-boys
had always spent rainy days there, therefore the stone had been called
from old times the Rain-rock. From there, Moni thought he could climb
across over the rocks and so bring back the little kid.
He quickly whistled the flock together and went with them down to the
place from which he could reach the Rain-rock. There he left them to
graze and went to the rock. Here he immediately saw, just a little bit
above him, the bough of the tree, and the kid hanging to it. He saw very
well that it would not be an easy task to climb up there and then down
again with Maggerli on his back, but there was no other way to rescue
her. He also thought the dear Lord would surely stand by him, and then
he could not possibly fail. He folded his hands, looked up to heaven and
prayed: "Oh, dear Lord, help me, so that I can save Maggerli!"
Then he was full of trust that all would go well, and he bravely
clambered up the rock until he reached the bough above. Here he clung
fast with both feet, lifted the trembling, moaning little creature to
his shoulders, and then climbed with great caution back down again.
When he had the firm earth under his feet once more and had saved the
terror-stricken kid, he was so glad he had to offer thanks aloud and
cried up to heaven:
"Oh, dear Lord, I thank Thee a thousand times for having helped us so
well! Oh, we are both so glad for it!" Then he sat down on the ground a
little while, and stroked the kid, for she was still trembling in all
her delicate limbs, and comforted her for enduring so much suffering.
As it was soon time for departure, Moni placed the little goat on his
shoulders again, and said anxiously:
"Come, you poor Maggerli, you are still trembling; you cannot walk home
to-day, I must carry you--" and so he carried the little creature,
clinging close to him, all the way down.
Paula was standing on the last rise in front of the Bath House,
waiting for the goat-boy. Her aunt had accompanied her. When Moni came
down with his burden on his back, Paula wanted to know if the kid was
sick, and showed great interest. When Moni saw this, he at once sat
down on the ground in front of Paula and told her his day's experience
The young lady showed very keen interest in the affair and stroked the
little rescued creature, which now lay quietly in Moni's lap and looked
very pretty, with its white feet, and the beautiful black pelt on its
back. It was very willing to be stroked by her.
"Now sing your song again for me, while you are sitting here," said
Paula. Moni was in such a gay frame of mind that he willingly and
heartily began and sang his whole song to the end.
This pleased Paula exceptionally well and she said he must sing it to
her often again. Then the whole company went together down to the Bath
House. Here the kid was laid in its bed, Moni said farewell, and Paula
went back to her room to talk with her aunt longer about the goat-boy,
whose merry morning song she had enjoyed again.
Thus many days passed by, one as sunny and clear as the other, for it
was an unusually beautiful summer, and the sky remained blue and
cloudless from morning till evening.
Every morning, early, without exception the goat-boy, singing lustily,
went by the Bath House. Every evening he came back again singing
lustily. All the guests were so accustomed to the merry sound that not
one would have willingly missed it.
More than all the others, Paula delighted in Moni's joyfulness and went
out almost every evening to meet him, and talk with him.
One sunny morning Moni had once more reached the Pulpit-rock, and was
about to throw himself down, when he changed his mind. "No, go on! The
last time you had to leave all the nice little plants because we had to
go after Maggerli; now we will go up there again, so that you can finish
The goats all leaped with delight after him, for they knew they were
going up to the lovely bushes on the Dragon-stones. To-day Moni held
his little Maggerli the whole time fast in his arms, pulled the sweet
plants himself from the rocks and let her eat out of his hand. This
pleased the little goat best of all. She rubbed her head quite
contentedly from time to time against Moni's shoulder and bleated
happily. So the whole morning passed, before Moni noticed, from his own
hunger, that it had grown late before he was aware of it. But he had
left his luncheon below near the Pulpit-rock, in the little hole, for he
had intended to return again at noon.
"Well, you have had your fill of good things, and I have had nothing,"
he said to his goats. "Now I must have something too, and you will find
enough more down below. Come along!" Whereupon he gave a loud whistle,
and the whole flock started away, the liveliest always ahead, and first
of all light-footed Swallow, who was to meet something unexpected to-day.
She sprang down from stone to stone and across many a cleft in the
rocks, but all at once she could go no farther--directly in front of
her suddenly stood a chamois and gazed with curiosity into her face.
This had never happened to Swallow before! She stood still, looked
questioningly at the stranger and waited for the chamois to get out of
her way and let her leap to the boulder, as she intended. But the
chamois did not stir and gazed boldly into Swallow's eyes. So they stood
facing each other, more and more obstinate, and might have stood there
until now, if the big Sultan had not come along in the meantime. As soon
as he saw the state of things, he stepped quite considerately past
Swallow and suddenly pushed the chamois aside so far and with such
violence, that she had to make a daring leap, not to fall down over the
rocks. Swallow went triumphantly on her way, and the Sultan marched
proudly and contentedly behind her, for he felt himself to be the sure
protector of the goats in his flock.
Meanwhile Moni coming down from above, and another goat-boy coming up
from below, met at the same spot and looked at each other in
astonishment. But they were well acquainted, and after the first
surprise greeted each other cordially. It was Jorgli from Kublis. Half
the morning he had been looking in vain for Moni and now he met him up
here, where he had not expected to find him.
"I didn't suppose you came up so high with the goats," said Jorgli.
"To be sure I do," replied Moni, "but not always; usually I stay by the
Pulpit-rock and around there. Why have you come up here?"
"To make you a visit," was the reply. "I have something to tell you.
Besides, I have two goats here, that I am bringing to the landlord at
the Baths. He is going to buy one, and so I thought I would come up
to see you."
"Are they your own goats?" asked Moni.
"Surely, they are ours. I don't tend strange ones any longer. I am not
a goat-boy now."
Moni was very much surprised at this, for Jorgli had become the goat-boy
of Kublis at the same time he had been made goat-boy of Fideris, and
Moni did not understand how Jorgli could give it up without a single
Meanwhile the goat-boys and their flocks had reached the Pulpit-rock.
Moni brought out bread and a small piece of dried meat and invited
Jorgli to share his midday meal. They both sat down on the Pulpit-rock
and ate heartily, for it had grown very late and they had excellent
appetites. When everything was eaten and they had drunk a little goat's
milk, Jorgli comfortably stretched himself at full length on the ground,
and rested his head on both arms, but Moni remained sitting, for he
always liked to look down into the deep valley below.
"But what are you now, Jorgli, if you are no longer goat-boy?" began
Moni. "You must be something."
"Surely I am something, and something very good," replied Jorgli, "I am
egg-boy. Every day I carry eggs to all the hotels, as far as I can go;
I come up here to the Bath House, too. Yesterday I was there."
Moni shook his head. "That's nothing. I wouldn't be an egg-boy; I would
a thousand times rather be goat-boy, it is much finer."
"Eggs are not alive, you can't speak a word to them, and they don't run
after you like the goats which are glad to see you when you come, and
are fond of you, and understand every word you say to them; you can't
have any pleasure with eggs as you can with the goats up here."
"Yes, and you," interrupted Jorgli, "what great pleasure do you have up
here? Just now you have had to get up six times while we were eating,
just on account of that silly kid, to prevent it from falling down
below--is that a pleasure?"
"Yes, I like to do that! Isn't it so, Maggerli? Come! Come here!" Moni
jumped up and ran after the kid, for it was making dangerous leaps for
sheer joy. When he sat down again, Jorgli said:
"There is another way to keep the young goats from falling over the
rocks, without having to be always jumping after them, as you do."
"What is it?" asked Moni.
"Drive a stick firmly into the ground and fasten the goat by the leg to
it; she will kick furiously, but she can't get away."
"You needn't think I would do any such thing to the little kid!" said
Moni quite angrily and drew Maggerli to him and held her fast, as if to
protect her from any such treatment.
"You really won't have to take care of that one much longer," began
Jorgli again. "It won't come up here many times more."
"What? What? What did you say, Jorgli?" demanded Moni.
"Bah, don't you know about it? The landlord will not raise her, she is
too weak; there never was a more feeble goat. He wanted to sell her to
my father, but he wouldn't have her either; now the landlord is going to
have her killed next week, and then he will buy our spotted one."
Moni had become quite pale from terror. At first he couldn't speak a
word; but now he broke out and complained aloud over the little kid:
"No, no, that shall not be done, Maggerli, it shall not be done. They
shall not slay you, I can't bear that. Oh, I would rather die with you;
no, that cannot be!"
"Don't do so," said Jorgli, angrily, and pulled Moni up, for in his
grief he had thrown himself face down on the ground. "Stand up, you know
the kid really belongs to the landlord and he can do what he likes with
her. Think no more about it! Come, I know something. See! See!"
Whereupon Jorgli held out one hand to Moni, and with the other almost
covered the object, which Moni was to admire; it sparkled wonderfully in
his hand, for the sun shone straight into it.
"What is it?" asked Moni, when it sparkled again, lighted up by a sunbeam.
"No, but something like that."
"Who gave it to you?"
"Gave it to me? Nobody. I found it myself."
"Then it does not belong to you, Jorgli."
"Why not? I didn't take it from anybody. I almost stepped on it with my
foot, then it would have been broken; so I can just as well keep it."
"Where did you find it?"
"Down by the Bath House, yesterday evening."
"Then some one from the house below lost it. You must tell the landlord,
and if you don't, I will do it this evening."
"No, no, Moni, don't do that," said Jorgli, beseechingly. "See, I will
show you what it is, and I will sell it to a maid in one of the hotels,
but she will surely have to give me four francs; then I will give you
one or two, and nobody will know anything about it."
"I will not take it! I will not take it!" interrupted Moni, hotly, "and
the dear Lord has heard everything you have said."
[Illustration: "_Jorgli had opened his band. In it lay a cross set with
a large number of stones_."]
Jorgli looked up to the sky: "Oh, so far away," he said skeptically;
but he immediately began to speak more softly.
"He hears you still," said Moni, confidently.
It was no longer Jorgli's secret. If he didn't know how to bring Moni to
his side, all would be lost. He thought and thought.
"Moni," he said suddenly, "I will promise you something that will
delight you, if you will not say anything to a human being about what I
have found; you really don't need to take anything for it, then you will
have nothing to do with it. If you will do as I say, I will make my
father buy Maggerli, so she will not be killed. Will you?"
A hard struggle arose in Moni. It was wrong to help keep the discovery
secret. Jorgli had opened his hand. In it lay a cross set with a large
number of stones, which sparkled in many colors. Moni realized that it
was not a worthless thing which no one would inquire about; he felt
exactly as if he himself should be keeping what did not belong to him if
he remained silent. But on the other hand was the little, affectionate
Maggerli, that was going to be killed in a horrible way with a knife,
and he could prevent it if he kept silent. Even now the little kid was
lying so trustfully beside him, as if, she knew that he would always
keep it; no, he could not let this happen, he must try to save it.
"Yes, I will, Jorgli," he said, but without any enthusiasm.
"Then it is a bargain!" and Jorgli offered his hand to Moni, that
he might seal the argument, as that was the only way to make a
Jorgli was very glad that now his secret was safe; but as Moni had
become so quiet, and he had much farther to go to reach home than
Moni, he considered it well to start along with his two goats. He said
good-night to Moni and whistled for his two companions, which meanwhile
had joined Moni's grazing goats, but not without much pushing and other
doubtful behavior between the two parties, for the goats from Fideris
had never heard that they ought to be polite to visitors and the goats
from Kublis did not know that they ought not to seek out the best plants
or push the others away from them, when they were visiting. When Jorgli
had gone some distance down the mountain, Moni also started along with
his flock, but he was very still and neither sang a note nor whistled,
all the way home.
MONI CAN NO LONGER SING
On the following morning Moni came up the path to the Bath House, just
as silent and cast down as the evening before. He brought out the
landlord's goats quietly and went on upwards, but he sang not a note,
nor did he give a yodel up into the air; he let his head hang and looked
as if he were afraid of something; now and then he looked around
timidly, as if some one were coming after him to question him.
Moni could no longer be merry; he didn't know himself exactly why. He
wanted to be glad that he had saved Maggerli, and sing, but he couldn't
express it. To-day the sky was covered with clouds, and Moni thought
when the sun came out it would be different and he could be happy again.
When he reached the top, it began to rain quite hard. He took refuge
under the Rain-rock, for it soon poured in streams from the sky.
The goats came, too, and placed themselves here and there under the
rock. The aristocratic Blackie immediately wanted to protect her
beautiful shiny coat and crept in under the rock before Moni did. She
was now standing behind Moni and looking out from her comfortable
corner into the pouring rain. Maggerli was standing in front of its
protector under the projecting rock and gently rubbed its little head
against his knee; then it looked up at him in surprise, because Moni
did not say a word, and it was not accustomed to that. Moni sat
thoughtfully, leaning on his staff, for in such weather he always kept
it in his hand, to keep himself from slipping on the steep places,
for on such days he wore shoes. Now, as he sat for hours under the
Rain-rock, he had plenty of time for reflection.
Moni thought over what he had promised Jorgli, and it seemed to him that
if Jorgli had taken something, he was practically doing the same thing
himself, because Jorgli had promised to give him something or do
something for him. He had surely done what was wrong, and the dear Lord
was now against him. This he felt in his heart, and it was right that it
was dark and rainy and that he was hidden under the rock, for he would
not even have dared look up into the blue sky, as usual.
But there were still other things that Moni had to think about. If
Maggerli should fall down over a steep precipice again, and he wanted
to get it, the dear Lord would no longer protect him, and he no longer
dared to pray to Him about it and call upon Him, and so had no more
safety; and if then he should slip and fall down with Maggerli deep over
the jagged, rocks, and both of them should lie all torn and maimed! Oh,
no, he said with anguish in his heart, that must not happen anyway; he
must manage to be able to pray again and come to the dear Lord with
everything that weighed on his heart; then he could be happy again, that
he felt sure of. Moni would throw off the weight that oppressed him, he
would go and tell the landlord everything--But then? Then Jorgli would
not persuade his father, and the landlord would slaughter Maggerli. Oh,
no! Oh, no! he couldn't bear that, and he said: "No, I will not do it!
I will say nothing!" But he did not feel satisfied, and the weight on
his heart grew heavier and heavier. Thus Moni's whole day passed.
He started home at evening as silent as he had come in the morning. When
he found Paula standing near the Bath House, and she sprang quickly
across to the goat-shed and asked sympathetically: "Moni, what is the
matter? Why don't you sing any more?" he turned shyly away and said:
"I can't," and as quickly as possible made off with his goats.
Paula said to her aunt above: "If I only knew what was the matter with
the goat-boy! He is quite changed. You wouldn't know him. If he would
only sing again!"
"It must be the frightful rain which has silenced the boy so!" remarked
"Everything all comes together; let us go home, Aunt," begged Paula,
"there is no more pleasure here. First I lost my beautiful cross, and it
can't be found; then comes this endless rain, and now we can't ever hear
the merry goat-boy any more. Let us go away!"
"The cure must be finished, or it will do no good," explained the aunt.
It was also dark and gray on the following day, and the rain poured down
without ceasing. Moni spent the day exactly like the one before. He sat
under the rock and his thoughts went restlessly round in a circle, for
when he decided: "Now, I will go and confess the wrong, so that I shall
dare to look up to the dear Lord again," then he saw the little kid
under the knife before him and it all began over again in his mind from
the beginning; so that with thinking and brooding, and the weight he
carried, he was very tired by night, and crept home in the streaming
rain as if he didn't notice it at all.
By the Bath House below the landlord was standing in the back doorway
and called to Moni: "Come in with them. They are wet enough! Why, you
are crawling down the mountain like a snail! I wonder what is the matter
The landlord had never been so unfriendly before. On the contrary he
had always made the most friendly remarks to the merry goat-boy. But
Moni's changed appearance did not please him, and besides he was in a
worse humor than usual because Fraulein Paula had just complained to him
about her loss and assured him that the valuable cross could only have
been lost in the house or directly in front of the house-door. She had
only stepped out on that day towards evening, to hear the goat-boy sing
on his way home. To have it said that it was possible for such a costly
thing to be lost in his house, beyond recovery, made him very cross. The
day before he had called together the whole staff of servants, examined
and threatened them, and finally offered a reward to the finder. The
whole house was in an uproar over the lost ornament.
When Moni with his goats passed by the front of the house, Paula was
standing there. She had been waiting for him, for she wondered very
much whether he would ever sing any more or be merry. As he now crept
by, she called:
"Moni! Moni! Are you really the same goat-boy who used to sing from
morning till night:
"'And so blue is the sky there
My joy can't be told'?"
Moni heard the words very well; he gave no answer, but they made a great
impression on him. Oh, how different it really was from the time when
he could sing all day long and he felt exactly as he sang. Oh, if it
could only be like that again!
Again Moni climbed up the mountain, silent and sad and without singing.
The rain had now ceased, but thick fog hung around on the mountains,
and the sky was still full of dark clouds. Moni again sat under the
rock and battled with his thoughts. About noon the sky began to clear;
it grew brighter and brighter. Moni came out of his cave and looked
around. The goats once more sprang gayly here and there, and the little
kid was quite frolicsome from delight at the returning sun and made the
Moni stood on the Pulpit-rock and saw how it was growing brighter and
more beautiful below in the valley and above over the mountains beyond.
Now the clouds scattered and the lovely light blue sky looked down so
cheerfully that it seemed to Moni as if the dear Lord were looking out
of the bright blue at him, and suddenly it became quite clear in his
heart what he ought to do. He could not carry the wrong around with him
any more; he must throw it off. Then Moni seized the little kid, that
was jumping about him, took it in his arms and said tenderly: "Oh,
Maggerli, you poor Maggerli! I have certainly done what I could, but it
is wrong, and that must not be done. Oh, if only you didn't have to die!
I can't bear it!"
And Moni began to cry so hard, that he could no longer speak, and the
kid bleated pitifully and crept far under his arm, as if it wanted to
cling to him and be protected. Then Moni lifted the little goat on his
"Come, Maggerli, I will carry you home once more to-day. Perhaps I can't
carry you much longer."
When the flock came down to the Bath House, Paula was again standing on
the watch. Moni put the young goat with the black one in the shed, and
instead of going on farther, he came toward the young lady and was going
past her into the house. She stopped him.
"Still no singing, Moni? Where are you going with such a troubled face?"
"I have to tell about something," replied Moni, without lifting his eyes.
"Tell about something? What is it? Can't I know?"
"I must tell the landlord. Something has been found."
"Found? What is it? I have lost something, a beautiful cross."
"Yes, that is just what it is."
"What do you say?" exclaimed Paula, in the greatest surprise. "Is it a
cross with sparkling stones?"
"Yes, exactly that."
"What have you done with it, Moni? Give it to me. Did you find it?"
"No, Jorgli from Kublis found it."
Then Paula wanted to know who he was and where he lived, and to send
some one to Kublis at once to get the cross.
"I will go as fast as I can, and if he still has it I will bring it to
you," said Moni.
"If he still has it?" said Paula. "Why shouldn't he still have it? And
how do you know all about it, Moni? When did he find it, and how did you
hear about it?"
Moni looked on the ground. He didn't dare say how it had all come
about, and how he had helped to conceal the discovery until he could
no longer bear it.
But Paula was very kind to Moni. She took him aside, sat down on the
trunk of a tree, beside him, and said with the greatest friendliness:
"Come, tell me all about how it happened, Moni, for I want so much to
know everything from you."
Then Moni gained confidence and began to relate the whole story, and
told her every word of his struggle about Maggerli and how he had lost
all happiness and dared no longer look up to the dear Lord, and how
to-day he couldn't bear it any longer.
Then Paula talked with him very kindly and said he should have come
immediately and told everything, and it was right that he had told her
all now so frankly, and that he would not regret it. Then she said he
could promise Jorgli ten francs, as soon as she had the cross in her
"Ten francs!" repeated Moni, full of astonishment, for he knew how
Jorgli would have sold it for much less. Then Moni rose and said he
would go right away that very day to Kublis, and if he got the cross
he would bring it with him early the next morning. He ran along and
was once more able to leap and jump, for he had a much lighter heart
and the heavy burden no longer weighed him down to the ground.
When he reached home, he only put his goats in, told his grandmother he
had an errand to do, and ran at once down to Kublis. He found Jorgli at
home and told him without delay what he had done. At first the boy was
very angry, but when he considered that all was known, he took out the
cross and asked:
"Will she give me anything for it?"
"Yes, and now you can see, Jorgli," said Moni, indignantly, "how by
being honorable you will receive ten francs, and by being deceitful
only four: the ten francs you are going to have now."
Jorgli was very much amazed. He regretted that he had not gone
immediately with the cross to the Bath House, after he had picked it up
in front of the door, for now he had not a clear conscience and it might
have been so different! But now it was too late. He gave the cross to
Moni, who hastened home with it, for it had already grown quite dark.
MONI SINGS AGAIN
Paula had given orders to be wakened early the next morning, for she
wanted to be on the spot when the goat-boy came. She was anxious to deal
with him herself. That evening she had held a long conversation with the
landlord, and had then come out of his room quite happy; so she must
have planned something delightful with him.
When the goat-boy came along with his flock in the morning, Paula was
already standing in front of the house, and she called out:
"Moni, can't you sing even now?"
He shook his head. "No, I can't. I am always wondering how much
longer Maggerli will go with me. I never can sing any more as long as
I live, and here is the cross." Whereupon he handed her a little
package, for the grandmother had wrapped it carefully for him in
three or four papers.
Paula took out the cross from the wrappings and examined it closely. It
really was her beautiful cross with the sparkling stones, and quite
unharmed. "Well, Moni," she said now very kindly, "you have given me a
great pleasure, for if it had not been for you, I might never have seen
my cross again. Now, I am going to give you a pleasure. Go take Maggerli
there out of the shed, she belongs to you now!"
Moni stared at the young lady in astonishment, as if it were impossible
to understand her words. At last he stammered: "But how--how can
Maggerli be mine?"
"How?" replied Paula, smiling. "See, last evening I bought her from
the landlord and this morning I give her to you. Now can't you sing
"Oh! Oh! Oh!" exclaimed Moni and ran like mad to the shed, led the
little goat out, and took it in his arms. Then he leaped back and held
out his hand to Paula and said over and over again:
"I thank you a thousand, thousand times! May God reward you! If I could
do something nice for you!"
"Well, then try once more and let us see if you can sing again!"
Then Moni sang his song and went on up the mountain with the goats, and
his jubilant tones rang down into the valley, so that there was no one
in the whole Bath House who did not hear it and many an one turned over
in his bed and said: "The goat-boy has good weather once more."
All were glad to hear him sing again, for all had depended on the merry
alarm, some in order to get up, others to sleep a while longer.
When Moni, from the first summit, saw Paula still standing below in
front of the house, he stepped as far out as possible and sang down
at the top of his voice:
"And so blue is the sky there
My joy can't be told."
The whole day long Moni shouted for joy, and all the goats caught his
spirit and jumped and sprang around as if it were a great festival. The
sun shone cheerfully down out of the blue sky, and after the great rain,
all the little plants were so fresh, and the yellow and red flowers so
bright, it seemed to Moni as if he had never seen the mountains and the
valley and the whole world so beautiful before. He didn't let the little
kid leave him the whole day; he pulled up the best plants for it and fed
it, and said over and over again:
"Maggerli, you dear Maggerli, you do not have to die. You are now mine
and will come up to the pasture with me as long as we live." And with
resounding singing and yodeling Moni came down again at evening and
after he had led the black goat to her shed, he took the little kid in
his arms, for it was now coming home with him. Maggerli did not look as
if it would rather stay there, but pressed close to Moni and felt that
it was under the best protection, for Moni had for a long time treated
it better and more kindly than its own mother.
But when Moni came near his grandmother's with Maggerli on his
shoulders, she didn't know at all what to make of it, and although Moni
called from a distance:
"She belongs to me, Grandmother, she belongs to me!" she didn't
understand for some time what he meant. But Moni couldn't explain to
her yet; he ran to the shed, and there right next to Brownie, so that
it wouldn't be afraid, he made Maggerli a fine, soft bed of fresh straw,
and laid it down, saying:
"There, Maggerli, now sleep well in your new home! You must always have
this; every day I will make you a new bed!"
Then Moni came back directly to his wondering grandmother, and while
they sat together at their supper, he told her the whole story from the
very beginning about his three days so full of trouble, and the happy
The grandmother listened very quietly and attentively and when he came
to the end, she said earnestly:
"Moni, you must remember what has happened to you now, as long as you
live! While you were having so great trouble with wrong-doing in order
to help the little creature, the dear Lord had already found a way to
help it and make you happy as soon as you would do what was right in His
sight. If you had done right at once, and trusted in God, all would have
gone well at first. Now the dear Lord has helped you beyond all you
deserved, so that you will not forget it your whole life long."
"No, I will surely never forget it," said Moni, eagerly assenting, "and
will always truly think, the first thing: I must only do what is right
before the dear Lord. He will take care of all the rest."
But before Moni could lie down to sleep, he had to look into the shed
once more, to see if it were really possible that the little kid was
lying out there and belonged to him.
Jorgli received the ten francs according to the agreement, but he was
not allowed to escape from the affair so easily as that. When he
returned to the Bath House, he was brought to the landlord who took the
boy by the collar, gave him a good shaking, and said threateningly:
"Jorgli! Jorgli! Don't you try a second time to bring my whole house
into bad repute! If anything like this happens a single time again, you
will come out of my house in a way that will not please you! See, up
there hangs a very sharp willow rod for such cases. Now go and think
Moreover, the event had other consequences for the boy. From this time
on, if anything was lost anywhere in the Bath House, all the servants
immediately exclaimed: "Jorgli from Kublis has it!" and if he came
afterwards into the house they all pounced on him together and cried:
"Give it here, Jorgli! Out with it!" And if he assured them he had
nothing and knew nothing about it, they would all exclaim: "We know
you already!" and "You can't fool us!"
So Jorgli had to endure the most menacing attacks continually, and had
hardly a moment's peace any more, for if he saw any one approaching him,
he at once thought he was coming to ask if he had found this or that.
So Jorgli was not at all happy; and a hundred times he thought: "If only
I had given back that cross immediately! I will never in my whole life
keep anything else that doesn't belong to me."
But Moni never ceased singing and yodeling, the whole summer long, for
there was hardly another human being in the world as happy as he was up
there with his goats. Often, however, when he lay stretched out in his
contentment on the Pulpit-rock, and gazed down into the sunny valley
below, he had to think how he had sat that time with the heavy burden on
his heart, under the Rain-rock, and all happiness was gone; and he would
say again and again in his heart: "I know now what I will do, so that it
will never happen again: I will do nothing that will prevent me from
looking up gladly to heaven, because this is right to the dear Lord."
But if it chanced that Moni became too long absorbed in his meditation,
one or another of the goats would come along, gaze wonderingly at him
and try to attract his attention by bleating, which oftentimes he did
not hear for quite a while. Only when Maggerli came and called after him
longingly, then he heard at once and came leaping to it immediately, for
his affectionate little kid always remained Moni's dearest possession.
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