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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 enjoyment.

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

among them.

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!"



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