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by Johanna Spyri
Illustrated By Jessie Willcox Smith
I Up the Mountain to Alm-Uncle
II At Home with Grandfather
III Out with the Goats
IV The Visit to Grandmother
V Two Visits and What Came of Them
VI A New Chapter about New Things
Heidi Part II.
VII Fraulein Rottenmeier Spends an Uncomfortable Day
VIII There is Great Commotion in the Large House
IX Herr Sesemann Hears of Things that are New to Him
X Another Grandmother
XI Heidi Gains in One Way and Loses in Another
XII A Ghost in the House
Heidi Part III.
XIII A Summer Evening on the Mountain
XIV Sunday Bells
XV Preparations for a journey
XVI A Visitor
XVII A Compensation
XVIII Winter in Dorfli
Heidi Part IV.
XIX The Winter Continues
XX News from Distant Friends
XXI How Life went on at Grandfather's
XXII Something Unexpected Happens
XXIII "Good-bye Till We Meet Again"
HEIDI Part 1
UP THE MOUNTAIN TO ALM-UNCLE
From the old and pleasantly situated village of Mayenfeld, a
footpath winds through green and shady meadows to the foot of the
mountains, which on this side look down from their stern and
lofty heights upon the valley below. The land grows gradually
wilder as the path ascends, and the climber has not gone far
before he begins to inhale the fragrance of the short grass and
sturdy mountain-plants, for the way is steep and leads directly
up to the summits above.
On a clear sunny morning in June two figures might be seen
climbing the narrow mountain path; one, a tall strong-looking
girl, the other a child whom she was leading by the hand, and
whose little checks were so aglow with heat that the crimson
color could be seen even through the dark, sunburnt skin. And
this was hardly to be wondered at, for in spite of the hot June
sun the child was clothed as if to keep off the bitterest frost.
She did not look more than five years old, if as much, but what
her natural figure was like, it would have been hard to say, for
she had apparently two, if not three dresses, one above the
other, and over these a thick red woollen shawl wound round about
her, so that the little body presented a shapeless appearance,
as, with its small feet shod in thick, nailed mountain-shoes, it
slowly and laboriously plodded its way up in the heat. The two
must have left the valley a good hour's walk behind them, when
they came to the hamlet known as Dorfli, which is situated
half-way up the mountain. Here the wayfarers met with greetings
from all sides, some calling to them from windows, some from open
doors, others from outside, for the elder girl was now in her old
home. She did not, however, pause in her walk to respond to her
friends' welcoming cries and questions, but passed on without
stopping for a moment until she reached the last of the scattered
houses of the hamlet. Here a voice called to her from the door:
"Wait a moment, Dete; if you are going up higher, I will come
The girl thus addressed stood still, and the child immediately
let go her hand and seated herself on the ground.
"Are you tired, Heidi?" asked her companion.
"No, I am hot," answered the child.
"We shall soon get to the top now. - You must walk bravely on a
little longer, and take good long steps, and in another hour we
shall be there," said Dete in an encouraging voice.
They were now joined by a stout, good-natured-looking woman, who
walked on ahead with her old acquaintance, the two breaking forth
at once into lively conversation about everybody and everything
in Dorfli and its surroundings, while the child wandered behind
"And where are you off to with the child?" asked the one who had
just joined the party. "I suppose it is the child your sister
"Yes," answered Dete. "I am taking her up to Uncle, where she
"The child stay up there with Alm-Uncle! You must be out of your
senses, Dete! How can you think of such a thing! The old man,
however, will soon send you and your proposal packing off home
"He cannot very well do that, seeing that he is her grandfather.
He must do something for her. I have had the charge of the child
till now, and I can tell you, Barbel, I am not going to give up
the chance which has just fallen to me of getting a good place,
for her sake. It is for the grandfather now to do his duty by
"That would be all very well if he were like other people,"
asseverated stout Barbel warmly, "but you know what he is. And
what can he do with a child, especially with one so young! The
child cannot possibly live with him. But where are you thinking
of going yourself?"
"To Frankfurt, where an extra good place awaits me," answered
Dete. "The people I am going to were down at the Baths last
summer, and it was part of my duty to attend upon their rooms.
They would have liked then to take me away with them, but I could
not leave. Now they are there again and have repeated their
offer, and I intend to go with them, you may make up your mind to
"I am glad I am not the child!" exclaimed Barbel, with a gesture
of horrified pity. "Not a creature knows anything about the old
man up there! He will have nothing to do with anybody, and never
sets his foot inside a church from one year's end to another.
When he does come down once in a while, everybody clears out of
the way of him and his big stick. The mere sight of him, with his
bushy grey eyebrows and his immense beard, is alarming enough. He
looks like any old heathen or Indian, and few would care to meet
"Well, and what of that?" said Dete, in a defiant voice, "he is
the grandfather all the same, and must look after the child. He
is not likely to do her any harm, and if he does, he will be
answerable for it, not I."
"I should very much like to know," continued Barbel, in an
inquiring tone of voice, "what the old man has on his conscience
that he looks as he does, and lives up there on the mountain like
a hermit, hardly ever allowing himself to be seen. All kinds of
things are said about him. You, Dete, however, must certainly
have learnt a good deal concerning him from your sister--am I not
"You are right, I did, but I am not going to repeat what I heard;
if it should come to his ears I should get into trouble about
Now Barbel had for long past been most anxious to ascertain
particulars about Alm-Uncle, as she could not understand why he
seemed to feel such hatred towards his fellow-creatures, and
insisted on living all alone, or why people spoke about him half
in whispers, as if afraid to say anything against him, and yet
unwilling to take his Part. Moreover, Barbel was in ignorance as
to why all the people in Dorfli called him Alm-Uncle, for he
could not possibly be uncle to everybody living there. As,
however, it was the custom, she did like the rest and called the
old man Uncle. Barbel had only lived in Dorfli since her
marriage, which had taken place not long before. Previous to that
her home had been below in Prattigau, so that she was not well
acquainted with all the events that had ever taken place, and
with all the people who had ever lived in Dorfli and its
neighborhood. Dete, on the contrary, had been born in Dorfli, and
had lived there with her mother until the death of the latter the
year before, and had then gone over to the Baths at Ragatz and
taken service in the large hotel there as chambermaid. On the
morning of this day she had come all the way from Ragatz with the
child, a friend having given them a lift in a hay-cart as far as
Mayenfeld. Barbel was therefore determined not to lose this good
opportunity of satisfying her curiosity. She put her arm through
Dete's in a confidential sort of way, and said: "I know I can
find out the real truth from you, and the meaning of all these
tales that are afloat about him. I believe you know the whole
story. Now do just tell me what is wrong with the old man, and if
he was always shunned as he is now, and was always such a
"How can I possibly tell you whether he was always the same,
seeing I am only six-and-twenty and he at least seventy years of
age; so you can hardly expect me to know much about his youth. If
I was sure, however, that what I tell you would not go the whole
round of Prattigau, I could relate all kinds of things about him;
my mother came from Domleschg, and so did he."
"Nonsense, Dete, what do you mean?" replied Barbel, somewhat
offended, "gossip has not reached such a dreadful pitch in
Prattigau as all that, and I am also quite capable of holding my
tongue when it is necessary."
"Very well then, I will tell you--but just wait a moment," said
Dete in a warning voice, and she looked back to make sure that
the child was not near enough to hear all she was going to
relate; but the child was nowhere to be seen, and must have
turned aside from following her companions some time before,
while these were too eagerly occupied with their conversation to
notice it. Dete stood still and looked around her in all
directions. The footpath wound a little here and there, but could
nevertheless be seen along its whole length nearly to Dorfli; no
one, however, was visible upon it at this moment.
"I see where she is," exclaimed Barbel, "look over there!" and
she pointed to a spot far away from the footpath. "She is
climbing up the slope yonder with the goatherd and his goats. I
wonder why he is so late to-day bringing them up. It happens
well, however, for us, for he can now see after the child, and
you can the better tell me your tale."
"Oh, as to the looking after," remarked Dete, "the boy need not
put himself out about that; she is not by any means stupid for
her five years, and knows how to use her eyes. She notices all
that is going on, as I have often had occasion to remark, and
this will stand her in good stead some day, for the old man has
nothing beyond his two goats and his hut."
"Did he ever have more?" asked Barbel.
"He? I should think so indeed," replied Dete with animation; "he
was owner once of one of the largest farms in Domleschg. He was
the elder of two brothers; the younger was a quiet, orderly man,
but nothing would please the other but to play the grand
gentleman and go driving about the country and mixing with bad
company, strangers that nobody knew. He drank and gambled away
the whole of his property, and when this became known to his
mother and father they died, one shortly after the other, of
sorrow. The younger brother, who was also reduced to beggary,
went off in his anger, no one knew whither, while Uncle himself,
having nothing now left to him but his, bad name, also
disappeared. For some time his whereabouts were unknown, then
some one found out that he had gone to Naples as a soldier; after
that nothing more was heard of him for twelve or fifteen years.
At the end of that time he reappeared in Domleschg, bringing with
him a young child, whom he tried to place with some of his
kinspeople. Every door, however, was shut in his face, for no one
wished to have any more to do with him. Embittered by this
treatment, he vowed never to set foot in Domleschg again, and he
then came to Dorfli, where he continued to live with his little
boy. His wife was probably a native of the Grisons, whom he had
met down there, and who died soon after their marriage. He could
not have been entirely without money, for he apprenticed his son,
Tobias, to a carpenter. He was a steady lad, and kindly received
by every one in Dorfli. The old man was, however, still looked
upon with suspicion, and it was even rumoured that he had been
forced to make his escape from Naples, or it might have gone
badly with him, for that he had killed a man, not in fair fight,
you understand, but in some brawl. We, however, did not refuse to
acknowledge our relationship with him, my great-grandmother on my
mother's side having been sister to his grandmother. So we called
him Uncle, and as through my father we are also related to nearly
every family in Dorfli, he became known all over the place as
Uncle, and since he went to live on the mountain side he has gone
everywhere by the name of Alm-Uncle."
"And what happened to Tobias?" asked Barbel, who was listening
with deep interest.
"Wait a moment, I am coming to that, but I cannot tell you
everything at once," replied Dete. "Tobias was taught his trade
in Mels, and when he had served. his apprenticeship he came back
to Dorfli and married my sister Adelaide. They had always been
fond of one another, and they got on very well together after
they were married. But their happiness did not last long. Her
husband met with his death only two years after their marriage, a
beam falling upon him as he was working, and killing him on the
spot. They carried him home, and when Adelaide saw the poor
disfigured body of her husband she was so overcome with horror
and grief that she fell into a fever from which she never
recovered. She had always been rather delicate and subject to
curious attacks, during which no one knew whether she was awake
or sleeping. And so two months after Tobias had been carried to
the grave, his wife followed him. Their sad fate was the talk of
everybody far and near, and both in private and public the
general opinion was expressed that it was a punishment which
Uncle had deserved for the godless life he had led. Some went so
far even as to tell him so to his face. Our minister endeavored
to awaken his conscience and exhorted him to repentance, but the
old man grew only more wrathful and obdurate and would not speak
to a soul, and every one did their best to keep out of his way.
All at once we heard that he had gone to live up the Alm and did
not intend ever to come down again, and since then he has led his
solitary life on the mountain side at enmity with God and man.
Mother and I took Adelaide's little one, then only a year old,
into our care. When mother died last year, and I went down to the
Baths to earn some money, I paid old Ursel, who lives in the
village just above, to keep and look after the child. I stayed on
at the Baths through the winter, for as I could sew and knit I
had no difficulty in finding plenty of work, and early in the
spring the same family I had waited on before returned from
Frankfurt, and again asked me to go back with them. And so we
leave the day after to-morrow, and I can assure you, it is an
excellent place for me."
"And you are going to give the child over to the old man up
there? It surprises me beyond words that you can think of doing
such a thing, Dete," said Barbel, in a voice full of reproach.
"What do you mean?" retorted Dete. "I have done my duty by the
child, and what would you have me do with it now? I cannot
certainly take a child of five years old with me to Frankfurt.
But where are you going to yourself, Barbel; we are now half way
up the Alm?
"We have just reached the place I wanted," answered Barbel. "I
had something to say to the goatherd's wife, who does some
spinning for me in the winter. So good-bye, Dete, and good luck
Dete shook hands with her friend and remained standing while
Barbel went towards a small, dark brown hut, which stood a few
steps away from the path in a hollow that afforded it some
protection from the mountain wind. The hut was situated half way
up the Alm, reckoning from Dorfli, and it was well that it was
provided with some shelter, for it was so broken-down and
dilapidated that even then it must have been very unsafe as a
habitation, for when the stormy south wind came sweeping over the
mountain, everything inside it, doors and windows, shook and
rattled, and all the rotten old beams creaked and trembled. On
such days as this, had the goatherd's dwelling been standing
above on the exposed mountain side, it could not have escaped
being blown straight down into the valley without a moment's
Here lived Peter, the eleven-year-old boy, who every morning went
down to Dorfli to fetch his goats and drive them up on to the
mountain, where they were free to browse till evening on the
delicious mountain plants.
Then Peter, with his light-footed animals, would go running and
leaping down the mountain again till he reached Dorfli, and there
he would give a shrill whistle through his fingers, whereupon all
the owners of the goats would come out to fetch home the animals
that belonged to them. It was generally the small boys and girls
who ran in answer to Peter's whistle, for they were none of them
afraid of the gentle goats, and this was the only hour of the day
through all the summer months that Peter had any opportunity of
seeing his young friends, since the rest of his time was spent
alone with the goats. He had a mother and a blind grandmother at
home, it is true, but he was always obliged to start off very
early in the morning, and only got home late in the evening from
Dorfli, for he always stayed as long as he could talking and
playing with the other children; and so he had just time enough
at home, and that was all, to swallow down his bread and milk in
the morning, and again in the evening to get through a similar
meal, lie down in bed and go to sleep. His father, who had been
known also as the goatherd, having earned his living as such when
younger, had been accidentally killed while cutting wood some
years before. His mother, whose real name was Brigitta, was
always called the goatherd's wife, for the sake of old
association, while the blind grandmother was just "grandmother"
to all the old and young in the neighborhood.
Dete had been standing for a good ten minutes looking about her
in every direction for some sign of the children and the goats.
Not a glimpse of them, however, was to be seen, so she climbed to
a higher spot, whence she could get a fuller view of the mountain
as it sloped beneath her to the valley, while, with
ever-increasing anxiety on her face and in her movements, she
continued to scan the surrounding slopes. Meanwhile the children
were climbing up by a far and roundabout way, for Peter knew many
spots where all kinds of good food, in the shape of shrubs and
plants, grew for his goats, and he was in the habit of leading
his flock aside from the beaten track. The child, exhausted with
the heat and weight of her thick armor of clothes, panted and
struggled after him at first with some difficulty. She said
nothing, but her little eyes kept watching first Peter, as he
sprang nimbly hither and thither on his bare feet, clad only in
his short light breeches, and then the slim-legged goats that
went leaping over rocks and shrubs and up the steep ascents with
even greater ease. All at once she sat herself down on the
ground, and as fast as her little fingers could move, began
pulling off her shoes and stockings. This done she rose, unwound
the hot red shawl and threw it away, and then proceeded to undo
her frock. It was off in a second, but there was still another to
unfasten, for Dete had put the Sunday frock on over the everyday
one, to save the trouble of carrying it. Quick as lightning the
everyday frock followed the other, and now the child stood up,
clad only in her light short-sleeved under garment, stretching
out her little bare arms with glee. She put all her clothes
together in a tidy little heap, and then went jumping and
climbing up after Peter and the goats as nimbly as any one of the
party. Peter had taken no heed of what the child was about when
she stayed behind, but when she ran up to him in her new attire,
his face broke into a grin, which grew broader still as he looked
back and saw the small heap of clothes lying on the ground, until
his mouth stretched almost from ear to ear; he said nothing,
however. The child, able now to move at her ease, began to enter
into conversation with Peter, who had many questions to answer,
for his companion wanted to know how many goats he had, where he
was going to with them, and what he had to do when he arrived
there. At last, after some time, they and the goats approached
the hut and came within view of Cousin Dete. Hardly had the
latter caught sight of the little company climbing up towards her
when she shrieked out: "Heidi, what have you been doing! What a
sight you have made of yourself! And where are your two frocks
and the red wrapper? And the new shoes I bought, and the new
stockings I knitted for you--everything gone! not a thing left!
What can you have been thinking of, Heidi; where are all your
The child quietly pointed to a spot below on the mountain side
and answered, "Down there." Dete followed the direction of her
finger; she could just distinguish something lying on the ground,
with a spot of red on the top of it which she had no doubt was
the woollen wrapper.
"You good-for-nothing little thing!" exclaimed Dete angrily,
"what could have put it into your head to do like that? What made
you undress yourself? What do you mean by it?"
"I don't want any clothes," said the child, not showing any sign
of repentance for her past deed.
"You wretched, thoughtless child! have you no sense in you at
all?" continued Dete, scolding and lamenting. "Who is going all
that way down to fetch them; it's a good half-hour's walk! Peter,
you go off and fetch them for me as quickly as you can, and don't
stand there gaping at me, as if you were rooted to the ground!"
"I am already past my time," answered Peter slowly, without
moving from the spot where he had been standing with his hands in
his pockets, listening to Dete's outburst of dismay and anger.
"Well, you won't get far if you only keep on standing there with
your eyes staring out of your head," was Dete's cross reply; "but
see, you shall have something nice," and she held out a bright
new piece of money to him that sparkled in the sun. Peter was
immediately up and off down the steep mountain side, taking the
shortest cut, and in an incredibly short space of time had
reached the little heap of clothes, which he gathered up under
his arm, and was back again so quickly that even Dete was obliged
to give him a word of praise as she handed him the promised
money. Peter promptly thrust it into his pocket and his face
beamed with delight, for it was not often that he was the happy
possessor of such riches.
You can carry the things up for me as far as Uncle's, as you are
going the same way," went on Dete, who was preparing to continue
her climb up the mountain side, which rose in a steep ascent
immediately behind the goatherd's hut. Peter willingly undertook
to do this, and followed after her on his bare feet, with his
left arm round the bundle and the right swinging his goatherd's
stick, while Heidi and the goats went skipping and jumping
joyfully beside him. After a climb of more than three-quarters of
an hour they reached the top of the Alm mountain. Uncle's hut
stood on a projection of the rock, exposed indeed to the winds,
but where every ray of sun could rest upon it, and a full view
could be had of the valley beneath. Behind the hut stood three
old fir trees, with long, thick, unlopped branches. Beyond these
rose a further wall of mountain, the lower heights still
overgrown with beautiful grass and plants, above which were
stonier slopes, covered only with scrub, that led gradually up to
the steep, bare rocky summits.
Against the hut, on the side looking towards the valley, Uncle
had put up a seat. Here he was sitting, his pipe in his mouth and
his hands on his knees, quietly looking out, when the children,
the goats and Cousin Dete suddenly clambered into view. Heidi was
at the top first. She went straight up to the old man, put out
her hand, and said, "Good-evening, Grandfather."
"So, so, what is the meaning of this?" he asked gruffly, as he
gave the child an abrupt shake of the hand, and gazed long and
scrutinisingly at her from under his bushy eyebrows. Heidi stared
steadily back at him in return with unflinching gaze, for the
grandfather, with his long beard and thick grey eyebrows that
grew together over his nose and looked just like a bush, was such
a remarkable appearance, that Heidi was unable to take her eyes
off him. Meanwhile Dete had come up, with Peter after her, and
the latter now stood still a while to watch what was going on.
"I wish you good-day, Uncle," said Dete, as she walked towards
him, "and I have brought you Tobias and Adelaide's child. You
will hardly recognise her, as you have never seen her since she
was a year old."
"And what has the child to do with me up here?" asked the old man
curtly. "You there," he then called out to Peter, "be off with
your goats, you are none too early as it is, and take mine with
Peter obeyed on the instant and quickly disappeared, for the old
man had given him a look that made him feel that he did not want
to stay any longer.
"The child is here to remain with you," Dete made answer. "I
have, I think, done my duty by her for these four years, and now
it is time for you to do yours."
"That's it, is it?" said the old man, as he looked at her with a
flash in his eye. "And when the child begins to fret and whine
after you, as is the way with these unreasonable little beings,
what am I to do with her then?"
"That's your affair," retorted Dete. "I know I had to put up with
her without complaint when she was left on my hands as an infant,
and with enough to do as it was for my mother and self. Now I
have to go and look after my own earnings, and you are the next
of kin to the child. If you cannot arrange to keep her, do with
her as you like. You will be answerable for the result if harm
happens to her, though you have hardly need, I should think, to
add to the burden already on your conscience."
Now Dete was not quite easy in her own conscience about what she
was doing, and consequently was feeling hot and irritable, and
said more than she had intended. As she uttered her last words,
Uncle rose from his seat. He looked at her in a way that made her
draw back a step or two, then flinging out his arm, he said to
her in a commanding voice: "Be off with you this instant, and get
back as quickly as you can to the place whence you came, and do
not let me see your face again in a hurry."
Dete did not wait to be told twice. "Good-bye to you then, and to
you too, Heidi," she called, as she turned quickly away and
started to descend the mountain at a running pace, which she did
not slacken till she found herself safely again at Dorfli, for
some inward agitation drove her forwards as if a steam-engine was
at work inside her. Again questions came raining down upon her
from all sides, for every one knew Dete, as well as all
particulars of the birth and former history of the child, and all
wondered what she had done with it. From every door and window
came voices calling: "Where is the child?" "Where have you left
the child, Dete? and more and more reluctantly Dete made answer,
Up there with Alm-Uncle!" "With Alm-Uncle, have I not told you so
Then the women began to hurl reproaches at her; first one cried
out, "How could you do such a thing!" then another, "To think of
leaving a helpless little thing up there,"--while again and again
came the words, "The poor mite! the poor mite!" pursuing her as
she went along. Unable at last to bear it any longer Dete ran
forward as fast as she could until she was beyond reach of their
voices. She was far from happy at the thought of what she had
done, for the child had been left in her care by her dying
mother. She quieted herself, however, with the idea that she
would be better able to do something for the child if she was
earning plenty of money, and it was a relief to her to think that
she would soon be far away from all these people who were making
such a fuss about the matter, and she rejoiced further still that
she was at liberty now to take such a good place.
AT HOME WITH GRANDFATHER
As soon as Dete had disappeared the old man went back to his
bench, and there he remained seated, staring on the ground
without uttering a sound, while thick curls of smoke floated
upward from his pipe. Heidi, meanwhile, was enjoying herself in
her new surroundings; she looked about till she found a shed,
built against the hut, where the goats were kept; she peeped in,
and saw it was empty. She continued her search and presently came
to the fir trees behind the hut. A strong breeze was blowing
through them, and there was a rushing and roaring in their
topmost branches, Heidi stood still and listened. The sound
growing fainter, she went on again, to the farther corner of the
hut, and so round to where her grandfather was sitting. Seeing
that he was in exactly the same position as when she left him,
she went and placed herself in front of the old man, and putting
her hands behind her back, stood and gazed at him. Her
grandfather looked up, and as she continued standing there
without moving, "What is it you want?" he asked.
"I want to see what you have inside the house," said Heidi.
"Come then!" and the grandfather rose and went before her towards
"Bring your bundle of clothes in with you," he bid her as she was
"I shan't want them any more," was her prompt answer.
The old man turned and looked searchingly at the child, whose
dark eyes were sparkling in delighted anticipation of what she
was going to see inside. "She is certainly not wanting in
intelligence," he murmured to himself. "And why shall you not
want them any more?" he asked aloud.
"Because I want to go about like the goats with their thin light
"Well, you can do so if you like," said her grandfather, "but
bring the things in, we must put them in the cupboard."
"I want to see what you have inside the house,"
Heidi did as she was told. The old man now opened the door and
Heidi stepped inside after him; she found herself in a good-sized
room, which covered the whole ground floor of the hut. A table
and a chair were the only furniture; in one corner stood the
grandfather's bed, in another was the hearth with a large kettle
hanging above it; and on the further side was a large door in the
wall--this was the cupboard. The grandfather opened it; inside
were his clothes, some hanging up, others, a couple of shirts,
and some socks and handkerchiefs, lying on a shelf; on a second
shelf were some plates and cups and glasses, and on a higher one
still, a round loaf, smoked meat, and cheese, for everything that
Alm-Uncle needed for his food and clothing was kept in this
cupboard. Heidi, as soon as it was opened, ran quickly forward
and thrust in her bundle of clothes, as far back behind her
grandfather's things as possible, so that they might not easily
be found again. She then looked carefully round the room, and
asked, "Where am I to sleep, grandfather?"
"Wherever you like," he answered.
Heidi was delighted, and began at once to examine all the nooks
and corners to find out where it would be pleasantest to sleep.
In the corner near her grandfather's bed she saw a short ladder
against the wall; up she climbed and found herself in the
hayloft. There lay a large heap of fresh sweet-smelling hay,
while through a round window in the wall she could see right down
"I shall sleep up here, grandfather," she called down to him,
"It's lovely, up here. Come up and see how lovely it is!"
"Oh, I know all about it," he called up in answer.
"I am getting the bed ready now," she called down again, as she
went busily to and fro at her work, "but I shall want you to
bring me up a sheet; you can't have a bed without a sheet, you
want it to lie upon."
"All right," said the grandfather, and presently he went to the
cupboard, and after rummaging about inside for a few minutes he
drew out a long, coarse piece of stuff, which was all he had to
do duty for a sheet. He carried it up to the loft, where he found
Heidi had already made quite a nice bed. She had put an extra
heap of hay at one end for a pillow, and had so arranged it that,
when in bed, she would be able to see comfortably out through the
"That is capital," said her grandfather; "now we must put on the
sheet, but wait a moment first," and he went and fetched another
large bundle of hay to make the bed thicker, so that the child
should not feel the hard floor under her--"there, now bring it
here." Heidi had got hold of the sheet, but it was almost too
heavy for her to carry; this was a good thing, however, as the
close thick stuff would prevent the sharp stalks of the hay
running through and pricking her. The two together now spread the
sheet over the bed, and where it was too long or too broad, Heidi
quickly tucked it in under the hay. It looked now as tidy and
comfortable a bed as you could wish for, and Heidi stood gazing
thoughtfully at her handiwork.
"We have forgotten something now, grandfather," she said after a
"What's that?" he asked.
A coverlid; when you get into bed, you have to creep in between
the sheets and the coverlid."
"Oh, that's the way, is it? But suppose I have not got a
coverlid?" said the old man.
"Well, never mind, grandfather," said Heidi in a consoling tone
of voice, "I can take some more hay to put over me," and she was
turning quickly to fetch another armful from the heap, when her
grandfather stopped her. "Wait a moment," he said, and he climbed
down the ladder again and went towards his bed. He returned to
the loft with a large, thick sack, made of flax, which he threw
down, exclaiming, There, that is better than hay, is it not?"
Heidi began tugging away at the sack with all her little might,
in her efforts to get it smooth and straight, but her small hands
were not fitted for so heavy a job. Her grandfather came to her
assistance, and when they had got it tidily spread over the bed,
it all looked so nice and warm and comfortable that Heidi stood
gazing at it in delight. "That is a splendid coverlid," she said,
"and the bed looks lovely altogether! I wish it was night, so
that I might get inside it at once."
"I think we might have something to eat first," said the
grandfather, "what do you think?"
Heidi in the excitement of bed-making had forgotten everything
else; but now when she began to think about food she felt
terribly hungry, for she had had nothing to eat since the piece
of bread and little cup of thin coffee that had been her
breakfast early that morning before starting on her long, hot
journey. So she answered without hesitation, "Yes, I think so
"Let us go down then, as we both think alike," said the old man,
and he followed the child down the ladder. Then he went up to the
hearth, pushed the big kettle aside, and drew forward the little
one that was hanging on the chain, and seating himself on the
round-topped, three-legged stool before the fire, blew it up into
a clear bright flame. The kettle soon began to boil, and
meanwhile the old man held a large piece of cheese on a long iron
fork over the fire, turning it round and round till it was
toasted a nice golden yellow color on each side. Heidi watched
all that was going on with eager curiosity. Suddenly some new
idea seemed to come into her head, for she turned and ran to the
cupboard, and then began going busily backwards and forwards.
Presently the grandfather got up and came to the table with a jug
and the cheese, and there he saw it already tidily laid with the
round loaf and two plates and two knives each in its right place;
for Heidi had taken exact note that morning of all that there was
in the cupboard, and she knew which things would be wanted for
"Ah, that's right," said the grandfather, "I am glad to see that
you have some ideas of your own," and as he spoke he laid the
toasted cheese on a layer of bread, "but there is still something
Heidi looked at the jug that was steaming away invitingly, and
ran quickly back to the cupboard. At first she could only see a
small bowl left on the shelf, but she was not long in perplexity,
for a moment later she caught sight of two glasses-further back,
and without an instant's loss of time she returned with these and
the bowl and put them down on the table.
"Good, I see you know how to set about things; but what will you
do for a seat?" The grandfather himself was sitting on the only
chair in the room. Heidi flew to the hearth, and dragging the
three-legged stool up to the table, sat herself down upon it.
Well, you have managed to find a seat for yourself, I see, only
rather a low one I am afraid," said the grandfather, "but you
would not be tall enough to reach the table even if you sat in my
chair; the first thing now, however, is to have something to eat,
so come along."
With that he stood up, filled the bowl with milk, and placing it
on the chair, pushed it in front of Heidi on her little
three-legged stool, so that she now had a table to herself. Then
he brought her a large slice of bread and a piece of the golden
cheese, and told her to eat. After which he went and sat down on
the corner of the table and began his own meal. Heidi lifted the
bowl with both hands and drank without pause till it was empty,
for the thirst of all her long hot journey had returned upon her.
Then she drew a deep breath--in the eagerness of her thirst she
had not stopped to breathe--and put down the bowl.
"Was the milk nice?" asked her grandfather.
"I never drank any so good before," answered Heidi.
"Then you must have some more," and the old man filled her bowl
again to the brim and set it before the child, who was now
hungrily beginning her bread having first spread it with the
cheese, which after being toasted was soft as butter; the two
together tasted deliciously, and the child looked the picture of
content as she sat eating, and at intervals taking further
draughts of milk. The meal being over, the grandfather went
outside to put the goat-shed in order, and Heidi watched with
interest while he first swept it out, and then put fresh straw
for the goats to sleep upon. Then he went to the little
well-shed, and there he cut some long round sticks, and a small
round board; in this he bored some holes and stuck the sticks
into them, and there, as if made by magic, was a three-legged
stool just like her grandfather's, only higher. Heidi stood and
looked at it, speechless with astonishment.
"What do you think that is?" asked her grandfather.
"It's my stool, I know, because it is such a high one; and it was
made all of a minute," said the child, still lost in wonder and
"She understands what she sees, her eyes are in the right place,"
remarked the grandfather to himself, as he continued his way
round the hut, knocking in a nail here and there, or making fast
some part of the door, and so with hammer and nails and pieces of
wood going from spot to spot, mending or clearing away wherever
work of the kind was needed. Heidi followed him step by step, her
eyes attentively taking in all that he did, and everything that
she saw was a fresh source of pleasure to her.
And so the time passed happily on till evening. Then the wind
began to roar louder than ever through the old fir trees; Heidi
listened with delight to the sound, and it filled her heart so
full of gladness that she skipped and danced round the old trees,
as if some unheard of joy had come to her. The grandfather stood
and watched her from the shed.
Suddenly a shrill whistle was heard. Heidi paused in her dancing,
and the grandfather came out. Down from the heights above the
goats came springing one after another, with Peter in their
midst. Heidi sprang forward with a cry of joy and rushed among
the flock, greeting first one and then another of her old friends
of the morning. As they neared the hut the goats stood still, and
then two of their number, two beautiful slender animals, one
white and one brown, ran forward to where the grandfather was
standing and began licking his hands, for he was holding a little
salt which he always had ready for his goats on their return
home. Peter disappeared with the remainder of his flock. Heidi
tenderly stroked the two goats in turn, running first to one side
of them and then the other, and jumping about in her glee at the
pretty little animals. "Are they ours, grandfather? Are they both
ours? Are you going to put them in the shed? Will they always
stay with us?"
Heidi's questions came tumbling out one after the other, so that
her grandfather had only time to answer each of them with "Yes,
yes." When the goats had finished licking up the salt her
grandfather told her to go and fetch her bowl and the bread.
Heidi obeyed and was soon back again. The grandfather milked the
white goat and filled her basin, and then breaking off a piece of
bread, "Now eat your supper," he said, "and then go up to bed.
Cousin Dete left another little bundle for you with a nightgown
and other small things in it, which you will find at the bottom
of the cupboard if you want them. I must go and shut up the
goats, so be off and sleep well."
"Good-night, grandfather! good-night. What are their names,
grandfather, what are their names?" she called out as she ran
after his retreating figure and the goats.
"The white one is named Little Swan, and the brown one Little
Bear," he answered.
"Good-night, Little Swan, good-night, Little Bear!" she called
again at the top of her voice, for they were already inside the
shed. Then she sat down on the seat and began to eat and drink,
but the wind was so strong that it almost blew her away; so she
made haste and finished her supper and then went indoors and
climbed up to her bed, where she was soon lying as sweetly and
soundly asleep as any young princess on her couch of silk.
Not long after, and while it was still twilight, the grandfather
also went to bed, for he was up every morning at sunrise, and the
sun came climbing up over the mountains at a very early hour
during these summer months. The wind grew so tempestuous during
the night, and blew in such gusts against the walls, that the hut
trembled and the old beams groaned and creaked. It came howling
and wailing down the chimney like voices of those in pain, and it
raged with such fury among the old fir trees that here and there
a branch was snapped and fell. In the middle of the night the old
man got up. "The child will be frightened," he murmured half
aloud. He mounted the ladder and went and stood by the child's
Outside the moon was struggling with the dark, fast-driving
clouds, which at one moment left it clear and shining, and the
next swept over it, and all again was dark. Just now the
moonlight was falling through the round window straight on to
Heidi's bed. She lay under the heavy coverlid, her cheeks rosy
with sleep, her head peacefully resting on her little round arm,
and with a happy expression on her baby face as if dreaming of
something pleasant. The old man stood looking down on the
sleeping child until the moon again disappeared behind the clouds
and he could see no more, then he went back to bed.
OUT WITH THE GOATS
Heidi was awakened early the next morning by a loud whistle; the
sun was shining through the round window and failing in golden
rays on her bed and on the large heap of hay, and as she opened
her eyes everything in the loft seemed gleaming with gold. She
looked around her in astonishment and could not imagine for a
while where she was. But her grandfather's deep voice was now
heard outside, and then Heidi began to recall all that had
happened: how she had come away from her former home and was now
on the mountain with her grandfather instead of with old Ursula.
The latter was nearly stone deaf and always felt cold, so that
she sat all day either by the hearth in the kitchen or by the
sitting-room stove, and Heidi had been obliged to stay close to
her, for the old woman was so deaf that she could not tell where
the child was if out of her sight. And Heidi, shut up within the
four walls, had often longed to be out of doors. So she felt very
happy this morning as she woke up in her new home and remembered
all the many new things that she had seen the day before and
which she would see again that day, and above all she thought
with delight of the two dear goats. Heidi jumped quickly out of
bed and a very few minutes sufficed her to put on the clothes
which she had taken off the night before, for there were not many
of them. Then she climbed down the ladder and ran outside the
hut. There stood Peter already with his flock of goats, and the
grandfather was just bringing his two out of the shed to join the
others. Heidi ran forward to wish good-morning to him and the
"Do you want to go with them on to the mountain?" asked her
grandfather. Nothing could have pleased Heidi better, and she
jumped for joy in answer.
"But you must first wash and make yourself tidy. The sun that
shines so brightly overhead will else laugh at you for being
dirty; see, I have put everything ready for you," and her
grandfather pointed as he spoke to a large tub full of water,
which stood in the sun before the door. Heidi ran to it and began
splashing and rubbing, till she quite glistened with cleanliness.
The grandfather meanwhile went inside the hut, calling to Peter
to follow him and bring in his wallet. Peter obeyed with
astonishment, and laid down the little bag which held his meagre
"Open it," said the old man, and inside it he put a large piece
of bread and an equally large piece of cheese, which made Peter
open his eyes, for each was twice the size of the two portions
which he had for his own dinner.
"There, now there is only the little bowl to add," continued the
grandfather, "for the child cannot drink her milk as you do from
the goat; she is not accustomed to that. You must milk two
bowlfuls for her when she has her dinner, for she is going with
you and will remain with you till you return this evening; but
take care she does not fall over any of the rocks, do you hear?"
Heidi now came running in. "Will the sun laugh at me now,
grandfather?" she asked anxiously. Her grandfather had left a
coarse towel hanging up for her near the tub, and with this she
had so thoroughly scrubbed her face, arms, and neck, for fear of
the sun, that as she stood there she was as red all over as a
lobster. He gave a little laugh.
"No, there is nothing for him to laugh at now," he assured her.
"But I tell you what--when you come home this evening, you will
have to get right into the tub, like a fish, for if you run about
like the goats you will get your feet dirty. Now you can be off."
She started joyfully for the mountain. During the night the wind
had blown away all the clouds; the dark blue sky was spreading
overhead, and in its midst was the bright sun shining down on the
green slopes of the mountain, where the flowers opened their
little blue and yellow cups, and looked up to him smiling. Heidi
went running hither and thither and shouting with delight, for
here were whole patches of delicate red primroses, and there the
blue gleam of the lovely gentian, while above them all laughed
and nodded the tender-leaved golden cistus. Enchanted with all
this waving field of brightly-colored flowers, Heidi forgot even
Peter and the goats. She ran on in front and then off to the
side, tempted first one way and then the other, as she caught
sight of some bright spot of glowing red or yellow. And all the
while she was plucking whole handfuls of the flowers which she
put into her little apron, for she wanted to take them all home
and stick them in the hay, so that she might make her bedroom
look just like the meadows outside. Peter had therefore to be on
the alert, and his round eyes, which did not move very quickly,
had more work than they could well manage, for the goats were as
lively as Heidi; they ran in all directions, and Peter had to
follow whistling and calling and swinging his stick to get all
the runaways together again.
"Where have you got to now, Heidi?" he called out somewhat
"Here," called back a voice from somewhere. Peter could see no
one, for Heidi was seated on the ground at the foot of a small
hill thickly overgrown with sweet smelling prunella; the whole
air seemed filled with its fragrance, and Heidi thought she had
never smelt anything so delicious. She sat surrounded by the
flowers, drawing in deep breaths of the scented air.
"Come along here!" called Peter again. "You are not to fall over
the rocks, your grandfather gave orders that you were not to do
"Where are the rocks?" asked Heidi, answering him back. But she
did not move from her seat, for the scent of the flowers seemed
sweeter to her with every breath of wind that wafted it towards
"Up above, right up above. We have a long way to go yet, so come
along! And on the topmost peak of all the old bird of, prey sits
That did it. Heidi immediately sprang to her feet and ran up to
Peter with her apron full of flowers.
"You have got enough now," said the boy as they began climbing up
again together. "You will stay here forever if you go on picking,
and if you gather all the flowers now there will be none for
This last argument seemed a convincing one to Heidi, and moreover
her apron was already so full that there was hardly room for
another flower, and it would never do to leave nothing to pick
for another day. So she now kept with Peter, and the goats also
became more orderly in their behavior, for they were beginning to
smell the plants they loved that grew on the higher slopes and
clambered up now without pause in their anxiety to reach them.
The spot where Peter generally halted for his goats to pasture
and where he took up his quarters for the day lay at the foot of
the high rocks, which were covered for some distance up by bushes
and fir trees, beyond which rose their bare and rugged summits.
On one side of the mountain the rock was split into deep clefts,
and the grandfather had reason to warn Peter of danger. Having
climbed as far as the halting-place, Peter unslung his wallet and
put it carefully in a little hollow of the ground, for he knew
what the wind was like up there and did not want to see his
precious belongings sent rolling down the mountain by a sudden
gust. Then be threw himself at full length on the warm ground,
for he was tired after all his exertions.
Heidi meanwhile had unfastened her apron and rolling it carefully
round the flowers laid it beside Peter's wallet inside the
hollow; she then sat down beside his outstretched figure and
looked about her. The valley lay far below bathed in the morning
sun. In front of her rose a broad snow-field, high against the
dark-blue sky, while to the left was a huge pile of rocks on
either side of which a bare lofty peak, that seemed to pierce the
blue, looked frowningly down upon, her. The child sat without
moving, her eyes taking in the whole scene, and all around was a
great stillness, only broken by soft, light puffs of wind that
swayed the light bells of the blue flowers, and the shining gold
heads of the cistus, and set them nodding merrily on their
slender stems. Peter had fallen asleep after his fatigue and the
goats were climbing about among the bushes overhead. Heidi had
never felt so happy in her life before. She drank in the golden
sunlight, the fresh air, the sweet smell of the flowers, and
wished for nothing better than to remain there forever. So the
time went on, while to Heidi, who had so often looked up from the
valley at the mountains above, these seemed now to have faces,
and to be looking down at her like old friends. Suddenly she
heard a loud harsh cry overhead and lifting her eyes she saw a
bird, larger than any she had ever seen before, with great,
spreading wings, wheeling round and round in wide circles, and
uttering a piercing, croaking kind of sound above her.
"Peter, Peter, wake up!" called out Heidi. "See, the great bird
is there--look, look!"
Peter got up on hearing her call, and together they sat and
watched the bird, which rose higher and higher in the blue air
till it disappeared behind the grey mountain-tops.
"Where has it gone to?" asked Heidi, who had followed the bird's
movements with intense interest.
"Home to its nest," said Peter.
"Is his home right up there? Oh, how nice to be up so high! why
does he make that noise?"
"Because he can't help it," explained Peter.
"Let us climb up there and see where his nest is," proposed
"Oh! oh! oh!" exclaimed Peter, his disapproval of Heidi's
suggestion becoming more marked with each ejaculation, "why even
the goats cannot climb as high as that, besides didn't Uncle say
that you were not to fall over the rocks?"
Peter now began suddenly whistling and calling in such a loud
manner that Heidi could not think what was happening; but the
goats evidently understood his voice, for one after the other
they came springing down the rocks until they were all assembled
on the green plateau, some continuing to nibble at the juicy
stems, others skipping about here and there or pushing at each
other with their horns for pastime.
Heidi jumped up and ran in and out among them, for it was new to
her to see the goats playing together like this and her delight
was beyond words as she joined in their frolics; she made
personal acquaintance with them all in turn, for they were like
separate individuals to her, each single goat having a particular
way of behavior of its own. Meanwhile Peter had taken the wallet
out of the hollow and placed the pieces of bread and cheese on
the ground in the shape of a square, the larger two on Heidi's
side and the smaller on his own, for he knew exactly which were
hers and which his. Then he took the little bowl and milked some
delicious fresh milk into it from the white goat, and afterwards
set the bowl in the middle of the square. Now he called Heidi to
come, but she wanted more calling than the goats, for the child
was so excited and amused at the capers and lively games of her
new playfellows that she saw and heard nothing else. But Peter
knew how to make himself heard, for he shouted till the very
rocks above echoed his voice, and at last Heidi appeared, and
when she saw the inviting repast spread out upon the ground she
went skipping round it for joy.
"Leave off jumping about, it is time for dinner," said Peter;
"sit down now and begin."
Heidi sat down. "Is the milk for me?" she asked, giving another
look of delight at the beautifully arranged square with the bowl
as a chief ornament in the centre.
"Yes," replied Peter, "and the two large pieces of bread and
cheese are yours also, and when you have drunk up that milk, you
are to have another bowlful from the white goat, and then it will
be my turn."
"You can have that. I have plenty."
"And which do you get your milk from?" inquired Heidi.
"From my own goat, the piebald one. But go on now with your
dinner," said Peter, again reminding her it was time to eat.
Heidi now took up the bowl and drank her milk, and as soon as she
had put it down empty Peter rose and filled it again for her.
Then she broke off a piece of her bread and held out the
remainder, which was still larger than Peter's own piece,
together with the whole big slice of cheese to her companion,
saying, "You can have that, I have plenty."
Peter looked at Heidi, unable to speak for astonishment, for
never in all his life could he have said and done like that with
anything he had. He hesitated a moment, for he could not believe
that Heidi was in earnest; but the latter kept on holding out the
bread and cheese, and as Peter still did not take it, she laid it
down on his knees. He saw then that she really meant it; he
seized the food, nodded his thanks and acceptance of her present,
and then made a more splendid meal than he had known ever since
he was a goat-herd. Heidi the while still continued to watch the
goats. "Tell me all their names," she said.
Peter knew these by heart, for having very little else to carry
in his head he had no difficulty in remembering them. So he
began, telling Heidi the name of each goat in turn as he pointed
it out to her. Heidi listened with great attention, and it was
not long before she could herself distinguish the goats from one
another and could call each by name, for every goat had its own
peculiarities which could not easily be mistaken; only one had to
watch them closely, and this Heidi did. There was the great Turk
with his big horns, who was always wanting to butt the others, so
that most of them ran away when they saw him coming and would
have nothing to do with their rough companion. Only Greenfinch,
the slender nimble little goat, was brave enough to face him, and
would make a rush at him, three or four times in succession, with
such agility and dexterity, that the great Turk often stood still
quite astounded not venturing to attack her again, for Greenfinch
was fronting him, prepared for more warlike action, and her horns
were sharp. Then there was little White Snowflake, who bleated in
such a plaintive and beseeching manner that Heidi already had
several times run to it and taken its head in her hands to
comfort it. Just at this moment the pleading young cry was heard
again, and Heidi jumped up running and, putting her arms round
the little creature's neck, asked in a sympathetic voice, "What
is it, little Snowflake? Why do you call like that as if in
trouble?" The goat pressed closer to Heidi in a confiding way and
left off bleating. Peter called out from where he was
sitting--for he had not yet got to the end of his bread and
cheese, "She cries like that because the old goat is not with
her; she was sold at Mayenfeld the day before yesterday, and so
will not come up the mountain any more."
"Who is the old goat?" called Heidi back.
"Why, her mother, of course," was the answer.
"Where is the grandmother?" called Heidi again.
"She has none."
"And the grandfather?"
"She has none."
"Oh, you poor little Snowflake!" exclaimed Heidi, clasping the
animal gently to her, "but do not cry like that any more; see
now, I shall come up here with you every day, so that you will
not be alone any more, and if you want anything you have only to
come to me."
The young animal rubbed its head contentedly against Heidi's
shoulder, and no longer gave such plaintive bleats. Peter now
having finished his meal joined Heidi and the goats, Heidi having
by this time found out a great many things about these. She had
decided that by far the handsomest and best-behaved of the goats
were undoubtedly the two belonging to her grandfather; they
carried themselves with a certain air of distinction and
generally went their own way, and as to the great Turk they
treated him with indifference and contempt.
The goats were now beginning to climb the rocks again, each
seeking for the plants it liked in its own fashion, some jumping
over everything they met till they found what they wanted, others
going more carefully and cropping all the nice leaves by the way,
the Turk still now and then giving the others a poke with his
horns. Little Swan and Little Bear clambered lightly up and never
failed to find the best bushes, and then they would stand
gracefully poised on their pretty legs, delicately nibbling at
the leaves. Heidi stood with her hands behind her back, carefully
noting all they did.
"Peter," she said to the boy who had again thrown himself down on
the ground, "the prettiest of all the goats are Little Swan and
"Yes, I know they are," was the answer. "Alm-Uncle brushes them
down and washes them and gives them salt, and he has the nicest
shed for them."
All of a sudden Peter leaped to his feet and ran hastily after
the goats. Heidi followed him as fast as she could, for she was
too eager to know what had happened to stay behind. Peter dashed
through the middle of the flock towards that side of the mountain
where the rocks fell perpendicularly to a great depth below, and
where any thoughtless goat, if it went too near, might fall over
and break all its legs. He had caught sight of the inquisitive
Greenfinch taking leaps in that direction, and he was only just
in time, for the animal had already sprung to the edge of the
abyss. All Peter could do was to throw himself down and seize one
of her hind legs. Greenfinch, thus taken by surprise, began
bleating furiously, angry at being held so fast and prevented
from continuing her voyage of discovery. She struggled to get
loose, and endeavored so obstinately to leap forward that Peter
shouted to Heidi to come and help him, for he could not get up
and was afraid of pulling out the goat's leg altogether.
Heidi had already run up and she saw at once the danger both
Peter and the animal were in. She quickly gathered a bunch of
sweet-smelling leaves, and then, holding them under Greenfinch's
nose, said coaxingly, "Come, come, Greenfinch, you must not be
naughty! Look, you might fall down there and break your leg, and
that would give you dreadful pain!"
The young animal turned quickly, and began contentedly eating the
leaves out of Heidi's hand. Meanwhile Peter got on to his feet
again and took hold of Greenfinch by the band round her neck from
which her bell was hung, and Heidi taking hold of her in the same
way on the other side, they led the wanderer back to the rest of
the flock that had remained peacefully feeding. Peter, now he had
his goat in safety, lifted his stick in order to give her a good
beating as punishment, and Greenfinch seeing what was coming
shrank back in fear. But Heidi cried out, "No, no, Peter, you
must not strike her; see how frightened she is!"
"She deserves it," growled Peter, and again lifted his stick.
Then Heidi flung herself against him and cried indignantly, "You
have no right to touch her, it will hurt her, let her alone!"
Peter looked with surprise at the commanding little figure, whose
dark eyes were flashing, and reluctantly he let his stick drop.
"Well I will let her off if you will give me some more of your
cheese to-morrow," he said, for he was determined to have
something to make up to him for his fright.
"You shall have it all, to-morrow and every day, I do not want
it," replied Heidi, giving ready consent to his demand. "And I
will give you bread as well, a large piece like you had to-day;
but then you must promise never to beat Greenfinch, or Snowflake,
or any of the goats."
"All right," said Peter, "I don't care," which meant that he
would agree to the bargain. He now let go of Greenfinch, who
joyfully sprang to join her companions.
And thus imperceptibly the day had crept on to its close, and now
the sun was on the point of sinking out of sight behind the high
mountains. Heidi was again sitting on the ground, silently gazing
at the blue bell-shaped flowers, as they glistened in the evening
sun, for a golden light lay on the grass and flowers, and the
rocks above were beginning to shine and glow. All at once she
sprang to her feet, "Peter! Peter! everything is on fire! All the
rocks are burning, and the great snow mountain and the sky! O
look, look! the high rock up there is red with flame! O the
beautiful, fiery snow! Stand up, Peter! See, the fire has reached
the great bird's nest! look at the rocks! look at the fir trees!
Everything, everything is on fire!"
"It is always like that," said Peter composedly, continuing to
peel his stick; "but it is not really fire."
"What is it then?" cried Heidi, as she ran backwards and forwards
to look first one side and then the other, for she felt she could
not have enough of such a beautiful sight. "What is it, Peter,
what is it?" she repeated.
"It gets like that of itself," explained Peter.
"Look, look!" cried Heidi in fresh excitement, "now they have
turned all rose color! Look at that one covered with snow, and
that with the high, pointed rocks! What do you call them?"
"Mountains have not any names," he answered.
"O how beautiful, look at the crimson snow! And up there on the
rocks there are ever so many roses! Oh! now they are turning
grey! Oh! oh! now all the color has died away! it's all gone,
Peter." And Heidi sat down on the ground looking as full of
distress as if everything had really come to an end.
"It will come again to-morrow," said Peter. "Get up, we must go
home now." He whistled to his goats and together they all started
on their homeward way.
"Is it like that every day, shall we see it every day when we
bring the goats up here?" asked Heidi, as she clambered down the
mountain at Peter's side; she waited eagerly for his answer,
hoping that he would tell her it was so.
"It is like that most days," he replied.
"But will it be like that to-morrow for certain? Heidi persisted.
"Yes, yes, to-morrow for certain," Peter assured her in answer.
Heidi now felt quite happy again, and her little brain was so
full of new impressions and new thoughts that she did not speak
any more until they had reached the hut. The grandfather was
sitting under the fir trees, where he had also put up a seat,
waiting as usual for his goats which returned down the mountain
on this side.
Heidi ran up to him followed by the white and brown goats, for
they knew their own master and stall. Peter called out after her,
"Come with me again to-morrow! Good-night!" For he was anxious
for more than one reason that Heidi should go with him the next
Heidi ran back quickly and gave Peter her hand, promising to go
with him, and then making her way through the goats she once more
clasped Snowflake round the neck, saying in a gentle soothing
voice, "Sleep well, Snowflake, and remember that I shall be with
you again to-morrow, so you must not bleat so sadly any more."
Snowflake gave her a friendly and grateful look, and then went
leaping joyfully after the other goats.
Heidi returned to the fir-trees. "O grandfather," she cried, even
before she had come up to him, "it was so beautiful. The fire,
and the roses on the rocks, and the blue and yellow flowers, and
look what I have brought you!" And opening the apron that held
her flowers she shook them all out at her grandfather's feet. But
the poor flowers, how changed they were! Heidi hardly knew them
again. They looked like dry bits of hay, not a single little
flower cup stood open. "O grandfather, what is the matter with
them?" exclaimed Heidi in shocked surprise, "they were not like
that this morning, why do they look so now?"
"They like to stand out there in the sun and not to be shut up in
an apron," said her grandfather.
"Then I will never gather any more. But, grandfather, why did the
great bird go on croaking so? she continued in an eager tone of
"Go along now and get into your bath while I go and get some
milk; when we are together at supper I will tell you all about
Heidi obeyed, and when later she was sitting on her high stool
before her milk bowl with her grandfather beside her, she
repeated her question, "Why does the great bird go on croaking
and screaming down at us, grandfather?"
"He is mocking at the people who live down below in the villages,
because they all go huddling and gossiping together, and
encourage one another in evil talking and deeds. He calls out,
'If you would separate and each go your own way and come up here
and live on a height as I do, it would be better for you!' "
There was almost a wildness in the old man's voice as he spoke,
so that Heidi seemed to hear the croaking of the bird again even
"Why haven't the mountains any names?" Heidi went on.
"They have names," answered her grandfather, "and if you can
describe one of them to me that I know I will tell you what it is
Heidi then described to him the rocky mountain with the two high
peaks so exactly that the grandfather was delighted. "Just so, I
know it," and he told her its name. "Did you see any other?"
Then Heidi told him of the mountain with the great snow-field,
and how it had been on fire, and had, turned rosy-red and then
all of a sudden had grown quite pale again and all the color had
"I know that one too," he said, giving her its name. "So you
enjoyed being out with the goats?"
Then Heidi went on to give him an account of the whole day, and
of how delightful it had all been, and particularly described the
fire that had burst out everywhere in the evening. And then
nothing would do but her grandfather must tell how it came, for
Peter knew nothing about it.
The grandfather explained to her that it was the sun that did it.
"When he says good-night to the mountains he throws his most
beautiful colors over them, so that they may not forget him
before he comes again the next day."
Heidi was delighted with this explanation, and could hardly bear
to wait for another day to come that she might once more climb up
with the goats and see how the sun bid good-night to the
mountains. But she had to go to bed first, and all night she
slept soundly on her bed of hay, dreaming of nothing but of
shining mountains with red roses all over them, among which happy
little Snowflake went leaping in and out.
THE VISIT TO GRANDMOTHER
The next morning the sun came out early as bright as ever, and
then Peter appeared with the goats, and again the two children
climbed up together to the high meadows, and so it went on day
after day till Heidi, passing her life thus among the grass and
flowers, was burnt brown with the sun, and grew so strong and
healthy that nothing ever ailed her. She was happy too, and lived
from day to day as free and lighthearted as the little birds that
make their home among the green forest trees. Then the autumn
came, and the wind blew louder and stronger, and the grandfather
would say sometimes, "To-day you must stay at home, Heidi; a
sudden gust of the wind would blow a little thing like you over
the rocks into the valley below in a moment."
Whenever Peter heard that he must go alone he looked very
unhappy, for he saw nothing but mishaps of all kinds ahead, and
did not know how he should bear the long dull day without Heidi.
Then, too, there was the good meal he would miss, and besides
that the goats on these days were so naughty and obstinate that
he had twice the usual trouble with them, for they had grown so
accustomed to Heidi's presence that they would run in every
direction and refuse to go on unless she was with them. Heidi was
never unhappy, for wherever she was she found something to
interest or amuse her. She liked best, it is true, to go out with
Peter up to the flowers and the great bird, where there was so
much to be seen, and so many experiences to go through among the
goats with their different characters; but she also found her
grandfather's hammering and sawing and carpentering very
entertaining, and if it should chance to be the day when the
large round goat's-milk cheese was made she enjoyed beyond
measure looking on at this wonderful performance, and watching
her grandfather, as with sleeves rolled back, he stirred the
great cauldron with his bare arms. The thing which attracted her
most, however, was the waving and roaring of the three old fir
trees on these windy days. She would run away repeatedly from
whatever she might be doing, to listen to them, for nothing
seemed so strange and wonderful to her as the deep mysterious
sound in the tops of the trees. She would stand underneath them
and look up, unable to tear herself away, looking and listening
while they bowed and swayed and roared as the mighty wind rushed
through them. There was no longer now the warm bright sun that
had shone all through the summer, so Heidi went to the cupboard
and got out her shoes and stockings and dress, for it was growing
colder every day, and when Heidi stood under the fir trees the
wind blew through her as if she was a thin little leaf, but still
she felt she could not stay indoors when she heard the branches
Then it grew very cold, and Peter would come up early in the
morning blowing on his fingers to keep them warm. But he soon
left off coming, for one night there was a heavy fall of snow and
the next morning the whole mountain was covered with it, and not
a single little green leaf was to be seen anywhere upon it. There
was no Peter that day, and Heidi stood at the little window
looking out in wonderment, for the snow was beginning again, and
the thick flakes kept falling till the snow was up to the window,
and still they continued to fall, and the snow grew higher, so
that at last the window could not be opened, and she and her
grandfather were shut up fast within the hut. Heidi thought this
was great fun and ran from one window to the other to see what
would happen next, and whether the snow was going to cover up the
whole hut, so that they would have to light a lamp although it
was broad daylight. But things did not get as bad as that, and
the next day, the snow having ceased, the grandfather went out
and shovelled away the snow round the house, and threw it into
such great heaps that they looked like mountains standing at
intervals on either side the hut. And now the windows and door
could be opened, and it was well it was so, for as Heidi and her
grandfather were sitting one afternoon on their three-legged
stools before the fire there came a great thump at the door
followed by several others, and then the door opened. It was
Peter, who had made all that noise knocking the snow off his
shoes; he was still white all over with it, for he had had to
fight his way through deep snowdrifts, and large lumps of snow
that had frozen upon him still clung to his clothes. He had been
determined, however, not to be beaten and to climb up to the hut,
for it was a week now since he had seen Heidi.
"Good-evening," he said as he came in; then he went and placed
himself as near the fire as he could without saying another word,
but his whole face was beaming with pleasure at finding himself
there. Heidi looked on in astonishment, for Peter was beginning
to thaw all over with the warmth, so that he had the appearance
of a trickling waterfall.
"Well, General, and how goes it with you?" said the grandfather,
"now that you have lost your army you will have to turn to your
pen and pencil."
"Why must he turn to his pen and pencil?" asked Heidi
immediately, full of curiosity.
"During the winter he must go to school," explained her
grandfather, "and learn how to read and write; it's a bit hard,
although useful sometimes afterwards. Am I not right, General?"
"Yes, indeed," assented Peter.
Heidi's interest was now thoroughly awakened, and she had so many
questions to put to Peter about all that was to be done and seen
and heard at school, and the conversation took so long that Peter
had time to get thoroughly dry. Peter had always great difficulty
in putting his thoughts into words, and he found his share of the
talk doubly difficult to-day, for by the time he had an answer
ready to one of Heidi's questions she had already put two or
three more to him, and generally such as required a whole long
sentence in reply.
The grandfather sat without speaking during this conversation,
only now and then a twitch of amusement at the corners of his
mouth showed that he was listening.
"Well, now, General, you have been under fire for some time and
must want some refreshment, come and join us," he said at last,
and as he spoke he rose and went to fetch the supper out of the
cupboard, and Heidi pushed the stools to the table. There was
also now a bench fastened against the wall, for as he was no
longer alone the grandfather had put up seats of various kinds
here and there. long enough to hold two persons, for Heidi had a
way of always keeping close to her grandfather whether he was
walking, sitting or standing. So there was comfortable place for
them all three, and Peter opened his round eyes very wide when he
saw what a large piece of meat Alm-Uncle gave him on his thick
slice of bread. It was a long time since Peter had had anything
so nice to eat. As soon as the pleasant meal was over Peter began
to get ready for returning home, for it was already growing dark.
He had said his "good-night" and his thanks, and was just going
out, when he turned again and said, "I shall come again next
Sunday, this day week, and grandmother sent word that she would
like you to come and see her one day."
It was quite a new idea to Heidi that she should go and pay
anybody a visit, and she could not get it out of her head; so the
first thing she said to her grandfather the next day was, "I must
go down to see the grandmother to-day; she will be expecting me."
"The snow is too deep," answered the grandfather, trying to put
her off. But Heidi had made up her mind to go, since the
grandmother had sent her that message. She stuck to her intention
and not a day passed but what in the course of it she said five
or six times to her grandfather, "I must certainly go to-day, the
grandmother will be waiting for me."
On the fourth day, when with every step one took the ground
crackled with frost and the whole vast field of snow was hard as
ice, Heidi was sitting on her high stool at dinner with the
bright sun shining in upon her through the window, and again
repeated her little speech, "I must certainly go down to see the
grandmother to-day, or else I shall keep her waiting too long."
The grandfather rose from table, climbed up to the hay-loft and
brought down the thick sack that was Heidi's coverlid, and said,
"Come along then!" The child skipped out gleefully after him into
the glittering world of snow.
The old fir trees were standing now quite silent, their branches
covered with the white snow, and they looked so lovely as they
glittered and sparkled in the sunlight that Heidi jumped for joy
at the sight and kept on calling out, "Come here, come here,
grandfather! The fir trees are all silver and gold!" The
grandfather had gone into the shed and he now came out dragging a
large hand-sleigh along with him; inside it was a low seat, and
the sleigh could be pushed forward and guided by the feet of the
one who sat upon it with the help of a pole that was fastened to
the side. After he had been taken round the fir trees by Heidi
that he might see their beauty from all sides, he got into the
sleigh and lifted the child on to his lap; then he wrapped her up
in the sack, that she might keep nice and warm, and put his left
arm closely round her, for it was necessary to hold her tight
during the coming journey. He now grasped the pole with his right
hand and gave the sleigh a push forward with his two feet. The
sleigh shot down the mountain side with such rapidity that Heidi
thought they were flying through the air like a bird, and shouted
aloud with delight. Suddenly they came to a standstill, and there
they were at Peter's hut. Her grandfather lifted her out and
unwrapped her. "There you are, now go in, and when it begins to
grow dark you must start on your way home again." Then he left
her and went up the mountain, pulling his sleigh after him.
Heidi opened the door of the hut and stepped into a tiny room
that looked very dark, with a fireplace and a few dishes on a
wooden shelf; this was the little kitchen. She opened another
door, and now found herself in another small room, for the place
was not a herdsman's hut like her grandfather's, with one large
room on the ground floor and a hay-loft above, but a very old
cottage, where everything was narrow and poor and shabby. A table
was close to the door, and as Heidi stepped in she saw a woman
sitting at it, putting a patch on a waistcoat which Heidi
recognised at once as Peter's. In the corner sat an old woman,
bent with age, spinning. Heidi was quite sure this was the
grandmother, so she went up to the spinning-wheel and said,
"Good-day, grandmother, I have come at last; did you think I was
a long time coming?"
The woman raised her head and felt for the hand that the child
held out to her, and when she found it, she passed her own over
it thoughtfully for a few seconds, and then said, "Are you the
child who lives up with Alm-Uncle, are you Heidi?"
"Yes, yes," answered Heidi, "I have just come down in the sleigh
"Is it possible! Why your hands are quite warm! Brigitta, did
Alm-Uncle come himself with the child?"
Peter's mother had left her work and risen from the table and now
stood looking at Heidi with curiosity, scanning her from head to
foot. "I do not know, mother, whether Uncle came himself; it is
hardly likely, the child probably makes a mistake."
But Heidi looked steadily at the woman, not at all as if in any
uncertainty, and said, "I know quite well who wrapped me in my
bedcover and brought me down in the sleigh: it was grandfather."
"Are you the child who lives up with Alm-Uncle
are you Heidi?"
"There was some truth then perhaps in what Peter used to tell us
of Alm-Uncle during the summer, when we thought he must be
wrong," said grandmother; "but who would ever have believed that
such a thing was possible? I did not think the child would live
three weeks up there. What is she like, Brigitta?"
The latter had so thoroughly examined Heidi on all sides that she
was we'll able to describe her to her mother.
"She has Adelaide's slenderness of figure, but her eyes are dark
and her hair curly like her father's and the old man's up there:
she takes after both of them, I think."
Heidi meanwhile had not been idle; she had made the round of the
room and looked carefully at everything there was to be seen. All
of a sudden she exclaimed, "Grandmother, one of your shutters is
flapping backwards and forwards; grandfather would put a nail in
and make it all right in a minute, or else it will break one of
the panes some day; look, look, how it keeps on banging!"
"Ah, dear child," said the old woman, "I am not able to see it,
but I can hear that and many other things besides the shutter.
Everything about the place rattles and creaks when the wind is
blowing, and it gets inside through all the cracks and holes. The
house is going to pieces, and in the night, when the two others
are asleep, I often lie awake in fear and trembling, thinking
that the whole place will give way and fall and kill us. And
there is not a creature to mend anything for us, for Peter does
not understand such work."
"But why cannot you see, grandmother, that the shutter is loose.
Look, there it goes again, see, that one there!" And Heidi
pointed to the particular shutter.
"Alas, child, it is not only that I cannot see--I can see,
nothing, nothing," said the grandmother in a voice of
"But if I were to go outside and put back the shutter so that you
had more light, then you could see, grandmother?"
"No, no, not even then, no one can make it light for me again."
"But if you were to go outside among all the white snow, then
surely you would find it light; just come with me, grandmother,
and I will show you." Heidi took hold of the old woman's hand to
lead her along, for she was beginning to feel quite distressed at
the thought of her being without light.
"Let me be, dear child; it is always dark for me now; whether in
snow or sun, no light can penetrate my eyes."
"But surely it does in summer, grandmother," said Heidi, more and
more anxious to find some way out of the trouble, "when the hot
sun is shining down again, and he says good-night to the
mountains, and they all turn on fire, and the yellow flowers
shine like gold, then, you will see, it will be bright and
beautiful for you again."
"Ah, child, I shall see the mountains on fire or the yellow
flowers no more; it will never be light for me again on earth,
At these words Heidi broke into loud crying. In her distress she
kept on sobbing out, "Who can make it light for you again? Can no
one do it? Isn't there any one who can do it?"
The grandmother now tried to comfort the child, but it was not
easy to quiet her. Heidi did not often weep, but when she did she
could not get over her trouble for a long while. The grandmother
had tried all means in her power to allay the child's grief, for
it went to her heart to hear her sobbing so bitterly. At last she
said, "Come here, dear Heidi, come and let me tell you something.
You cannot think how glad one is to hear a kind word when one can
no longer see, and it is such a pleasure to me to listen to you
while you talk. So come and sit beside me and tell me something;
tell me what you do up there, and how grandfather occupies
himself. I knew him very well in old days; but for many years now
I have heard nothing of him, except through Peter, who never says
This was a new and happy idea to Heidi; she quickly dried her
tears and said in a comforting voice, "Wait, grandmother, till I
have told grandfather everything, he will make it light for you
again, I am sure, and will do something so that the house will
not fall; he will put everything right for you."
The grandmother was silent, and Heidi now began to give her a
lively description of her life with the grandfather, and of the
days she spent on the mountain with the goats, and then went on
to tell her of what she did now during the winter, and how her
grandfather was able to make all sorts of things, seats and
stools, and mangers where the hay was put for Little Swan and
Little Bear, besides a new large water-tub for her to bathe in
when the summer came, and a new milk-bowl and spoon, and Heidi
grew more and more animated as she enumerated all the beautiful
things which were made so magically out of pieces of wood; she
then told the grandmother how she stood by him and watched all he
did, and how she hoped some day to be able to make the same
The grandmother listened with the greatest attention, only from
time to time addressing her daughter, "Do you hear that,
Brigitta? Do you hear what she is saying about Uncle?"
The conversation was all at once interrupted by a heavy thump on
the door, and in marched Peter, who stood stock-still, opening
his eyes with astonishment, when he caught sight of Heidi; then
his face beamed with smiles as she called out, "Good-evening,
"What, is the boy back from school already?" exclaimed the
grandmother in surprise. "I have not known an afternoon pass so
quickly as this one for years. How is the reading getting on,
"Just the same," was Peter's answer.
The old woman gave a little sigh. "Ah, well," she said, "I hoped
you would have something different to tell me by this time, as
you are going to be twelve years old this February."
"What was it that you hoped he would have to tell you?" asked
Heidi, interested in all the grandmother said.
"I mean that he ought to have learnt to read a bit by now,"
continued the grandmother. "Up there on the shelf is an old
prayer-book, with beautiful songs in it which I have not heard
for a long time and cannot now remember to repeat to myself, and
I hoped that Peter would soon learn enough to be able to read one
of them to me sometimes; but he finds it too difficult."
"I must get a light, it is getting too dark to see," said Peter's
mother, who was still busy mending his waistcoat. "I feel too as
if the afternoon had gone I hardly know how."
Heidi now jumped up from her low chair, and holding out her hand
hastily to the grandmother said, "Good-night, grandmother, if it
is getting dark I must go home at once," and bidding good-bye to
Peter and his mother she went towards the door But the
grandmother called out in an anxious voice, "Wait, wait, Heidi;
you must not go alone like that, Peter must go with you; and take
care of the child, Peter, that she does not fall, and don't let
her stand still for fear she should get frozen, do you hear? Has
she got anything warm to put around her throat?"
"I have not anything to put on," called back Heidi, "but I am
sure I shall not be cold," and with that she ran outside and went
off at such a pace that Peter had difficulty in overtaking her.
The grandmother, still in distress, called out to her daughter,
"Run after her, Brigitta; the child will be frozen to death on
such a night as this; take my shawl, run quickly!"
Brigitta ran out. But the children had taken but a few steps
before they saw the grandfather coming down to meet them, and in
another minute his long strides had brought him to their side.
"That's right, Heidi; you have kept your word," said the
grandfather, and then wrapping the sack firmly round her he
lifted her in his arms and strode off with her up the mountain.
Brigitta was just in time to see him do all this, and on her
return to the hut with Peter expressed her astonishment to the
grandmother. The latter was equally surprised, and kept on
saying, "God be thanked that he is good to the child, God be
thanked! Will he let her come to me again, I wonder! the child
has done me so much good. What a loving little heart it is, and
how merrily she tells her tale!" And she continued to dwell with
delight on the thought of the child until she went to bed, still
saying now and again, "If only she will come again! Now I have
really something left in the world to take pleasure in." And
Brigitta agreed with all her mother said, and Peter nodded his
head in approval each time his grandmother spoke, saying, with a
broad smile of satisfaction, "I told you so!"
Meanwhile Heidi was chattering away to her grandfather from
inside her sack; her voice, however, could not reach him through
the many thick folds of her wrap, and as therefore it was
impossible to understand a word she was saying, he called to her,
"Wait till we get home, and then you can tell me all about it."
They had no sooner got inside the hut than Heidi, having been
released from her covering, at once began what she had to say,
"Grandfather, to-morrow we must take the hammer and the long
nails and fasten grandmother's shutter, and drive in a lot more
nails in other places, for her house shakes and rattles all
"We must, must we? who told you that?" asked her grandfather.
"Nobody told me, but I know it for all that," replied Heidi, "for
everything is giving way, and when the grandmother cannot sleep,
she lies trembling for fear at the noise, for she thinks that
every minute the house will fall down on their heads; and
everything now is dark for grandmother, and she does not think
any one can make it light for her again, but you will be able to,
I am sure, grandfather. Think how dreadful it is for her to be
always in the dark, and then to be frightened at what may happen,
and nobody can help her but you. To-morrow we must go and help
her; we will, won't we, grandfather?"
The child was clinging to the old man and looking up at him in
trustful confidence. The grandfather looked down at Heidi for a
while without speaking, and then said, "Yes, Heidi, we will do
something to stop the rattling, at least we can do that; we will
go down about it to-morrow!"
The child went skipping round the room for joy, crying out, "We
shall go to-morrow! we shall go to-morrow!"
The grandfather kept his promise. On the following afternoon he
brought the sleigh out again, and as on the previous day, he set
Heidi down at the door of the grandmother's hut and said, "Go in
now, and when it grows dark, come out again." Then he put the
sack in the sleigh and went round the house.
Heidi had hardly opened the door and sprung into the room when
the grandmother called out from her corner, "It's the child
again! here she comes!" and in her delight she let the thread
drop from her fingers, and the wheel stood still as she stretched
out both her hands in welcome. Heidi ran to her, and then quickly
drew the little stool close up to the old woman, and seating
herself upon it, began to tell and ask her all kinds of things.
All at once came the sound of heavy blows against the wall of the
hut and the grandmother gave such a start of alarm that she
nearly upset the spinning-wheel, and cried in a trembling voice,
"Ah, my God, now it is coming, the house is going to fall upon
us!" But Heidi caught her by the arm, and said soothingly, "No,
no, grandmother, do not be frightened, it is only grandfather
with his hammer; he is mending up everything, so that you shan't
have such fear and trouble."
"Is it possible! is it really possible! so the dear God has not
forgotten us!" exclaimed the grandmother. "Do you hear, Brigitta,
what that noise is? Did you hear what the child says? Now, as I
listen, I can tell it is a hammer; go outside, Brigitta, and if
it is Alm-Uncle, tell him he must come inside a moment that I may
Brigitta went outside and found Alm-Uncle in the act of fastening
some heavy pieces of new wood along the wall. She stepped up to
him and said, "Good-evening, Uncle, mother and I have to thank
you for doing us such a kind service, and she would like to tell
you herself how grateful she is; I do not know who else would
have done it for us; we shall not forget your kindness, for I am
"That will do," said the old man, interrupting her.
I know what you think of Alm-Uncle without your telling me. Go
indoors again, I can find out for myself where the mending is
Brigitta obeyed on the spot, for Uncle had a way with him that
made few people care to oppose his will. He went on knocking with
his hammer all round the house, and then mounted the narrow steps
to the roof, and hammered away there, until he had used up all
the nails he had brought with him. Meanwhile it had been growing
dark, and he had hardly come down from the roof and dragged the
sleigh out from behind the goat-shed when Heidi appeared outside.
The grandfather wrapped her up and took her in his arms as he had
done the day before, for although he had to drag the sleigh up
the mountain after him, he feared that if the child sat in it
alone her wrappings would fall off and that she would be nearly
if not quite frozen, so he carried her warm and safe in his arms.
So the winter went by. After many years of joyless life, the
blind grandmother had at last found something to make her happy;
her days were no longer passed in weariness and darkness, one
like the other without pleasure or change, for now she had always
something to which she could look forward. She listened for the
little tripping footstep as soon as day had come, and when she
heard the door open and knew the child was really there, she
would call out, "God be thanked, she has come again!" And Heidi
would sit by her and talk and tell her everything she knew in so
lively a manner that the grandmother never noticed how the time
went by, and never now as formerly asked Brigitta, "Isn't the day
done yet?" but as the child shut the door behind her on leaving,
would exclaim, "How short the afternoon has seemed; don't you
think so, Brigitta?" And this one would answer, "I do indeed; it
seems as if I had only just cleared away the mid-day meal." And
the grandmother would continue, "Pray God the child is not taken
from me, and that Alm-Uncle continues to let her come! Does she
look well and strong, Brigitta?" And the latter would answer,
"She looks as bright and rosy as an apple."
And Heidi had also grown very fond of the old grandmother, and
when at last she knew for certain that no one could make it light
for her again, she was overcome with sorrow; but the grandmother
told her again that she felt the darkness much less when Heidi
was with her, and so every fine winter's day the child came
travelling down in her sleigh. The grandfather always took her,
never raising any objection, indeed he always carried the hammer
and sundry other things down in the sleigh with him, and many an
afternoon was spent by him in making the goatherd's cottage sound
and tight. It no longer groaned and rattled the whole night
through, and the grandmother, who for many winters had not been
able to sleep in peace as she did now, said she should never
forget what the Uncle had done for her.
TWO VISITS AND WHAT CAME OF THEM
Quickly the winter passed, and still more quickly the bright glad
summer, and now another winter was drawing to its close. Heidi
was still as light-hearted and happy as the birds, and looked
forward with more delight each day to the coming spring, when the
warm south wind would roar through the fir trees and blow away
the snow, and the warm sun would entice the blue and yellow
flowers to show their heads, and the long days out on the
mountain would come again, which seemed to Heidi the greatest joy
that the earth could give. Heidi was now in her eighth year; she
had learnt all kinds of useful things from her grandfather; she
knew how to look after the goats as well as any one, and Little
Swan and Bear would follow her like two faithful dogs, and give a
loud bleat of pleasure when they heard her voice. Twice during
the course of this last winter Peter had brought up a message
from the schoolmaster at Dorfli, who sent word to Alm-Uncle that
he ought to send Heidi to school, as she was over the usual age,
and ought indeed to have gone the winter before. Uncle had sent
word back each time that the schoolmaster would find him at home
if he had anything he wished to say to him, but that he did not
intend to send Heidi to school, and Peter had faithfully
delivered his message.
When the March sun had melted the snow on the mountain side and
the snowdrops were peeping out all over the valley, and the fir
trees had shaken off their burden of snow and were again merrily
waving their branches in the air, Heidi ran backwards and
forwards with delight first to the goat-shed then to the
fir-trees, and then to the hut-door, in order to let her
grandfather know how much larger a piece of green there was under
the trees, and then would run off to look again, for she could
hardly wait till everything was green and the full beautiful
summer had clothed the mountain with grass and flowers. As Heidi
was thus running about one sunny March morning, and had just
jumped over the water-trough for the tenth time at least, she
nearly fell backwards into it with fright, for there in front of
her, looking gravely at her, stood an old gentleman dressed in
black. When he saw how startled she was, he said in a kind voice,
"Don't be afraid of me, for I am very fond of children. Shake
hands! You must be the Heidi I have heard of; where is your
"He is sitting by the table, making round wooden spoons," Heidi
informed him, as she opened the door.
He was the old village pastor from Dorfli who had been a neighbor
of Uncle's when he lived down there, and had known him well. He
stepped inside the hut, and going up to the old man, who was
bending over his work, said, "Good-morning, neighbor."
The grandfather looked up in surprise, and then rising said,
"Good-morning" in return. He pushed his chair towards the visitor
as he continued, "If you do not mind a wooden seat there is one
The pastor sat down. "It is a long time since I have seen you,
neighbor," he said.
"Or I you," was the answer.
"I have come to-day to talk over something with you," continued
the pastor. "I think you know already what it is that has brought
me here," and as he spoke he looked towards the child who was
standing at the door, gazing with interest and surprise at the
"Heidi, go off to the goats," said her grandfather. You take them
a little salt and stay with them till I come."
Heidi vanished on the spot.
"The child ought to have been at school a year ago, and most
certainly this last winter," said the pastor. "The schoolmaster
sent you word about it, but you gave him no answer. What are you
thinking of doing with the child, neighbor?"
"I am thinking of not sending her to school," was the answer.
The visitor, surprised, looked across at the old man, who was
sitting on his bench with his arms crossed and a determined
expression about his whole person.
"How are you going to let her grow up then?" he asked.
"I am going to let her grow up and be happy among the goats and
birds; with them she is safe, and will learn nothing evil."
"But the child is not a goat or a bird, she is a human being. If
she learns no evil from these comrades of hers, she will at the
same time learn nothing; but she ought not to grow up in
ignorance, and it is time she began her lessons. I have come now
that you may have leisure to think over it, and to arrange about
it during the summer. This is the last winter that she must be
allowed to run wild; next winter she must come regularly to
school every day."
"She will do no such thing," said the old man with calm
"Do you mean that by no persuasion can you be brought to see
reason, and that you intend to stick obstinately to your
decision?" said the pastor, growing somewhat angry. "You have
been about the world, and must have seen and learnt much, and I
should have given you credit for more sense, neighbor."
"Indeed," replied the old man, and there was a tone in his voice
that betrayed a growing irritation on his part too, "and does the
worthy pastor really mean that he would wish me next winter to
send a young child like that some miles down the mountain on
ice-cold mornings through storm and snow, and let her return at
night when the wind is raging, when even one like ourselves would
run a risk of being blown down by it and buried in the snow? And
perhaps he may not have forgotten the child's mother, Adelaide?
She was a sleep-walker, and had fits. Might not the child be
attacked in the same way if obliged to over-exert herself? And
some one thinks they can come and force me to send her? I will go
before all the courts of justice in the country, and then we
shall see who will force me to do it!"
"You are quite right, neighbor," said the pastor in a friendly
tone of voice. "I see it would have been impossible to send the
child to school from here. But I perceive that the child is dear
to you; for her sake do what you ought to have done long ago:
come down into Dorfli and live again among your fellowmen. What
sort of a life is this you lead, alone, and with bitter thoughts
towards God and man! If anything were to happen to you up here
who would there be to help you? I cannot think but what you must
be half-frozen to death in this hut in the winter, and I do not
know how the child lives through it!"
"The child has young blood in her veins and a good roof over her
head, and let me further tell the pastor, that I know where wood
is to be found, and when is the proper time to fetch it; the
pastor can go and look inside my wood-shed; the fire is never out
in my hut the whole winter through. As to going to live below
that is far from my thoughts; the people despise me and I them;
it is therefore best for all of us that we live apart."
"No, no, it is not best for you; I know what it is you lack,"
said the pastor in an earnest voice. "As to the people down there
looking on you with dislike, it is not as bad as you think.
Believe me, neighbor; seek to make your peace with God, pray for
forgiveness where you need it, and then come and see how
differently people will look upon you, and how happy you may yet
The pastor had risen and stood holding out his hand to the old
man as he added with renewed earnestness, "I will wager,
neighbor, that next winter you will be down among us again, and
we shall be good neighbors as of old. I should be very grieved if
any pressure had to be put upon you; give me your hand and
promise me that you will come and live with us again and become
reconciled to God and man."
Alm-Uncle gave the pastor his hand and answered him calmly and
firmly, "You mean well by me I know, but as to that which you
wish me to do, I say now what I shall continue to say, that I
will not send the child to school nor come and live among you."
"Then God help you!" said the pastor, and he turned sadly away
and left the hut and went down the mountain.
Alm-Uncle was out of humor. When Heidi said as usual that
afternoon, "Can we go down to grandmother now?" he answered, "Not
to-day." He did not speak again the whole of that day, and the
following morning when Heidi again asked the same question, he
replied, "We will see." But before the dinner bowls had been
cleared away another visitor arrived, and this time it was Cousin
Dete. She had a fine feathered hat on her head, and a long
trailing skirt to her dress which swept the floor, and on the
floor of a goatherd's hut there are all sorts of things that do
not belong to a dress.
The grandfather looked her up and down without uttering a word.
But Dete was prepared with an exceedingly amiable speech and
began at once to praise the looks of the child. She was looking
so well she should hardly have known her again, and it was
evident that she had been happy and well-cared for with her
grandfather; but she had never lost sight of the idea of taking
the child back again, for she well understood that the little one
must be much in his way, but she had not been able to do it at
first. Day and night, however, she had thought over the means of
placing the child somewhere, and that was why she had come
to-day, for she had just heard of something that would be a lucky
chance for Heidi beyond her most ambitious hopes. Some immensely
wealthy relatives of the people she was serving, who had the most
splendid house almost in Frankfurt, had an only daughter, young
and an invalid, who was always obliged to go about in a wheeled
chair; she was therefore very much alone and had no one to share
her lessons, and so the little girl felt dull. Her father had
spoken to Dete's mistress about finding a companion for her, and
her mistress was anxious to help in the matter, as she felt so
sympathetic about it. The lady-housekeeper had described the sort
of child they wanted, simple-minded and unspoilt, and not like
most of the children that one saw now-a-days. Dete had thought at
once of Heidi and had gone off without delay to see the
lady-housekeeper, and after Dete had given her a description of
Heidi, she had immediately agreed to take her. And no one could
tell what good fortune there might not be in store for Heidi, for
if she was once with these people and they took a fancy to her,
and anything happened to their own daughter--one could never
tell, the child was so weakly--and they did not feel they could
live without a child, why then the most unheard of luck--
"Have you nearly finished what you had to say? broke in
Alm-Uncle, who had allowed her to talk on uninterruptedly so far.
"Ugh!" exclaimed Dete, throwing up her head in disgust, "one
would think I had been talking to you about the most ordinary
matter; why there is not one person in all Prattigau who would
not thank God if I were to bring them such a piece of news as I
am bringing you."
"You may take your news to anybody you like, I will have nothing
to do with it."
But now Dete leaped up from her seat like a rocket and cried, "If
that is all you have to say about it, why then I will give you a
bit of my mind. The child is now eight years old and knows
nothing, and you will not let her learn. You will not send her to
church or school, as I was told down in Dorfli, and she is my own
sister's child. I am responsible for what happens to her, and
when there is such a good opening for a child, as this which
offers for Heidi, only a person who cares for nobody and never
wishes good to any one would think of not jumping at it. But I am
not going to give in, and that I tell you; I have everybody in
Dorfli on my side; there is not one person there who will not
take my part against you; and I advise you to think well before
bringing it into court, if that is your intention; there are
certain things which might be brought up against you which you
would not care to hear, for when one has to do with law-courts
there is a great deal raked up that had been forgotten."
"Be silent!" thundered the Uncle, and his eyes flashed with
anger. "Go and be done with you! and never let me see you again
with your hat and feather, and such words on your tongue as you
come with today!" And with that he strode out of the hut.
"You have made grandfather angry," said Heidi, and her dark eyes
had anything but a friendly expression in them as she looked at
"He will soon be all right again; come now," said Dete hurriedly,
"and show me where your clothes are."
"I am not coming," said Heidi.
"Nonsense," continued Dete; then altering her tone to one
half-coaxing, half-cross, "Come, come, you do not understand any
better than your grandfather; you will have all sorts of good
things that you never dreamed of." Then she went to the cupboard
and taking out Heidi's things rolled them up in a bundle. "Come
along now, there's your hat; it is very shabby but will do for
the present; put it on and let us make haste off."
"I am not coming," repeated Heidi.
"Don't be so stupid and obstinate, like a goat; I suppose it's
from the goats you have learnt to be so. Listen to me: you saw
your grandfather was angry and heard what he said, that he did
not wish to see us ever again; he wants you now to go away with
me and you must not make him angrier still. You can't think how
nice it is at Frankfurt, and what a lot of things you will see,
and if you do not like it you can come back again; your
grandfather will be in a good temper again by that time."
"Can I return at once and be back home again here this evening?"
"What are you talking about, come along now! I tell you that you
can come back here when you like. To-day we shall go as far as
Mayenfeld, and early to-morrow we shall start in the train, and
that will bring you home again in no time when you wish it, for
it goes as fast as the wind."
Dete had now got the bundle under her arm and the child by the
hand, and so they went down the mountain together.
As it was still too early in the year to take his goats out,
Peter continued to go to school at Dorfli, but now and again he
stole a holiday, for he could see no use in learning to read,
while to wander about a bit and look for stout sticks which might
be wanted some day he thought a far better employment. As Dete
and Heidi neared the grandmother's hut they met Peter coming
round the corner; he had evidently been well rewarded that day
for his labors, for he was carrying an immense bundle of long
thick hazel sticks on his shoulders. He stood still and stared at
the two approaching figures; as they came up to him, he
exclaimed, "Where are you going, Heidi?"
"I am only just going over to Frankfurt for a little visit with
Dete," she replied; "but I must first run in to grandmother, she
will be expecting me."
"No, no, you must not stop to talk; it is already too late," said
Dete, holding Heidi, who was struggling to get away, fast by the
hand. "You can go in when you come back, you must come along
now," and she pulled the child on with her, fearing that if she
let her go in Heidi might take it into her head again that she
did not wish to come, and that the grandmother might stand by
her. Peter ran into the hut and banged against the table with his
bundle of sticks with such violence that everything in the room
shook, and his grandmother leaped up with a cry of alarm from her
spinning-wheel. Peter had felt that he must give vent to his
"What is the matter? What is the matter?" cried the frightened
old woman, while his mother, who had also started up from her
seat at the shock, said in her usual patient manner, "What is it,
Peter? why do you behave so roughly?"
"Because she is taking Heidi away," explained Peter.
"Who? who? where to, Peter, where to?" asked the grandmother,
growing still more agitated; but even as she spoke she guessed
what had happened, for Brigitta had told her shortly before that
she had seen Dete going up to Alm-Uncle. The old woman rose
hastily and with trembling hands opened the window and called out
beseechingly, "Dete, Dete, do not take the child away from us! do
not take her away!"
The two who were hastening down the mountain heard her voice, and
Dete evidently caught the words, for she grasped Heidi's hand
more firmly. Heidi struggled to get free, crying, "Grandmother is
calling, I must go to her."
But Dete had no intention of letting the child go, and quieted
her as best she could; they must make haste now, she said, or
they would be too late and not able to go on the next day to
Frankfurt, and there the child would see how delightful it was,
and Dete was sure would not wish to go back when she was once
there. But if Heidi wanted to return home she could do so at
once, and then she could take something she liked back to
grandmother. This was a new idea to Heidi, and it pleased her so
much that Dete had no longer any difficulty in getting her along.
After a few minutes' silence, Heidi asked, "What could I take
back to her?"
"We must think of something nice," answered Dete; "a soft roll of
white bread; she would enjoy that, for now she is old she can
hardly eat the hard, black bread."
"No, she always gives it back to Peter, telling him it is too
hard, for I have seen her do it myself," affirmed Heidi. "Do let
us make haste, for then perhaps we can get back soon from
Frankfurt, and I shall be able to give her the white bread
to-day." And Heidi started off running so fast that Dete with the
bundle under her arm could scarcely keep up with her. But she was
glad, nevertheless, to get along so quickly, for they were
nearing Dorfli, where her friends would probably talk and
question in a way that might put other ideas into Heidi's head.
So she went on straight ahead through the village, holding Heidi
tightly by the hand, so that they might all see that it was on
the child's account she was hurrying along at such a rate. To all
their questions and remarks she made answer as she passed "I
can't stop now, as you see, I must make haste with the child as
we have yet some way to go."
"Are you taking her away?" "Is she running away from Alm-Uncle?"
"It's a wonder she is still alive!" "But what rosy cheeks she
has!" Such were the words which rang out on all sides, and Dete
was thankful that she had not to stop and give any distinct
answers to them, while Heidi hurried eagerly forward without
saying a word.
From that day forward Alm-Uncle looked fiercer and more
forbidding than ever when he came down and passed through Dorfli.
He spoke to no one, and looked such an ogre as he came along with
his pack of cheeses on his back, his immense stick in his hand,
and his thick, frowning eyebrows, that the women would call to
their little ones, "Take care! get out of Alm-Uncle's way or he
may hurt you!"
The old man took no notice of anybody as he strode through the
village on his way to the valley below, where he sold his cheeses
and bought what bread and meat he wanted for himself. After he
had passed the villagers all crowded together looking after him,
and each had something to say about him; how much wilder he
looked than usual, how now he would not even respond to anybody's
greeting, while they all agreed that it was a great mercy the
child had got away from him, and had they not all noticed how the
child had hurried along as if afraid that her grandfather might
be following to take her back? Only the blind grandmother would
have nothing to say against him, and told those who came to her
to bring her work, or take away what she had spun, how kind and
thoughtful he had been with the child, how good to her and her
daughter, and how many afternoons he had spent mending the house
which, but for his help, would certainly by this time have fallen
down over their heads. And all this was repeated down in Dorfli;
but most of the people who heard it said that grandmother was too
old to understand, and very likely had not heard rightly what was
said; as she was blind she was probably also deaf.
Alm-Uncle went no more now to the grandmother's house, and it was
well that he had made it so safe, for it was not touched again
for a long time. The days were sad again now for the old blind
woman, and not one passed but what she would murmur
complainingly, "Alas! all our happiness and pleasure have gone
with the child, and now the days are so long and dreary! Pray
God, I see Heidi again once more before I die!"
A NEW CHAPTER ABOUT NEW THINGS
In her home at Frankfurt, Clara, the little daughter of Herr
Sesemann, was lying on the invalid couch on which she spent her
whole day, being wheeled in it from room to room. Just now she
was in what was known as the study, where, to judge by the
various things standing and lying about, which added to the cosy
appearance of the room, the family was fond of sitting. A
handsome bookcase with glass doors explained why it was called
the study, and here evidently the little girl was accustomed to
have her lessons.
Clara's little face was thin and pale, and at this moment her two
soft blue eyes were fixed on the clock, which seemed to her to go
very slowly this day, and with a slight accent of impatience,
which was very rare with her, she asked, "Isn't it time yet,
This lady was sitting very upright at a small work-table, busy
with her embroidery. She had on a mysterious-looking loose
garment, a large collar or shoulder-cape that gave a certain
solemnity to her appearance, which was enhanced by a very lofty
dome-shaped head dress. For many years past, since the mistress
of the house had died, the housekeeping and the superintendence
of the servants had been entrusted by Herr Sesemann to Fraulein
Rottenmeier. He himself was often away from home, and he left her
in sole charge, with the condition only that his little daughter
should have a voice in all matters, and that nothing should be
done against her wish.
As Clara was putting her impatient question for the second time,
Dete and Heidi arrived at the front door, and the former inquired
of the coachman, who had just got down from his box, if it was
too late to see Fraulein Rottenmeier.
"That's not my business," grumbled the coachman; "ring the bell
in the hall for Sebastian."
Dete did so, and Sebastian came downstairs; he looked astonished
when he saw her, opening his eyes till they were nearly as big as
the large round buttons on his coat.
"Is it too late for me to see Fraulein Rottenmeier?" Dete asked
"That's not my business," answered the man; "ring that other bell
for the maid Tinette," and without troubling himself any farther
Dete rang again. This time Tinette appeared with a spotless white
cap perched on the top of her head and a mocking expression of
"What is it?" she called from the top of the stairs. Dete
repeated her question. Tinette disappeared, but soon came back
and called down again to Dete, "Come up, she is expecting you."
Dete and Heidi went upstairs and into the study, Tinette
following. Dete remained standing politely near the door, still
holding Heidi tightly by the hand, for she did not know what the
child might take it into her head to do amid these new
Fraulein Rottenmeier rose slowly and went up to the little new
companion for the daughter of the house, to see what she was
like. She did not seem very pleased with her appearance. Heidi
was dressed in her plain little woollen frock, and her hat was an
old straw one bent out of shape. The child looked innocently out
from beneath it, gazing with unconcealed astonishment at the
lady's towering head dress.
"What is your name?" asked Fraulen Rottenmeier, after
scrutinisingly examining the child for some minutes, while Heidi
in return kept her eyes steadily fixed upon the lady.
"Heidi," she answered in a clear, ringing voice.
"What? what? that's no Christian name for a child; you were not
christened that. What name did they give you when you were
baptized?" continued Frauleln Rottenmeier.
"I do not remember," replied Heidi.
"What a way to answer!" said the lady, shaking her head. "Dete,
is the child a simpleton or only saucy?"
"If the lady will allow me, I will speak for the child, for she
is very unaccustomed to strangers," said Dete, who had given
Heidi a silent poke for making such an unsuitable answer. "She is
certainly not stupid nor yet saucy, she does not know what it
means even; she speaks exactly as she thinks. To-day she is for
the first time in a gentleman's house and she does not know good
manners; but she is docile and very willing to learn, if the lady
will kindly make excuses for her. She was christened Adelaide,
after her mother, my sister, who is now dead."
"Well, that's a name that one can pronounce," remarked Fraulein
Rottenmeier. "But I must tell you, Dete, that I am astonished to
see so young a child. I told you that I wanted a companion of the
same age as the young lady of the house, one who could share her
lessons, and all her other occupations. Fraulein Clara is now
over twelve; what age is this child?"
"If the lady will allow me," began Dete again, in her usual
fluent manner, "I myself had lost count of her exact age; she is
certainly a little younger, but not much; I cannot say precisely,
but I think she is ten, or thereabouts."
"Grandfather told me I was eight," put in Heidi. Dete gave her
another poke, but as the child had not the least idea why she did
so she was not at all confused.
"What--only eight!" cried Fraulein Rottenmeier angrily. "Four
years too young! Of what use is such a child! And what have you
learnt? What books did you have to learn from?"
"None," said Heidi.
"How? what? How then did you learn to read?" continued the lady.
"I have never learnt to read, or Peter either," Heidi informed
"Mercy upon us! you do not know how to read! Is it really so?"
exclaimed Fraulein Rottenmeier, greatly horrified. "Is it
possible--not able to read? What have you learnt then?"
"Nothing," said Heidi with unflinching truthfulness.
"Young woman," said the lady to Dete, after having paused for a
minute or two to recover from her shock, "this is not at all the
sort of companion you led me to suppose; how could you think of
bringing me a child like this?"
But Dete was not to be put down so easily, and answered warmly,
"If the lady will allow me, the child is exactly what I thought
she required; the lady described what she wished for, a child
unlike all other children, and I could find no other to suit, for
the greater number I know are not peculiar, but one very much the
same as the other, and I thought this child seemed as if made for
the place. But I must go now, for my mistress will be waiting for
me; if the lady will permit I will come again soon and see how
she is getting on." And with a bow Dete quickly left the room and
ran downstairs. Fraulein Rottenmeier stood for a moment taken
aback and then ran after Dete. If the child was to stop she had
many things yet to say and ask about her, and there the child
was, and what was more, Dete, as she plainly saw, meant to leave
Heidi remained by the door where she had been standing since she
first came in. Clara had looked on during the interview without
speaking; now she beckoned to Heidi and said, "Come here!"
Heidi went up to her.
"Would you rather be called Heidi or Adelaide? asked Clara.
"I am never called anything but Heidi," was the child's prompt
"Then I shall always call you by that name," said Clara, "it
suits you. I have never heard it before, but neither have I ever
seen a child like you before. Have you always had that short
"Yes, I think so," said Heidi.
"Are you pleased to come to Frankfurt? went on Clara.
"No, but I shall go home to-morrow and take grandmother a white
loaf," explained Heidi.
"Well, you are a funny child!" exclaimed Clara. "You were
expressly sent for to come here and to remain with me and share
my lessons; there will be some fun about them now as you cannot
read, something new to do, for often they are dreadfully dull,
and I think the morning will never pass away. You know my tutor
comes every morning at about ten o'clock, and then we go on with
lessons till two, and it does seem such a long time. Sometimes he
takes up the book and holds it close up to his face, as if he was
very short-sighted, but I know it's only because he wants so
dreadfully to gape, and Fraulein Rottenmeier takes her large
handkerchief out also now and then and covers her face with it,
as if she was moved by what we had been reading, but that is only
because she is longing to gape too. And I myself often want to
gape, but I am obliged to stop myself, for if Fraulein
Rottenmeier sees me gaping she runs off at once and fetches the
cod-liver oil and says I must have a dose, as I am getting weak
again, and the cod-liver oil is horrible, so I do my best not to
gape. But now it will be much more amusing, for I shall be able
to lie and listen while you learn to read."
"I am never called anything but Heidi."
Heidi shook her head doubtfully when she heard of learning to
"Oh, nonsense, Heidi, of course you must learn to read, everybody
must, and my tutor is very kind, and never cross, and he will
explain everything to you. But mind, when he explains anything to
you, you won't be able to understand; but don't ask any
questions, or else he will go on explaining and you will
understand less than ever. Later when you have learnt more and
know about things yourself, then you will begin to understand
what he meant."
Fraulein Rottenmeier now came back into the room; she had not
been able to overtake Dete, and was evidently very much put out;
for she had wanted to go into more details concerning the child,
and to convince Dete how misleading she had been, and how unfit
Heidi was as a companion for Clara; she really did not know what
to be about, or how to undo the mischief, and it made her all the
more angry that she herself was responsible for it, having
consented to Heidi being fetched. She ran backwards and forwards
in a state of agitation between the study and the dining-room,
and then began scolding Sebastian, who was standing looking at
the table he had just finished laying to see that nothing was
"You can finish your thoughts to-morrow morning; make haste, or
we shall get no dinner to-day at all."
Then hurrying out she called Tinette, but in such an ill-tempered
voice that the maid came tripping forward with even more mincing
steps than usual, but she looked so pert that even Fraulein
Rottenmeier did not venture to scold her, which only made her
suppressed anger the greater.
"See that the room is prepared for the little girl who has just
arrived," said the lady, with a violent effort at self-control.
"Everything is ready; it only wants dusting."
"It's worth my troubling about," said Tinette mockingly as she
Meanwhile Sebastian had flung open the folding doors leading into
the dining-room with rather more noise than he need, for he was
feeling furious, although he did not dare answer back when
Fraulein Rottenmeier spoke to him; he then went up to Clara's
chair to wheel her into the next room. As he was arranging the
handle at the back preparatory to doing so, Heidi went near and
stood staring at him. Seeing her eyes fixed upon him, he suddenly
growled out, "Well, what is there in me to stare at like that?"
which he would certainly not have done if he had been aware that
Fraulein Rottenmeier was just then entering the room. "You look
so like Peter," answered Heidi. The lady-housekeeper clasped her
hands in horror. "Is it possible!" she stammered half-aloud, "she
is now addressing the servant as if he were a friend! I never
could have imagined such a child!"
Sebastian wheeled the couch into the dining-room and helped Clara
on to her chair. Fraulein Rottenmeier took the seat beside her
and made a sign to Heidi to take the one opposite. They were the
only three at table, and as they sat far apart there was plenty
of room for Sebastian to hand his dishes. Beside Heidi's plate
lay a nice white roll, and her eyes lighted up with pleasure as
she saw it. The resemblance which Heidi had noticed had evidently
awakened in her a feeling of confidence towards Sebastian, for
she sat as still as a mouse and without moving until he came up
to her side and handed her the dish of fish; then she looked at
the roll and asked, "Can I have it?" Sebastian nodded, throwing a
side glance at Fraulein Rottenmeier to see what effect this
request would have upon her. Heidi immediately seized the roll
and put it in her pocket. Sebastian's face became convulsed, he
was overcome with inward laughter but knew his place too well to
laugh aloud. Mute and motionless he still remained standing
beside Heidi; it was not his duty to speak, nor to move away
until she had helped herself. Heidi looked wonderingly at him for
a minute or two, and then said, "Am I to eat some of that too?"
Sebastian nodded again. "Give me some then," she said, looking
calmly at her plate. At this Sebastian's command of his
countenance became doubtful, and the dish began to tremble
suspiciously in his hands.
"You can put the dish on the table and come back presently," said
Fraulein Rottenmeier with a severe expression of face. Sebastian
disappeared on the spot. "As for you, Adelaide, I see I shall
have to teach you the first rules of behavior," continued the
lady-housekeeper with a sigh. "I will begin by explaining to you
how you are to conduct yourself at table," and she went on to
give Heidi minute instructions as to all she was to do. "And
now," she continued, "I must make you particularly understand
that you are not to speak to Sebastian at table, or at any other
time, unless you have an order to give him, or a necessary
question to put to him; and then you are not to address him as if
he was some one belonging to you. Never let me hear you speak to
him in that way again! It is the same with Tinette, and for
myself you are to address me as you hear others doing. Clara must
herself decide what you are to call her."
"Why, Clara, of course," put the latter. Then followed a long
list of rules as to general behavior, getting up and going to
bed, going in and out of the room, shutting the doors, keeping
everything tidy, during the course of which Heidi's eyes
gradually closed, for she had been up before five o'clock that
morning and had had a long journey. She leant back in her chair
and fell fast asleep. Fraulein Rottenmeier having at last come to
the end of her sermonizing said, "Now remember what I have said,
Adelaide! Have you understood it all?"
"Heidi has been asleep for ever so long," said Clara, her face
rippling all over with amusement, for she had not had such an
entertaining dinner for a long time.
"It is really insupportable what one has to go through with this
child," exclaimed Fraulein Rottenmeier, in great indignation, and
she rang the bell so violently that Tinette and Sebastian both
came running in and nearly tumbling over one another; but no
noise was sufficient to wake Heidi, and it was with difficulty
they could rouse her sufficiently to get her along to her
bedroom, to reach which she had to pass first through the study,
then through Clara's bedroom, then through Fraulein Rottenmeier's
sitting-room, till she came to the corner room that had been set
apart for her.
FRAULEIN ROTTENMEIER SPENDS AN UNCOMFORTABLE DAY
When Heidi opened her eyes on her first morning in Frankfurt she
could not think where she was. Then she rubbed them and looked
about her. She was sitting up in a high white bed, on one side of
a large, wide room, into which the light was falling through
very, very long white curtains; near the window stood two chairs
covered with large flowers, and then came a sofa with the same
flowers, in front of which was a round table; in the corner was a
washstand, with things upon it that Heidi had never seen in her
life before. But now all at once she remembered that she was in
Frankfurt; everything that had happened the day before came back
to her, and finally she recalled clearly the instructions that
had been given her by the lady-housekeeper, as far as she had
heard them. Heidi jumped out of bed and dressed herself; then she
ran first to one window and then another; she wanted to see the
sky and country outside; she felt like a bird in a cage behind
those great curtains. But they were too heavy for her to put
aside, so she crept underneath them to get to the window. But
these again were so high that she could only just get her head
above the sill to peer out. Even then she could not see what she
longed for. In vain she went first to one and then the other of
the windows--she could see nothing but walls and windows and
again walls and windows. Heidi felt quite frightened. It was
still early, for Heidi was accustomed to get up early and run out
at once to see how everything was looking, if the sky was blue
and if the sun was already above the mountains, or if the fir
trees were waving and the flowers had opened their eyes. As a
bird, when it first finds itself in its bright new cage, darts
hither and thither, trying the bars in turn to see if it cannot
get through them and fly again into the open, so Heidi continued
to run backwards and forwards, trying to open first one and then
the other of the windows, for she felt she could not bear to see
nothing but walls and windows, and somewhere outside there must
be the green grass, and the last unmelted snows on the mountain
slopes, which Heidi so longed to see. But the windows remained
immovable, try what Heidi would to open them, even endeavoring to
push her little fingers under them to lift them up; but it was
all no use. When after a while Heidi saw that her efforts were
fruitless, she gave up trying, and began to think whether she
would not go out and round the house till she came to the grass,
but then she remembered that the night before she had only seen
stones in front of the house. At that moment a knock came to the
door, and immediately after Tinette put her head inside and said,
"Breakfast is ready." Heidi had no idea what an invitation so
worded meant, and Tinette's face did not encourage any
questioning on Heidi's part, but rather the reverse. Heidi was
sharp enough to read its expression, and acted accordingly. So
she drew the little stool out from under the table, put it in the
corner and sat down upon it, and there silently awaited what
would happen next. Shortly after, with a good deal of rustling
and bustling Fraulein Rottenmeier appeared, who again seemed very
much put out and called to Heidi, "What is the matter with you,
Adelheid? Don't you understand what breakfast is? Come along at
Heidi had no difficulty in understanding now and followed at
once. Clara had been some time at the breakfast table and she
gave Heidi a kindly greeting, her face looking considerably more
cheerful than usual, for she looked forward to all kinds of new
things happening again that day. Breakfast passed off quietly;
Heidi eat her bread and butter in a perfectly correct manner, and
when the meal was over and Clara wheeled back into the study,
Fraulein Rottenmeier told her to follow and remain with Clara
until the tutor should arrive and lessons begin.
As soon as the children were alone again, Heidi asked, "How can
one see out from here, and look right down on to the ground?"
"You must open the window and look out," replied Clara amused.
"But the windows won't open," responded Heidi sadly.
"Yes, they will," Clara assured her. "You cannot open them, nor I
either, but when you see Sebastian you can ask him to open one."
It was a great relief to Heidi to know that the windows could be
opened and that one could look out, for she still felt as if she
was shut up in prison. Clara now began to ask her questions about
her home, and Heidi was delighted to tell her all about the
mountain and the goats, and the flowery meadows which were so
dear to her.
Meanwhile her tutor had arrived; Fraulein Rottenmeier, however,
did not bring him straight into the study but drew him first
aside into the dining-room, where she poured forth her troubles
and explained to him the awkward position in which she was
placed, and how it had all come about. It appeared that she had
written some time back to Herr Sesemann to tell him that his
daughter very much wished to have a companion, and had added how
desirable she thought it herself, as it would be a spur to Clara
at her lessons and an amusement for her in her playtime. Fraulein
Rottenmeier had privately wished for this arrangement on her own
behalf, as it would relieve her from having always to entertain
the sick girl herself, which she felt at times was too much for
her. The father had answered that he was quite willing to let his
daughter have a companion, provided she was treated in every way
like his own child, as he would not have any child tormented or
put upon which was a very unnecessary remark," put in Fraulein
Rottenmeier, "for who wants to torment children!" But now she
went on to explain how dreadfully she had been taken in about the
child, and related all the unimaginable things of which she had
already been guilty, so that not only would he have to begin with
teaching her the A B C, but would have to start with the most
rudimentary instruction as regarded everything to do with daily
life. She could see only one way out of this disastrous state of
affairs, and that was for the tutor to declare that it was
impossible for the two to learn together without detriment to
Clara, who was so far ahead of the other; that would be a valid
excuse for getting rid of the child, and Herr Sesemann would be
sure to agree to the child being sent home again, but she dared
not do this without his order, since he was aware that by this
time the companion had arrived. But the tutor was a cautious man
and not inclined to take a partial view of matters. He tried to
calm Fraulein Rottenmeier, and gave it as his opinion that if the
little girl was backward in some things she was probably advanced
in others, and a little regular teaching would soon set the
balance right. When Fraulein Rottenmeier saw that he was not
ready to support her, and evidently quite ready to undertake
teaching the alphabet, she opened the study door, which she
quickly shut again as soon as he had gone through, remaining on
the other side herself, for she had a perfect horror of the A B
C. She walked up and down the dining-room, thinking over in her
own mind how the servants were to be told to address Adelaide.
The father had written that she was to be treated exactly like
his own daughter, and this would especially refer, she imagined,
to the servants. She was not allowed, however, a very long
interval of time for consideration, for suddenly the sound of a
frightful crash was heard in the study, followed by frantic cries
for Sebastian. She rushed into the room. There on the floor lay
in a confused heap, books, exercise-books, inkstand, and other
articles with the table-cloth on the top, while from beneath them
a dark stream of ink was flowing all across the floor. Heidi had
"Here's a state of things!" exclaimed Fraulein Rottenmeier,
wringing her hands. "Table-cloth, books, work-basket, everything
lying in the ink! It was that unfortunate child, I suppose!"
The tutor was standing looking down at the havoc in distress;
there was certainly only one view to be taken of such a matter as
this and that an unfavorable one. Clara meanwhile appeared to
find pleasure in such an unusual event and in watching the
results. "Yes, Heidi did it," she explained, "but quite by
accident; she must on no account be punished; she jumped up in
such violent haste to get away that she dragged the tablecloth
along with her, and so everything went over. There were a number
of vehicles passing, that is why she rushed off like that;
perhaps she has never seen a carriage."
"Is it not as I said? She has not the smallest notion about
anything! not the slightest idea that she ought to sit still and
listen while her lessons are going on. But where is the child who
has caused all this trouble? Surely she has not run away! What
would Herr Sesemann say to me?" She ran out of the room and down
the stairs. There, at the bottom, standing in the open door-way,
was Heidi, looking in amazement up and down the street.
"What are you doing? What are you thinking of to run away like
that?" called Fraulein Rottenmeier.
"I heard the sound of the fir trees, but I cannot see where they
are, and now I cannot hear them any more," answered Heidi,
looking disappointedly in the direction whence the noise of the
passing carriages had reached her, and which to Heidi had seemed
like the blowing of the south wind in the trees, so that in great
joy of heart she had rushed out to look at them.
"Fir trees! do you suppose we are in a wood? What ridiculous
ideas are these? Come upstairs and see the mischief you have
Heidi turned and followed Fraulein Rottenmeier upstairs; she was
quite astonished to see the disaster she had caused, for in her
joy and haste to get to the fir trees she had been unaware of
having dragged everything after her.
"I excuse you doing this as it is the first time, but do not let
me know you doing it a second time," said Fraulein Rottenmeier,
pointing to the floor. "During your lesson time you are to sit
still and attend. If you cannot do this I shall have to tie you
to your chair. Do you understand?"
"Yes," replied Heidi, "but I will certainly not move again," for
now she understood that it was a rule to sit still while she was
Sebastian and Tinette were now sent for to clear up the broken
articles and put things in order again; the tutor said
good-morning and left, as it was impossible to do any more
lessons that day; there had been certainly no time for gaping
Clara had to rest for a certain time during the afternoon, and
during this interval, as Fraulein Rottenmeier informed Heidi, the
latter might amuse herself as she liked. When Clara had been
placed on her couch after dinner, and the lady-housekeeper had
retired to her room, Heidi knew that her time had come to choose
her own occupation. It was just what she was longing for, as
there was something she had made up her mind to do; but she would
require some help for its accomplishment, and in view of this she
took her stand in the hall in front of the dining-room door in
order to intercept the person she wanted. In a few minutes up
came Sebastian from the kitchen with a tray of silver tea-things,
which he had to put away in the dining-room cupboard. As he
reached the top stairs Heidi went up to him and addressed him in
the formal manner she had been ordered to use by Fraulein
Sebastian looked surprised and said somewhat curtly, "What is it
you want, miss?"
"I only wished to ask you something, but it is nothing bad like
this morning," said Heidi, anxious to conciliate him, for she saw
that Sebastian was rather in a cross temper, and quite thought
that it was on account of the ink she had spilt on the floor.
"Indeed, and why, I should first like to know, do you address me
like that?" replied Sebastian, evidently still put out.
"Fraulein Rottenmeier told me always to speak to you like that,"
Then Sebastian laughed, which very much astonished Heidi, who had
seen nothing amusing in the conversation, but Sebastian, now he
understood that the child was only obeying orders, added in a
friendly voice, "What is it then that miss wants?"
It was now Heidi's turn to be a little put out, and she said, "My
name is not miss, it is Heidi."
"Quite so, but the same lady has ordered me to call you miss,"
"Has she? oh, then I must be called so," said Heidi submissively,
for she had already noticed that whatever Fraulein Rottenmeier
said was law. "Then now I have three names," she added with a
"What was it little miss wished to ask?" said Sebastian as he
went on into the dining-room to put away his silver.
"How can a window be opened?"
"Why, like that!" and Sebastian flung up one of the large
Heidi ran to it, but she was not tall enough to see out, for her
head only reached the sill.
"There, now miss can look out and see what is going on below,"
said Sebastian as he brought her a high wooden stool to stand on.
Heidi climbed up, and at last, as she thought, was going to see
what she had been longing for. But she drew back her head with a
look of great disappointment on her face.
"Why, there is nothing outside but the stony streets," she said
mournfully; "but if I went right round to the other side of the
house what should I see there, Sebastian?"
"Nothing but what you see here," he told her.
"Then where can I go to see right away over the whole valley?"
"You would have to climb to the top of a high tower, a church
tower, like that one over there with the gold ball above it. From
there you can see right away ever so far."
Heidi climbed down quickly from her stool, ran to the door, down
the steps and out into the street. Things were not, however,
quite so easy as she thought. Looking from the window the tower
had appeared so close that she imagined she had only to run over
the road to reach it. But now, although she ran along the whole
length of the street, she still did not get any nearer to it, and
indeed soon lost sight of it altogether; she turned down another
street, and went on and on, but still no tower. She passed a
great many people, but they all seemed in such a hurry that Heidi
thought they had not time to tell her which way to go. Then
suddenly at one of the street corners she saw a boy standing,
carrying a hand-organ on his back and a funny-looking animal on
his arm. Heidi ran up to him and said, Where is the tower with
the gold ball on the top?"
"I don't know," was the answer.
"Who can I ask to show me?" she asked again.
"I don't know."
"Do you know any other church with a high tower?"
"Yes, I know one."
"Come then and show it me."
"Show me first what you will give me for it," and the boy held
out his hand as he spoke. Heidi searched about in her pockets and
presently drew out a card on which was painted a garland of
beautiful red roses; she looked at it first for a moment or two,
for she felt rather sorry to part with it; Clara had only that
morning made her a present of it--but then, to look down into the
valley and see all the lovely green slopes! "There," said Heidi,
holding out the card, "would you like to have that?"
The boy drew back his hand and shook his head.
"What would you like then?" asked Heidi, not sorry to put the
card back in her pocket.
"I have none, but Clara has; I am sure she will give me some; how
much do you want?"
"Come along then."
They started off together along the street, and on the way Heidi
asked her companion what he was carrying on his back; it was a
hand-organ, he told her, which played beautiful music when he
turned the handle. All at once they found themselves in front of
an old church with a high tower; the boy stood still, and said,
"There it is."
"But how shall I get inside?" asked Heidi, looking at the fast
"I don't know," was the answer.
"Do you think that I can ring as they do for Sebastian?"
"I don't know."
Heidi had by this time caught sight of a bell in the wall which
she now pulled with all her might. "If I go up you must stay down
here, for I do not know the way back, and you will have to show
"What will you give me then for that?"
"What do you want me to give you?"
They heard the key turning inside, and then some one pulled open
the heavy creaking door; an old man came out and at first looked
with surprise and then in anger at the children, as he began
scolding them: "What do you mean by ringing me down like this?
Can't you read what is written over the bell, 'For those who wish
to go up the tower'?"
The boy said nothing but pointed his finger at Heidi. The latter
answered, "But I do want to go up the tower."
"What do you want up there?" said the old man. Has somebody sent
"No," replied Heidi, "I only wanted to go up that I might look
"Get along home with you and don't try this trick on me again, or
you may not come off so easily a second time," and with that he
turned and was about to shut the door. But Heidi took hold of his
coat and said beseechingly, "Let me go up, just once."
He looked around, and his mood changed as he saw her pleading
eyes; he took hold of her hand and said kindly, "Well, if you
really wish it so much, I will take you."
The boy sat down on the church steps to show that he was content
to wait where he was.
Hand in hand with the old man Heidi went up the many steps of the
tower; they became smaller and smaller as they neared the top,
and at last came one very narrow one, and there they were at the
end of their climb. The old man lifted Heidi up that she might
look out of the open window.
"There, now you can look down," he said.
Heidi saw beneath her a sea of roofs, towers, and chimney-pots;
she quickly drew back her head and said in a sad, disappointed
voice, "It is not at all what I thought."
"You see now, a child like you does not understand anything about
a view! Come along down and don't go ringing at my bell again!"
He lifted her down and went on before her down the narrow
stairway. To the left of the turn where it grew wider stood the
door of the tower-keeper's room, and the landing ran out beside
it to the edge of the steep slanting roof. At the far end of this
was a large basket, in front of which sat a big grey cat, that
snarled as it saw them, for she wished to warn the passers-by
that they were not to meddle with her family. Heidi stood still
and looked at her in astonishment, for she had never seen such a
monster cat before; there were whole armies of mice, however, in
the old tower, so the cat had no difficulty in catching half a
dozen for her dinner every day. The old man seeing Heidi so
struck with admiration said, "She will not hurt you while I am
near; come, you can have a peep at the kittens."
Heidi went up to the basket and broke out into expressions of
"Oh, the sweet little things! the darling kittens," she kept on
saying, as she jumped from side to side of the basket so as, not
to lose any of the droll gambols of the seven or eight little
kittens that were scrambling and rolling and falling over one
"Would you like to have one?" said the old man, who enjoyed
watching the child's pleasure.
"For myself to keep?" said Heidi excitedly, who could hardly
believe such happiness was to be hers.
"Yes, of course, more than one if you like--in short, you can
take away the whole lot if you have room for them," for the old
man was only too glad to think he could get rid of his kittens
without more trouble.
Heidi could hardly contain herself for joy. There would be plenty
of room for them in the large house, and then how astonished and
delighted Clara would be when she saw the sweet little kittens.
"But how can I take them with me?" asked Heidi, and was going
quickly to see how many she could carry away in her hands, when
the old cat sprang at her so fiercely that she shrank back in
"I will take them for you if you will tell me where," said the
old man, stroking the cat to quiet her, for she was an old friend
of his that had lived with him in the tower for many years.
"To Herr Sesemann's, the big house where there is a gold dog's
head on the door, with a ring in its mouth," explained Heidi.
Such full directions as these were not really needed by the old
man, who had had charge of the tower for many a long year and
knew every house far and near, and moreover Sebastian was an
acquaintance of his.
"I know the house," he said, "but when shall I bring them, and
who shall I ask for?--you are not one of the family, I am sure."
"No, but Clara will be so delighted when I take her the kittens."
The old man wished now to go downstairs, but Heidi did not know
how to tear herself away from the amusing spectacle.
"If I could just take one or two away with me! one for myself and
one for Clara, may I?"
"Well, wait a moment," said the man, and he drew the cat
cautiously away into his room, and leaving her by a bowl of food
came out again and shut the door. "Now take two of them."
Heidi's eyes shone with delight. She picked up a white kitten and
another striped white and yellow, and put one in the right, the
other in the left pocket. Then she went downstairs. The boy was
still sitting outside on the steps, and as the old man shut the
door of the church behind them, she said, "Which is our way to
Herr Sesemann's house?"
"I don't know," was the answer.
Heidi began a description of the front door and the steps and the
windows, but the boy only shook his head, and was not any the
"Well, look here," continued Heidi, "from one window you can see
a very, very large grey house, and the roof runs like this--" and
Heidi drew a zigzag line in the air with her forefinger.
With this the boy jumped up, he was evidently in the habit of
guiding himself by similar landmarks. He ran straight off with
Heidi after him, and in a very short time they had reached the
door with the large dog's head for the knocker. Heidi rang the
bell. Sebastian opened it quickly, and when he saw it was Heidi,
"Make haste! make haste," he cried in a hurried voice.
Heidi sprang hastily in and Sebastian shut the door after her,
leaving the boy, whom he had not noticed, standing in wonder on
"Make haste, little miss," said Sebastian again; "go straight
into the dining-room, they are already at table; Fraulein
Rottenmeier looks like a loaded cannon. What could make the
little miss run off like that?"
Heidi walked into the room. The lady housekeeper did not look up,
Clara did not speak; there was an uncomfortable silence.
Sebastian pushed her chair up for her, and when she was seated
Fraulein Rottenmeier, with a severe countenance, sternly and
solemnly addressed her: "I will speak with you afterwards,
Adelheid, only this much will I now say, that you behaved in a
most unmannerly and reprehensible way by running out of the house
as you did, without asking permission, without any one knowing a
word about it; and then to go wandering about till this hour; I
never heard of such behavior before."
"Miau!" came the answer back.
This was too much for the lady's temper; with raised voice she
exclaimed, "You dare, Adelheid, after your bad behavior, to
answer me as if it were a joke?"
"I did not--" began Heidi--"Miau! miau!"
Sebastian almost dropped his dish and rushed out of the room.
"That will do," Fraulein Rottenmeier tried to say, but her voice
was almost stifled with anger. "Get up and leave the room."
Heidi stood up frightened, and again made an attempt to explain.
"I really did not--" "Miau! miau! miau!"
"But, Heidi," now put in Clara, "when you see that it makes
Fraulein Rottenmeier angry, why do you keep on saying miau?"
"It isn't I, it's the kittens," Heidi was at last given time to
"How! what! kittens!" shrieked Fraulein Rottenmeier. "Sebastian!
Tinette! Find the horrid little things! take them away!" And she
rose and fled into the study and locked the door, so as to make
sure that she was safe from the kittens, which to her were the
most horrible things in creation.
Sebastian was obliged to wait a few minutes outside the door to
get over his laughter before he went into the room again. He had,
while serving Heidi, caught sight of a little kitten's head
peeping out of her pocket, and guessing the scene that would
follow, had been so overcome with amusement at the first miaus
that he had hardly been able to finish handing the dishes. The
lady's distressed cries for help had ceased before he had
sufficiently regained his composure to go back into the
dining-room. It was all peace and quietness there now, Clara had
the kittens on her lap, and Heidi was kneeling beside her, both
laughing and playing with the tiny, graceful little animals.
"Sebastian," exclaimed Clara as he came in, "you must help us;
you must find a bed for the kittens where Fraulein Rottenmeier
will not spy them out, for she is so afraid of them that she will
send them away at once; but we want to keep them, and have them
out whenever we are alone. Where can you put them?"
"I will see to that," answered Sebastian willingly. "I will make
a bed in a basket and put it in some place where the lady is not
likely to go; you leave it to me." He set about the work at once,
sniggling to himself the while, for he guessed there would be a
further rumpus about this some day, and Sebastian was not without
a certain pleasure in the thought of Fraulein Rottenmeier being a
Not until some time had elapsed, and it was nearing the hour for
going to bed, did Fraulein Rottenmeier venture to open the door a
crack and call through, "Have you taken those dreadful little
animals away, Sebastian?"
He assured her twice that he had done so; he had been hanging
about the room in anticipation of this question, and now quickly
and quietly caught up the kittens from Clara's lap and
disappeared with them.
The castigatory sermon which Fraulein Rottenmeier had held in
reserve for Heidi was put off till the following day, as she felt
too exhausted now after all the emotions she had gone through of
irritation, anger, and fright, of which Heidi had unconsciously
been the cause. She retired without speaking, Clara and Heidi
following, happy in their minds at knowing that the kittens were
lying in a comfortable bed.