CHAPTER II. AT HOME WITH GRANDFATHER
As soon as Dete had disappeared the old man went back to his
bench, and there he remained seated, staring on the ground
without uttering a sound, while thick curls of smoke floated
upward from his pipe. Heidi, meanwhile, was enjoying herself in
her new surroundings; she looked about till she found a shed,
built against the hut, where the goats were kept; she peeped in,
and saw it was empty. She continued her search and presently came
to the fir trees behind the hut. A strong breeze was blowing
through them, and there was a rushing and roaring in their
topmost branches, Heidi stood still and listened. The sound
growing fainter, she went on again, to the farther corner of the
hut, and so round to where her grandfather was sitting. Seeing
that he was in exactly the same position as when she left him,
she went and placed herself in front of the old man, and putting
her hands behind her back, stood and gazed at him. Her
grandfather looked up, and as she continued standing there
without moving, "What is it you want?" he asked.
"I want to see what you have inside the house," said Heidi.
"Come then!" and the grandfather rose and went before her towards
"Bring your bundle of clothes in with you," he bid her as she was
"I shan't want them any more," was her prompt answer.
The old man turned and looked searchingly at the child, whose
dark eyes were sparkling in delighted anticipation of what she
was going to see inside. "She is certainly not wanting in
intelligence," he murmured to himself. "And why shall you not
want them any more?" he asked aloud.
"Because I want to go about like the goats with their thin light
"Well, you can do so if you like," said her grandfather, "but
bring the things in, we must put them in the cupboard."
Heidi did as she was told. The old man now opened the door and
Heidi stepped inside after him; she found herself in a good-sized
room, which covered the whole ground floor of the hut. A table
and a chair were the only furniture; in one corner stood the
grandfather's bed, in another was the hearth with a large kettle
hanging above it; and on the further side was a large door in the
wall--this was the cupboard. The grandfather opened it; inside
were his clothes, some hanging up, others, a couple of shirts,
and some socks and handkerchiefs, lying on a shelf; on a second
shelf were some plates and cups and glasses, and on a higher one
still, a round loaf, smoked meat, and cheese, for everything that
Alm-Uncle needed for his food and clothing was kept in this
cupboard. Heidi, as soon as it was opened, ran quickly forward
and thrust in her bundle of clothes, as far back behind her
grandfather's things as possible, so that they might not easily
be found again. She then looked carefully round the room, and
asked, "Where am I to sleep, grandfather?"
"Wherever you like," he answered.
Heidi was delighted, and began at once to examine all the nooks
and corners to find out where it would be pleasantest to sleep.
In the corner near her grandfather's bed she saw a short ladder
against the wall; up she climbed and found herself in the
hayloft. There lay a large heap of fresh sweet-smelling hay,
while through a round window in the wall she could see right down
"I shall sleep up here, grandfather," she called down to him,
"It's lovely, up here. Come up and see how lovely it is!"
"Oh, I know all about it," he called up in answer.
"I am getting the bed ready now," she called down again, as she
went busily to and fro at her work, "but I shall want you to
bring me up a sheet; you can't have a bed without a sheet, you
want it to lie upon."
"All right," said the grandfather, and presently he went to the
cupboard, and after rummaging about inside for a few minutes he
drew out a long, coarse piece of stuff, which was all he had to
do duty for a sheet. He carried it up to the loft, where he found
Heidi had already made quite a nice bed. She had put an extra
heap of hay at one end for a pillow, and had so arranged it that,
when in bed, she would be able to see comfortably out through the
"That is capital," said her grandfather; "now we must put on the
sheet, but wait a moment first," and he went and fetched another
large bundle of hay to make the bed thicker, so that the child
should not feel the hard floor under her--"there, now bring it
here." Heidi had got hold of the sheet, but it was almost too
heavy for her to carry; this was a good thing, however, as the
close thick stuff would prevent the sharp stalks of the hay
running through and pricking her. The two together now spread the
sheet over the bed, and where it was too long or too broad, Heidi
quickly tucked it in under the hay. It looked now as tidy and
comfortable a bed as you could wish for, and Heidi stood gazing
thoughtfully at her handiwork.
"We have forgotten something now, grandfather," she said after a
"What's that?" he asked.
A coverlid; when you get into bed, you have to creep in between
the sheets and the coverlid."
"Oh, that's the way, is it? But suppose I have not got a
coverlid?" said the old man.
"Well, never mind, grandfather," said Heidi in a consoling tone
of voice, "I can take some more hay to put over me," and she was
turning quickly to fetch another armful from the heap, when her
grandfather stopped her. "Wait a moment," he said, and he climbed
down the ladder again and went towards his bed. He returned to
the loft with a large, thick sack, made of flax, which he threw
down, exclaiming, There, that is better than hay, is it not?"
Heidi began tugging away at the sack with all her little might,
in her efforts to get it smooth and straight, but her small hands
were not fitted for so heavy a job. Her grandfather came to her
assistance, and when they had got it tidily spread over the bed,
it all looked so nice and warm and comfortable that Heidi stood
gazing at it in delight. "That is a splendid coverlid," she said,
"and the bed looks lovely altogether! I wish it was night, so
that I might get inside it at once."
"I think we might have something to eat first," said the
grandfather, "what do you think?"
Heidi in the excitement of bed-making had forgotten everything
else; but now when she began to think about food she felt
terribly hungry, for she had had nothing to eat since the piece
of bread and little cup of thin coffee that had been her
breakfast early that morning before starting on her long, hot
journey. So she answered without hesitation, "Yes, I think so
"Let us go down then, as we both think alike," said the old man,
and he followed the child down the ladder. Then he went up to the
hearth, pushed the big kettle aside, and drew forward the little
one that was hanging on the chain, and seating himself on the
round-topped, three-legged stool before the fire, blew it up into
a clear bright flame. The kettle soon began to boil, and
meanwhile the old man held a large piece of cheese on a long iron
fork over the fire, turning it round and round till it was
toasted a nice golden yellow color on each side. Heidi watched
all that was going on with eager curiosity. Suddenly some new
idea seemed to come into her head, for she turned and ran to the
cupboard, and then began going busily backwards and forwards.
Presently the grandfather got up and came to the table with a jug
and the cheese, and there he saw it already tidily laid with the
round loaf and two plates and two knives each in its right place;
for Heidi had taken exact note that morning of all that there was
in the cupboard, and she knew which things would be wanted for
"Ah, that's right," said the grandfather, "I am glad to see that
you have some ideas of your own," and as he spoke he laid the
toasted cheese on a layer of bread, "but there is still something
Heidi looked at the jug that was steaming away invitingly, and
ran quickly back to the cupboard. At first she could only see a
small bowl left on the shelf, but she was not long in perplexity,
for a moment later she caught sight of two glasses-further back,
and without an instant's loss of time she returned with these and
the bowl and put them down on the table.
"Good, I see you know how to set about things; but what will you
do for a seat?" The grandfather himself was sitting on the only
chair in the room. Heidi flew to the hearth, and dragging the
three-legged stool up to the table, sat herself down upon it.
Well, you have managed to find a seat for yourself, I see, only
rather a low one I am afraid," said the grandfather, "but you
would not be tall enough to reach the table even if you sat in my
chair; the first thing now, however, is to have something to eat,
so come along."
With that he stood up, filled the bowl with milk, and placing it
on the chair, pushed it in front of Heidi on her little
three-legged stool, so that she now had a table to herself. Then
he brought her a large slice of bread and a piece of the golden
cheese, and told her to eat. After which he went and sat down on
the corner of the table and began his own meal. Heidi lifted the
bowl with both hands and drank without pause till it was empty,
for the thirst of all her long hot journey had returned upon her.
Then she drew a deep breath--in the eagerness of her thirst she
had not stopped to breathe--and put down the bowl.
"Was the milk nice?" asked her grandfather.
"I never drank any so good before," answered Heidi.
"Then you must have some more," and the old man filled her bowl
again to the brim and set it before the child, who was now
hungrily beginning her bread having first spread it with the
cheese, which after being toasted was soft as butter; the two
together tasted deliciously, and the child looked the picture of
content as she sat eating, and at intervals taking further
draughts of milk. The meal being over, the grandfather went
outside to put the goat-shed in order, and Heidi watched with
interest while he first swept it out, and then put fresh straw
for the goats to sleep upon. Then he went to the little
well-shed, and there he cut some long round sticks, and a small
round board; in this he bored some holes and stuck the sticks
into them, and there, as if made by magic, was a three-legged
stool just like her grandfather's, only higher. Heidi stood and
looked at it, speechless with astonishment.
"What do you think that is?" asked her grandfather.
"It's my stool, I know, because it is such a high one; and it was
made all of a minute," said the child, still lost in wonder and
"She understands what she sees, her eyes are in the right place,"
remarked the grandfather to himself, as he continued his way
round the hut, knocking in a nail here and there, or making fast
some part of the door, and so with hammer and nails and pieces of
wood going from spot to spot, mending or clearing away wherever
work of the kind was needed. Heidi followed him step by step, her
eyes attentively taking in all that he did, and everything that
she saw was a fresh source of pleasure to her.
And so the time passed happily on till evening. Then the wind
began to roar louder than ever through the old fir trees; Heidi
listened with delight to the sound, and it filled her heart so
full of gladness that she skipped and danced round the old trees,
as if some unheard of joy had come to her. The grandfather stood
and watched her from the shed.
Suddenly a shrill whistle was heard. Heidi paused in her dancing,
and the grandfather came out. Down from the heights above the
goats came springing one after another, with Peter in their
midst. Heidi sprang forward with a cry of joy and rushed among
the flock, greeting first one and then another of her old friends
of the morning. As they neared the hut the goats stood still, and
then two of their number, two beautiful slender animals, one
white and one brown, ran forward to where the grandfather was
standing and began licking his hands, for he was holding a little
salt which he always had ready for his goats on their return
home. Peter disappeared with the remainder of his flock. Heidi
tenderly stroked the two goats in turn, running first to one side
of them and then the other, and jumping about in her glee at the
pretty little animals. "Are they ours, grandfather? Are they both
ours? Are you going to put them in the shed? Will they always
stay with us?"
Heidi's questions came tumbling out one after the other, so that
her grandfather had only time to answer each of them with "Yes,
yes." When the goats had finished licking up the salt her
grandfather told her to go and fetch her bowl and the bread.
Heidi obeyed and was soon back again. The grandfather milked the
white goat and filled her basin, and then breaking off a piece of
bread, "Now eat your supper," he said, "and then go up to bed.
Cousin Dete left another little bundle for you with a nightgown
and other small things in it, which you will find at the bottom
of the cupboard if you want them. I must go and shut up the
goats, so be off and sleep well."
"Good-night, grandfather! good-night. What are their names,
grandfather, what are their names?" she called out as she ran
after his retreating figure and the goats.
"The white one is named Little Swan, and the brown one Little
Bear," he answered.
"Good-night, Little Swan, good-night, Little Bear!" she called
again at the top of her voice, for they were already inside the
shed. Then she sat down on the seat and began to eat and drink,
but the wind was so strong that it almost blew her away; so she
made haste and finished her supper and then went indoors and
climbed up to her bed, where she was soon lying as sweetly and
soundly asleep as any young princess on her couch of silk.
Not long after, and while it was still twilight, the grandfather
also went to bed, for he was up every morning at sunrise, and the
sun came climbing up over the mountains at a very early hour
during these summer months. The wind grew so tempestuous during
the night, and blew in such gusts against the walls, that the hut
trembled and the old beams groaned and creaked. It came howling
and wailing down the chimney like voices of those in pain, and it
raged with such fury among the old fir trees that here and there
a branch was snapped and fell. In the middle of the night the old
man got up. "The child will be frightened," he murmured half
aloud. He mounted the ladder and went and stood by the child's
Outside the moon was struggling with the dark, fast-driving
clouds, which at one moment left it clear and shining, and the
next swept over it, and all again was dark. Just now the
moonlight was falling through the round window straight on to
Heidi's bed. She lay under the heavy coverlid, her cheeks rosy
with sleep, her head peacefully resting on her little round arm,
and with a happy expression on her baby face as if dreaming of
something pleasant. The old man stood looking down on the
sleeping child until the moon again disappeared behind the clouds
and he could see no more, then he went back to bed.