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Every afternoon during her visit the grandmother went and sat

down for a few minutes beside Clara after dinner, when the latter

was resting, and Fraulein Rottenmeier, probably for the same

reason, had disappeared inside her room; but five minutes

sufficed her, and then she was up again, and Heidi was sent for

to her room, and there she would talk to the child and employ and

amuse her in all sorts of ways. The grandmother had a lot of

pretty dolls, and she showed Heidi how to make dresses and

pinafores for them, so that Heidi learnt how to sew and to make

all sorts of beautiful clothes for the little people out of a

wonderful collection of pieces that grandmother had by her of

every describable and lovely color. And then grandmother liked to

hear her read aloud, and the oftener Heidi read her tales the

fonder she grew of them. She entered into the lives of all the

people she read about so that they became like dear friends to

her, and it delighted her more and more to be with them. But

still Heidi never looked really happy, and her bright eyes were

no longer to be seen. It was the last week of the grandmother's

visit. She called Heidi into her room as usual one day after

dinner, and the child came with her book under her arm. The

grandmother called her to come close, and then laying the book

aside, said, "Now, child, tell me why you are not happy? Have you

still the same trouble at heart?"

Heidi nodded in reply.

"Have you told God about it?"


"And do you pray every day that He will make things right and

that you may be happy again?"

"No, I have left off praying."

"Do not tell me that, Heidi! Why have you left off praying?"

"It is of no use, God does not listen," Heidi went on in an

agitated voice, "and I can understand that when there are so

many, many people in Frankfurt praying to Him every evening that

He cannot attend to them all, and He certainly has not heard what

I said to Him."

"And why are you so sure of that, Heidi?"

"Because I have prayed for the same thing every day for weeks,

and yet God has not done what I asked."

"You are wrong, Heidi; you must not think of Him like that. God

is a good father to us all, and knows better than we do what is

good for us. If we ask Him for something that is not good for us,

He does not give it, but something better still, if only we will

continue to pray earnestly and do not run away and lose our trust

in Him. God did not think what you have been praying for was good

for you just now; but be sure He heard you, for He can hear and

see every one at the same time, because He is a God and not a

human being like you and me. And because He thought it was better

for you not to have at once what you wanted, He said to Himself:

Yes, Heidi shall have what she asks for, but not until the right

time comes, so that she may be quite happy. If I do what she

wants now, and then one day she sees that it would have been

better for her not to have had her own way, she will cry and say,

'If only God had not given me what I asked for! it is not so good

as I expected!' And while God is watching over you, and looking

to see if you will trust Him and go on praying to Him every day,

and turn to Him for everything you want, you run away and leave

off saying your prayers, and forget all about Him. And when God

no longer hears the voice of one He knew among those who pray to

Him, He lets that person go his own way, that he may learn how

foolish he is. And then this one gets into trouble, and cries,

'Save me, God, for there is none other to help me,' and God says,

'Why did you go from Me; I could not help you when you ran away.'

And you would not like to grieve God, would you Heidi, when He

only wants to be kind to you? So will you not go and ask Him to

forgive you, and continue to pray and to trust Him, for you may

be sure that He will make everything right and happy for you, and

then you will be glad and lighthearted again."

Heidi had perfect confidence in the grandmother, and every word

she said sunk into her heart.

"I will go at once and ask God to forgive me, and I will never

forget Him again," she replied repentantly.

"That is right, dear child," and anxious to cheer her, added,

"Don't be unhappy, for He will do everything you wish in good time."

And Heidi ran away and prayed that she might always remember God,

and that He would go on thinking about her.

The day came for grandmother's departure--a sad one for Clara and

Heidi. But the grandmother was determined to make it as much like

a holiday as possible and not to let them mope, and she kept them

so lively and amused that they had no time to think about their

sorrow at her going until she really drove away. Then the house

seemed so silent and empty that Heidi and Clara did not know what

to do with themselves, and sat during the remainder of the day

like two lost children.

The next day, when the hour came for Clara and Heidi to be

together, the latter walked in with her book and proposed that

she should go on reading aloud every afternoon to Clara, if the

latter liked it. Clara agreed, and thought anyhow it would be

nice for that day, so Heidi began with her usual enthusiasm. But

the reading did not last long, for Heidi had hardly begun a tale

about a dying grandmother before she cried out, "O! then

grandmother is dead!" and burst into tears; for everything she

read was so real to her that she quite thought it was the

grandmother at home who had died, and she kept on exclaiming as

her sobs increased, "She is dead, and I shall never see her

again, and she never had one of the white rolls!"

Clara did all she could to explain to Heidi that the story was

about quite a different grandmother; but even when at last she

had been able to convince Heidi of this, the latter continued to

weep inconsolably, for now she had awakened to the thought that

perhaps the grandmother, and even the grandfather also, might die

while she was so far way, and that if she did not go home for a

long time she would find everything there all silent and dead,

and there she would be all alone, and would never be able to see

the dear ones she loved any more.

Fraulein Rottenmeier had meanwhile come into the room, and Clara

explained to her what had happened. As Heidi continued her

weeping, the lady, who was evidently getting impatient with her,

went up to Heidi and said with decision, "Now, Adelaide, that is

enough of all this causeless lamentation. I will tell you once

for all, if there are any more scenes like this while you are

reading, I shall take the book away from you and shall not let

you have it again."

Her words had immediate effect on Heidi, who turned pale with

fear. The book was her one great treasure. She quickly dried her

tears and swallowed her sobs as best she could, so that no

further sound of them should be heard. The threat did its work,

for Heidi never cried aloud again whatever she might be reading,

but she had often to struggle hard to keep back her tears, so

that Clara would look at her and say,

"What faces you are making, Heidi, I never saw anything like it!"

But the faces made no noise and did not offend Fraulein

Rottenmeier, and Heidi, having overcome her fit of despairing

misery, would go quietly on for a while, and no one perceived her

sorrow. But she lost all her appetite, and looked so pale and

thin that Sebastian was quite unhappy when he looked at her, and

could not bear to see her refusing all the nice dishes he handed

her. He would whisper to her sometimes, in quite a kind, fatherly

manner, "Take a little; you don't know how nice it is! There, a

good spoonful, now another." But it was of no use, Heidi hardly

ate anything at all, and as soon as she laid her head down at

night the picture of home would rise before her eyes, and she

would weep, burying her face in the pillow that her crying might

not be heard.

And so many weeks passed away. Heidi did not know it is was

winter or summer, for the walls and windows she looked out upon

showed no change, and she never went beyond the house except on

rare occasions when Clara was well enough to drive out, and then

they only went a very little way, as Clara could not bear the

movement for long. So that on these occasions they generally only

saw more fine streets and large houses and crowds of people; they

seldom got anywhere beyond them, and grass and flowers, fir trees

and mountains, were still far away. Heidi's longing for the old

familiar and beautiful things grew daily stronger, so that now

only to read a word that recalled them to her remembrance brought

her to the verge of tears, which with difficulty she suppressed.

So the autumn and winter passed, and again the sun came shining

down on the white walls of the opposite houses, and Heidi would

think to herself that now the time had come for Peter to go out

again with the goats, to where the golden flowers of the cistus

were glowing in the sunlight, and all the rocks around turned to

fire at sunset. Heidi would go and sit in a corner of her lonely

room and put her hands up to her eyes that she might not see the

sun shining on the opposite wall; and then she would remain

without moving, battling silently with her terrible homesickness

until Clara sent for her again.



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