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- Transcriber's Note: This document reproduces the text for the Gift Edition of Heidi, if you would like to see the illustrations, margin art, and decorations, the html version is recommended. Inconsistent hyphenation in the original document has been preserved. Obvious typographical errors have been corrected in this text. For a complete list, please see the end of this document. -
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BY JOHANNA SPYRI
TRANSLATED BY ELISABETH P. STORK
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY CHARLES WHARTON STORK, A.M., PH.D.
14 ILLUSTRATIONS IN COLOR BY MARIA L. KIRK
PHILADELPHIA AND LONDON J.B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY 1919
COPYRIGHT, 1915. BY J.B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY
ADDITIONAL ILLUSTRATIONS AND DECORATIONS COPYRIGHT, 1919, BY J.B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY
PRINTED BY J.B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY AT THE WASHINGTON SQUARE PRESS PHILADELPHIA, U.S.A.
Unassuming in plot and style, "Heidi" may none the less lay claim to rank as a world classic. In the first place, both background and characters ring true. The air of the Alps is wafted to us in every page; the house among the pines, the meadows, and the eagle poised above the naked rocks form a picture that no one could willingly forget. And the people, from the kindly towns-folk to the quaint and touching peasant types, are as real as any representation of human nature need be. Every goat even, has its personality. As for the little heroine, she is a blessing not only to everyone in the story, but to everyone who reads it. The narrative merits of the book are too apparent to call for comment.
As to the author, Johanna Spyri, she has so entirely lost herself in her creation that we may pass over her career rather rapidly. She was born in Switzerland in 1829, came of a literary family, and devoted all her talent to the writing of books for and about children.
Since "Heidi" has been so often translated into English it may well be asked why there is any need for a new version. The answer lies partly in the conventional character of the previous translations. Now, if there is any quality in "Heidi" that gives it a particular charm, that quality is freshness, absolute spontaneity. To be sure, the story is so attractive that it could never be wholly spoiled; but has not the reader the right to enjoy it in English at least very nearly as much as he could in German? The two languages are so different in nature that anything like a literal rendering of one into the other is sure to result in awkwardness and indirectness. Such a book must be not translated, but re-lived and re-created.
To perform such a feat the writer must, to begin with, be familiar with the mountains, and able to appreciate with Wordsworth
The silence that is in the starry sky, The sleep that is among the lonely hills.
The translator of the present version was born and reared in a region closely similar to that of the story. Her home was originally in the picturesque town of Salzburg, and her father, Franz von Pausinger, was one of the greatest landscape painters of his country and generation. Another equally important requisite is knowledge of children. It happens that this translator has a daughter just the age of the heroine, who moreover loves to dress in Tyrolese costume. To translate "Heidi" was for her therefore a labor of love, which means that the love contended with and overcame the labor.
The English style of the present version is, then, distinctive. It has often been noticed that those who acquire a foreign language often learn to speak it with unusual clearness and purity. For illustration we need go no further than Joseph Conrad, a Pole, probably the greatest master of narrative English writing to-day; or to our own fellow-citizen Carl Schurz. In the present case, the writer has lived seven years in America and has strengthened an excellent training with a wide reading of the best English classics.
Many people say that they read without noticing the author's style. This is seldom quite true; unconsciously every one is impressed in some way or other by the style of every book, or by its lack of style. Children are particularly sensitive in this respect and should, therefore, as much as is practicable, read only the best. In the new translation of "Heidi" here offered to the public I believe that most readers will notice an especial flavor, that very quality of delight in mountain scenes, in mountain people and in child life generally, which is one of the chief merits of the German original. The phrasing has also been carefully adapted to the purpose of reading aloud—a thing that few translators think of. In conclusion, the author, realising the difference between the two languages, has endeavored to write the story afresh, as Johanna Spyri would have written it had English been her native tongue. How successful the attempt has been the reader will judge.
CHARLES WHARTON STORK Assistant Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania
HEIDI'S YEARS OF LEARNING AND TRAVEL
CHAPTER PAGE I. GOING UP TO THE ALM-UNCLE 17
II. WITH THE GRANDFATHER 38
III. ON THE PASTURE 50
IV. IN THE GRANDMOTHER'S HUT 67
V. TWO VISITORS 83
VI. A NEW CHAPTER WITH NEW THINGS 95
VII. MISS ROTTENMEIER HAS AN UNCOMFORTABLE DAY 104
VIII. GREAT DISTURBANCES IN THE SESEMANN HOUSE 119
IX. THE MASTER OF THE HOUSE HEARS OF STRANGE DOINGS 129
X. A GRANDMAMA 136
XI. HEIDI GAINS IN SOME RESPECTS AND LOSES IN OTHERS 146
XII. THE SESEMANN HOUSE IS HAUNTED 153
XIII. UP THE ALP ON A SUMMER EVENING 165
XIV. ON SUNDAY WHEN THE CHURCH BELLS RING 183
HEIDI MAKES USE OF HER EXPERIENCE
XV. PREPARATIONS FOR A JOURNEY 199
XVI. A GUEST ON THE ALP 207
XVII. RETALIATION 219
XVIII. WINTER IN THE VILLAGE 229
XIX. WINTER STILL CONTINUES 243
XX. NEWS FROM DISTANT FRIENDS 252
XXI. ON FURTHER EVENTS ON THE ALP 268
XXII. SOMETHING UNEXPECTED HAPPENS 276
XXIII. PARTING TO MEET AGAIN 293
PAGE WAVING HER HAND AND LOOKING AFTER HER DEPARTING FRIEND TILL HE LOOKED NO BIGGER THAN A LITTLE DOT Frontispiece
SHE UNDID THE HEAVY SHAWL AND THE TWO LITTLE DRESSES 30
HERE A NEAT LITTLE BED WAS PREPARED 41
SHE HANDED HIM ALSO THE WHOLE SLICE OF CHEESE 57
OFF THEY STARTED AT SUCH A PACE THAT HEIDI SHOUTED FOR JOY 71
WHEN HEIDI HEARD THAT SHE STRUGGLED TO GET FREE 92
OFF THEY STARTED, AND SOON HEIDI WAS PULLING THE DOOR-BELL 116
THERE SHE WOULD REMAIN, EATING HER HEART AWAY WITH LONGING 152
THROWING HERSELF IN HER GRANDFATHER'S ARMS, SHE HELD HIM TIGHT 179
WITH HEIDI'S HAND IN HIS THEY WANDERED DOWN TOGETHER 192
THEY ARE COMING, OH, THE DOCTOR IS COMING FIRST 211
THE TWO CHILDREN WERE ALREADY FLYING DOWN THE ALP 241
HE WATCHED HIS FALLEN ENEMY TUMBLING DOWNWARDS, DOWNWARDS 277
PETER SHOT OFF AND RUSHED DOWN THE MOUNTAIN-SIDE, TURNING WILD SOMERSAULTS ON HIS PERILOUS WAY 298
Heidi's Years of Learning and Travel
GOING UP TO THE ALM-UNCLE
The little old town of Mayenfeld is charmingly situated. From it a footpath leads through green, well-wooded stretches to the foot of the heights which look down imposingly upon the valley. Where the footpath begins to go steeply and abruptly up the Alps, the heath, with its short grass and pungent herbage, at once sends out its soft perfume to meet the wayfarer.
One bright sunny morning in June, a tall, vigorous maiden of the mountain region climbed up the narrow path, leading a little girl by the hand. The youngster's cheeks were in such a glow that it showed even through her sun-browned skin. Small wonder though! for in spite of the heat, the little one, who was scarcely five years old, was bundled up as if she had to brave a bitter frost. Her shape was difficult to distinguish, for she wore two dresses, if not three, and around her shoulders a large red cotton shawl. With her feet encased in heavy hob-nailed boots, this hot and shapeless little person toiled up the mountain.
The pair had been climbing for about an hour when they reached a hamlet half-way up the great mountain named the Alm. This hamlet was called "Im Doerfli" or "The Little Village." It was the elder girl's home town, and therefore she was greeted from nearly every house; people called to her from windows and doors, and very often from the road. But, answering questions and calls as she went by, the girl did not loiter on her way and only stood still when she reached the end of the hamlet. There a few cottages lay scattered about, from the furthest of which a voice called out to her through an open door: "Deta, please wait one moment! I am coming with you, if you are going further up."
When the girl stood still to wait, the child instantly let go her hand and promptly sat down on the ground.
"Are you tired, Heidi?" Deta asked the child.
"No, but hot," she replied.
"We shall be up in an hour, if you take big steps and climb with all your little might!" Thus the elder girl tried to encourage her small companion.
A stout, pleasant-looking woman stepped out of the house and joined the two. The child had risen and wandered behind the old acquaintances, who immediately started gossiping about their friends in the neighborhood and the people of the hamlet generally.
"Where are you taking the child, Deta?" asked the newcomer. "Is she the child your sister left?"
"Yes," Deta assured her; "I am taking her up to the Alm-Uncle and there I want her to remain."
"You can't really mean to take her there Deta. You must have lost your senses, to go to him. I am sure the old man will show you the door and won't even listen to what you say."
"Why not? As he's her grandfather, it is high time he should do something for the child. I have taken care of her until this summer and now a good place has been offered to me. The child shall not hinder me from accepting it, I tell you that!"
"It would not be so hard, if he were like other mortals. But you know him yourself. How could he look after a child, especially such a little one? She'll never get along with him, I am sure of that!—But tell me of your prospects."
"I am going to a splendid house in Frankfurt. Last summer some people went off to the baths and I took care of their rooms. As they got to like me, they wanted to take me along, but I could not leave. They have come back now and have persuaded me to go with them."
"I am glad I am not the child!" exclaimed Barbara with a shudder. "Nobody knows anything about the old man's life up there. He doesn't speak to a living soul, and from one year's end to the other he keeps away from church. People get out of his way when he appears once in a twelve-month down here among us. We all fear him and he is really just like a heathen or an old Indian, with those thick grey eyebrows and that huge uncanny beard. When he wanders along the road with his twisted stick we are all afraid to meet him alone."
"That is not my fault," said Deta stubbornly. "He won't do her any harm; and if he should, he is responsible, not I."
"I wish I knew what weighs on the old man's conscience. Why are his eyes so fierce and why does he live up there all alone? Nobody ever sees him and we hear many strange things about him. Didn't your sister tell you anything, Deta?"
"Of course she did, but I shall hold my tongue. He would make me pay for it if I didn't."
Barbara had long been anxious to know something about the old uncle and why he lived apart from everybody. Nobody had a good word for him, and when people talked about him, they did not speak openly but as if they were afraid. She could not even explain to herself why he was called the Alm-Uncle. He could not possibly be the uncle of all the people in the village, but since everybody spoke of him so, she did the same. Barbara, who had only lived in the village since her marriage, was glad to get some information from her friend. Deta had been bred there, but since her mother's death had gone away to earn her livelihood.
She confidentially seized Deta's arm and said: "I wish you would tell me the truth about him, Deta; you know it all—people only gossip. Tell me, what has happened to the old man to turn everybody against him so? Did he always hate his fellow-creatures?"
"I cannot tell you whether he always did, and that for a very good reason. He being sixty years old, and I only twenty-six, you can't expect me to give you an account of his early youth. But if you'll promise to keep it to yourself and not set all the people in Praetiggan talking, I can tell you a good deal. My mother and he both came from Domleschg."
"How can you talk like that, Deta?" replied Barbara in an offended tone. "People do not gossip much in Praetiggan, and I always can keep things to myself, if I have to. You won't repent of having told me, I assure you!"
"All right, but keep your word!" said Deta warningly. Then she looked around to see that the child was not so close to them as to overhear what might be said; but the little girl was nowhere to be seen. While the two young women had talked at such a rate, they had not noticed her absence; quite a while must have elapsed since the little girl had given up following her companions. Deta, standing still, looked about her everywhere, but no one was on the path, which—except for a few curves—was visible as far down as the village.
"There she is! Can't you see her there?" exclaimed Barbara, pointing to a spot a good distance from the path. "She is climbing up with the goatherd Peter and his goats. I wonder why he is so late to-day. I must say, it suits us well enough; he can look after the child while you tell me everything without being interrupted."
"It will be very easy for Peter to watch her," remarked Deta; "she is bright for her five years and keeps her eyes wide open. I have often noticed that and I am glad for her, for it will be useful with the uncle. He has nothing left in the whole wide world, but his cottage and two goats!"
"Did he once have more?" asked Barbara.
"I should say so. He was heir to a large farm in Domleschg. But setting up to play the fine gentleman, he soon lost everything with drink and play. His parents died with grief and he himself disappeared from these parts. After many years he came back with a half-grown boy, his son, Tobias, that was his name, became a carpenter and turned out to be a quiet, steady fellow. Many strange rumors went round about the uncle and I think that was why he left Domleschg for Doerfli. We acknowledged relationship, my mother's grandmother being a cousin of his. We called him uncle, and because we are related on my father's side to nearly all the people in the hamlet they too all called him uncle. He was named 'Alm-Uncle' when he moved up to the Alm."
"But what happened to Tobias?" asked Barbara eagerly.
"Just wait. How can I tell you everything at once?" exclaimed Deta. "Tobias was an apprentice in Mels, and when he was made master, he came home to the village and married my sister Adelheid. They always had been fond of each other and they lived very happily as man and wife. But their joy was short. Two years afterwards, when Tobias was helping to build a house, a beam fell on him and killed him. Adelheid was thrown into a violent fever with grief and fright, and never recovered from it. She had never been strong and had often suffered from queer spells, when we did not know whether she was awake or asleep. Only a few weeks after Tobias's death they buried poor Adelheid.
"People said that heaven had punished the uncle for his misdeeds. After the death of his son he never spoke to a living soul. Suddenly he moved up to the Alp, to live there at enmity with God and man.
"My mother and I took Adelheid's little year-old baby, Heidi, to live with us. When I went to Ragatz I took her with me; but in the spring the family whose work I had done last year came from Frankfurt and resolved to take me to their town-house. I am very glad to get such a good position."
"And now you want to hand over the child to this terrible old man. I really wonder how you can do it, Deta!" said Barbara with reproach in her voice.
"It seems to me I have really done enough for the child. I do not know where else to take her, as she is too young to come with me to Frankfurt. By the way, Barbara, where are you going? We are half-way up the Alm already."
Deta shook hands with her companion and stood still while Barbara approached the tiny, dark-brown mountain hut, which lay in a hollow a few steps away from the path.
Situated half-way up the Alm, the cottage was luckily protected from the mighty winds. Had it been exposed to the tempests, it would have been a doubtful habitation in the state of decay it was in. Even as it was, the doors and windows rattled and the old rafters shook when the south wind swept the mountain side. If the hut had stood on the Alm top, the wind would have blown it down the valley without much ado when the storm season came.
Here lived Peter the goatherd, a boy eleven years old, who daily fetched the goats from the village and drove them up the mountain to the short and luscious grasses of the pastures. Peter raced down in the evening with the light-footed little goats. When he whistled sharply through his fingers, every owner would come and get his or her goat. These owners were mostly small boys and girls and, as the goats were friendly, they did not fear them. That was the only time Peter spent with other children, the rest of the day the animals were his sole companions. At home lived his mother and an old blind grandmother, but he only spent enough time in the hut to swallow his bread and milk for breakfast and the same repast for supper. After that he sought his bed to sleep. He always left early in the morning and at night he came home late, so that he could be with his friends as long as possible. His father had met with an accident some years ago; he also had been called Peter the goatherd. His mother, whose name was Brigida, was called "Goatherd Peter's wife" and his blind grandmother was called by young and old from many miles about just "grandmother."
Deta waited about ten minutes to see if the children were coming up behind with the goats. As she could not find them anywhere, she climbed up a little higher to get a better view down the valley from there, and peered from side to side with marks of great impatience on her countenance.
The children in the meantime were ascending slowly in a zigzag way, Peter always knowing where to find all sorts of good grazing places for his goats where they could nibble. Thus they strayed from side to side. The poor little girl had followed the boy only with the greatest effort and she was panting in her heavy clothes. She was so hot and uncomfortable that she only climbed by exerting all her strength. She did not say anything but looked enviously at Peter, who jumped about so easily in his light trousers and bare feet. She envied even more the goats that climbed over bushes, stones, and steep inclines with their slender legs. Suddenly sitting down on the ground the child swiftly took off her shoes and stockings. Getting up she undid the heavy shawl and the two little dresses. Out she slipped without more ado and stood up in only a light petticoat. In sheer delight at the relief, she threw up her dimpled arms, that were bare up to her short sleeves. To save the trouble of carrying them, her aunt had dressed her in her Sunday clothes over her workday garments. Heidi arranged her dresses neatly in a heap and joined Peter and the goats. She was now as light-footed as any of them. When Peter, who had not paid much attention, saw her suddenly in her light attire, he grinned. Looking back, he saw the little heap of dresses on the ground and then he grinned yet more, till his mouth seemed to reach from ear to ear; but he said never a word.
The child, feeling free and comfortable, started to converse with Peter, and he had to answer many questions. She asked him how many goats he had, and where he led them, what he did with them when he got there, and so forth.
At last the children reached the summit in front of the hut. When Deta saw the little party of climbers she cried out shrilly: "Heidi, what have you done? What a sight you are! Where are your dresses and your shawl? Are the new shoes gone that I just bought for you, and the new stockings that I made myself? Where are they all, Heidi?"
The child quietly pointed down and said "There."
The aunt followed the direction of her finger and descried a little heap with a small red dot in the middle, which she recognized as the shawl.
"Unlucky child!" Deta said excitedly. "What does all this mean? Why have you taken your things all off?"
"Because I do not need them," said the child, not seeming in the least repentant of her deed.
"How can you be so stupid, Heidi? Have you lost your senses?" the aunt went on, in a tone of mingled vexation and reproach. "Who do you think will go way down there to fetch those things up again? It is half-an-hour's walk. Please, Peter, run down and get them. Do not stand and stare at me as if you were glued to the spot."
"I am late already," replied Peter, and stood without moving from the place where, with his hands in his trousers' pockets, he had witnessed the violent outbreak of Heidi's aunt.
"There you are, standing and staring, but that won't get you further," said Deta. "I'll give you this if you go down." With that she held a five-penny-piece under his eyes. That made Peter start and in a great hurry he ran down the straightest path. He arrived again in so short a time that Deta had to praise him and gave him her little coin without delay. He did not often get such a treasure, and therefore his face was beaming and he laughingly dropped the money deep into his pocket.
"If you are going up to the uncle, as we are, you can carry the pack till we get there," said Deta. They still had to climb a steep ascent that lay behind Peter's hut. The boy readily took the things and followed Deta, his left arm holding the bundle and his right swinging the stick. Heidi jumped along gaily by his side with the goats.
After three quarters of an hour they reached the height where the hut of the old man stood on a prominent rock, exposed to every wind, but bathed in the full sunlight. From there you could gaze far down into the valley. Behind the hut stood three old fir-trees with great shaggy branches. Further back the old grey rocks rose high and sheer. Above them you could see green and fertile pastures, till at last the stony boulders reached the bare, steep cliffs.
Overlooking the valley the uncle had made himself a bench, by the side of the hut. Here he sat, with his pipe between his teeth and both hands resting on his knees. He quietly watched the children climbing up with the goats and Aunt Deta behind them, for the children had caught up to her long ago. Heidi reached the top first, and approaching the old man she held out her hand to him and said: "Good evening, grandfather!"
"Well, well, what does that mean?" replied the old man in a rough voice. Giving her his hand for only a moment, he watched her with a long and penetrating look from under his bushy brows. Heidi gazed back at him with an unwinking glance and examined him with much curiosity, for he was strange to look at, with his thick, grey beard and shaggy eyebrows, that met in the middle like a thicket.
Heidi's aunt had arrived in the meantime with Peter, who was eager to see what was going to happen.
"Good-day to you, uncle," said Deta as she approached. "This is Tobias's and Adelheid's child. You won't be able to remember her, because last time you saw her she was scarcely a year old."
"Why do you bring her here?" asked the uncle, and turning to Peter he said: "Get away and bring my goats. How late you are already!"
Peter obeyed and disappeared on the spot; the uncle had looked at him in such a manner that he was glad to go.
"Uncle, I have brought the little girl for you to keep," said Deta. "I have done my share these last four years and now it is your turn to provide for her."
The old man's eyes flamed with anger. "Indeed!" he said. "What on earth shall I do, when she begins to whine and cry for you? Small children always do, and then I'll be helpless."
"You'll have to look out for that!" Deta retorted. "When the little baby was left in my hands a few years ago, I had to find out how to care for the little innocent myself and nobody told me anything. I already had mother on my hands and there was plenty for me to do. You can't blame me if I want to earn some money now. If you can't keep the child, you can do with her whatever you please. If she comes to harm you are responsible and I am sure you do not want to burden your conscience any further."
Deta had said more in her excitement than she had intended, just because her conscience was not quite clear. The uncle had risen during her last words and now he gave her such a look that she retreated a few steps. Stretching out his arm in a commanding gesture, he said to her: "Away with you! Begone! Stay wherever you came from and don't venture soon again into my sight!"
Deta did not have to be told twice. She said "Good-bye" to Heidi and "Farewell" to the uncle, and started down the mountain. Like steam her excitement seemed to drive her forward, and she ran down at a tremendous rate. The people in the village called to her now more than they had on her way up, because they all were wondering where she had left the child. They were well acquainted with both and knew their history. When she heard from door and windows: "Where is the child?" "Where have you left her, Deta?" and so forth, she answered more and more reluctantly: "Up with the Alm-Uncle,—with the Alm-Uncle!" She became much provoked because the women called to her from every side: "How could you do it?" "The poor little creature!" "The idea of leaving such a helpless child up there!" and, over and over again: "The poor little dear!" Deta ran as quickly as she could and was glad when she heard no more calls, because, to tell the truth, she herself was uneasy. Her mother had asked her on her deathbed to care for Heidi. But she consoled herself with the thought that she would be able to do more for the child if she could earn some money. She was very glad to go away from people who interfered in her affairs, and looked forward with great delight to her new place.
WITH THE GRANDFATHER
After Deta had disappeared, the Uncle sat down again on the bench, blowing big clouds of smoke out of his pipe. He did not speak, but kept his eyes fastened on the ground. In the meantime Heidi looked about her, and discovering the goat-shed, peeped in. Nothing could be seen inside. Searching for some more interesting thing, she saw the three old fir-trees behind the hut. Here the wind was roaring through the branches and the tree-tops were swaying to and fro. Heidi stood still to listen. After the wind had ceased somewhat, she walked round the hut back to her grandfather. She found him in exactly the same position, and planting herself in front of the old man, with arms folded behind her back, she gazed at him. The grandfather, looking up, saw the child standing motionless before him. "What do you want to do now?" he asked her.
"I want to see what's in the hut," replied Heidi.
"Come then," and with that the grandfather got up and entered the cottage.
"Take your things along," he commanded.
"I do not want them any more," answered Heidi.
The old man, turning about, threw a penetrating glance at her. The child's black eyes were sparkling in expectation of all the things to come. "She is not lacking in intelligence," he muttered to himself. Aloud he added: "Why don't you need them any more?"
"I want to go about like the light-footed goats!"
"All right, you can; but fetch the things and we'll put them in the cupboard." The child obeyed the command. The old man now opened the door, and Heidi followed him into a fairly spacious room, which took in the entire expanse of the hut. In one corner stood a table and a chair, and in another the grandfather's bed. Across the room a large kettle was suspended over the hearth, and opposite to it a large door was sunk into the wall. This the grandfather opened. It was the cupboard, in which all his clothes were kept. In one shelf were a few shirts, socks and towels; on another a few plates, cups and glasses; and on the top shelf Heidi could see a round loaf of bread, some bacon and cheese. In this cupboard the grandfather kept everything that he needed for his subsistence. When he opened it, Heidi pushed her things as far behind the grandfather's clothes as she could reach. She did not want them found again in a hurry. After looking around attentively in the room, she asked, "Where am I going to sleep, grandfather?"
"Wherever you want to," he replied. That suited Heidi exactly. She peeped into all the corners of the room and looked at every little nook to find a cosy place to sleep. Beside the old man's bed she saw a ladder. Climbing up, she arrived at a hayloft, which was filled with fresh and fragrant hay. Through a tiny round window she could look far down into the valley.
"I want to sleep up here," Heidi called down. "Oh, it is lovely here. Please come up, grandfather, and see it for yourself."
"I know it," sounded from below.
"I am making the bed now," the little girl called out again, while she ran busily to and fro. "Oh, do come up and bring a sheet, grandfather, for every bed must have a sheet."
"Is that so?" said the old man. After a while he opened the cupboard and rummaged around in it. At last he pulled out a long coarse cloth from under the shirts. It somewhat resembled a sheet, and with this he climbed up to the loft. Here a neat little bed was already prepared. On top the hay was heaped up high so that the head of the occupant would lie exactly opposite the window.
The grandfather was well pleased with the arrangement. To prevent the hard floor from being felt, he made the couch twice as thick. Then he and Heidi together put the heavy sheet on, tucking the ends in well. Heidi looked thoughtfully at her fresh, new bed and said, "Grandfather, we have forgotten something."
"What?" he asked.
"I have no cover. When I go to bed I always creep in between the sheet and the cover."
"What shall we do if I haven't any?" asked the grandfather.
"Never mind, I'll just take some more hay to cover me," Heidi reassured him, and was just going to the heap of hay when the old man stopped her.
"Just wait one minute," he said, and went down to his own bed. From it he took a large, heavy linen bag and brought it to the child.
"Isn't this better than hay?" he asked.
Heidi pulled the sack to and fro with all her might, but she could not unfold it, for it was too heavy for her little arms. The grandfather put the thick cover on the bed while Heidi watched him. After it was all done, she said: "What a nice bed I have now, and what a splendid cover! I only wish the evening was here, that I might go to sleep in it."
"I think we might eat something first," said the grandfather. "Don't you think so?"
Heidi had forgotten everything else in her interest for the bed; but when she was reminded of her dinner, she noticed how terribly hungry she really was. She had had only a piece of bread and a cup of thin coffee very early in the morning, before her long journey. Heidi said approvingly: "I think we might, grandfather!"
"Let's go down then, if we agree," said the old man, and followed close behind her. Going up to the fireplace, he pushed the big kettle aside and reached for a smaller one that was suspended on a chain. Then sitting down on a three-legged stool, he kindled a bright fire. When the kettle was boiling, the old man put a large piece of cheese on a long iron fork, and held it over the fire, turning it to and fro, till it was golden-brown on all sides. Heidi had watched him eagerly. Suddenly she ran to the cupboard. When her grandfather brought a pot and the toasted cheese to the table, he found it already nicely set with two plates and two knives and the bread in the middle. Heidi had seen the things in the cupboard and knew that they would be needed for the meal.
"I am glad to see that you can think for yourself," said the grandfather, while he put the cheese on top of the bread, "but something is missing yet."
Heidi saw the steaming pot and ran back to the cupboard in all haste. A single little bowl was on the shelf. That did not perplex Heidi though, for she saw two glasses standing behind. With those three things she returned to the table.
"You certainly can help yourself! Where shall you sit, though?" asked the grandfather, who occupied the only chair himself, Heidi flew to the hearth, and bringing back the little stool, sat down on it.
"Now you have a seat, but it is much too low. In fact, you are too little to reach the table from my chair. Now you shall have something to eat at last!" and with that the grandfather filled the little bowl with milk. Putting it on his chair, he pushed it as near to the stool as was possible, and in that way Heidi had a table before her. He commanded her to eat the large piece of bread and the slice of golden cheese. He sat down himself on a corner of the table and started his own dinner. Heidi drank without stopping, for she felt exceedingly thirsty after her long journey. Taking a long breath, she put down her little bowl.
"How do you like the milk?" the grandfather asked her.
"I never tasted better," answered Heidi.
"Then you shall have more," and with that the grandfather filled the little bowl again. The little girl ate and drank with the greatest enjoyment. After she was through, both went out into the goat-shed. Here the old man busied himself, and Heidi watched him attentively while he was sweeping and putting down fresh straw for the goats to sleep on. Then he went to the little shop alongside and fashioned a high chair for Heidi, to the little girl's greatest amazement.
"What is this?" asked the grandfather.
"This is a chair for me. I am sure of it because it is so high. How quickly it was made!" said the child, full of admiration and wonder.
"She knows what is what and has her eyes on the right place," the grandfather said to himself, while he walked around the hut, fastening a nail or a loose board here and there. He wandered about with his hammer and nails, repairing whatever was in need of fixing. Heidi followed him at every step and watched the performance with great enjoyment and attention.
At last the evening came. The old fir-trees were rustling and a mighty wind was roaring and howling through the tree-tops. Those sounds thrilled Heidi's heart and filled it with happiness and joy. She danced and jumped about under the trees, for those sounds made her feel as if a wonderful thing had happened to her. The grandfather stood under the door, watching her, when suddenly a shrill whistle was heard. Heidi stood still and the grandfather joined her outside. Down from the heights came one goat after another, with Peter in their midst. Uttering a cry of joy, Heidi ran into the middle of the flock, greeting her old friends. When they had all reached the hut, they stopped on their way and two beautiful slender goats came out of the herd, one of them white and the other brown. They came up to the grandfather, who held out some salt in his hands to them, as he did every night. Heidi tenderly caressed first one and then the other, seeming beside herself with joy.
"Are they ours, grandfather? Do they both belong to us? Are they going to the stable? Are they going to stay with us?" Heidi kept on asking in her excitement. The grandfather hardly could put in a "yes, yes, surely" between her numerous questions. When the goats had licked up all the salt, the old man said, "Go in, Heidi, and fetch your bowl and the bread."
Heidi obeyed and returned instantly. The grandfather milked a full bowl from the white goat, cut a piece of bread for the child, and told her to eat. "Afterwards you can go to bed. If you need some shirts and other linen, you will find them in the bottom of the cupboard. Aunt Deta has left a bundle for you. Now good-night, I have to look after the goats and lock them up for the night."
"Good-night, grandfather! Oh, please tell me what their names are," called Heidi after him.
"The white one's name is Schwaenli and the brown one I call Baerli," was his answer.
"Good-night, Schwaenli! Good-night, Baerli," the little girl called loudly, for they were just disappearing in the shed. Heidi now sat down on the bench and took her supper. The strong wind nearly blew her from her seat, so she hurried with her meal, to be able to go inside and up to her bed. She slept in it as well as a prince on his royal couch.
Very soon after Heidi had gone up, before it was quite dark, the old man also sought his bed. He was always up in the morning with the sun, which rose early over the mountain-side in those summer days. It was a wild, stormy night; the hut was shaking in the gusts and all the boards were creaking. The wind howled through the chimney and the old fir-trees shook so strongly that many a dry branch came crashing down. In the middle of the night the grandfather got up, saying to himself: "I am sure she is afraid." Climbing up the ladder, he went up to Heidi's bed. The first moment everything lay in darkness, when all of a sudden the moon came out behind the clouds and sent his brilliant light across Heidi's bed. Her cheeks were burning red and she lay peacefully on her round and chubby arms. She must have had a happy dream, for she was smiling in her sleep. The grandfather stood and watched her till a cloud flew over the moon and left everything in total darkness. Then he went down to seek his bed again.
ON THE PASTURE
Heidi was awakened early next morning by a loud whistle. Opening her eyes, she saw her little bed and the hay beside her bathed in golden sunlight. For a short while she did not know where she was, but when she heard her grandfather's deep voice outside, she recollected everything. She remembered how she had come up the mountain the day before and left old Ursula, who was always shivering with cold and sat near the stove all day. While Heidi lived with Ursula, she had always been obliged to keep in the house, where the old woman could see her. Being deaf, Ursula was afraid to let Heidi go outdoors, and the child had often fretted in the narrow room and had longed to run outside. She was therefore delighted to find herself in her new home and hardly could wait to see the goats again. Jumping out of bed, she put on her few things and in a short time went down the ladder and ran outside. Peter was already there with his flock, waiting for Schwaenli and Baerli, whom the grandfather was just bringing to join the other goats.
"Do you want to go with him to the pasture?" asked the grandfather.
"Yes," cried Heidi, clapping her hands.
"Go now, and wash yourself first, for the sun will laugh at you if he sees how dirty you are. Everything is ready there for you," he added, pointing to a large tub of water that stood in the sun. Heidi did as she was told, and washed and rubbed herself till her cheeks were glowing. In the meanwhile the grandfather called to Peter to come into the hut and bring his bag along. The boy followed the old man, who commanded him to open the bag in which he carried his scanty dinner. The grandfather put into the bag a piece of bread and a slice of cheese, that were easily twice as large as those the boy had in the bag himself.
"The little bowl goes in, too," said the Uncle, "for the child does not know how to drink straight from the goat, the way you do. She is going to stay with you all day, therefore milk two bowls full for her dinner. Look out that she does not fall over the rocks! Do you hear?"
Just then Heidi came running in. "Grandfather, can the sun still laugh at me?" she asked. The child had rubbed herself so violently with the coarse towel which the grandfather had put beside the tub that her face, neck and arms were as red as a lobster. With a smile the grandfather said: "No, he can't laugh any more now; but when you come home to-night you must go into the tub like a fish. When one goes about like the goats, one gets dirty feet. Be off!"
They started merrily up the Alp. A cloudless, deep-blue sky looked down on them, for the wind had driven away every little cloud in the night. The fresh green mountain-side was bathed in brilliant sunlight, and many blue and yellow flowers had opened. Heidi was wild with joy and ran from side to side. In one place she saw big patches of fine red primroses, on another spot blue gentians sparkled in the grass, and everywhere the golden rock-roses were nodding to her. In her transport at finding such treasures, Heidi even forgot Peter and his goats. She ran far ahead of him and then strayed away off to one side, for the sparkling flowers tempted her here and there. Picking whole bunches of them to take home with her, she put them all into her little apron.
Peter, whose round eyes could only move about slowly, had a hard time looking out for her. The goats were even worse, and only by shouting and whistling, especially by swinging his rod, could he drive them together.
"Heidi, where are you now?" he called quite angrily.
"Here," it sounded from somewhere. Peter could not see her, for she was sitting on the ground behind a little mound, which was covered with fragrant flowers. The whole air was filled with their perfume, and the child drew it in, in long breaths.
"Follow me now!" Peter called out. "The grandfather has told me to look out for you, and you must not fall over the rocks."
"Where are they?" asked Heidi without even stirring.
"Way up there, and we have still far to go. If you come quickly, we may see the eagle there and hear him shriek."
That tempted Heidi, and she came running to Peter, with her apron full of flowers.
"You have enough now," he declared. "If you pick them all to-day, there won't be any left to-morrow." Heidi admitted that, besides which she had her apron already full. From now on she stayed at Peter's side. The goats, scenting the pungent herbs, also hurried up without delay.
Peter generally took his quarters for the day at the foot of a high cliff, which seemed to reach far up into the sky. Overhanging rocks on one side made it dangerous, so that the grandfather was wise to warn Peter.
After they had reached their destination, the boy took off his bag, putting it in a little hollow in the ground. The wind often blew in violent gusts up there, and Peter did not want to lose his precious load. Then he lay down in the sunny grass, for he was very tired.
Heidi, taking off her apron, rolled it tightly together and put it beside Peter's bag. Then, sitting down beside the boy, she looked about her. Far down she saw the glistening valley; a large field of snow rose high in front of her. Heidi sat a long time without stirring, with Peter asleep by her side and the goats climbing about between the bushes. A light breeze fanned her cheek and those big mountains about her made her feel happy as never before. She looked up at the mountain-tops till they all seemed to have faces, and soon they were familiar to her, like old friends. Suddenly she heard a loud, sharp scream, and looking up she beheld the largest bird she had ever seen, flying above her. With outspread wings he flew in large circles over Heidi's head.
"Wake up, Peter!" Heidi called. "Look up, Peter, and see the eagle there!"
Peter got wide wake, and then they both watched the bird breathlessly. It rose higher and higher into the azure, till it disappeared at last behind the mountain-peak.
"Where has it gone?" Heidi asked.
"Home to its nest," was Peter's answer.
"Oh, does it really live way up there? How wonderful that must be! But tell me why it screams so loud?" Heidi inquired.
"Because it has to," Peter replied.
"Oh, let's climb up there and see its nest!" implored Heidi, but Peter, expressing decided disapproval in his voice, answered: "Oh dear, Oh dear, not even goats could climb up there! Grandfather has told me not to let you fall down the rocks, so we can't go!"
Peter now began to call loudly and to whistle, and soon all the goats were assembled on the green field. Heidi ran into their midst, for she loved to see them leaping and playing about.
Peter in the meantime was preparing dinner for Heidi and himself, by putting her large pieces on one side and his own small ones on the other. Then he milked Baerli and put the full bowl in the middle. When he was ready, he called to the little girl. But it took some time before she obeyed his call.
"Stop jumping, now," said Peter, "and sit down; your dinner is ready."
"Is this milk for me?" she inquired.
"Yes it is; those large pieces also belong to you. When you are through with the milk, I'll get you some more. After that I'll get mine."
"What milk do you get?" Heidi inquired.
"I get it from my own goat, that speckled one over there. But go ahead and eat!" Peter commanded again. Heidi obeyed, and when the bowl was empty, he filled it again. Breaking off a piece of bread for herself, she gave Peter the rest, which was still bigger than his own portion had been. She handed him also the whole slice of cheese, saying: "You can eat that, I have had enough!"
Peter was speechless with surprise, for it would have been impossible for him ever to give up any of his share. Not taking Heidi in earnest, he hesitated till she put the things on his knees. Then he saw she really meant it, and he seized his prize. Nodding his thanks to her, he ate the most luxurious meal he had ever had in all his life. Heidi was watching the goats in the meantime, and asked Peter for their names.
The boy could tell them all to her, for their names were about the only thing he had to carry in his head. She soon knew them, too, for she had listened attentively. One of them was the Big Turk, who tried to stick his big horns into all the others. Most of the goats ran away from their rough comrade. The bold Thistlefinch alone was not afraid, and running his horns three or four times into the other, so astonished the Turk with his great daring that he stood still and gave up fighting, for the Thistlefinch had sharp horns and met him in the most warlike attitude. A small, white goat, called Snowhopper, kept up bleating in the most piteous way, which induced Heidi to console it several times. Heidi at last went to the little thing again, and throwing her arms around its head, she asked, "What is the matter with you, Snowhopper? Why do you always cry for help?" The little goat pressed close to Heidi's side and became perfectly quiet. Peter was still eating, but between the swallows he called to Heidi: "She is so unhappy, because the old goat has left us. She was sold to somebody in Mayenfeld two days ago."
"Who was the old goat?"
"Her mother, of course."
"Where is her grandmother?"
"She hasn't any."
"And her grandfather?"
"Hasn't any either."
"Poor little Snowhopper!" said Heidi, drawing the little creature tenderly to her. "Don't grieve any more; see, I am coming up with you every day now, and if there is anything the matter, you can come to me."
Snowhopper rubbed her head against Heidi's shoulder and stopped bleating. When Peter had finally finished his dinner, he joined Heidi.
The little girl had just been observing that Schwaenli and Baerli were by far the cleanest and prettiest of the goats. They evaded the obtrusive Turk with a sort of contempt and always managed to find the greenest bushes for themselves. She mentioned it to Peter, who replied: "I know! Of course they are the prettiest, because the uncle washes them and gives them salt. He has the best stable by far."
All of a sudden Peter, who had been lying on the ground, jumped up and bounded after the goats. Heidi, knowing that something must have happened, followed him. She saw him running to a dangerous abyss on the side. Peter had noticed how the rash Thistlefinch had gone nearer and nearer to the dangerous spot. Peter only just came in time to prevent the goat from falling down over the very edge. Unfortunately Peter had stumbled over a stone in his hurry and was only able to catch the goat by one leg. The Thistlefinch, being enraged to find himself stopped in his charming ramble, bleated furiously. Not being able to get up, Peter loudly called for help. Heidi immediately saw that Peter was nearly pulling off the animal's leg. She quickly picked some fragrant herbs and holding them under the animal's nose, she said soothingly: "Come, come, Thistlefinch, and be sensible. You might fall down there and break your leg. That would hurt you horribly."
The goat turned about and devoured the herbs Heidi held in her hand. When Peter got to his feet, he led back the runaway with Heidi's help. When he had the goat in safety, he raised his rod to beat it for punishment. The goat retreated shyly, for it knew what was coming. Heidi screamed loudly: "Peter, no, do not beat him! look how scared he is."
"He well deserves it," snarled Peter, ready to strike. But Heidi, seizing his arm, shouted, full of indignation: "You mustn't hurt him! Let him go!"
Heidi's eyes were sparkling, and when he saw her with her commanding mien, he desisted and dropped his rope. "I'll let him go, if you give me a piece of your cheese again to-morrow," he said, for he wanted a compensation for his fright.
"You may have it all to-morrow and every day, because I don't need it," Heidi assured him. "I shall also give you a big piece of bread, if you promise never to beat any of the goats."
"I don't care," growled Peter, and in that way he gave his promise.
Thus the day had passed, and the sun was already sinking down behind the mountains. Sitting on the grass, Heidi looked at the bluebells and the wild roses that were shining in the last rays of the sun. The peaks also started to glow, and Heidi suddenly called to the boy: "Oh, Peter, look! everything is on fire. The mountains are burning and the sky, too. Oh, look! the moon over there is on fire, too. Do you see the mountains all in a glow? Oh, how beautiful the snow looks! Peter, the eagle's nest is surely on fire, too. Oh, look at the fir-trees over there!"
Peter was quietly peeling his rod, and looking up, said to Heidi: "This is no fire; it always looks like that."
"But what is it then?" asked Heidi eagerly, gazing about her everywhere.
"It gets that way of itself," explained Peter.
"Oh look! Everything is all rosy now! Oh, look at this mountain over there with the snow and the sharp peaks. What is its name?"
"Mountains have no names," he answered.
"Oh, see, how beautiful! It looks as if many, many roses were growing on those cliffs. Oh, now they are getting grey. Oh dear! the fire has gone out and it is all over. What a terrible shame!" said Heidi quite despondently.
"It will be the same again tomorrow," Peter reassured her. "Come now, we have to go home."
When Peter had called the goats together, they started downwards.
"Will it be like that every day when we are up?" asked Heidi, eagerly.
"It usually is," was the reply.
"What about tomorrow?" she inquired.
"Tomorrow it will be like that, I am sure," Peter affirmed.
That made Heidi feel happy again. She walked quietly by Peter's side, thinking over all the new things she had seen. At last, reaching the hut, they found the grandfather waiting for them on a bench under the fir-trees. Heidi ran up to him and the two goats followed, for they knew their master. Peter called to her: "Come again tomorrow! Good-night!"
Heidi gave him her hand, assuring him that she would come, and finding herself surrounded by the goats, she hugged Snowhopper a last time.
When Peter had disappeared, Heidi returned to her grandfather. "Oh grandfather! it was so beautiful! I saw the fire and the roses on the rocks! And see the many, many flowers I am bringing you!" With that Heidi shook them out of her apron. But oh, how miserable they looked! Heidi did not even know them any more.
"What is the matter with them, grandfather? They looked so different!" Heidi exclaimed in her fright.
"They are made to bloom in the sun and not to be shut up in an apron," said the grandfather.
"Then I shall never pick them any more! Please, grandfather, tell me why the eagle screeches so loudly," asked Heidi.
"First go and take a bath, while I go into the shed to get your milk. Afterwards we'll go inside together and I'll tell you all about it during supper-time."
They did as was proposed, and when Heidi sat on her high chair before her milk, she asked the same question as before.
"Because he is sneering at the people down below, who sit in the villages and make each other angry. He calls down to them:—'If you would go apart to live up on the heights like me, you would feel much better!'" The grandfather said these last words with such a wild voice, that it reminded Heidi of the eagle's screech.
"Why do the mountains have no names, grandfather?" asked Heidi.
"They all have names, and if you tell me their shape I can name them for you."
Heidi described several and the old man could name them all. The child told him now about all the happenings of the day, and especially about the wonderful fire. She asked how it came about.
"The sun does it," he exclaimed. "Saying good-night to the mountains, he throws his most beautiful rays to them, that they may not forget him till the morning."
Heidi was so much pleased with this explanation, that she could hardly wait to see the sun's good-night greetings repeated. It was time now to go to bed, and Heidi slept soundly all night. She dreamt that the little Snowhopper was bounding happily about on the glowing mountains with many glistening roses blooming round her.
IN THE GRANDMOTHER'S HUT
Next morning Peter came again with his goats, and Heidi went up to the pasture with them. This happened day after day, and in this healthy life Heidi grew stronger, and more sunburnt every day. Soon the autumn came and when the wind was blowing across the mountainside, the grandfather would say: "You must stay home to-day, Heidi; for the wind can blow such a little thing as you down into the valley with a single gust."
It always made Peter unhappy when Heidi did not come along, for he saw nothing but misfortunes ahead of him; he hardly knew how to pass his time, and besides, he was deprived of his abundant dinner. The goats were so accustomed to Heidi by this time, that they did not follow Peter when she was not with him.
Heidi herself did not mind staying at home, for she loved nothing better than to watch her grandfather with his saw and hammer. Sometimes the grandfather would make small round cheeses on those days, and there was no greater pleasure for Heidi than to see him stir the butter with his bare arms. When the wind would howl through the fir-trees on those stormy days, Heidi would run out to the grove, thrilled and happy by the wondrous roaring in the branches. The sun had lost its vigor, and the child had to put on her shoes and stockings and her little dress.
The weather got colder and colder, and when Peter came up in the morning, he would blow into his hands, he was so frozen. At last even Peter could not come any more, for a deep snow had fallen over night. Heidi stood at the window, watching the snow falling down. It kept on snowing till it reached the windows; still it did not stop, and soon the windows could not be opened, and they were all shut in. When it had lasted for several days, Heidi thought that it would soon cover up the cottage. It finally stopped, and the grandfather went out to shovel the snow away from the door and windows, piling it up high here and there. In the afternoon the two were sitting near the fire when noisy steps were heard outside and the door was pushed open. It was Peter, who had come up to see Heidi. Muttering, "Good-evening," he went up to the fire. His face was beaming, and Heidi had to laugh when she saw little waterfalls trickling down from his person, for all the ice and snow had melted in the great heat.
The grandfather now asked Peter how he got along in school. Heidi was so interested that she asked him a hundred questions. Poor Peter, who was not an easy talker, found himself in great difficulty answering the little girl's inquiries, but at least it gave him leisure to dry his clothes.
During this conversation the grandfather's eyes had been twinkling, and at last he said to the boy: "Now that you have been under fire, general, you need some strengthening. Come and join us at supper."
With that the old man prepared a meal which amply satisfied Peter's appetite. It had begun to get dark, and Peter knew that it was time to go. He had said good-bye and thank you, when turning to Heidi he remarked:
"I'll come next Sunday, if I may. By the way, Heidi, grandmother asked me to tell you that she would love to see you."
Heidi immediately approved of this idea, and her first word next morning was: "Grandfather, I must go down to grandmother. She is expecting me."
Four days later the sun was shining and the tight-packed frozen snow was crackling under every step. Heidi was sitting at the dinner-table, imploring the old man to let her make the visit then, when he got up, and fetching down her heavy cover, told her to follow him. They went out into the glistening snow; no sound was heard and the snow-laden fir-trees shone and glittered in the sun. Heidi in her transport was running to and fro: "Grandfather, come out! Oh, look at the trees! They are all covered with silver and gold," she called to the grandfather, who had just come out of his workshop with a wide sled. Wrapping the child up in her cover, he put her on the sled, holding her fast. Off they started at such a pace that Heidi shouted for joy, for she seemed to be flying like a bird. The sled had stopped in front of Peter's hut, and grandfather said: "Go in. When it gets dark, start on your way home." When he had unwrapped her, he turned homewards with his sled.
Opening the door, Heidi found herself in a tiny, dark kitchen, and going through another door, she entered a narrow chamber. Near a table a woman was seated, busy with mending Peter's coat, which Heidi had recognized immediately. A bent old woman was sitting in a corner, and Heidi, approaching her at once, said: "How do you do, grandmother? I have come now, and I hope I haven't kept you waiting too long!"
Lifting her head, the grandmother sought for Heidi's hand. Feeling it thoughtfully, she said: "Are you the little girl who lives up with the uncle? Is your name Heidi?"
"Yes," Heidi replied. "The grandfather just brought me down in the sled."
"How is it possible? Your hands are as warm as toast! Brigida, did the uncle really come down with the child?"
Brigida, Peter's mother, had gotten up to look at the child. She said: "I don't know if he did, but I don't think so. She probably doesn't know."
Heidi, looking up, said quite decidedly: "I know that grandfather wrapped me up in a cover when we coasted down together."
"Peter was right after all," said the grandmother. "We never thought the child would live more than three weeks with him. Brigida, tell me what she looks like."
"She has Adelheid's fine limbs and black eyes, and curly hair like Tobias and the old man. I think she looks like both of them."
While the women were talking, Heidi had been taking in everything. Then she said: "Grandmother, look at the shutter over there. It is hanging loose. If grandfather were here, he would fasten it. It will break the window-pane! Just look at it."
"What a sweet child you are," said the grandmother tenderly. "I can hear it, but I cannot see it, child. This cottage rattles and creaks, and when the wind blows, it comes in through every chink. Some day the whole house will break to pieces and fall on top of us. If only Peter knew how to mend it! We have no one else."
"Why, grandmother, can't you see the shutter?" asked Heidi.
"Child, I cannot see anything," lamented the old woman.
"Can you see it when I open the shutter to let in the light?"
"No, no, not even then. Nobody can ever show me the light again."
"But you can see when you go out into the snow, where everything is bright. Come with me, grandmother, I'll show you!" and Heidi, taking the old woman by the hand, tried to lead her out. Heidi was frightened and got more anxious all the time.
"Just let me stay here, child. Everything is dark for me, and my poor eyes can neither see the snow nor the light."
"But grandmother, does it not get light in the summer, when the sun shines down on the mountains to say good-night, setting them all aflame?"
"No, child, I can never see the fiery mountains any more. I have to live in darkness, always."
Heidi burst out crying now and sobbed aloud. "Can nobody make it light for you? Is there nobody who can do it, grandmother? Nobody?"
The grandmother tried all possible means to comfort the child; it wrung her heart to see her terrible distress. It was awfully hard for Heidi to stop crying when she had once begun, for she cried so seldom. The grandmother said: "Heidi, let me tell you something. People who cannot see love to listen to friendly words. Sit down beside me and tell me all about yourself. Talk to me about your grandfather, for it has been long since I have heard anything about him. I used to know him very well."
Heidi suddenly wiped away her tears, for she had had a cheering thought. "Grandmother, I shall tell grandfather about it, and I am sure he can make it light for you. He can mend your little house and stop the rattling."
The old woman remained silent, and Heidi, with the greatest vivacity, began to describe her life with the grandfather. Listening attentively, the two women would say to each other sometimes: "Do you hear what she says about the uncle? Did you listen?"
Heidi's tale was interrupted suddenly by a great thumping on the door; and who should come in but Peter. No sooner had he seen Heidi, than he smiled, opening his round eyes as wide as possible. Heidi called, "Good-evening, Peter!"
"Is it really time for him to come home!" exclaimed Peter's grandmother. "How quickly the time has flown. Good-evening, little Peter; how is your reading going?"
"Just the same," the boy replied.
"Oh, dear, I was hoping for a change at last. You are nearly twelve years old, my boy."
"Why should there be a change?" inquired Heidi with greatest interest.
"I am afraid he'll never learn it after all. On the shelf over there is an old prayer-book with beautiful songs. I have forgotten them all, for I do not hear them any more. I longed that Peter should read them to me some day, but he will never be able to!"
Peter's mother got up from her work now, saying, "I must make a light. The afternoon has passed and now it's getting dark."
When Heidi heard those words, she started, and holding out her hand to all, she said: "Good-night. I have to go, for it is getting dark." But the anxious grandmother called out: "Wait, child, don't go up alone! Go with her, Peter, and take care that she does not fall. Don't let her get cold, do you hear? Has Heidi a shawl?"
"I haven't, but I won't be cold," Heidi called back, for she had already escaped through the door. She ran so fast that Peter could hardly follow her. The old woman frettingly called out: "Brigida, run after her. Get a warm shawl, she'll freeze in this cold night. Hurry up!" Brigida obeyed. The children had hardly climbed any distance, when they saw the old man coming and with a few vigorous steps he stood beside them.
"I am glad you kept you word, Heidi," he said; and packing her into her cover, he started up the hill, carrying the child in his arms. Brigida had come in time to see it, and told the grandmother what she had witnessed.
"Thank God, thank God!" the old woman said. "I hope she'll come again; she has done me so much good! What a soft heart she has, the darling, and how nicely she can talk." All evening the grandmother said to herself, "If only he lets her come again! I have something to look forward to in this world now, thank God!"
Heidi could hardly wait before they reached the cottage. She had tried to talk on the way, but no sound could be heard through the heavy cover. As soon as they were inside the hut she began: "Grandfather, we must take some nails and a hammer down tomorrow; a shutter is loose in grandmother's house and many other places shake. Everything rattles in her house."
"Is that so? Who says we must?"
"Nobody told me, but I know," Heidi replied. "Everything is loose in the house, and poor grandmother told me she was afraid that the house might tumble down. And grandfather, she cannot see the light. Can you help her and make it light for her? How terrible it must be to be afraid in the dark and nobody there to help you! Oh, please, grandfather, do something to help her! I know you can."
Heidi had been clinging to her grandfather and looking up to him with trusting eyes. At last he said, glancing down: "All right, child, we'll see that it won't rattle any more. We can do it tomorrow."
Heidi was so overjoyed at these words that she danced around the room shouting: "We'll do it tomorrow! We can do it tomorrow!"
The grandfather, keeping his word, took Heidi down the following day with the same instructions as before. After Heidi had disappeared, he went around the house inspecting it.
The grandmother, in her joy at seeing the child again, had stopped the wheel and called: "Here is the child again! She has come again!" Heidi, grasping her outstretched hands, sat herself on a low stool at the old woman's feet and began to chat. Suddenly violent blows were heard outside; the grandmother in her fright nearly upset the spinning-wheel and screamed: "Oh, God, it has come at last. The hut is tumbling down!"
"Grandmother, don't be frightened," said the child, while she put her arms around her. "Grandfather is just fastening the shutter and fixing everything for you."
"Is it possible? Has God not forgotten us after all? Brigida, have you heard it? Surely that is a hammer. Ask him to come in a moment, if it is he, for I must thank him."
When Brigida went out, she found the old man busy with putting a new beam along the wall. Approaching him, she said: "Mother and I wish you a good-afternoon. We are very much obliged to you for doing us such a service, and mother would like to see you. There are few that would have done it, uncle, and how can we thank you?"
"That will do," he interrupted. "I know what your opinion about me is. Go in, for I can find what needs mending myself."
Brigida obeyed, for the uncle had a way that nobody could oppose. All afternoon the uncle hammered around; he even climbed up on the roof, where much was missing. At last he had to stop, for the last nail was gone from his pocket. The darkness had come in the meantime, and Heidi was ready to go up with him, packed warmly in his arms.
Thus the winter passed. Sunshine had come again into the blind woman's life, and made her days less dark and dreary. Early every morning she would begin to listen for Heidi's footsteps, and when the door was opened and the child ran in, the grandmother exclaimed every time more joyfully: "Thank God, she has come again!"
Heidi would talk about her life, and make the grandmother smile and laugh, and in that way the hours flew by. In former times the old woman had always sighed: "Brigida, is the day not over yet?" but now she always exclaimed after Heidi's departure: "How quickly the afternoon has gone by. Don't you think so, too, Brigida?" Her daughter had to assent, for Heidi had long ago won her heart. "If only God will spare us the child!" the grandmother would often say. "I hope the uncle will always be kind, as he is now."—"Does Heidi look well, Brigida?" was a frequent question, which always got a reassuring answer.
Heidi also became very fond of the old grandmother, and when the weather was fair, she visited her every day that winter. Whenever the child remembered that the grandmother was blind, she would get very sad; her only comfort was that her coming brought such happiness. The grandfather soon had mended the cottage; often he would take down big loads of timber, which he used to good purpose. The grandmother vowed that no rattling could be heard any more, and that, thanks to the uncle's kindness, she slept better that winter than she had done for many a year.
Two winters had nearly passed. Heidi was happy, for the spring was coming again, with the soft delicious wind that made the fir-trees roar. Soon she would be able to go up to the pasture, where blue and yellow flowers greeted her at every step. She was nearly eight years old, and had learned to take care of the goats, who ran after her like little dogs. Several times the village teacher had sent word by Peter that the child was wanted in school, but the old man had not paid any attention to the message and had kept her with him as before. It was a beautiful morning in March. The snow had melted on the slopes, and was going fast. Snowdrops were peeping through the ground, which seemed to be getting ready for spring. Heidi was running to and fro before the door, when she suddenly saw an old gentleman, dressed in black, standing beside her. As she appeared frightened, he said kindly: "You must not be afraid of me, for I love children. Give me your hand, Heidi, and tell me where your grandfather is."
"He is inside, making round wooden spoons," the child replied, opening the door while she spoke.
It was the old pastor of the village, who had known the grandfather years ago. After entering, he approached the old man, saying: "Good-morning, neighbor."
The old man got up, surprised, and offering a seat to the visitor, said: "Good-morning, Mr. Parson. Here is a wooden chair, if it is good enough."
Sitting down, the parson said: "It is long since I have seen you, neighbor. I have come to-day to talk over a matter with you. I am sure you can guess what it is about."
The clergyman here looked at Heidi, who was standing near the door.
"Heidi, run out to see the goats," said the grandfather, "and bring them some salt; you can stay till I come."
Heidi disappeared on the spot. "The child should have come to school a year ago," the parson went on to say. "Didn't you get the teacher's warning? What do you intend to do with the child?"
"I do not want her to go to school," said the old man, unrelentingly.
"What do you want the child to be?"
"I want her to be free and happy as a bird!"
"But she is human, and it is high time for her to learn something. I have come now to tell you about it, so that you can make your plans. She must come to school next winter; remember that."
"I shan't do it, pastor!" was the reply.
"Do you think there is no way?" the clergyman replied, a little hotly. "You know the world, for you have travelled far. What little sense you show!"
"You think I am going to send this delicate child to school in every storm and weather!" the old man said excitedly. "It is a two hours' walk, and I shall not let her go; for the wind often howls so that it chokes me if I venture out. Did you know Adelheid, her mother? She was a sleep-walker, and had fainting-fits. Nobody shall compel me to let her go; I will gladly fight it out in court."
"You are perfectly right," said the clergyman kindly. "You could not send her to school from here. Why don't you come down to live among us again? You are leading a strange life here; I wonder how you can keep the child warm in winter."
"She has young blood and a good cover. I know where to find good wood, and all winter I keep a fire going. I couldn't live in the village, for the people there and I despise each other; we had better keep apart."
"You are mistaken, I assure you! Make your peace with God, and then you'll see how happy you will be."
The clergyman had risen, and holding out his hand, he said cordially: "I shall count on you next winter, neighbor. We shall receive you gladly, reconciled with God and man."
But the uncle replied firmly, while he shook his visitor by the hand: "Thank you for your kindness, but you will have to wait in vain."
"God be with you," said the parson, and left him sadly.
The old man was out of humor that day, and when Heidi begged to go to the grandmother, he only growled: "Not to-day." Next day they had hardly finished their dinner, when another visitor arrived. It was Heidi's aunt Deta; she wore a hat with feathers and a dress with such a train that it swept up everything that lay on the cottage floor. While the uncle looked at her silently, Deta began to praise him and the child's red cheeks. She told him that it had not been her intention to leave Heidi with him long, for she knew she must be in his way. She had tried to provide for the child elsewhere, and at last she had found a splendid chance for her. Very rich relations of her lady, who owned the largest house in Frankfurt, had a lame daughter. This poor little girl was confined to her rolling-chair and needed a companion at her lessons. Deta had heard from her lady that a sweet, quaint child was wanted as playmate and schoolmate for the invalid. She had gone to the housekeeper and told her all about Heidi. The lady, delighted with the idea, had told her to fetch the child at once. She had come now, and it was a lucky chance for Heidi, "for one never knew what might happen in such a case, and who could tell—"
"Have you finished?" the old man interrupted her at last.
"Why, one might think I was telling you the silliest things. There is not a man in Praetiggan who would not thank God for such news."
"Bring them to somebody else, but not to me," said the uncle, coldly.
Deta, flaming up, replied: "Do you want to hear what I think? Don't I know how old she is; eight years old and ignorant of everything. They have told me that you refuse to send her to church and to school. She is my only sister's child, and I shall not bear it, for I am responsible. You do not care for her, how else could you be indifferent to such luck. You had better give way or I shall get the people to back me. If I were you, I would not have it brought to court; some things might be warmed up that you would not care to hear about."
"Be quiet!" the uncle thundered with flaming eyes. "Take her and ruin her, but do not bring her before my sight again. I do not want to see her with feathers in her hat and wicked words like yours."
With long strides he went out.
"You have made him angry!" said Heidi with a furious look.
"He won't be cross long. But come now, where are your things?" asked Deta.
"I won't come," Heidi replied.
"What?" Deta said passionately. But changing her tone, she continued in a more friendly manner: "Come now; you don't understand me. I am taking you to the most beautiful place you have ever seen." After packing up Heidi's clothes she said again, "Come, child, and take your hat. It is not very nice, but we can't help it."
"I shall not come," was the reply.
"Don't be stupid and obstinate, like a goat. Listen to me. Grandfather is sending us away and we must do what he commands, or he will get more angry still. You'll see how fine it is in Frankfurt. If you do not like it, you can come home again and by that time grandfather will have forgiven us."
"Can I come home again to-night?" asked Heidi.
"Come now, I told you you could come back. If we get to Mayenfeld today, we can take the train to-morrow. That will make you fly home again in the shortest time!"
Holding the bundle, Deta led the child down the mountain. On their way they met Peter, who had not gone to school that day. The boy thought it was a more useful occupation to look for hazel-rods than to learn to read, for he always needed the rods. He had had a most successful day, for he carried an enormous bundle on his shoulder. When he caught sight of Heidi and Deta, he asked them where they were going.
"I am going to Frankfurt with Aunt Deta," Heidi replied; "but first I must see grandmother, for she is waiting."
"Oh no, it is too late. You can see her when you come back, but not now," said Deta, pulling Heidi along with her, for she was afraid that the old woman might detain the child.
Peter ran into the cottage and hit the table with his rods. The grandmother jumped up in her fright and asked him what that meant.
"They have taken Heidi away," Peter said with a groan.
"Who has, Peter? Where has she gone?" the unhappy grandmother asked. Brigida had seen Deta walking up the footpath a short while ago and soon they guessed what had happened. With a trembling hand the old woman opened a window and called out as loudly as she could: "Deta, Deta, don't take the child away. Don't take her from us."
When Heidi heard that she struggled to get free, and said: "I must go to grandmother; she is calling me."
But Deta would not let her go. She urged her on by saying that she might return soon again. She also suggested that Heidi might bring a lovely present to the grandmother when she came back.
Heidi liked this prospect and followed Deta without more ado. After a while she asked: "What shall I bring to the grandmother?"
"You might bring her some soft white rolls, Heidi. I think the black bread is too hard for poor grandmother to eat."
"Yes, I know, aunt, she always gives it to Peter," Heidi confirmed her. "We must go quickly now; we might get to Frankfurt today and then I can be back tomorrow with the rolls."
Heidi was running now, and Deta had to follow. She was glad enough to escape the questions that people might ask her in the village. People could see that Heidi was pulling her along, so she said: "I can't stop. Don't you see how the child is hurrying? We have still far to go," whenever she heard from all sides: "Are you taking her with you?" "Is she running away from the uncle?" "What a wonder she is still alive!" "What red cheeks she has," and so on. Soon they had escaped and had left the village far behind them.
From that time on the uncle looked more angry than ever when he came to the village. Everybody was afraid of him, and the women would warn their children to keep out of his sight.
He came down but seldom, and then only to sell his cheese and buy his provisions. Often people remarked how lucky it was that Heidi had left him. They had seen her hurrying away, so they thought that she had been glad to go.
The old grandmother alone stuck to him faithfully. Whenever anybody came up to her, she would tell them what good care the old man had taken of Heidi. She also told them that he had mended her little house. These reports reached the village, of course, but people only half believed them, for the grandmother was infirm and old. She began her days with sighing again. "All happiness has left us with the child. The days are so long and dreary, and I have no joy left. If only I could hear Heidi's voice before I die," the poor old woman would exclaim, day after day.
A NEW CHAPTER WITH NEW THINGS
In a beautiful house in Frankfurt lived a sick child by the name of Clara Sesemann. She was sitting in a comfortable rolling-chair, which could be pushed from room to room. Clara spent most of her time in the study, where long rows of bookcases lined the walls. This room was used as a living-room, and here she was also given her lessons.
Clara had a pale, thin face with soft blue eyes, which at that moment were watching the clock impatiently. At last she said: "Oh Miss Rottenmeier, isn't it time yet?"
The lady so addressed was the housekeeper, who had lived with Clara since Mrs. Sesemann's death. Miss Rottenmeier wore a peculiar uniform with a long cape, and a high cap on her head. Clara's father, who was away from home a great deal, left the entire management of the house to this lady, on the condition that his daughter's wishes should always be considered.
While Clara was waiting, Deta had arrived at the front door with Heidi. She was asking the coachman who had brought her if she could go upstairs.
"That's not my business," grumbled the coachman; "you must ring for the butler."
Sebastian, the butler, a man with large brass buttons on his coat, soon stood before her.
"May I see Miss Rottenmeier?" Deta asked.
"That's not my business," the butler announced. "Ring for Tinette, the maid." With that, he disappeared.
Deta, ringing again, saw a girl with a brilliant white cap on her head, coming down the stairway. The maid stopped half-way down and asked scornfully: "What do you want?"
Deta repeated her wish again. Tinette told her to wait while she went upstairs, but it did not take long before the two were asked to come up.
Following the maid, they found themselves in the study. Deta held on to Heidi's hand and stayed near the door.
Miss Rottenmeier, slowly getting up, approached the newcomers. She did not seem pleased with Heidi, who wore her hat and shawl and was looking up at the lady's headdress with innocent wonder.
"What is your name?" the lady asked.
"Heidi," was the child's clear answer.
"What? Is that a Christian name? What name did you receive in baptism?" inquired the lady again.
"I don't remember that any more," the child replied.
"What an answer! What does that mean?" said the housekeeper, shaking her head. "Is the child ignorant or pert, Miss Deta?"
"I shall speak for the child, if I may, madam," Deta said, after giving Heidi a little blow for her unbecoming answer. "The child has never been in such a fine house and does not know how to behave. I hope the lady will forgive her manners. She is called Adelheid after her mother, who was my sister."
"Oh well, that is better. But Miss Deta, the child seems peculiar for her age. I thought I told you that Miss Clara's companion would have to be twelve years old like her, to be able to share her studies. How old is Adelheid?"
"I am sorry, but I am afraid she is somewhat younger than I thought. I think she is about ten years old."
"Grandfather said that I was eight years old," said Heidi now. Deta gave her another blow, but as the child had no idea why, she did not get embarrassed.
"What, only eight years old!" Miss Rottenmeier exclaimed indignantly. "How can we get along? What have you learned? What books have you studied?"
"None," said Heidi.
"But how did you learn to read?"
"I can't read and Peter can't do it either," Heidi retorted.
"For mercy's sake! you cannot read?" cried the lady in her surprise. "How is it possible? What else have you studied?"
"Nothing," replied Heidi, truthfully.
"Miss Deta, how could you bring this child?" said the housekeeper, when she was more composed.
Deta, however, was not easily intimidated, and said: "I am sorry, but I thought this child would suit you. She is small, but older children are often spoilt and not like her. I must go now, for my mistress is waiting. As soon as I can, I'll come to see how the child is getting along." With a bow she was outside and with a few quick steps hurried down-stairs.
Miss Rottenmeier followed her and tried to call her back, for she wanted to ask Deta a number of questions.
Heidi was still standing on the same spot. Clara had watched the scene, and called to the child now to come to her.
Heidi approached the rolling-chair.
"Do you want to be called Heidi or Adelheid?" asked Clara.
"My name is Heidi and nothing else," was the child's answer.
"I'll call you Heidi then, for I like it very much," said Clara. "I have never heard the name before. What curly hair you have! Was it always like that?"
"I think so."
"Did you like to come to Frankfurt?" asked Clara again.
"Oh, no, but then I am going home again to-morrow, and shall bring grandmother some soft white rolls," Heidi explained.
"What a curious child you are," said Clara. "You have come to Frankfurt to stay with me, don't you know that? We shall have our lessons together, and I think it will be great fun when you learn to read. Generally the morning seems to have no end, for Mr. Candidate comes at ten and stays till two. That is a long time, and he has to yawn himself, he gets so tired. Miss Rottenmeier and he both yawn together behind their books, but when I do it, Miss Rottenmeier makes me take cod-liver oil and says that I am ill. So I must swallow my yawns, for I hate the oil. What fun it will be now, when you learn to read!"
Heidi shook her head doubtfully at these prospects.
"Everybody must learn to read, Heidi. Mr. Candidate is very patient and will explain it all to you. You won't know what he means at first, for it is difficult to understand him. It won't take long to learn, though, and then you will know what he means."
When Miss Rottenmeier found that she was unable to recall Deta, she came back to the children. She was in a very excited mood, for she felt responsible for Heidi's coming and did not know how to cancel this unfortunate step. She soon got up again to go to the dining-room, criticising the butler and giving orders to the maid. Sebastian, not daring to show his rage otherwise, noisily opened the folding doors. When he went up to Clara's chair, he saw Heidi watching him intently. At last she said: "You look like Peter."
Miss Rottenmeier was horrified with this remark, and sent them all into the dining-room. After Clara was lifted on to her chair, the housekeeper sat down beside her. Heidi was motioned to sit opposite the lady. In that way they were placed at the enormous table. When Heidi saw a roll on her plate, she turned to Sebastian, and pointing at it, asked, "Can I have this?" Heidi had already great confidence in the butler, especially on account of the resemblance she had discovered. The butler nodded, and when he saw Heidi put the bread in her pocket, could hardly keep from laughing. He came to Heidi now with a dish of small baked fishes. For a long time the child did not move; then turning her eyes to the butler, she said: "Must I eat that?" Sebastian nodded, but another pause ensued. "Why don't you give it to me?" the child quietly asked, looking at her plate. The butler, hardly able to keep his countenance, was told to place the dish on the table and leave the room.
When he was gone, Miss Rottenmeier explained to Heidi with many signs how to help herself at table. She also told her never to speak to Sebastian unless it was important. After that the child was told how to accost the servants and the governess. When the question came up of how to call Clara, the older girl said, "Of course you shall call me Clara."
A great many rules followed now about behavior at all times, about the shutting of doors and about going to bed, and a hundred other things. Poor Heidi's eyes were closing, for she had risen at five that morning, and leaning against her chair she fell asleep. When Miss Rottenmeier had finished instructions, she said: "I hope you will remember everything, Adelheid. Did you understand me?"
"Heidi went to sleep a long time ago," said Clara, highly amused.
"It is atrocious what I have to bear with this child," exclaimed Miss Rottenmeier, ringing the bell with all her might. When the two servants arrived, they were hardly able to rouse Heidi enough to show her to her bed-room.
MISS ROTTENMEIER HAS AN UNCOMFORTABLE DAY
When Heidi opened her eyes next morning, she did not know where she was. She found herself on a high white bed in a spacious room. Looking around she observed long white curtains before the windows, several chairs, and a sofa covered with cretonne; in a corner she saw a wash-stand with many curious things standing on it.
Suddenly Heidi remembered all the happenings of the previous day. Jumping out of bed, she dressed in a great hurry. She was eager to look at the sky and the ground below, as she had always done at home. What was her disappointment when she found that the windows were too high for her to see anything except the walls and windows opposite. Trying to open them, she turned from one to the other, but in vain. The poor child felt like a little bird that is placed in a glittering cage for the first time. At last she had to resign herself, and sat down on a low stool, thinking of the melting snow on the slopes and the first flowers of spring that she had hailed with such delight.