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Heidi

Nov 17, 2011

By Johanna Spyri
Apple Classics



Heidi, a little girl, was orphaned and had come to live with her grandfather, the Alm-Uncle, who lived a life in seclusion, and everyone in the village of Dorfli feared him, except the good pastor who was his friend. Nobody was comfortable with the situation at hand, but they ought not have worried for little Heidi’s sake, for she was as happy as could be, growing strong and healthy while frolicking about with the goats in a green meadow with Peter, the eleven-year-old goatherd. Then one day, Aunt Dete, who had led Heidi to Grandfather’s doorstep, appeared again, this time to take Heidi away for good, to Frankfort, where a wealthy man wanted a girl to be the companion of his invalid daughter Klara, for Aunt Dete thought that Grandfather did not want Heidi. But the muggy air, lack of blue sky and green grass, the atmosphere and population, these factors drove Heidi to despair and ultimate longing, for now she knew she could not go home as often as she wished as Aunt Dete had hurriedly promised, and if she tried, she would receive a cruel and harsh punishment from the strict housekeeper, Mrs. Rottenmeier.

I shan’t reveal too much, but hopefully you are now interested in this book enough to check it out at your local library. This book is: sweet, heartfelt, tender, loving, and warm, and some themes are: care and family and happiness. Heidi herself is pure, innocent, sensitive….
“Let me be, dear child; it is always dark for me now; whether in snow or sun, no light can penetrate my eyes.”
“But surely it does in summer, grandmother,” said Heidi, more and more anxious to find some way out of the trouble, “when the hot sun is shining down again, and he says good-night to the mountains, and they all turn on fire, and the yellow flowers shine like gold, then, you will see, it will be bright and beautiful for you again.”
“Ah, child, I shall see the mountains on fire or the yellow flowers no more; it will never be light for me again on earth, never.”
At these words Heidi broke into loud crying. In her distress she kept on sobbing out, “Who can make it light for you again? Can no one do it? Isn’t there any one who can do it?”
Now can’t you see that she is only mischievous because her heart is so pure and free? Making Mrs. Rottenmeier unhappy was not her goal at all, and although she disagreed wholeheartedly with whatever the old lady said, their lives were so completely different that you really cannot blame them for their conflicts. Mrs. Rottenmeier (how strange her name is!) had such a narrow, restricted way of thinking that one cannot help feeling sorry for her, for indeed she must have led a childhood of bitter feelings, and forced into these very same rules herself. Her youthful years were not full to the top with a run-with-the-wind kind of luxury, but most likely filled with dreadful needlework and arithmetic lessons. And so I hope you are sorry, for not only her but also for the people whom she affected with her outrageous ways, too.
 
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