by JOHANNA SPYRI
I Up the Mountain to Alm-Uncle II At Home with Grandfather III Out with the Goats IV The Visit to Grandmother V Two Visits and What Came of Them VI A New Chapter about New Things VII Fraulein Rottenmeier Spends an Uncomfortable Day VIII There is Great Commotion in the Large House IX Herr Sesemann Hears of Things that are New to Him X Another Grandmother XI Heidi Gains in One Way and Loses in Another XII A Ghost in the House XIII A Summer Evening on the Mountain XIV Sunday Bells XV Preparations for a journey XVI A Visitor XVII A Compensation XVIII Winter in Dorfli XIX The Winter Continues XX News from Distant Friends XXI How Life went on at Grandfather's XXII Something Unexpected Happens XXIII "Good-bye Till We Meet Again"
"Heidi" is a delightful story for children of life in the Alps, one of many tales written by the Swiss authoress, Johanna Spyri, who died in her home at Zurich in 1891. She had been well known to the younger readers of her own country since 1880, when she published her story, Heimathlos, which ran into three or more editions, and which, like her other books, as she states on the title page, was written for those who love children, as well as for the youngsters themselves. Her own sympathy with the instincts and longings of the child's heart is shown in her picture of Heidi. The record of the early life of this Swiss child amid the beauties of her passionately loved mountain-home and during her exile in the great town has been for many years a favorite book of younger readers in Germany and America.
Madame Spyri, like Hans Andersen, had by temperament a peculiar skill in writing the simple histories of an innocent world. In all her stories she shows an underlying desire to preserve children alike from misunderstanding and the mistaken kindness that frequently hinder the happiness and natural development of their lives and characters. The authoress, as we feel in reading her tales, lived among the scenes and people she describes, and the setting of her stories has the charm of the mountain scenery amid which she places her small actors.
Her chief works, besides Heidi, were:-- Am Sonntag; Arthur und Squirrel; Aus dem Leben; Aus den Schweizer Bergen; Aus Nah und Fern; Aus unserem, Lande; Cornelli wird erzogen; Einer vom Hause Lesa; 10 Geschichten fur Yung und Alt; Kurze Geschichten, 2 vols.; Gritli's Kinder, 2 vols.; Heimathlos; Im Tilonethal; In Leuchtensa; Keiner zu Klein Helfer zu sein; Onkel Titus; Schloss Wildenstein; Sina; Ein Goldener Spruch; Die Hauffer Muhle; Verschollen, nicht vergessen; Was soll deim aus ihr werden; Was aus ihr Geworden ist. M.E.
CHAPTER I. UP THE MOUNTAIN TO ALM-UNCLE
From the old and pleasantly situated village of Mayenfeld, a footpath winds through green and shady meadows to the foot of the mountains, which on this side look down from their stern and lofty heights upon the valley below. The land grows gradually wilder as the path ascends, and the climber has not gone far before he begins to inhale the fragrance of the short grass and sturdy mountain-plants, for the way is steep and leads directly up to the summits above.
On a clear sunny morning in June two figures might be seen climbing the narrow mountain path; one, a tall strong-looking girl, the other a child whom she was leading by the hand, and whose little checks were so aglow with heat that the crimson color could be seen even through the dark, sunburnt skin. And this was hardly to be wondered at, for in spite of the hot June sun the child was clothed as if to keep off the bitterest frost. She did not look more than five years old, if as much, but what her natural figure was like, it would have been hard to say, for she had apparently two, if not three dresses, one above the other, and over these a thick red woollen shawl wound round about her, so that the little body presented a shapeless appearance, as, with its small feet shod in thick, nailed mountain-shoes, it slowly and laboriously plodded its way up in the heat. The two must have left the valley a good hour's walk behind them, when they came to the hamlet known as Dorfli, which is situated half-way up the mountain. Here the wayfarers met with greetings from all sides, some calling to them from windows, some from open doors, others from outside, for the elder girl was now in her old home. She did not, however, pause in her walk to respond to her friends' welcoming cries and questions, but passed on without stopping for a moment until she reached the last of the scattered houses of the hamlet. Here a voice called to her from the door: "Wait a moment, Dete; if you are going up higher, I will come with you."