by Johanna Spyri
Illustrated By Jessie Willcox Smith
HEIDI Part 4
THE WINTER CONTINUES
Peter arrived punctually at school the following day. He had
brought his dinner with him, for all the children who lived at a
distance regularly seated themselves at mid-day on the tables,
and resting their feet firmly on the benches, spread out their
meal on their knees and so ate their dinner, while those living
in Dorfli went home for theirs. Till one o'clock they might all
do as they liked, and then school began again. When Peter had
finished his lessons on the days he attended school, he went over
to Uncle's to see Heidi.
When he walked into the large room at Uncle's to-day, Heidi
immediately rushed forward and took hold of him, for it was for
Peter she had been waiting. "I've thought of something, Peter,"
she said hastily.
"What is it?" he asked.
"You must learn to read," she informed him.
"I have learnt," was the answer.
"Yes, yes, but I mean so that you can really make use of it,"
continued Heidi eagerly.
"I never shall," was the prompt reply.
"Nobody believes that you cannot learn, nor I either now," said
Heidi in a very decided tone of voice. "Grandmamma in Frankfurt
said long ago that it was not true, and she told me not to
Peter looked rather taken aback at this piece of intelligence.
"I will soon teach you to read, for I know how," continued Heidi.
"You must learn at once, and then you can read one or two hymns
every day to grandmother."
"Oh, I don't care about that," he grumbled in reply.
This hard-hearted way of refusing to agree to what was right and
kind, and to what Heidi had so much at heart, aroused her anger.
With flashing eyes she stood facing the boy and said
threateningly, "If you won't learn as I want you to, I will tell
you what will happen; you know your mother has often spoken of
sending you to Frankfurt, that you may learn a lot of things, and
I know where the boys there have to go to school; Clara pointed
out the great house to me when we were driving together. And they
don't only go when they are boys, but have more lessons still
when they are grown men. I have seen them myself, and you mustn't
think they have only one kind teacher like we have. There are
ever so many of them, all in the school at the same time, and
they are all dressed in black, as if they were going to church,
and have black hats on their heads as high as that--" and Heidi
held out her hand to show their height from the floor.
Peter felt a cold shudder run down his back.
"And you will have to go in among all those gentlemen," continued
Heidi with increasing animation, "and when it comes to your turn
you won't be able to read and will make mistakes in your
spelling. Then you'll see how they'll make fun of you; even worse
than Tinette, and you ought to have seen what she was like when
she was scornful."
"Well, I'll learn then," said Peter, half sorrowfully and half
Heidi was instantly mollified. "That's right, then we'll begin at
once," she said cheerfully, and went busily to work on the spot,
dragging Peter to the table and fetching her books.
Among other presents Clara had sent Heidi a book which the latter
had decided, in bed the night before, would serve capitally for
teaching Peter, for it was an A B C book with rhyming lines. And
now the two sat together at the table with their heads bent over
the book, for the lesson had begun.
Peter was made to spell out the first sentence two or three times
over, for Heidi wished him to get it correct and fluent. At last
she said, "You don't seem able to get it right, but I will read
it aloud to you once; when you know what it ought to be you will
find it easier." And she read out:--
A B C must be learnt to-day
Or the judge will call you up to pay.
"I shan't go," said Peter obstinately.
"Go where?" asked Heidi.
"Before the judge," he answered.
"Well then make haste and learn these three letters, then you
won't have to go."
Peter went at his task again and repeated the three letters so
many times and with such determination that she said at last,--
"You must know those three now."
Seeing what an effect the first two lines of verse had had upon
him, she thought she would prepare the ground a little for the
"Wait, and I will read you some of the next sentences," she
continued, "then you will see what else there is to expect."
And she began in a clear slow voice:--
D E F G must run with ease
Or something will follow that does not please.
Should H I J K be now forgot
Disgrace is yours upon the spot.
And then L M must follow at once
Or punished you'll be for a sorry dunce.
If you knew what next awaited you
You'd haste to learn N O P Q.
Now R S T be quick about
Or worse will follow there's little doubt.
Heidi paused, for Peter was so quiet that she looked to see what
he was doing. These many secret threats and hints of dreadful
punishments had so affected him that he sat as if petrified and
stared at Heidi with horror-stricken eyes. Her kind heart was
moved at once, and she said, wishing to reassure him, "You need
not be afraid, Peter; come here to me every evening, and if you
learn as you have to-day you will at last know all your letters,
and the other things won't come. But you must come regularly, not
now and then as you do to school; even if it snows it won't hurt
Peter promised, for the trepidation he had been in had made him
quite tame and docile. Lessons being finished for this day he now
Peter obeyed Heidi's instructions punctually, and every evening
went diligently to work to learn the following letters, taking
the sentences thoroughly to heart. The grandfather was frequently
in the room smoking his pipe comfortably while the lesson was
going on, and his face twitched occasionally as if he was
overtaken with a sudden fit of merriment. Peter was often invited
to stay to supper after the great exertion he had gone through,
which richly compensated him for the anguish of mind he had
suffered with the sentence for the day.
So the winter went by, and Peter really made progress with his
letters; but he went through a terrible fight each day with the
He had got at last to U. Heidi read out:--
And if you put the U for V,
You'll go where you would not like to be.
Peter growled, "Yes, but I shan't go!" But he was very diligent
that day, as if under the impression that some one would seize
him suddenly by the collar and drag him where he would rather not
go. The next evening Heidi read:--
If you falter at W, worst of all,
Look at the stick against the wall.
Peter looked at the wall and said scornfully, "There isn't one."
"Yes, but do you know what grandfather has in his box?" asked
Heidi. "A stick as thick almost as your arm, and if he took that
out, you might well say, look at the stick on the wall."
Peter knew that thick hazel stick, and immediately bent his head
over the W and struggled to master it. Another day the lines
Then comes the X for you to say
Or be sure you'll get no food to-day.
Peter looked towards the cupboard where the bread and cheese were
kept and said crossly, "I never said that I should forget the X."
"That's all right; if you don't forget it we can go on to learn
the next, and then you will only have one more," replied Heidi,
anxious to encourage him.
Peter did not quite understand, but when Heidi went on and
And should you make a stop at Y,
They'll point at you and cry, Fie, fie.
All the gentlemen in Frankfurt with tall black hats on their
heads, and scorn and mockery in their faces rose up before his
mind's eye, and he threw himself with energy on the Y, not
letting it go till at last he knew it so thoroughly that he could
see what it was like even when he shut his eyes.
He arrived on the following day in a somewhat lofty frame of
mind, for there was now only one letter to struggle over, and
when Heidi began the lesson with reading aloud:--
Make haste with Z, if you're too, slow
Off to the Hottentots you'll go.
Peter remarked scornfully, "I dare say, when no one knows even
where such people live."
"I assure you, Peter," replied Heidi, "grandfather knows all
about them. Wait a second and I will run and ask him, for he is
only over the way with the pastor." And she rose and ran to the
door to put her words into action, but Peter cried out in a voice
"Stop!" for he already saw himself being carried off by Alm-Uncle
and the pastor and sent straight away to the Hottentots, since as
yet he did not know his last letter. His cry of fear brought
"What is the matter?" she asked in astonishment.
"Nothing! come back! I am going to learn my letter," he said,
stammering with fear. Heidi, however, herself wished to know
where the Hottentots lived and persisted that she should ask her
grandfather, but she gave in at last to Peter's despairing
entreaties. She insisted on his doing something in return, and so
not only had he to repeat his Z until it was so fixed in his
memory that he could never forget it again, but she began
teaching him to spell, and Peter really made a good start that
evening. So it went on from day to day.
The frost had gone and the snow was soft again, and moreover
fresh snow continually fell, so that it was quite three weeks
before Heidi could go to the grandmother again. So much the more
eagerly did she pursue her teaching so that Peter might
compensate for her absence by reading hymns to the old woman. One
evening he walked in home after leaving Heidi, and as he entered
he said, "I can do it now."
"Do what, Peter?" asked his mother.
"Read," he answered.
"Do you really mean it? Did you hear that, grandmother?" she
The grandmother had heard, and was already wondering how such a
thing could have come to pass.
"I must read one of the hymns now; Heidi told me to," he went on
to inform them. His mother hastily fetched the book, and the
grandmother lay in joyful expectation, for it was so long since
she had heard the good words. Peter sat down to the table and
began to read. His mother sat beside him listening with surprise
and exclaiming at the close of each verse, "Who would have
thought it possible!"
The grandmother did not speak though she followed the words he
read with strained attention.
It happened on the day following this that there was a reading
lesson in Peter's class. When it came to his turn, the teacher
"We must pass over Peter as usual, or will you try again once
more--I will not say to read, but to stammer through a sentence."
Peter took the book and read off three lines without the
The teacher put down his book and stared at Peter as at some
out-of-the-way and marvellous thing unseen before. At last he
"Peter, some miracle has been performed upon you! Here have I
been striving with unheard-of patience to teach you and you have
not hitherto been able to say your letters even. And now, just as
I had made up my mind not to waste any more trouble upon you, you
suddenly are able to read a consecutive sentence properly and
distinctly. How has such a miracle come to pass in our days?"
"It was Heidi," answered Peter.
The teacher looked in astonishment towards Heidi, who was sitting
innocently on her bench with no appearance of anything
supernatural about her. He continued, "I have noticed a change in
you altogether, Peter. Whereas formerly you often missed coming
to school for a week, or even weeks at a time, you have lately
not stayed away a single day. Who has wrought this change for
good in you?"
"It was Uncle," answered Peter.
With increasing surprise the teacher looked from Peter to Heidi
and back again at Peter.
"We will try once more," he said cautiously, and Peter had again
to show off his accomplishment by reading another three lines.
There was no mistake about it--Peter could read. As soon as
school was over the teacher went over to the pastor to tell him
this piece of news, and to inform him of the happy result of
Heidi's and the grandfather's combined efforts.
Every evening Peter read one hymn aloud; so far he obeyed Heidi.
Nothing would induce him to read a second, and indeed the
grandmother never asked for it. His mother Brigitta could not get
over her surprise at her son's attainment, and when the reader
was in bed would often express her pleasure at it. "Now he has
learnt to read there is no knowing what may be made of him yet."
On one of these occasions the grandmother answered, "Yes, it is
good for him to have learnt something, but I shall indeed be
thankful when spring is here again and Heidi can come; they are
not like the same hymns when Peter reads them. So many words seem
missing, and I try to think what they ought to be and then I lose
the sense, and so the hymns do not come home to my heart as when
Heidi reads them."
The truth was that Peter arranged to make his reading as little
troublesome for himself as possible. When he came upon a word
that he thought was too long or difficult in any other way, he
left it out, for he decided that a word or two less in a verse,
where there were so many of them, could make no difference to his
grandmother. And so it came about that most of the principal
words were missing in the hymns that Peter read aloud.
NEWS FROM DISTANT FRIENDS
It was the month of May. From every height the full fresh streams
of spring were flowing down into the valley. The clear warm
sunshine lay upon the mountain, which had turned green again. The
last snows had disappeared and the sun had already coaxed many of
the flowers to show their bright heads above the grass. Up above
the gay young wind of spring was singing through the fir trees,
and shaking down the old dark needles to make room for the new
bright green ones that were soon to deck out the trees in their
spring finery. Higher up still the great bird went circling round
in the blue ether as of old, while the golden sunshine lit up the
grandfather's hut, and all the ground about it was warm and dry
again so that one might sit out where one liked. Heidi was at
home again on the mountain, running backwards and forwards in her
accustomed way, not knowing which spot was most delightful. Now
she stood still to listen to the deep, mysterious voice of the
wind, as it blew down to her from the mountain summits, coming
nearer and nearer and gathering strength as it came, till it
broke with force against the fir trees, bending and shaking them,
and seeming to shout for joy, so that she too, though blown about
like a feather, felt she must join in the chorus of exulting
sounds. Then she would run round again to the sunny space in
front of the hut, and seating herself on the ground would peer
closely into the short grass to see how many little flower cups
were open or thinking of opening. She rejoiced with all the
myriad little beetles and winged insects that jumped and crawled
and danced in the sun, and drew in deep draughts of the spring
scents that rose from the newly-awakened earth, and thought the
mountain was more beautiful than ever. All the tiny living
creatures must be as happy as she, for it seemed to her there
were little voices all round her singing and humming in joyful
tones, "On the mountain! on the mountain!"
From the shed at the back came the sound of sawing and chopping,
and Heidi listened to it with pleasure, for it was the old
familiar sound she had known from the beginning of her life up
here. Suddenly she jumped up and ran round, for she must know
what her grandfather was doing. In front of the shed door already
stood a finished new chair, and a second was in course of
construction under the grandfather's skilful hand.
"Oh, I know what these are for," exclaimed Heidi in great glee.
"We shall want them when they all come from Frankfurt. This one
is for Grandmamma, and the one you are now making is for Clara,
and then--then, there will, I suppose, have to be another,"
continued Heidi with more hesitation in her voice, "or do you
think, grandfather, that perhaps Fraulein Rottenmeier will not
come with them?"
"Well, I cannot say just yet," replied her grandfather, "but it
will be safer to make one so that we can offer her a seat if she
Heidi looked thoughtfully at the plain wooden chair without arms
as if trying to imagine how Fraulein Rottenmeier and a chair of
this sort would suit one another. After a few minutes'
contemplation, "Grandfather," she said, shaking her head
doubtfully, "I don't think she would be able to sit on that."
"Then we will invite her on the couch with the beautiful green
turf feather-bed," was her grandfather's quiet rejoinder.
While Heidi was pausing to consider what this might be there
approached from above a whistling, calling, and other sounds
which Heidi immediately recognised. She ran out and found herself
surrounded by her four-footed friends. They were apparently as
pleased as she was to be among the heights again, for they leaped
about and bleated for joy, pushing Heidi this way and that, each
anxious to express his delight with some sign of affection. But
Peter sent them flying to right and left, for he had something to
give to Heidi. When he at last got up to her he handed her a
"There!" he exclaimed, leaving the further explanation of the
matter to Heidi herself.
"Did some one give you this while you were out with the goats,"
she asked, in her surprise.
"No," was the answer.
"Where did you get it from then?
"I found it in the dinner bag."
Which was true to a certain extent. The letter to Heidi had been
given him the evening before by the postman at Dorfli, and Peter
had put it into his empty bag. That morning he had stuffed his
bread and cheese on the top of it, and had forgotten it when he
fetched Alm-Uncle's two goats; only when he had finished his
bread and cheese at mid-day and was searching in the bag for any
last crumbs did he remember the letter which lay at the bottom.
Heidi read the address carefully; then she ran back to the shed
holding out her letter to her grandfather in high glee. "From
Frankfurt! from Clara! Would you like to hear it?"
The grandfather was ready and pleased to do so, as also Peter,
who had followed Heidi into the shed. He leant his back against
the door post, as he felt he could follow Heidi's reading better
if firmly supported from behind, and so stood prepared to listen.
"Dearest Heidi,-- Everything is packed and we shall start now in
two or three days, as soon as papa himself is ready to leave; he
is not coming with us as he has first to go to Paris. The doctor
comes every day, and as soon as he is inside the door, he cries,
'Off now as quickly as you can, off to the mountain.' He is most
impatient about our going. You cannot think how much he enjoyed
himself when he was with you! He has called nearly every day this
winter, and each time he has come in to my room and said he must
tell me about everything again. And then he sits down and
describes all he did with you and the grandfather, and talks of
the mountains and the flowers and of the great silence up there
far above all towns and the villages, and of the fresh delicious
air, and often adds, 'No one can help getting well up there.' He
himself is quite a different man since his visit, and looks quite
young again and happy, which he had not been for a long time
before. Oh, how I am looking forward to seeing everything and to
being with you on the mountain, and to making the acquaintance of
Peter and the goats.
"I shall have first to go through a six weeks' cure at Ragatz;
this the doctor has ordered, and then we shall move up to Dorfli,
and every fine day I shall be carried up the mountain in my chair
and spend the day with you. Grandmamma is travelling with me and
will remain with me; she also is delighted at the thought of
paying you a visit. But just imagine, Fraulein Rottenmeier
refuses to come with us. Almost every day grandmamma says to her,
'Well, how about this Swiss journey, my worthy Rottenmeier? Pray
say if you really would like to come with us.' But she always
thanks grandmamma very politely and says she has quite made up
her mind. I think I know what has done it: Sebastian gave such a
frightful description of the mountain, of how the rocks were so
overhanging and dangerous that at any minute you might fall into
a crevasse, and how it was such steep climbing that you feared at
every step to go slipping to the bottom, and that goats alone
could make their way up without fear of being killed. She
shuddered when she heard him tell of all this, and since then she
has not been so enthusiastic about Switzerland as she was before.
Fear has also taken possession of Tinette, and she also refuses
to come. So grandmamma and I will be alone; Sebastian will go
with us as far as Ragatz and then return here.
"I can hardly bear waiting till I see you again. Good-bye,
dearest Heidi; grandmamma sends you her best love and all good
wishes.--Your affectionate friend,
Peter, as soon as the conclusion of the letter had been reached,
left his reclining position and rushed out, twirling his stick in
the air in such a reckless fashion that the frightened goats fled
down the mountain before him with higher and wider leaps than
usual. Peter followed at full speed, his stick still raised in
air in a menacing manner as if he was longing to vent his fury on
some invisible foe. This foe was indeed the prospect of the
arrival of the Frankfurt visitors, the thought of whom filled him
Heidi was so full of joyful anticipation that she determined to
seize the first possible moment next day to go down and tell
grandmother who was coming, and also particularly who was not
coming. These details would be of great interest--to her, for
grandmother knew well all the persons named from Heidi's
description, and had entered with deep sympathy into all that the
child had told her of her life and surroundings in Frankfurt.
Heidi paid her visit in, the early afternoon, for she could now
go alone again; the sun was bright in the heavens and the days
were growing longer, and it was delightful to go racing down the
mountain over the dry ground, with the brisk May wind blowing
from behind, and speeding Heidi on her way a little more quickly
than her legs alone would have carried her.
The grandmother was no longer confined to her bed. She was back
in her corner at her spinning-wheel, but there was an expression
on her face of mournful anxiety. Peter had come in the evening
before brimful of anger and had told about the large party who
were coming up from Frankfurt, and he did not know what other
things might happen after that; and the old woman had not slept
all night, pursued by the old thought of Heidi being taken from
her. Heidi ran in, and taking her little stool immediately sat
down by grandmother and began eagerly pouring out all her news,
growing more excited with her pleasure as she went on. But all of
a sudden she stopped short and said anxiously, "What is the
matter, grandmother, aren't you a bit pleased with what I am
"Yes, yes, of course, child, since it gives you so much
pleasure," she answered, trying to look more cheerful.
"But I can see all the same that something troubles you. Is it
because you think after all that Fraulein Rottenmeier may come?"
asked Heidi, beginning to feel anxious herself.
"No, no! it is nothing, child," said the grandmother, wishing to
reassure her. "just give me your hand that I may feel sure you
are there. No doubt it would be the best thing for you, although
I feel I could scarcely survive it."
"I do not want anything of the best if you could scarcely survive
it," said Heidi, in such a determined tone of voice that the
grandmother's fears increased as she felt sure the people from
Frankfurt were coming to take Heidi back with them, since now she
was well again they naturally wished to have her with them once
more. But she was anxious to hide her trouble from Heidi if
possible, as the latter was so sympathetic that she might refuse
perhaps to go away, and that would not be right. She sought for
help, but not for long, for she knew of only one.
"Heidi," she said, "there is something that would comfort me and
calm my thoughts; read me the hymn beginning: 'All things will
work for good.' "
Heidi found the place at once and read out in her clear young
All things will work for good
To those who trust in Me;
I come with healing on my wings,
To save and set thee free.
"Yes, yes, that is just what I wanted to hear," said the
grandmother, and the deep expression of trouble passed from her
face. Heidi looked at her thoughtfully for a minute or two and
then said, "Healing means that which cures everything and makes
everybody well, doesn't it, grandmother?"
"Yes, that is it," replied the old woman with a nod of assent,
"and we may be sure everything will come to pass according to
God's good purpose. Read the verse again, that we may remember it
well and not forget it again."
And Heidi read the words over two or three times, for she also
found pleasure in this assurance of all things being arranged for
When the evening came, Heidi returned home up the mountain. The
stars came out overhead one by one, so bright and sparkling that
each seemed to send a fresh ray of joy into her heart; she was
obliged to pause continually to look up, and as the whole sky at
last grew spangled with them she spoke aloud, "Yes, I understand
now why we feel so happy, and are not afraid about anything,
because God knows what is good and beautiful for us." And the
stars with their glistening eyes continued to nod to her till she
reached home, where she found her grandfather also standing and
looking up at them, for they had seldom been more glorious than
they were this night.
Not only were the nights of this month of May so clear and
bright, but the days as well; the sun rose every morning into the
cloudless sky, as undimmed in its splendor as when it sank the
evening before, and the grandfather would look out early and
exclaim with astonishment, "This is indeed a wonderful year of
sun; it will make all the shrubs and plants grow apace; you will
have to see, general, that your army does not get out of hand
from overfeeding." And Peter would swing his stick with an air of
assurance and an expression on his face as much as to say, see to
So May passed, everything growing greener and greener, and then
came the month of June, with a hotter sun and long light days,
that brought the flowers out all over the mountain, so that every
spot was bright with them and the air full of their sweet scents.
This month too was drawing to its close when one day Heidi,
having finished her domestic duties, ran out with the intention
of paying first a visit to the fir trees, and then going up
higher to see if the bush of rock roses was yet in bloom, for its
flowers were so lovely when standing open in the sun. But just as
she was turning the corner of the hut, she gave such a loud cry
that her grandfather came running out of the shed to see what had
"Grandfather, grandfather!" she cried, beside herself with
excitement. "Come here! look! look!"
The old man was by her side by this time and looked in the
direction of her outstretched hand.
A strange looking procession was making its way up the mountain;
in front were two men carrying a sedan chair, in which sat a girl
well wrapped up in shawls; then followed a horse, mounted by a
stately-looking lady who was looking about her with great
interest and talking to the guide who walked beside her; then a
reclining chair, which was being pushed up by another man, it
having evidently been thought safer to send the invalid to whom
it belonged up the steep path in a sedan chair. The procession
wound up with a porter, with such a bundle of cloaks, shawls, and
furs on his back that it rose well above his head.
"Here they come! here they come!" shouted Heidi, jumping with
joy. And sure enough it was the party from Frankfurt; the figures
came nearer and nearer, and at last they had actually arrived.
The men in front put down their burden, Heidi rushed forward and
the two children embraced each other with mutual delight.
Grandmamma having also reached the top, dismounted, and gave
Heidi an affectionate greeting, before turning to the
grandfather, who had meanwhile come up to welcome his guests.
There was no constraint about the meeting, for they both knew
each other perfectly well from hearsay and felt like old
After the first words of greeting had been exchanged grandmamma
broke out into lively expressions of admiration. "What a
magnificent residence you have, Uncle! I could hardly have
believed it was so beautiful! A king might well envy you! And how
well my little Heidi looks--like a wild rose!" she continued,
drawing the child towards her and stroking her fresh pink cheeks.
"I don't know which way to look first, it is all so lovely! What
do you say to it, Clara, what do you say?"
Clara was gazing round entranced; she had never imagined, much
less seen, anything so beautiful. She gave vent to her delight in
cries of joy. "O grandmamma," she said, "I should like to remain
here for ever."
The grandfather had meanwhile drawn up the invalid chair and
spread some of the wraps over it; he now went up to Clara.
"Supposing we carry the little daughter now to her accustomed
chair; I think she will be more comfortable, the travelling sedan
is rather hard," he said, and without waiting for any one to help
him he lifted the child in his strong arms and laid her gently
down on her own couch. He then covered her over carefully and
arranged her feet on the soft cushion, as if he had never done
anything all his life but attend on cripples. The grandmamma
looked on with surprise.
"My dear Uncle," she exclaimed, "if I knew where you had learned
to nurse I would at once send all the nurses I know to the same
place that they might handle their patients in like manner. How
do you come to know so much?"
Uncle smiled. "I know more from experience than training," he
answered, but as he spoke the smile died away and a look of
sadness passed over his face. The vision rose before him of a
face of suffering that he had known long years before, the face
of a man lying crippled on his couch of pain, and unable to move
a limb. The man had been his Captain during the fierce fighting
in Sicily; he had found him lying wounded and had carried him
away, and after that the captain would suffer no one else near
him, and Uncle had stayed and nursed him till his sufferings
ended in death. It all came back to Uncle now, and it seemed
natural to him to attend on the sick Clara and to show her all
those kindly attentions with which he had been once so familiar.
The sky spread blue and cloudless over the hut and the fir trees
and far above over the high rocks, the grey summits of which
glistened in the sun. Clara could not feast her eyes enough on
all the beauty around her.
"O Heidi, if only I could walk about with you," she said
longingly, "if I could but go and look at the fir trees and at
everything I know so well from your description, although I have
never been here before."
Heidi in response put out all her strength, and after a slight
effort, managed to wheel Clara's chair quite easily round the hut
to the fir trees. There they paused. Clara had never seen such
trees before, with their tall, straight stems, and long thick
branches growing thicker and thicker till they touched the
ground. Even the grandmamma, who had followed the children, was
astonished at the sight of them. She hardly knew what to admire
most in these ancient trees: the lofty tops rising in their full
green splendor towards the sky, or the pillar-like stems, with
their straight and gigantic boughs, that spoke of such antiquity
of age, of such long years during which they had looked down upon
the valley below, where men came and went, and all things were
continually changing, while they stood undisturbed and
Heidi had now wheeled Clara on to the goat shed, and had flung
open the door, so that Clara might have a full view of all that
was inside. There was not much to see just now as its indwellers
were absent. Clara lamented to her grandmother that they would
have to leave early before the goats came home. "I should so like
to have seen Peter and his whole flock."
"Dear child, let us enjoy all the beautiful things that we can
see, and not think about those that we cannot," grandmamma
replied as she followed the chair which Heidi was pushing further
"Oh, the flowers!" exclaimed Clara. "Look at the bushes of red
flowers, and all the nodding blue bells! Oh, if I could but get
but and pick some!"
Heidi ran off at once and picked her a large nosegay of them.
"But these are nothing, Clara," she said, laying the flowers on
her lap. "If you could come up higher to where the goats are
feeding, then you would indeed see something! Bushes on bushes of
the red centaury, and ever so many more of the blue bell-flowers;
and then the bright yellow rock roses, that gleam like pure gold,
and all crowding together in the one spot. And then there are
others with the large leaves that grandfather calls Bright Eyes,
and the brown ones with little round heads that smell so
delicious. Oh, it is beautiful up there, and if you sit down
among them you never want to get up again, everything looks and
smells so lovely!"
Heidi's eyes sparkled with the remembrance of what she was
describing; she was longing herself to see it all again, and
Clara caught her enthusiasm and looked back at her with equal
longing in her soft blue eyes.
"Grandmamma, do you think I could get up there? Is it possible
for me to go?" she asked eagerly. "If only I could walk, climb
about everywhere with you, Heidi!"
"I am sure I could push you up, the chair goes so easily," said
Heidi, and in proof of her words, she sent the chair at such a
pace round the corner that it nearly went flying down the
mountain-side. Grandmamma being at hand, however, stopped it in
The grandfather, meantime, had not been idle. He had by this time
put the table and extra chairs in front of the seat, so that they
might all sit out here and eat the dinner that was preparing
inside. The milk and the cheese were soon ready, and then the
company sat down in high spirits to their mid-day meal.
Grandmamma was enchanted, as the doctor had been, with their
dining-room, whence one could see far along the valley, and far
over the mountains to the farthest stretch of blue sky. A light
wind blew refreshingly over them as they sat at table, and the
rustling of the fir trees made a festive accompaniment to the
"I never enjoyed anything as much as this. It is really superb!"
cried grandmamma two or three times over; and then suddenly in a
tone of surprise,
"Do I really see you taking a second piece of toasted cheese,
There, sure enough, was a second golden-colored slice of cheese
on Clara's plate.
"Oh, it does taste so nice, grandmamma--better than all the
dishes we have at Ragatz," replied Clara, as she continued eating
"That's right, eat what you can!" exclaimed Uncle. "It's the
mountain air which makes up for the deficiencies of the kitchen."
And so the meal went on. Grandmamma and Alm-Uncle got on very
well together, and their conversation became more and more
lively. They were so thoroughly agreed in their opinions of men
and things and the world in general that they might have been
taken for old cronies. The time passed merrily, and then
grandmamma looked towards the west and said,--
"We must soon get ready to go, Clara, the sun is a good way down;
the men will be here directly with the horse and sedan."
Clara's face fell and she said beseechingly, "Oh, just another
hour, grandmamma, or two hours. We haven't seen inside the hut
yet, or Heidi's bed, or any of the other things. If only the day
was ten hours long!"
"Well, that is not possible," said grandmamma, but she herself
was anxious to see inside the hut, so they all rose from the
table and Uncle wheeled Clara's chair to the door. But there they
came to a standstill, for the chair was much too broad to pass
through the door. Uncle, however, soon settled the difficulty by
lifting Clara in his strong arms and carrying her inside.
Grandmamma went all round and examined the household
arrangements, and was very much amused and pleased at their
orderliness and the cozy appearance of everything. "And this is
your bedroom up here, Heidi, is it not?" she asked, as without
trepidation she mounted the ladder to the hay loft. "Oh, it does
smell sweet, what a healthy place to sleep in." She went up to
the round window and looked out, and grandfather followed up with
Clara in his arms, Heidi springing up after them. Then they all
stood and examined Heidi's wonderful hay-bed, and grandmamma
looked thoughtfully at it and drew in from time to time fragrant
draughts of the hay-perfumed air, while Clara was charmed beyond
words with Heidi's sleeping apartment.
"It is delightful for you up here, Heidi! You can look from your
bed straight into the sky, and then such a delicious smell all
round you! and outside the fir trees waving and rustling! I have
never seen such a pleasant, cheerful bedroom before.
Uncle looked across at the grandmamma. "I have been thinking," he
said to her, "that if you were willing to agree to it, your
little granddaughter might remain up here, and I am sure she
would grow stronger. You have brought up all kinds of shawls and
covers with you, and we could make up a soft bed out of them, and
as to the general looking after the child, you need have no fear,
for I will see to that." Clara and Heidi were as overjoyed at
these words as if they were two birds let out of their cages, and
grandmamma's face beamed with satisfaction.
"You are indeed kind, my dear Uncle," she exclaimed; "you give
words to the thought that was in my own mind. I was only asking
myself whether a stay up here might not be the very thing she
wanted. But then the trouble, the inconvenience to yourself! And
you speak of nursing and looking after her as if it was a mere
nothing! I thank you sincerely, I thank you from my whole heart,
Uncle." And she took his hand and gave it a long and grateful
shake, which he returned with a pleased expression of
Uncle immediately set to work to get things ready. He carried
Clara back to her chair outside, Heidi following, not knowing how
to jump high enough into the air to express her contentment. Then
he gathered up a whole pile of shawls and furs and said, smiling,
"It is a good thing that grandmamma came up well provided for a
winter's campaign; we shall be able to make good use of these."
"Foresight is a virtue," responded the lady, amused, "and
prevents many misfortunes. If we have made the journey over your
mountains without meeting with storms, winds and cloud-bursts, we
can only be thankful, which we are, and my provision against
these disasters now comes in usefully, as you say."
The two had meanwhile ascended to the hay-loft and begun to
prepare a bed; there were so many articles piled one over the
other that when finished it looked like a regular little
fortress. Grandmamma passed her hand carefully over it to make
sure there were no bits of hay sticking out. "If there's a bit
that can come through it will," she said. The soft mattress,
however, was so smooth and thick that nothing could penetrate it.
Then they went down again, well satisfied, and found the children
laughing and talking together and arranging all they were going
to do from morning till evening as long as Clara stayed. The next
question was how long she was to remain, and first grandmamma was
asked, but she referred them to the grandfather, who gave it as
his opinion that she ought to make the trial of the mountain air
for at least a month. The children clapped their hands for joy,
for they had not expected to be together for so long a time.
The bearers and the horse and guide were now seen approaching;
the former were sent back at once, and grandmamma prepared to
mount for her return journey.
"It's not saying good-bye, grandmamma," Clara called out, "for
you will come up now and then and see how we are getting on, and
we shall so look forward to your visits, shan't we, Heidi?"
Heidi, who felt that life this day had been crowded with
pleasures, could only respond to Clara with another jump of joy.
Grandmamma being now seated on her sturdy animal, Uncle took the
bridle to lead her down the steep mountain path; she begged him
not to come far with her, but he insisted on seeing her safely as
far as Dorfli, for the way was precipitous and not without danger
for the rider, he said.
Grandmamma did not care to stay alone in Dorfli, and therefore
decided to return to Ragatz, and thence to make excursions up the
mountain from time to time.
Peter came down with his goats before Uncle had returned. As soon
as the animals caught sight of Heidi they all came flocking
towards her, and she, as well as Clara on her couch, were soon
surrounded by the goats, pushing and poking their heads one over
the other, while Heidi introduced each in turn by its name to her
It was not long before the latter had made the long-wished-for
acquaintance of little Snowflake, the lively Greenfinch, and the
well-behaved goats belonging to grandfather, as well as of the
many others, including the Grand Turk. Peter meanwhile stood
apart looking on, and casting somewhat unfriendly glances towards
When the two children called out, "Good-evening, Peter," he made
no answer, but swung up his stick angrily, as if wanting to cut
the air in two, and then ran off with his goats after him.
The climax to all the beautiful things that Clara had already
seen upon the mountain came at the close of the day.
Heidi introduced each in turn by its name to
her friend Clara
As she lay on the large soft bed in the hay loft, with Heidi near
her, she looked out through the round open window right into the
middle of the shining clusters of stars, and she exclaimed in
"Heidi, it's just as if we were in a high carriage and were going
to drive straight into heaven."
"Yes, and do you know why the stars are so happy and look down
and nod to us like that?" asked Heidi.
"No, why is it?" Clara asked in return.
"Because they live up in heaven, and know how well God arranges
everything for us, so that we need have no more fear or trouble
and may be quite sure that all things will come right in the end.
That's why they are so happy, and they nod to us because they
want us to be happy too. But then we must never forget to pray,
and to ask God to remember us when He is arranging things, so
that we too may feel safe and have no anxiety about what is going
The two children now sat up and said their prayers, and then
Heidi put her head down on her little round arm and fell off to
sleep at once, but Clara lay awake some time, for she could not
get over the wonder of this new experience of being in bed up
here among the stars. She had indeed seldom seen a star, for she
never went outside the house at night, and the curtains at home
were always drawn before the stars came out. Each time she closed
her eyes she felt she must open them again to see if the two very
large stars were still looking in, and nodding to her as Heidi
said they did. There they were, always in the same place, and
Clara felt she could not look long enough into their bright
sparkling faces, until at last her eyes closed of their own
accord, and it was only in her dreams that she still saw the two
large friendly stars shining down upon her.
HOW LIFE WENT ON AT GRANDFATHER'S
The sun had just risen above the mountains and was shedding its
first golden rays over the hut and the valley below. Alm-Uncle,
as was his custom, had been standing in a quiet and, devout
attitude for some little while, watching the light mists
gradually lifting, and the heights and valley emerging from their
twilight shadows and awakening to another day.
The light morning clouds overhead grew brighter and brighter,
till at last the sun shone out in its full glory, and rock and
wood and hill lay bathed in golden light.
Uncle now stepped back into the hut and went softly up the
ladder. Clara had just opened her eyes and was looking with
wonder at the bright sunlight that shone through the round window
and danced and sparkled about her bed. She could not at first
think what she was looking at or where she was. Then she caught
sight of Heidi sleeping beside her, and now she heard the
grandfather's cheery voice asking her if she had slept well and
was feeling rested. She assured him she was not tired, and that
when she had once fallen asleep she had not opened her eyes again
all night. The grandfather was satisfied at this and immediately
began to attend upon her with so much gentleness and
understanding that it seemed as if his chief calling had been to
look after sick children.
Heidi now awoke and was surprised to see Clara dressed, and
already in the grandfather's arms ready to be carried down. She
must be up too, and she went through her toilette with
lightning-like speed. She ran down the ladder and out of the hut,
and there further astonishment awaited her, for grandfather had
been busy the night before after they were in bed. Seeing that it
was impossible to get Clara's chair through the hut-door, he had
taken down two of the boards at the side of the shed and made an
opening large enough to admit the chair; these he left loose so
that they could be taken away and put up at pleasure. He was at
this moment wheeling Clara out into the sun; he left her in front
of the hut while he went to look after the goats, and Heidi ran
up to her friend.
The fresh morning breeze blew round the children's faces, and
every fresh puff brought a waft of fragrance from the fir trees.
Clara drew it in with delight and lay back in her chair with an
unaccustomed feeling of health and comfort.
It was the first time in her life that she had been out in the
open country at this early hour and felt the fresh morning
breeze, and the pure mountain air was so cool and refreshing that
every breath she drew was a pleasure. And then the bright sweet
sun, which was not hot and sultry up here, but lay soft and warm
on her hands and on the grass at her feet. Clara had not imagined
that it would be like this on the mountain.
"O Heidi, if only I could stay up here for ever with you," she
exclaimed happily, turning in her chair from side to side that
she might drink in the air and sun from all quarters.
"Now you see that it is just what I told you," replied Heidi
delighted; "that it is the most beautiful thing in the world to
be up here with grandfather."
The latter at that moment appeared coming from the goat shed and
bringing two small foaming bowls of snow-white milk--one for
Clara and one for Heidi.
"That will do the little daughter good," he said, nodding to
Clara; "it is from Little Swan and will make her strong. To your
health, child! drink it up."
Clara had never tasted goat's milk before; she hesitated and
smelt it before putting it to her lips, but seeing how Heidi
drank hers up without hesitating, and how much she seemed to like
it, Clara did the same, and drank till there was not a drop left,
for she too found it delicious, tasting just as if sugar and
cinnamon had been mixed with it.
"To-morrow we will drink two," said the grandfather, who had
looked on with satisfaction at seeing her follow Heidi's example.
Peter now arrived with the goats, and while Heidi was receiving
her usual crowded morning greetings, Uncle drew Peter aside to
speak to him, for the goats, bleated so loudly and continuously
in their wish to express their joy and affection that no one
could be heard near them.
"Attend to what I have to say," he said. "From to-day be sure you
let Little Swan go where she likes. She has an instinct where to
find the best food for herself, and so if she wants to climb
higher, you follow her, and it will do the others no harm if they
go too; on no account bring her back. A little more climbing
won't hurt you, and in this matter she probably knows better than
you what is good for her; I want her to give as fine milk as
possible. Why are you looking over there as if you wanted to eat
somebody? Nobody will interfere with you. So now be off and
remember what I say."
Peter was accustomed to give immediate obedience to Uncle, and he
marched off with his goats, but with a turn of the head and roll
of the eye that showed he had some thought in reserve. The goats
carried Heidi along with them a little way, which was what Peter
wanted. "You will have to come with them," he called to her, "for
I shall be obliged to follow Little Swan."
"I cannot," Heidi called back from the midst of her friends, "and
I shall not be able to come for a long, long time--not as long as
Clara is with me. Grandfather, however, has promised to go up the
mountain with both of us one day."
Heidi had now extricated herself from the goats and she ran back
to Clara. Peter doubled his fists and made threatening gestures
towards the invalid on her couch, and then climbed up some
distance without pause until he was out of sight, for he was
afraid Uncle might have seen him, and he did not care to know
what Uncle might have thought of the fists.
Clara and Heidi had made so many plans for themselves that they
hardly knew where to begin. Heidi suggested that they should
first write to grandmamma, to whom they had promised to send word
every day, for grandmamma had not felt sure whether it would in
the long run suit Clara's health to remain up the mountain, or if
she would continue to enjoy herself there. With daily news of her
granddaughter she could stay on without anxiety at Ragatz, and be
ready to go to Clara at a moment's notice.
"Must we go indoors to write?" asked Clara, who agreed to Heidi's
proposal but did not want to move from where she was, as it was
so much nicer outside. Heidi was prepared to arrange everything.
She ran in and brought out her school-book and writing things and
her own little stool. She put her reading book and copy book on
Clara's knees, to make a desk for her to write upon, and she
herself took her seat on the stool and sat to the bench, and then
they both began writing to grandmamma. But Clara paused after
every sentence to look about her; it was too beautiful for much
letter writing. The breeze had sunk a little, and now only gently
fanned her face and whispered lightly through the fir trees.
Little winged insects hummed and danced around her in the clear
air, and a great stillness lay over the far, wide, sunny pasture
lands. Lofty and silent rose the high mountain peaks above her,
and below lay the whole broad valley full of quiet peace. Only
now and again the call of some shepherd-boy rang out through the
air, and echo answered softly from the rocks. The morning passed,
the children hardly knew how, and now grandfather came with the
mid-day bowls of steaming milk, for the little daughter, he said,
was to remain out as long as there was a gleam of sun in the sky.
The mid-day meal was set out and eaten as yesterday in the open
air. Then Heidi pushed Clara's chair under the fir trees, for
they had agreed to spend the afternoon under their shade and
there tell each other all that had happened since Heidi left
Frankfurt. If everything had gone on there as usual in a general
way, there were still all kinds of particular things to tell
Heidi about the various people who composed the Sesemann
household, and who were all so well known to Heidi.
So they sat and chatted under the trees, and the more lively grew
their conversation, the more loudly sang the birds overhead, as
if wishing to take part in the children's gossip, which evidently
pleased them. So the hours flew by and all at once, as it seemed,
the evening had come with the returning Peter, who still scowled
and looked angry.
"Good-night, Peter," called out Heidi, as she saw he had no
intention of stopping to speak.
"Good-night, Peter," called out Clara in a friendly voice. Peter
took no notice and went surlily on with his goats.
As Clara saw the grandfather leading away Little Swan to milk
her, she was suddenly taken with a longing for another bowlful of
the fragrant milk, and waited impatiently for it.
"Isn't it curious, Heidi," she said, astonished at herself, "as
long as I can remember I have only eaten because I was obliged
to, and everything used to seem to taste of cod liver oil, and I
was always wishing there was no need to eat or drink; and now I
am longing for grandfather to bring me the milk."
"Yes, I know what it feels like," replied Heidi, who remembered
the many days in Frankfurt when all her food used to seem to
stick in her throat. Clara, however, could not understand it; the
fact was that she had never in her life before spent a whole day
in the open air, much less in such high, life-giving mountain
air. When grandfather at last brought her the evening milk, she
drank it up so quickly that she had emptied her bowl before
Heidi, and then she asked for a little more. The grandfather went
inside with both the children's bowls, and when he brought them
out again full he had something else to add to their supper. He
had walked over that afternoon to a herdsman's house where the
sweetly-tasting butter was made, and had brought home a large
pat, some of which he had now spread thickly on two good slices
of bread. He stood and watched with pleasure while Clara and
Heidi ate their appetising meal with childish hunger and
That night, when Clara lay down in her bed and prepared to watch
the stars, her eyes would not keep open, and she fell asleep as
soon as Heidi and slept soundly all night--a thing she never
remembered having done before. The following day and the day
after passed in the same pleasant fashion, and the third day
there came a surprise for the children. Two stout porters came up
the mountain, each carrying a bed on his shoulders with bedding
of all kinds and two beautiful new white coverlids. The men also
had a letter with them from grandmamma, in which she said that
these were for Clara and Heidi, and that Heidi in future was
always to sleep in a proper bed, and when she went down to Dorfli
in the winter she was to take one with her and leave the other at
the hut, so that Clara might always know there was a bed ready
for her when she paid a visit to the mountain. She went on to
thank the children for their long letters and encouraged them to
continue writing daily, so that she might be able to picture all
they were doing.
So the grandfather went up and threw back the hay from Heidi's
bed on to the great heap, and then with his help the beds were
transported to the loft. He put them close to one another so that
the children might still be able to see out of the window, for he
knew what pleasure they had in the light from the sun and stars.
Meanwhile grandmamma down at Ragatz was rejoicing at the
excellent news of the invalid which reached her daily from the
mountain. Clara found the life more charming each day and could
not say enough of the kindness and care which the grandfather
lavished upon her, nor of Heidi's lively and amusing
companionship, for the latter was more entertaining even than
when in Frankfurt with her, and Clara's first thought when she
woke each morning was, "Oh, how glad I am to be here still."
Having such fresh assurances each day that all was going well
with Clara, grandmamma thought she might put off her visit to the
children a little longer, for the steep ride up and down was
somewhat of a fatigue to her.
The grandfather seemed to feel an especial sympathy for this
little invalid charge, for he tried to think of something fresh
every day to help forward her recovery. He climbed up the
mountain every afternoon, higher and higher each day, and came
home in the evening with a large bunch of leaves which scented
the air with a mingled fragrance as of carnations and thyme, even
from afar. He hung it up in the goat shed, and the goats on their
return were wild to get at it, for they recognised the smell. But
Uncle did not go climbing after rare plants to give the goats the
pleasure of eating them without any trouble of finding them; what
he gathered was for Little Swan alone, that she might give extra
fine milk, and the effect of the extra feeding was shown in the
way she flung her head in the air with ever-increasing
frolicsomeness, and in the bright glow of her eye.
Clara had now been on the mountain for three weeks. For some days
past the grandfather, each morning after carrying her down, had
said, "Won't the little daughter try if she can stand for a
minute or two?" And Clara had made the effort in order to please
him, but had clung to him as soon as her feet touched the ground,
exclaiming that it hurt her so. He let her try a little longer,
however, each day.
It was many years since they had had such a splendid summer among
the mountains. Day after day there were the same cloudless sky
and brilliant sun; the flowers opened wide their fragrant
blossoms, and everywhere the eye was greeted with a glow of
color; and when the evening came the crimson light fell on
mountain peaks and on the great snow-field, till at last the sun
sank in a sea of golden flame.
And Heidi never tired of telling Clara of all this, for only
higher up could the full glory of the colors be rightly seen; and
more particularly did she dwell on the beauty of the spot on the
higher slope of the mountain, where the bright golden rock-roses
grew in masses, and the blue flowers were in such numbers that
the very grass seemed to have turned blue, while near these were
whole bushes of the brown blossoms, with their delicious scent,
so that you never wanted to move again when you once sat down
She had just been expatiating on the flowers as she sat with
Clara under the fir trees one evening, and had been telling her
again of the wonderful light from the evening sun, when such an
irrepressible longing came over her to see it all once more that
the jumped up and ran to her grandfather, who was in the shed,
calling out almost before she was inside,--
"Grandfather, will you take us out with the goats to-morrow? Oh,
it is so lovely up there now!"
"Very well," he answered, "but if I do, the little daughter must
do something to please me: she must try her best again this
evening to stand on her feet."
Heidi ran back with the good news to Clara, and the latter
promised to try her very best as the grandfather wished, for she
looked forward immensely to the next day's excursion. Heidi was
so pleased and excited that she called out to Peter as soon as
she caught sight of him that evening,--
"Peter, Peter, we are all coming out with you to-morrow and are
going to stay up there the whole day."
Peter, cross as a bear, grumbled some reply, and lifted his stick
to give Greenfinch a blow for no reason in particular, but
Greenfinch saw the movement, and with a leap over Snowflake's
back she got out of the way, and the stick only hit the air.
Clara and Heidi got into their two fine beds that night full of
delightful anticipation of the morrow; they were so full of their
plans that they agreed to keep awake all night and talk over them
until they might venture to get up. But their heads had no sooner
touched their soft pillows than the conversation suddenly ceased,
and Clara fell into a dream of an immense field, which looked the
color of the sky, so thickly inlaid was it with blue bell-shaped
flowers; and Heidi heard the great bird of prey calling to her
from the heights above, "Come! come! come!"
SOMETHING UNEXPECTED HAPPENS
Uncle went out early the next morning to see what kind of a day
it was going to be. There was a reddish gold light over the
higher peaks; a light breeze springing up and the branches of the
fir trees moved gently to and fro the sun was on its way.
The old man stood and watched the green slopes under the higher
peaks gradually growing brighter with the coming day and the dark
shadows lifting from the valley, until at first a rosy light
filled its hollows, and then the morning gold flooded every
height and depth--the sun had risen.
Uncle wheeled the chair out of the shed ready for the coming
journey, and then went in to call the children and tell them what
a lovely sunrise it was.
Peter came up at this moment. The goats did not gather round him
so trustfully as usual, but seemed to avoid him timidly, for
Peter had reached a high pitch of anger and bitterness, and was
laying about him with his stick very unnecessarily, and where it
fell the blow was no light one. For weeks now he had not had
Heidi all to himself as formerly. When he came up in the morning
the invalid child was always already in her chair and Heidi fully
occupied with her. And it was the same thing over again when he
came down in the evening. She had not come out with the goats
once this summer, and now to-day she was only coming in company
with her friend and the chair, and would stick by the latter's
side the whole time. It was the thought of this which was making
him particularly cross this morning. There stood the chair on its
high wheels; Peter seemed to see something proud and distainful
about it, and he glared at it as at an enemy that had done him
harm and was likely to do him more still to-day. He glanced
round--there was no sound anywhere, no one to see him. He sprang
forward like a wild creature, caught hold of it, and gave it a
violent and angry push in the direction of the slope. The chair
rolled swiftly forward and in another minute had disappeared.
Peter now sped up the mountain as if on wings, not pausing till
he was well in shelter of a large blackberrybush, for he had no
wish to be seen by Uncle. But he was anxious to see what had
become of the chair, and his bush was well placed for that.
Himself hidden, he could watch what happened below and see what
Uncle did without being discovered himself. So he looked, and
there he saw his enemy running faster and faster down hill, then
it turned head over heels several times, and finally, after one
great bound, rolled over and over to its complete destruction.
The pieces flew in every direction--feet, arms, and torn
fragments of the padded seat and bolster--and Peter experienced a
feeling of such unbounded delight at the sight that he leapt in
the air, laughing aloud and stamping for joy; then he took a run
round, jumping over bushes on the way, only to return to the same
spot and fall into fresh fits of laughter. He was beside himself
with satisfaction, for he could see only good results for himself
in this disaster to his enemy. Now Heidi's friend would be
obliged to go away, for she would have no means of going about,
and when Heidi was alone again she would come out with him as in
the old days, and everything would go on in the proper way again.
But Peter did not consider, or did not know, that when we do a
wrong thing trouble is sure to follow.
Heidi now came running out of the hut and round to the shed.
Grandfather was behind with Clara in his arms. The shed stood
wide open, the two loose planks having been taken down, and it
was quite light inside. Heidi looked into every corner and ran
from one end to the other, and then stood still wondering what
could have happened to the chair. Grandfather now came. up.
"How is this, have you wheeled the chair away, Heidi?"
"I have been looking everywhere for it, grandfather; you said it
was standing ready outside," and she again searched each corner
of the shed with her eyes.
At that moment the wind, which had risen suddenly, blew open the
shed door and sent it banging back against the wall.
"It must have been the wind, grandfather," exclaimed Heidi, and
her eyes grew anxious at this sudden discovery. "Oh! if it has
blown the chair all the way down to Dorfli we shall not get it
back in time, and shall not be able to go."
"If it has rolled as far as that it will never come back, for it
is in a hundred pieces by now," said the grandfather, going round
the corner and looking down. "But it's a curious thing to have
happened!" he added as he thought over the matter, for the chair
would have had to turn a corner before starting down hill.
"Oh, I am sorry," lamented Clara, "for we shall not be able to go
to-day, or perhaps any other day. I shall have to go home, I
suppose, if I have no chair. Oh, I am so sorry, I am so sorry!"
But Heidi looked towards her grandfather with her usual
expression of confidence.
"Grandfather, you will be able to do something, won't you, so
that it need not be as Clara says, and so that she is not obliged
to go home?"
"Well, for the present we will go up the mountain as we had
arranged, and then later on we will see what can be done," he
answered, much to the children's delight.
He went indoors, fetched out a pile of shawls, and laying them on
the sunniest spot he could find set Clara down upon them. Then he
fetched the children's morning milk and had out his two goats.
"Why is Peter not here yet?" thought Uncle to himself, for
Peter's whistle had not been sounded that morning. The
grandfather now took Clara up on one arm, and the shawls on the
"Now then we will start," he said; "the goats can come with us."
Heidi was pleased at this and walked on after her grandfather
with an arm over either of the goats' necks, and the animals were
so overjoyed to have her again that they nearly squeezed her flat
between them out of sheer affection. When they reached the spot
where the goats usually pastured they were surprised to find them
already feeding there, climbing about the rocks, and Peter with
them, lying his full length on the ground.
"I'll teach you another time to go by like that, you lazy rascal!
What do you mean by it?" Uncle called to him.
Peter, recognising the voice, jumped up like a shot. "No one was
up," he answered.
"Have you seen anything of the chair?" asked the grandfather.
"Of what chair?" called Peter back in answer in a morose tone of
Uncle said no more. He spread the shawls on the sunny slope, and
setting Clara upon them asked if she was comfortable.
"As comfortable as in my chair," she said, thanking him, "and
this seems the most beautiful spot. O Heidi, it is lovely, it is
lovely!" she cried, looking round her with delight.
The grandfather prepared to leave them. They would now be safe
and happy together, he said, and when it was time for dinner
Heidi was to go and fetch the bag from the shady hollow where he
had put it; Peter was to bring them as much milk as they wanted,
but Heidi was to see that it was Little Swan's milk. He would
come and fetch them towards evening; he must now be off to see
after the chair and ascertain what had become of it.
The sky was dark blue, and not a single cloud was to be seen from
one horizon to the other. The great snow-field overhead sparkled
as if set with thousands and thousands of gold and silver stars.
The two grey mountains peaks lifted their lofty heads against the
sky and looked solemnly down upon the valley as of old; the great
bird was poised aloft in the clear blue air, and the mountain
wind came over the heights and blew refreshingly around the
children as they sat on the sunlit slope. It was all
indescribably enjoyable to Clara and Heidi. Now and again a young
goat came and lay down beside them; Snowflake came oftenest,
putting her little head down near Heidi, and only moving because
another goat came and drove her away. Clara had learned to know
them all so well that she never mistook one for the other now,
for each had an expression and ways of its own. And the goats had
also grown familiar with Clara and would rub their heads against
her shoulder, which was always a sign of acquaintanceship and
Some hours went by, and Heidi began to think that she might just
go over to the spot where all the flowers grew to see if they
were fully blown and looking as lovely as the year before. Clara
could not go until grandfather came back that evening, when the
flowers probably would be already closed. The longing to go
became stronger and stronger, till she felt she could not resist
"Would you think me unkind, Clara," she said rather hesitatingly,
"if I left you for a few minutes? I should run there and back
very quickly. I want so to see how the flowers are looking--but
wait--" for an idea had come into Heidi's head. She ran and
picked a bunch or two of green leaves, and then took hold of
Snowflake and led her up to Clara.
"There, now you will not be alone," said Heidi, giving the goat a
little push to show her she was to lie down near Clara, which the
animal quite understood. Heidi threw the leaves into Clara's lap,
and the latter told her friend to go at once to look at the
flowers as she was quite happy to be left with the goat; she
liked this new experience. Heidi ran off, and Clara began to hold
out the leaves one by one to Snowflake, who snoozled up to her
new friend in a confiding manner and slowly ate the leaves from
her hand. It was easy to see that Snowflake enjoyed this peaceful
and sheltered way of feeding, for when with the other goats she
had much persecution to endure from the larger and stronger ones
of the flock. And Clara found a strange new pleasure in sitting
all alone like this on the mountain side, her only companion a
little goat that looked to her for protection. She suddenly felt
a great desire to be her own mistress and to be able to help
others, instead of herself being always dependent as she was now.
Many thoughts, unknown to her before, came crowding into her
mind, and a longing to go on living in the sunshine, and to be
doing something that would bring happiness to another, as now she
was helping to make the goat happy. An unaccustomed feeling of
joy took possession of her, as if everything she had ever known
or felt became all at once more beautiful, and she seemed to see
all things in a new light, and so strong was the sense of this
new beauty and happiness that she threw her arms round the little
goat's neck, and exclaimed, "O Snowflake, how delightful it is up
here! if only I could stay on for ever with you beside me!"
Heidi had meanwhile reached her field of flowers, and as she
caught sight of it she uttered a cry of joy. The whole ground in
front of her was a mass of shimmering gold, where the cistus
flowers spread their yellow blossoms. Above them waved whole
bushes of the deep blue bell-flowers; while the fragrance that
arose from the whole sunlit expanse was as if the rarest balsam
had been flung over it. The scent, however, came from the small
brown flowers, the little round heads of which rose modestly here
and there among the yellow blossoms. Heidi stood and gazed and
drew in the delicious air. Suddenly she turned round and reached
Clara's side out of breath with running and excitement. "Oh, you
must come," she called out as soon as she came in sight, "it is
more beautiful than you can imagine, and perhaps this evening it
may not be so lovely. I believe I could carry you, don't you
think I could?" Clara looked at her and shook her head. "Why,
Heidi, what can you be thinking of! you are smaller than I am.
Oh, if only I could walk!"
Heidi looked round as if in search of something, some new idea
had evidently come into her head. Peter was sitting up above
looking down on the two children. He had been sitting and staring
before him in the same way for hours, as if he could not make out
what he saw. He had destroyed the chair so that the friend might
not be able to move anywhere and that her visit might come to an
end, and then a little while after she had appeared right up here
under his very nose with Heidi beside her. He thought his eyes
must deceive him, and yet there she was and no mistake about it.
Heidi now looked up to where he was sitting and called out in a
peremptory voice, "Peter, come down here!"
"I don't wish to come," he called in reply.
"But you are to, you must; I cannot do it alone, and you must
come here and help me; make haste and come down," she called
again in an urgent voice.
"I shall do nothing of the kind," was the answer.
Heidi ran some way up the slope towards him, and then pausing
called again, her eyes ablaze with anger, "If you don't come at
once, Peter, I will do something to you that you won't like; I
mean what I say."
Peter felt an inward throe at these words, and a great fear
seized him. He had done something wicked which he wanted no one
to know about, and so far he had thought himself safe. But now
Heidi spoke exactly as if she knew everything, and whatever she
did know she would tell her grandfather, and there was no one he
feared so much as this latter person. Supposing he were to
suspect what had happened about the chair! Peter's anguish of
mind grew more acute. He stood up and went down to where Heidi
was awaiting him.
"I am coming and you won't do what you said."
Peter appeared now so submissive with fear that Heidi felt quite
sorry for him and answered assuringly, "No, no, of course not;
come along with me, there is nothing to be afraid of in what I
want you to do."
As soon as they got to Clara, Heidi gave her orders: Peter was to
take hold of her under the arms on one side and she on the other,
and together they were to lift her up. This first movement was
successfully carried through, but then came the difficulty. As
Clara could not even stand, how were they to support her and get
her along? Heidi was too small for her arm to serve Clara to lean
"You must put one arm well around my neck so, and put the other
through Peter's and lean firmly upon it, then we shall be able to
Peter, however, had never given his arm to any one in his life.
Clara put hers in his, but he kept his own hanging down straight
beside him like a stick.
"That's not the way, Peter," said Heidi in an authoritative
voice. "You must put your arm out in the shape of a ring, and
Clara must put hers through it and lean her weight upon you, and
whatever you do, don't let your arm give way; like that. I am
sure we shall be able to manage."
Peter did as he was told, but still they did not get on very
well. Clara was not such a light weight, and the team did not
match very well in size; it was up one side and down the other,
so that the supports were rather wobbly.
Clara tried to use her own feet a little, but each time drew them
"Put your foot down firmly once," suggested Heidi, "I am sure it
will hurt you less after that."
"Do you think so?" said Clara hesitatingly, but she followed
Heidi's advice and ventured one firm step on the ground and then
another; she called out a little as she did it; then she lifted
her foot again and went on, "Oh, that was less painful already,"
she exclaimed joyfully.
"Try again," said Heidi encouragingly.
And Clara went on putting one foot out after another until all at
once she called out, "I can do it, Heidi! look! look! I can make
proper steps!" And Heidi cried out with even greater delight,
"Can you really make steps, can you really walk? really walk by
yourself? Oh, if only grandfather were here!" and she continued
gleefully to exclaim, "You can walk now, Clara, you can walk!"
Clara still held on firmly to her supports, but with every step
she felt safer on her feet, as all three became aware, and Heidi
was beside herself with joy.
"Now we shall be able to come up here together every day, and go
just where we like; and you will be able all your life to walk
about as I do, and not have to be pushed in a chair, and you will
get quite strong and well. It is the greatest happiness we could
And Clara heartily agreed, for she could think of no greater joy
in the world than to be strong and able to go about like other
people, and no longer to have to lie from day to day in her
They had not far to go to reach the field of flowers, and could
already catch sight of the cistus flowers glowing gold in the
sun. As they came to the bushes of the blue bell flowers, with
sunny, inviting patches of warm ground between them, Clara said,
"Mightn't we sit down here for a while?"
"Put your foot down firmly," suggested Heidi.
This was just what Heidi enjoyed, and so the children sat down in
the midst of the flowers, Clara for the first time on the dry,
warm mountain grass, and she found it indescribably delightful.
Around her were the blue flowers softly waving to and fro, and
beyond the gleaming patches of the cistus flowers and the red
centaury, while the sweet scent of the brown blossoms and of the
fragrant prunella enveloped her as she sat. Everything was so
lovely! so lovely! And Heidi, who was beside her, thought she had
never seen it so perfectly beautiful up here before, and she did
not know herself why she felt so glad at heart that she longed to
shout for joy. Then she suddenly remembered that Clara was cured;
that was the crowning delight of all that made life so delightful
in the midst of all this surrounding beauty. Clara sat silent,
overcome with the enchantment of all that her eye rested upon,
and with the anticipation of all the happiness that was now
before her. There seemed hardly room in her heart for all her
joyful emotions, and these and the ecstasy aroused by the
sunlight and the scent of the flowers, held her dumb.
Peter also lay among the flowers without moving or speaking, for
he was fast asleep. The breeze came blowing softly and
caressingly from behind the sheltering rocks, and passed
whisperingly through the bushes overhead. Heidi got up now and
then to run about, for the flowers waving in the warm wind seemed
to smell sweeter and to grow more thickly whichever way she went,
and she felt she must sit down at each fresh spot to enjoy the
sight and scent. So the hours went by.
It was long past noon when a small troop of goats advanced
solemnly towards the plain of flowers. it was not a feeding place
of theirs, for they did not care to graze on flowers. They looked
like an embassy arriving, with Greenfinch as their leader. They
had evidently come in search of their companions who had left
them in the lurch, and who had, contrary to all custom, remained
away so long, for the goats could tell the time without mistake.
As soon as Greenfinch caught sight of the three missing friends
amid the flowers she set up an extra loud bleat, whereupon all
the others joined in a chorus of bleats, and the whole company
came trotting towards the children. Peter woke up, rubbing his
eyes, for he had been dreaming that he saw the chair again with
its beautiful red padding standing whole and uninjured before the
grandfather's door, and indeed just as he awoke he thought he was
looking at the brass-headed nails that studded it all round, but
it was only the bright yellow flowers beside him. He experienced
again a dreadful fear of mind that he had lost in this dream of
the uninjured chair. Even though Heidi had promised not to do
anything, there still remained the lively dread that his deed
might be found out in some other way. He allowed Heidi to do what
she liked with him, for he was reduced to such a state of low
spirits and meekness that he was ready to give his help to Clara
without murmur or resistance.
When all three had got back to their old quarters Heidi ran and
brought forward the bag, and proceeded to fulfil her promise, for
her threat of the morning had been concerned with Peter's dinner.
She had seen her grandfather putting in all sorts of good things,
and had been pleased to think of Peter having a large share of
them, and she had meant him to understand when he refused at
first to help her that he would get nothing for his dinner, but
Peter's conscience had put another interpretation upon her words.
Heidi took the food out of the bag and divided it into three
portions, and each was of such a goodly size that she thought to
herself, "There will be plenty of ours left for him to have more
She gave the other two their dinners and sat down with her own
beside Clara, and they all three ate with a good appetite after
their great exertions.
It ended as Heidi had expected, and Peter got as much food again
as his own share with what Clara and Heidi had over from theirs
after they had both eaten as much as they wanted. Peter ate up
every bit of food to the last crumb, but there was something
wanting to his usual enjoyment of a good dinner, for every
mouthful he swallowed seemed to choke him, and he felt something
gnawing inside him.
They were so late at their dinner that they had not long to wait
after they had finished before grandfather came up to fetch them.
Heidi rushed forward to meet him as soon as he appeared, as she
wanted to be the first to tell him the good news. She was so
excited that she could hardly get her words out when she did get
up to him, but he soon understood, and a look of extreme pleasure
came into his face. He hastened up to where Clara was sitting and
said with a cheerful smile, "So we've made the effort, have we,
and won the day!"
Then he lifted her up, and putting his left arm behind her and
giving her his right to lean upon, made her walk a little way,
which she did with less trembling and hesitation than before now
that she had such a strong arm round her.
Heidi skipped along beside her in triumphant glee, and the
grandfather looked too as, if some happiness had befallen him.
But now he took Clara up in his arms. "We must not overdo it," he
said, "and it is high time we went home," and he started off down
the mountain path, for he was anxious to get her indoors that she
might rest after her unusual fatigue.
When Peter got to Dorfli that evening he found a large group of
people collected round a certain spot, pushing one another and
looking over each other's shoulders in their eagerness to catch
sight of something lying on the ground. Peter thought he should
like to see too, and poked and elbowed till he made his way
There it lay, the thing he had wanted to see. Scattered about the
grass were the remains of Clara's chair; part of the back and the
middle bit, and enough of the red padding and the bright nails to
show how magnificent the chair had been when it was entire.
"I was here when the men passed carrying it up," said the baker
who was standing near Peter. "I'll bet any one that it was worth
twenty-five pounds at least. I cannot think how such an accident
could have happened."
"Uncle said the wind might perhaps have done it," remarked one of
the women, who could not sufficiently admire the red upholstery.
"It's a good job that no one but the wind did it," said the baker
again, "or he might smart for it! No doubt the gentleman in
Frankfurt when he hears what has happened will make all inquiries
about it. I am glad for myself that I have not been seen up the
mountain for a good two years, as suspicion is likely to fall on
any one who was about up there at the time."
Many more opinions were passed on the matter, but Peter had heard
enough. He crept quietly away out of the crowd and then took to
his heels and ran up home as fast as he could, as if he thought
some one was after him. The baker's words had filled him with
fear and trembling. He was sure now that any day a constable
might come over from Frankfurt and inquire about the destruction
of the chair, and then everything would come out, and he would be
seized and carried off to Frankfurt and there put in prison. The
whole picture of what was coming was clear before him, and his
hair stood on end with terror.
He reached home in this disturbed state of mind. He would not
open his mouth in reply to anything that was said to him; he
would not eat his potatoes; all he did was to creep off to bed as
quickly as possible and hide under the bedclothes and groan.
"Peter has been eating sorrel again, and is evidently in pain by
the way he is groaning," said Brigitta.
"You must give him a little more bread to take with him; give him
a bit of mine to-morrow," said the grandmother sympathisingly.
As the children lay that night in bed looking out at the stars
Heidi said, "I have been thinking all day what a happy thing it
is that God does not give us what we ask for, even when we pray
and pray and pray, if He knows there is something better for us;
have you felt like that?"
"Why do you ask me that to-night all of a sudden?" asked Clara.
"Because I prayed so hard when I was in Frankfurt that I might go
home at once, and because I was not allowed to I thought God had
forgotten me. And now you see, if I had come away at first when I
wanted to, you would never have come here, and would never have
Clara had in her turn become thoughtful. "But, Heidi," she began
again, "in that case we ought never to pray for anything, as God
always intends something better for us than we know or wish for."
"You must not think it is like that, Clara," replied Heidi
eagerly. "We must go on praying for everything, for everything,
so that God may know we do not forget that it all comes from Him.
If we forget God, then He lets us go our own way and we get into
trouble; grandmamma told me so. And if He does not give us what
we ask for we must not think that He has not heard us and leave
off praying, but we must still pray and say, I am sure, dear God,
that Thou art keeping something better for me, and I will not be
unhappy, for I know that Thou wilt make everything right in the
"How did you learn all that?" asked Clara.
"Grandmamma explained it to me first of all, and then when it all
happened just as she said, I knew it myself, and I think, Clara,"
she went on, as she sat up in bed, "we ought certainly to thank
God to-night that you can walk now, and that He has made us so
"Yes, Heidi, I am sure you are right, and I am glad you reminded
me; I almost forgot my prayers for very joy."
Both children said their prayers, and each thanked God in her own
way for the blessing He had bestowed on Clara, who had for so
long lain weak and ill.
The next morning the grandfather suggested that they should now
write to the grandmamma and ask her if she would not come and pay
them a visit, as they had something new to show her. But the
children had another plan in their heads, for they wanted to
prepare a great surprise for grandmamma. Clara was first to have
more practice in walking so that she might be able to go a little
way by herself; above all things grandmamma was not to have a
hint of it. They asked the grandfather how long he thought this
would take, and when he told them about a week or less, they
immediately sat down and wrote a pressing invitation to
grandmamma, asking her to come soon, but no word was said about
there being anything new to see.
The following days were some of the most joyous that Clara had
spent on the mountain. She awoke each morning with a happy voice
within her crying, "I am well now! I am well now! I shan't have
to go about in a chair, I can walk by myself like other people."
Then came the walking, and every day she found it easier and was
able to go a longer distance. The movement gave her such an
appetite that the grandfather cut his bread and butter a little
thicker each day, and was well pleased to see it disappear. He
now brought out with it a large jugful of the foaming milk and
filled her little bowl over and over again. And so another week
went by and the day came which was to bring grandmamma up the
mountain for her second visit.
"GOOD-BYE TILL WE MEET AGAIN"
Grandmamma wrote the day before her arrival to let the children
know that they might expect her without fail. Peter brought up
the letter early the following morning. Grandfather and the
children were already outside and the goats were awaiting him,
shaking their heads frolicsomely in the fresh morning air, while
the children stroked them and wished them a pleasant journey up
the mountain. Uncle stood near, looking now at the fresh faces of
the children, now at his well-kept goats, with a smile on his
face, evidently well pleased with the sight of both.
As Peter neared the group his steps slackened, and the instant he
had handed the letter to Uncle he turned quickly away as if
frightened, and as he went he gave a hasty glance behind him, as
if the thing he feared was pursuing him, and then he gave a leap
and ran off up the mountain.
"Grandfather," said Heidi, who had been watching him with
astonished eyes, "why does Peter always behave now like the Great
Turk when he thinks somebody is after him with a stick; he turns
and shakes his head and goes off with a bound just like that?"
"Perhaps Peter fancies he sees the stick which he so well
deserves coming after him," answered grandfather.
Peter ran up the first slope without a pause; when he was well
out of sight, however, he stood still and looked suspiciously
about him. Suddenly he gave a jump and looked behind him with a
terrified expression, as if some one had caught hold of him by
the nape of the neck; for Peter expected every minute that the
police-constable from Frankfurt would leap out upon him from
behind some bush or hedge. The longer his suspense lasted, the
more frightened and miserable he became; he did not know a
Heidi now set about tidying the hut, as grandmamma must find
everything clean and in good order when she arrived.
Clara looked on amused and interested to watch the busy Heidi at
So the morning soon went by, and grandmamma might now be expected
at any minute. The children dressed themselves and went and sat
together outside on the seat ready to receive her.
Grandfather joined them, that they might see the splendid bunch
of blue gentians which he had been up the mountain to gather, and
the children exclaimed with delight at the beauty of the flowers
as they shone in the morning sun. The grandfather then carried
them indoors. Heidi jumped up from time to time to see if there
was any sign of grandmamma's approach.
At last she saw the procession winding up the mountain just in
the order she had expected. First there was the guide, then the
white horse with grandmamma mounted upon it, and last of all the
porter with a heavy bundle on his back, for grandmamma would not
think of going up the mountain without a full supply of wraps and
Nearer and nearer wound the procession; at last it reached the
top and grandmamma was there looking down on the children from
her horse. She no sooner saw them, however, sitting side by side,
than she began quickly dismounting, as she cried out in a shocked
tone of voice, "Why is this? why are you not lying in your chair,
Clara? What are you all thinking about?" But even before she had
got close to them she threw up her hands in astonishment,
exclaiming further, "Is it really you, dear child? Why, your
cheeks have grown quite round and rosy! I should hardly have
known you again!" And she was hastening forward to embrace her,
when Heidi slipped down from the seat, and Clara leaning on her
shoulder, the two children began walking along quite coolly and
naturally. Then indeed grandmamma was surprised, or rather
alarmed, for she thought at first that it must be some unheard-of
proceeding of Heidi's devising.
But no--Clara was actually walking steadily and uprightly beside
Heidi--and now the two children turned and came towards her with
beaming faces and rosy cheeks. Laughing and crying she ran to
them and embraced first Clara and then Heidi, and then Clara
again, unable to speak for joy. All at once she caught sight of
Uncle standing by the seat and looking on smiling at the meeting.
She took Clara's arm in hers, and with continual expressions of
delight at the fact that the child could now really walk about
with her, she went up to the old man, and then letting go Clara's
arm she seized his hands.
"My dear Uncle! my dear Uncle! how much we have to thank you for!
It is all your doing! it is your caring and nursing----"
"And God's good sun and mountain air," he interrupted her,
"Yes, and don't forget the beautiful milk I have," put in Clara.
"Grandmamma, you can't think what a quantity of goat's milk I
drink, and how nice it is!"
"I can see that by your cheeks, child," answered grandmamma. "I
really should not have known you; you have grown quite strong and
plump, and taller too; I never hoped or expected to see you look
like that. I cannot take my eyes off you, for I can hardly yet
believe it. But now I must telegraph without delay to my son in
Paris, and tell him he must come here at once. I shall not say
why; it will be the greatest happiness he has ever known. My dear
Uncle, how can I send a telegram; have you dismissed the men
"They have gone," he answered, "but if you are in a hurry I will
fetch Peter, and he can take it for you."
Grandmamma thanked him, for she was anxious that the good news
should not be kept from her son a day longer than was possible.
So Uncle went aside a little way and blew such a resounding
whistle through his fingers that he awoke a responsive echo among
the rocks far overhead. He had not to wait many minutes before
Peter came running down in answer, for he knew the sound of
Uncle's whistle. Peter arrived, looking as white as a ghost, for
he quite thought Uncle was sending for him to give him up. But as
it was he only had a written paper given him with instructions to
take it down at once to the post-office at Dorfli; Uncle would
settle for the payment later, as it was not safe to give Peter
too much to look after.
Peter went off with the paper in his hand, feeling some relief of
mind for the present, for as Uncle had not whistled for him in
order to give him up it was evident that no policeman had yet
So now they could all sit down in peace to their dinner round the
table in front of the hut, and grandmamma was given a detailed
account of all that had taken place. How grandfather had made
Clara try first to stand and then to move her feet a little every
day, and how they had settled for the day's excursion up the
mountain and the chair had been blown away. How Clara's desire to
see the flowers had induced her to take the first walk, and so by
degrees one thing had led to another. The recital took some time,
for grandmamma continually interrupted it with fresh exclamations
of surprise and thankfulness: "It hardly seems possible! I can
scarcely believe it is not all a dream! Are we really awake, and
are all sitting here by the mountain hut, and is that
round-faced, healthy-looking child my poor little, white, sickly
And Clara and Heidi could not get over their delight at the
success of the surprise they had so carefully arranged for
grandmamma and at the latter's continued astonishment.
Meanwhile Herr Sesemann, who had finished his business in Paris,
had also been preparing a surprise. Without saying a word to his
mother he got into the train one sunny morning and travelled that
day to Basle; the next morning he continued his journey, for a
great longing had seized him to see his little daughter from whom
he had been separated the whole summer. He arrived at Ragatz a
few hours after his mother had left. When he heard that she had
that very day started for the mountain, he immediately hired a
carriage and drove off to Mayenfeld; here he found that he could
if he liked drive on as far as Dorfli, which he did, as he
thought the walk up from that place would be as long as he cared
Herr Sesemann found he was right, for the climb up the mountain,
as it was, proved long and fatiguing to him. He went on and on,
but still no hut came in sight, and yet he knew there was one
where Peter lived half way up, for the path had been described to
him over and over again.
There were traces of climbers to be seen on all sides; the narrow
footpaths seemed to run in every direction, and Herr Sesemann
began to wonder if he was on the right one, and whether the hut
lay perhaps on the other side of the mountain. He looked round to
see if any one was in sight of whom he could ask the way; but far
and wide there was not a soul to be seen or a sound to be heard.
Only at moments the mountain wind whistled through the air, and
the insects hummed in the sunshine or a happy bird sang out from
the branches of a solitary larch tree. Herr Sesemann stood still
for a while to let the cool Alpine wind blow on his hot face. But
now some one came running down the mountain-side--it was Peter
with the telegram in his hand. He ran straight down the steep
slope, not following the path on which Herr Sesemann was
standing. As soon as the latter caught sight of him he beckoned
to him to come. Peter advanced towards him slowly and timidly,
with a sort of sidelong movement, as if he could only move one
leg properly and had to drag the other after him. "Hurry up,
lad," called Herr Sesemann, and when Peter was near enough, "Tell
me," he said, "is this the way to the hut where the old man and
the child Heidi live, and where the visitors from Frankfurt are
A low sound of fear was the only answer he received, as Peter
turned to run away in such precipitous haste that he fell head
over heels several times, and went rolling and bumping down the
slope in involuntary bounds, just in the same way as the chair,
only that Peter fortunately did not fall to pieces as that had
done. Only the telegram came to grief, and that was torn into
fragments and flew away.
"How extraordinarily timid these mountain dwellers are!" thought
Herr Sesemann to himself, for he quite believed that it was the
sight of a stranger that had made such an impression on this
unsophisticated child of the mountains.
After watching Peter's violent descent towards the valley for a
few minutes he continued his journey.
Peter, meanwhile, with all his efforts, could not stop himself,
but went rolling on, and still tumbling head over heels at
intervals in a most remarkable manner.
But this was not the most terrible part of his sufferings at the
moment, for far worse was the fear and horror that possessed him,
feeling sure, as he did now, that the policeman had really come
over for him from Frankfurt. He had no doubt at all that the
stranger who had asked him the way was the very man himself. Just
as he had rolled to the edge of that last high slope above Dorfli
he was caught in a bush, and at last able to keep himself from
falling any farther. He lay still for a second or two to recover
himself, and to think over matters.
"Well done! another of you come bumping along like this!" said a
voice close to Peter, "and which of you to-morrow is the wind
going to send rolling down like a badly-sewn sack of potatoes?"
It was the baker, who stood there laughing. He had been strolling
out to refresh himself after his hot day's work, and had watched
with amusement as he saw Peter come rolling over and over in much
the same way as the chair.
Peter was on his feet in a moment. He had received a fresh shock.
Without once looking behind him he began hurrying up the slope
again. He would have liked best to go home and creep into bed, so
as to hide himself, for he felt safest when there. But he had
left the goats up above, and Uncle had given him strict
injunctions to make haste back so that they might not be left too
long alone. And he stood more in awe of Uncle than any one, and
would not have dared to disobey him on any account. There was no
help for it, he had to go back, and Peter went on groaning and
limping. He could run no more, for the anguish of mind he had
been through, and the bumping and shaking he had received, were
beginning to tell upon him. And so with lagging steps and groans
he slowly made his way up the mountain.
Shortly after meeting Peter, Herr Sesemann passed the first hut,
and so was satisfied that he was on the right path. He continued
his climb with renewed courage, and at last, after a long and
exhausting walk, he came in sight of his goal. There, only a
little distance farther up, stood the grandfather's home, with
the dark tops of the fir trees waving above its roof.
Herr Sesemann was delighted to have come to the last steep bit of
his journey, in another minute or two he would be with his little
daughter, and he pleased himself with the thought of her
surprise. But the company above had seen his approaching figure
and recognized who it was, and they were preparing something he
little expected as a surprise on their part.
As he stepped on to the space in front of the hut two figures
came towards him. One a tall girl with fair hair and pink cheeks,
leaning on Heidi, whose dark eyes were dancing with joy. Herr
Sesemann suddenly stopped, staring at the two children, and all
at once the tears started to his eyes. What memories arose in his
heart! Just so had Clara's mother looked, the fair-haired girl
with the delicate pink- and-white complexion. Herr Sesemann did
not know if he was awake or dreaming.
"Don't you know me, papa?" called Clara to him, her face beaming
with happiness. "Am I so altered since you saw me?"
Then Herr Sesemann ran to his child and clasped her in his arms.
"Yes, you are indeed altered! How is it possible? Is it true what
I see?" And the delighted father stepped back to look full at her
again, and to make sure that the picture would not vanish before
"Are you my little Clara, really my little Clara? he kept on
saying, then he clasped her in his arms again, and again put her
away from him that he might look and make sure it was she who
stood before him.
And now grandmamma came up, anxious for a sight of her son's
"Well, what do you say now, dear son?" she exclaimed. "You have
given us a pleasant surprise, but it is nothing in comparison to
what we have prepared for you, you must confess," and she gave
her son an affectionate kiss as she spoke. "But now," she went
on, "you must come and pay your respects to Uncle, who is our
"Yes, indeed, and with the little inmate of our own house, our
little Heidi, too," said Herr Sesemann, shaking Heidi by the
hand. "Well? are you still well and happy in your mountain home?
but I need not ask, no Alpine rose could look more blooming. I am
glad, child, it is a pleasure to me to see you so."
And Heidi looked up with equal pleasure into Herr Sesemann's kind
face. How good he had always been to her! And that he should find
such happiness awaiting him up here on the mountain made her
heart beat with gladness.
Grandmamma now led her son to introduce him to Uncle, and while
the two men were shaking hands and Herr Sesemann was expressing
his heartfelt thanks and boundless astonishment to the old man,
grandmamma, wandered round to the back to see the old fir trees
Here another unexpected sight met her gaze, for there, under the
trees where the long branches had left a clear space on the
ground, stood a great bush of the most wonderful dark blue
gentians, as fresh and shining as if they were growing on the
spot. She clasped her hands, enraptured with their beauty.
"How exquisite! what a lovely sight!" she exclaimed. "Heidi,
dearest child, come here! Is it you who have prepared this
pleasure for me? It is perfectly wonderful!"
The children ran up.
"No, no, I did not put them there," said Heidi, "but I know who
"They grow just like that on the mountain, grandmamma, only if
anything they look more beautiful still," Clara put in; "but
guess who brought those down to-day," and as she spoke she gave
such a pleased smile that the grandmother thought for a moment
the child herself must have gathered them. But that was hardly
At this moment a slight rustling was heard behind the fir trees.
It was Peter, who had just arrived. He had made a long round,
having seen from the distance who it was standing beside Uncle in
front of the hut, and he was trying to slip by unobserved. But
grandmamma had seen and recognized him, and suddenly the thought
struck her that it might be Peter who had brought the flowers and
that he was now trying to get away unseen, feeling shy about it;
but she could not let him go off like that, he must have some
"Come along, boy; come here, do not be afraid," she called to
Peter stood still, petrified with fear. After all he had gone
through that day he felt he had no longer any power of resistance
left. All he could think was, "It's all up with me now." Every
hair of his head stood on end, and he stepped forth from behind
the fir trees, his face pale and distorted with terror.
"Courage, boy," said grandmamma in her effort to dispel his
shyness, "tell me now straight out without hesitation, was it you
who did it?"
Peter did not lift his eyes and therefore did not see at what
grandmamma was pointing. But he knew that Uncle was standing at
the corner of the hut, fixing him with his grey eyes, while
beside him stood the most terrible person that Peter could
conceive --the police-constable from Frankfurt. Quaking in every
limb, and with trembling lips he muttered a low, "Yes."
"Well, and what is there dreadful about that? said grandmamma.
"Because--because--it is all broken to pieces and no one can put
it together again." Peter brought out his words with difficulty,
and his knees knocked together so that he could hardly stand.
Grandmamma went up to Uncle. "Is that poor boy a little out of
his mind?" she asked sympathisingly.
"Not in, the least," Uncle assured her, "it is only that he was
the wind that sent the chair rolling down the slope, and he is
expecting his well-deserved punishment."
Grandmamma found this hard to believe, for in her opinion Peter
did not look an entirely bad boy, nor could he have any reason
for destroying such a necessary thing as the chair. But Uncle had
only given expression to the suspicion that he had from the
moment the accident happened. The angry looks which Peter had
from the beginning cast at Clara, and the other signs of his
dislike to what had been taking place on the mountain, had not
escaped Uncle's eye. Putting two and two together he had come to
the right conclusion as to the cause of the disaster, and he
therefore spoke without hesitation when he accused Peter. The
lady broke into lively expostulations on hearing this.
"No, no, dear Uncle, we will not punish the poor boy any further.
One must be fair to him. Here are all these strangers from
Frankfurt who come and carry away Heidi, his one sole possession,
and a possession well worth having too, and he is left to sit
alone day after day for weeks, with nothing to do but brood over
his wrongs. No, no, let us be fair to him; his anger got the
upper hand and drove him an act of revenge--a foolish one, I own,
but then we all behave foolishly when we are angry." And saying
this she went back to Peter, who still stood frightened and
trembling. She sat down on the seat under the fir trees and
called him to her kindly,--
"Come here, boy, and stand in front of me, for I have something
to say to you. Leave off shaking and trembling, for I want you to
listen to me. You sent the chair rolling down the mountain so
that it was broken to pieces. That was a very wrong thing to do,
as you yourself knew very well at the time, and you also knew
that you deserved to be punished for it, and in order to escape
this you have been doing all you can to hide the truth from
everybody. But be sure of this, Peter: that those who do wrong
make a mistake when they think no one knows anything about it.
For God sees and hears everything, and when the wicked doer tries
to hide what he has done,
then God wakes up a little watchman that He places inside us all
when we are born and who sleeps on quietly till we do something
wrong. And the little watchman has a small goad in his hand, And
when he wakes up he keeps on pricking us with it, so that we have
not a moment's peace. And the watchman torments us still further,
for he keeps on calling out, 'Now you will be found out! Now they
will drag you off to punishment!' And so we pass our life in fear
and trouble, and never know a moment's happiness or peace. Have
you not felt something like that lately, Peter?"
Peter gave a contrite nod of the head, as one who knew all about
it, for grandmamma had described his own feelings exactly.
"And you calculated wrongly also in another way," continued
grandmamma, "for you see the harm you intended has turned out for
the best for those you wished to hurt. As Clara had no chair to
go in and yet wanted so much to see the flowers, she made the
effort to walk, and every day since she has been walking better
and better, and if she remains up here she will in time be able
to go up the mountain every day, much oftener than she would have
done in her chair. So you see, Peter, God is able to bring good
out of evil for those whom you meant to injure, and you who did
the evil were left to suffer the unhappy consequences of it. Do
you thoroughly understand all I have said to you, Peter? If so,
do not forget my words, and whenever you feel inclined to do
anything wrong, think of the little watchman inside you with his
goad and his disagreeable voice. Will you remember all this?"
"Yes, I will," answered Peter, still very subdued, for he did not
yet know how the matter was going to end, as the police constable
was still standing with the Uncle.
"That's right, and now the thing is over and done for," said
grandmamma. "But I should like you to have something for a
pleasant reminder of the visitors from Frankfurt. Can you tell me
anything that you have wished very much to have? What would you
like best as a present?"
Peter lifted his head at this, and stared open-eyed at
grandmamma. Up to the last minute he had been expecting something
dreadful to happen, and now he might have anything that he
wanted. His mind seemed all of a whirl.
"I mean what I say," went on grandmamma. "You shall choose what
you would like to have as a remembrance from the Frankfurt
visitors, and as a token that they will not think any more of the
wrong thing you did. Now do you understand me, boy?"
The fact began at last to dawn upon Peter's mind that he had no
further punishment to fear, and that the kind lady sitting in
front of him had delivered him from the police constable. He
suddenly felt as if the weight of a mountain had fallen off him.
He had also by this time awakened to the further conviction that
it was better to make a full confession at once of anything he
had done wrong or had left undone, and so he said, "And I lost
the paper, too."
Grandmamma had to consider a moment what he meant, but soon
recalled his connection with her telegram, and answered kindly,--
"You are a good boy to tell me! Never conceal anything you have
done wrong, and then all will come right again. And now what
would you like me to give you?"
Peter grew almost giddy with the thought that he could have
anything in the world that he wished for. He had a vision of the
yearly fair at Mayenfeld with the glittering stalls and all the
lovely things that he had stood gazing at for hours, without a
hope of ever possessing one of them, for Peter's purse never held
more than a halfpenny, and all these fascinating objects cost
double that amount. There were the pretty little red whistles
that he could use to call his goats, and the splendid knives with
rounded handles, known as toad-strikers, with which one could do
such famous work among the hazel bushes.
Peter remained pondering; he was trying to think which of these
two desirable objects he should best like to have, and he found
it difficult to decide. Then a bright thought occurred to him; he
would then be able to think over the matter between now and next
"A penny," answered Peter, who was no longer in doubt.
Grandmamma could not help laughing. "That is not an extravagant
request. Come here then!" and she pulled out her purse and put
four bright round shillings in his hand and, then laid some
pennies on top of it. "We will settle our accounts at once," she
continued, "and I will explain them to you. I have given you as
many pennies as there are weeks in the year, and so every Sunday
throughout the year you can take out a penny to spend."
"As long as I live?" said Peter quite innocently.
Grandmamma laughed more still at this, and the men hearing her,
paused in their talk to listen to what was going on.
"Yes, boy, you shall have it all your life--I will put it down in
my will. Do you hear, my son? and you are to put it down in yours
as well: a penny a week to Peter as long as he lives."
Herr Sesemann nodded his assent and joined in the laughter.
Peter looked again at the present in his hand to make sure he was
not dreaming, and then said, "Thank God!"
And he went off running and leaping with more even than his usual
agility, and this time managed to keep his feet, for it was not
fear, but joy such as he had never known before in his life, that
now sent him flying up the mountain. All trouble and trembling
had disappeared, and he was to have a penny every week for life.
As later, after dinner, the party were sitting together chatting,
Clara drew her father a little aside, and said with an eagerness
that had been unknown to the little tired invalid,--
"O papa, if you only knew all that grandfather has done for me
from day to day! I cannot reckon his kindnesses, but I shall
never forget them as long as I live! And I keep on thinking what
I could do for him, or what present I could make him that would
give him half as much pleasure as he has given me."
"That is just what I wish most myself, Clara," replied her
father, whose face grew happier each time he looked at his little
daughter. "I have been also thinking how we can best show our
gratitude to our good benefactor."
Herr Sesemann now went over to where Uncle and grandmamma were
engaged in lively conversation. Uncle stood up as he approached,
and Herr Sesemann, taking him by the hand said,--
"Dear friend, let us exchange a few words with one another. You
will believe me when I tell you that I have known no real
happiness for years past. What worth to me were money and
property when they were unable to make my poor child well and
happy? With the help of God you have made her whole and strong,
and you have given new life not only to her but to me. Tell me
now, in what way can I show my gratitude to you? I can never
repay all you have done, but whatever is in my power to do is at
your service. Speak, friend, and tell me what I can do?"
Uncle had listened to him quietly, with a smile of pleasure on
his face as he looked at the happy father.
"Herr Sesemann," he replied in his dignified way, "believe me
that I too have my share in the joy of your daughter's recovery,
and my trouble is well repaid by it. I thank you heartily for all
you have said, but I have need of nothing; I have enough for
myself and the child as long as I live. One wish alone I have,
and if that could be satisfied I should have no further care in
"Speak, dear friend, and tell me what it is," said Herr Sesemann
"I am growing old," Uncle went on, "and shall not be here much
longer. I have nothing to leave the child when I die, and she has
no relations, except one person who will always like to make what
profit out of her she can. If you could promise me that Heidi
shall never have to go and earn her living among strangers, then
you would richly reward me for all I have done for your child."
"There could never be any question of such a thing as that, my
dear friend," said Herr Sesemann quickly. "I look upon the child
as our own. Ask my mother, my daughter; you may be sure that they
will never allow the child to be left in any one else's care! But
if it will make you happier I give you here my hand upon it. I
promise you: Heidi shall never have to go and earn her living
among strangers; I will make provision against this both during
my life and after. But now I have something else to say.
Independent of her circumstances, the child is totally unfitted
to live a life away from home; we found out that when she was
with us. But she has made friends, and among them I know one who
is at this moment in Frankfurt; he is winding up his affairs
there, that he may be free to go where he likes and take his
rest. I am speaking of my friend, the doctor, who came over here
in the autumn and who, having well considered your advice,
intends to settle in this neighborhood, for he has never felt so
well and happy anywhere as in the company of you and Heidi. So
you see the child will henceforth have two protectors near
her--and may they both live long to share the task!"
"God grant it indeed may be so!" added grandmamma, shaking
Uncle's hand warmly as she spoke, to show how sincerely she
echoed her son's wish. Then putting her arm round Heidi, who was
standing near, she drew the child to her.
"And I have a question to ask you too, dear Heidi. Tell me if
there is anything you particularly wish for."
"Yes, there is," answered Heidi promptly, looking up delightedly
"Then tell me at once, dear, what it is."
"I want to have the bed I slept in at Frankfurt with the high
pillows and the thick coverlid, and then grandmother will not
have to lie with her head down hill and hardly able to breathe,
and she will be warm enough under the coverlid not to have to
wear her shawl in bed to prevent her freezing to death."
In her eagerness to obtain what she had set her heart upon Heidi
hardly gave herself time to get out all she had to say, and did
not pause for breath till she reached the end of her sentence.
"Dearest child," answered grandmamma, moved by Heidi's speech,
"what is this you tell me of grandmother! You are right to remind
me. In the midst of our own happiness we forget too often that
which we ought to remember before all things. When God has shown
us some special mercy we should think at once of those who are
denied so many things. I will telegraph to Frankfurt at once!
Fraulein Rottenmeier shall pack up the bed this very day, and it
will be here in two days' time. God willing, grandmother shall
soon be sleeping comfortably upon it."
Heidi skipped round grandmamma in her glee, and then stopping all
of a sudden, said quickly, "I must make haste down and tell
grandmother, and she will be in trouble too at my not having been
to see her for such a long time." For she felt she could not wait
another moment before carrying the good news down to grandmother,
and, moreover, the recollection came to her of the distress the
old woman was in when she last saw her.
"No, no, Heidi, what can you be thinking of," said her
grandfather reprovingly. "You can't be running backwards and
forwards like that when you have visitors."
But grandmamma interfered on Heidi's behalf. "The child is not so
far wrong, Uncle," she said, "and poor grandmother has too long
been deprived of Heidi for our sakes. Let us all go down to her
together. I believe my horse is waiting for me and I can ride
down from there, and as soon as I get to Dorfli the message shall
be sent off. What do you think of my plan, son?"
Herr Sesemann had not yet had time to speak of his travelling
plans, so he begged his mother to wait a few moments that he
might tell her what he proposed doing.
Herr Sesemann had been arranging that he and his mother should
make a little tour in Switzerland, first ascertaining if Clara
was in a fit state to go some part of the way with them. But now
he would have the full enjoyment of his daughter's company, and
that being so he did not want to miss any of these beautiful days
of later summer, but to start at once on the journey that he now
looked forward to with such additional pleasure. And so he
proposed that they should spend the night in Dorfli and that next
day he should come and fetch Clara, then they would all three go
down to Ragatz and make that their starting point.
Clara was rather upset at first at the thought of saying good-bye
like this to the mountain; she could not help being pleased,
however, at the prospect of the journey, and no time was allowed
her to give way to lamentation.
Grandmamma had already taken Heidi by the hand, preparatory to
leading the way, when she suddenly turned. "But what is to become
of Clara?" she asked, remembering all at once that the child
could not yet take so long a walk. She gave a nod of satisfaction
as she saw that Uncle had already taken Clara up in his arms and
was following her with sturdy strides. Herr Sesemann brought up
the rear, and so they all started down the mountain.
Heidi kept jumping for joy as she and grandmamma walked along
side by side, and grandmamma asked all about grandmother, how she
lived, and what she did, especially in the winter when it was so
cold. And Heidi gave her a minute account of everything, for she
knew all that went on at grandmother's, and told her how
grandmother sat crouching in her corner and trembling with cold.
She was able to give her exact particulars of what grandmother
had and had not to eat. Grandmamma listened with interest and
sympathy until they came to Grandmother's. Brigitta was just
hanging out Peter's second shirt in the sun, so that he might
have it ready to put on when he had worn the other long enough.
As soon as she saw the company approaching she rushed indoors.
"The whole party of them are just going past, mother, evidently
all returning home again," she informed the old woman. "Uncle is
with them, carrying the sick child."
"Alas, is it really to be so then?" sighed the grandmother. "And
you saw Heidi with them? Then they are taking her away. If only
she could come and put her hand in mine again! If I could but
hear her voice once more!"
At this moment the door flew open and Heidi sprang across to the
corner and threw her arms round grandmother.
"Grandmother! grandmother! my bed is to be sent from Frankfurt
with all the three pillows and the thick coverlid; grandmamma
says it will be here in two days." Heidi could not get out her
words quickly enough, for she was impatient to see grandmother's
great joy at the news. The latter smiled, but said a little
"She must indeed be a good kind lady, and I ought to be glad to
think she is taking you with her, but I shall not outlive it
"What is this I hear? Who has been telling my good grandmother
such tales?" exclaimed a kindly voice, and grandmother felt her
hand taken and warmly pressed, for grandmamma had followed Heidi
in and heard all that was said. "No, no, there is no thought of
such a thing! Heidi is going to stay with you and make you happy.
We want to see her again, but we shall come to her. We hope to
pay a visit to the Alm every year, for we have good cause to
offer up especial thanks to God upon this spot where so great a
miracle has been wrought upon our child."
And now grandmother's face was lighted up with genuine happiness,
and she pressed Frau Sesemann's hand over and over again, unable
to speak her thanks, while two large tears of joy rolled down her
aged cheeks. And Heidi saw the glad change come over
grandmother's face, and she too now was entirely happy.
She clung to the old woman, saying, "Hasn't it all come about,
grandmother, just like the hymn I read to you last time? Isn't
the bed from Frankfurt sent to make you well?"
"Yes, Heidi, and many, many other good things too, which God has
sent me," said the grandmother, deeply moved. "I did not think it
possible that there were so many kind people, ready to trouble
themselves about a poor old woman and to do so much for her.
Nothing strengthens our belief in a kind heavenly Father who
never forgets even the least of His creatures so much as to know
that there are such people, full of goodness and pity for a poor
useless creature such as I am."
"My good grandmother," said Frau Sesemann, interrupting her, "we
are all equally poor and helpless in the eyes of God, and all
have equal need that He should not forget us. But now we must say
good-bye, but only till we meet again, for when we pay our next
year's visit to the Alm you will be the first person we shall
come and see; meanwhile we shall not forget you." And Frau
Sesemann took grandmother's hand again and shook it in farewell.
But grandmother would not let her off even then without more
words of gratitude, and without calling down on her benefactress
and all belonging to her every blessing that God had to bestow.
At last Herr Sesemann and his mother were able to continue their
journey downwards, while Uncle carried Clara back home, with
Heidi beside him, so full of joy of what was coming for
grandmother that every step was a jump.
But there were many tears shed the following morning by the
departing Clara, who wept to say good-bye to the beautiful
mountain home where she had been happier than ever in her life
before. Heidi did her best to comfort her. "Summer will be here
again in no time," she said, "and then you will come again, and
it will be nicer still, for you will be able to walk about from
the beginning. We can then go out every day with the goats up to
where the flowers grow, and enjoy ourselves from the moment you
Herr Sesemann had come as arranged to fetch his little daughter
away, and was just now standing and talking with Uncle, for they
had much to say to one another. Clara felt somewhat consoled by
Heidi's words, and wiped away her tears.
"Be sure you say good-bye for me to Peter and the goats, and
especially to Little Swan. I wish I could give Little Swan a
present, for she has helped so much to make me strong."
"Well, you can if you like," replied Heidi, "send her a little
salt; you know how she likes to lick some out of grandfather's
hand when she comes home at night."
Clara was delighted at this idea. "Oh, then I shall send a
hundred pounds of salt from Frankfurt, for I want her to have
something as a remembrance of me."
Herr Sesemann now beckoned to the children as it was time to be
off. Grandmamma's white horse had been brought up for Clara, as
she was no longer obliged to be carried in a chair.
Heidi ran to the far edge of the slope and continued to wave her
hand to Clara until the last glimpse of horse and rider had
And now the bed has arrived, and grandmother is sleeping so
soundly all night that she is sure to grow stronger.
Grandmamma, moreover, has not forgotten how cold the winter is on
the mountain. She has sent a large parcel of warm clothing of
every description, so that grandmother can wrap herself round and
round, and will certainly not tremble with cold now as she sits
in her corner.
There is a great deal of building going on at Dorfli. The doctor
has arrived, and, for the present, is occupying his old quarters.
His friends have advised him to buy the old house that Uncle and
Heidi live in during the winter, which had evidently, judging
from the height of the rooms and the magnificent stove with its
artistically-painted tiles, been a fine gentleman's place at one
time. The doctor is having this part of the old house rebuilt for
himself, the other part being repaired for Uncle and Heidi, for
the doctor is aware that Uncle is a man of independent spirit,
who likes to have a house to himself. Quite at the back a warm
and well-walled stall is being put up for the two goats, and
there they will pass their winter in comfort.
The doctor and Uncle are becoming better friends every day, and
as they walk about the new buildings to see how they are getting
on, their thoughts continually turn to Heidi, for the chief
pleasure to each in connection with the house is that they will
have the light-hearted little child with them there.
"Dear friend," said the doctor on one of these occasions as they
were standing together, "you will see this matter in the same
light as I do, I am sure. I share your happiness in the child as
if, next to you, I was the one to whom she most closely belonged,
but I wish also to share all responsibilities, concerning her and
to do my best for the child. I shall then feel I have my rights
in her, and shall look forward to her being with me and caring
for me in my old age, which is the one great wish of my heart.
She will have the same claims upon me as if she were my own
child, and I shall provide for her as such, and so we shall be
able to leave her without anxiety when the day comes that you and
I must go."
Uncle did not speak, but he clasped the doctor's hand in his, and
his good friend could read in the old man's eyes how greatly
moved he was and how glad and grateful he felt.
Heidi and Peter were at this moment sitting with grandmother, and
the one had so much to relate, and the others to listen to, that
they all three got closer and closer to one another, hardly able
to breathe in their eagerness not to miss a word.
And how much there was to tell of all the events that had taken
place that last summer, for they had not had many opportunities
of meeting since then.
And it was difficult to say which of the three looked the
happiest at being together again, and at the recollection of all
the wonderful things that had happened. Mother Brigitta's face
was perhaps the happiest of all, as now, with the help of
explanation she was able to understand for the first time the
history of Peter's weekly penny for life.
Then at last the grandmother spoke, "Heidi, read me one of the
hymns! I can feel I can do nothing for the remainder of my life
but thank the Father in Heaven for all the mercies he has shown