CHAPTER III. OUT WITH THE GOATS
Heidi was awakened early the next morning by a loud whistle; the
sun was shining through the round window and failing in golden
rays on her bed and on the large heap of hay, and as she opened
her eyes everything in the loft seemed gleaming with gold. She
looked around her in astonishment and could not imagine for a
while where she was. But her grandfather's deep voice was now
heard outside, and then Heidi began to recall all that had
happened: how she had come away from her former home and was now
on the mountain with her grandfather instead of with old Ursula.
The latter was nearly stone deaf and always felt cold, so that
she sat all day either by the hearth in the kitchen or by the
sitting-room stove, and Heidi had been obliged to stay close to
her, for the old woman was so deaf that she could not tell where
the child was if out of her sight. And Heidi, shut up within the
four walls, had often longed to be out of doors. So she felt very
happy this morning as she woke up in her new home and remembered
all the many new things that she had seen the day before and
which she would see again that day, and above all she thought
with delight of the two dear goats. Heidi jumped quickly out of
bed and a very few minutes sufficed her to put on the clothes
which she had taken off the night before, for there were not many
of them. Then she climbed down the ladder and ran outside the
hut. There stood Peter already with his flock of goats, and the
grandfather was just bringing his two out of the shed to join the
others. Heidi ran forward to wish good-morning to him and the
"Do you want to go with them on to the mountain?" asked her
grandfather. Nothing could have pleased Heidi better, and she
jumped for joy in answer.
"But you must first wash and make yourself tidy. The sun that
shines so brightly overhead will else laugh at you for being
dirty; see, I have put everything ready for you," and her
grandfather pointed as he spoke to a large tub full of water,
which stood in the sun before the door. Heidi ran to it and began
splashing and rubbing, till she quite glistened with cleanliness.
The grandfather meanwhile went inside the hut, calling to Peter
to follow him and bring in his wallet. Peter obeyed with
astonishment, and laid down the little bag which held his meagre
"Open it," said the old man, and inside it he put a large piece
of bread and an equally large piece of cheese, which made Peter
open his eyes, for each was twice the size of the two portions
which he had for his own dinner.
"There, now there is only the little bowl to add," continued the
grandfather, "for the child cannot drink her milk as you do from
the goat; she is not accustomed to that. You must milk two
bowlfuls for her when she has her dinner, for she is going with
you and will remain with you till you return this evening; but
take care she does not fall over any of the rocks, do you hear?"
Heidi now came running in. "Will the sun laugh at me now,
grandfather?" she asked anxiously. Her grandfather had left a
coarse towel hanging up for her near the tub, and with this she
had so thoroughly scrubbed her face, arms, and neck, for fear of
the sun, that as she stood there she was as red all over as a
lobster. He gave a little laugh.
"No, there is nothing for him to laugh at now," he assured her.
"But I tell you what--when you come home this evening, you will
have to get right into the tub, like a fish, for if you run about
like the goats you will get your feet dirty. Now you can be off."
She started joyfully for the mountain. During the night the wind
had blown away all the clouds; the dark blue sky was spreading
overhead, and in its midst was the bright sun shining down on the
green slopes of the mountain, where the flowers opened their
little blue and yellow cups, and looked up to him smiling. Heidi
went running hither and thither and shouting with delight, for
here were whole patches of delicate red primroses, and there the
blue gleam of the lovely gentian, while above them all laughed
and nodded the tender-leaved golden cistus. Enchanted with all
this waving field of brightly-colored flowers, Heidi forgot even
Peter and the goats. She ran on in front and then off to the
side, tempted first one way and then the other, as she caught
sight of some bright spot of glowing red or yellow. And all the
while she was plucking whole handfuls of the flowers which she
put into her little apron, for she wanted to take them all home
and stick them in the hay, so that she might make her bedroom
look just like the meadows outside. Peter had therefore to be on
the alert, and his round eyes, which did not move very quickly,
had more work than they could well manage, for the goats were as
lively as Heidi; they ran in all directions, and Peter had to
follow whistling and calling and swinging his stick to get all
the runaways together again.
"Where have you got to now, Heidi?" he called out somewhat
"Here," called back a voice from somewhere. Peter could see no
one, for Heidi was seated on the ground at the foot of a small
hill thickly overgrown with sweet smelling prunella; the whole
air seemed filled with its fragrance, and Heidi thought she had
never smelt anything so delicious. She sat surrounded by the
flowers, drawing in deep breaths of the scented air.
"Come along here!" called Peter again. "You are not to fall over
the rocks, your grandfather gave orders that you were not to do
"Where are the rocks?" asked Heidi, answering him back. But she
did not move from her seat, for the scent of the flowers seemed
sweeter to her with every breath of wind that wafted it towards
"Up above, right up above. We have a long way to go yet, so come
along! And on the topmost peak of all the old bird of, prey sits
That did it. Heidi immediately sprang to her feet and ran up to
Peter with her apron full of flowers.
"You have got enough now," said the boy as they began climbing up
again together. "You will stay here forever if you go on picking,
and if you gather all the flowers now there will be none for
This last argument seemed a convincing one to Heidi, and moreover
her apron was already so full that there was hardly room for
another flower, and it would never do to leave nothing to pick
for another day. So she now kept with Peter, and the goats also
became more orderly in their behavior, for they were beginning to
smell the plants they loved that grew on the higher slopes and
clambered up now without pause in their anxiety to reach them.
The spot where Peter generally halted for his goats to pasture
and where he took up his quarters for the day lay at the foot of
the high rocks, which were covered for some distance up by bushes
and fir trees, beyond which rose their bare and rugged summits.
On one side of the mountain the rock was split into deep clefts,
and the grandfather had reason to warn Peter of danger. Having
climbed as far as the halting-place, Peter unslung his wallet and
put it carefully in a little hollow of the ground, for he knew
what the wind was like up there and did not want to see his
precious belongings sent rolling down the mountain by a sudden
gust. Then be threw himself at full length on the warm ground,
for he was tired after all his exertions.
Heidi meanwhile had unfastened her apron and rolling it carefully
round the flowers laid it beside Peter's wallet inside the
hollow; she then sat down beside his outstretched figure and
looked about her. The valley lay far below bathed in the morning
sun. In front of her rose a broad snow-field, high against the
dark-blue sky, while to the left was a huge pile of rocks on
either side of which a bare lofty peak, that seemed to pierce the
blue, looked frowningly down upon, her. The child sat without
moving, her eyes taking in the whole scene, and all around was a
great stillness, only broken by soft, light puffs of wind that
swayed the light bells of the blue flowers, and the shining gold
heads of the cistus, and set them nodding merrily on their
slender stems. Peter had fallen asleep after his fatigue and the
goats were climbing about among the bushes overhead. Heidi had
never felt so happy in her life before. She drank in the golden
sunlight, the fresh air, the sweet smell of the flowers, and
wished for nothing better than to remain there forever. So the
time went on, while to Heidi, who had so often looked up from the
valley at the mountains above, these seemed now to have faces,
and to be looking down at her like old friends. Suddenly she
heard a loud harsh cry overhead and lifting her eyes she saw a
bird, larger than any she had ever seen before, with great,
spreading wings, wheeling round and round in wide circles, and
uttering a piercing, croaking kind of sound above her.
"Peter, Peter, wake up!" called out Heidi. "See, the great bird
is there--look, look!"
Peter got up on hearing her call, and together they sat and
watched the bird, which rose higher and higher in the blue air
till it disappeared behind the grey mountain-tops.
"Where has it gone to?" asked Heidi, who had followed the bird's
movements with intense interest.
"Home to its nest," said Peter.
"Is his home right up there? Oh, how nice to be up so high! why
does he make that noise?"
"Because he can't help it," explained Peter.
"Let us climb up there and see where his nest is," proposed
"Oh! oh! oh!" exclaimed Peter, his disapproval of Heidi's
suggestion becoming more marked with each ejaculation, "why even
the goats cannot climb as high as that, besides didn't Uncle say
that you were not to fall over the rocks?"
Peter now began suddenly whistling and calling in such a loud
manner that Heidi could not think what was happening; but the
goats evidently understood his voice, for one after the other
they came springing down the rocks until they were all assembled
on the green plateau, some continuing to nibble at the juicy
stems, others skipping about here and there or pushing at each
other with their horns for pastime.
Heidi jumped up and ran in and out among them, for it was new to
her to see the goats playing together like this and her delight
was beyond words as she joined in their frolics; she made
personal acquaintance with them all in turn, for they were like
separate individuals to her, each single goat having a particular
way of behavior of its own. Meanwhile Peter had taken the wallet
out of the hollow and placed the pieces of bread and cheese on
the ground in the shape of a square, the larger two on Heidi's
side and the smaller on his own, for he knew exactly which were
hers and which his. Then he took the little bowl and milked some
delicious fresh milk into it from the white goat, and afterwards
set the bowl in the middle of the square. Now he called Heidi to
come, but she wanted more calling than the goats, for the child
was so excited and amused at the capers and lively games of her
new playfellows that she saw and heard nothing else. But Peter
knew how to make himself heard, for he shouted till the very
rocks above echoed his voice, and at last Heidi appeared, and
when she saw the inviting repast spread out upon the ground she
went skipping round it for joy.
"Leave off jumping about, it is time for dinner," said Peter;
"sit down now and begin."
Heidi sat down. "Is the milk for me?" she asked, giving another
look of delight at the beautifully arranged square with the bowl
as a chief ornament in the centre.
"Yes," replied Peter, "and the two large pieces of bread and
cheese are yours also, and when you have drunk up that milk, you
are to have another bowlful from the white goat, and then it will
be my turn."
"And which do you get your milk from?" inquired Heidi.
"From my own goat, the piebald one. But go on now with your
dinner," said Peter, again reminding her it was time to eat.
Heidi now took up the bowl and drank her milk, and as soon as she
had put it down empty Peter rose and filled it again for her.
Then she broke off a piece of her bread and held out the
remainder, which was still larger than Peter's own piece,
together with the whole big slice of cheese to her companion,
saying, "You can have that, I have plenty."
Peter looked at Heidi, unable to speak for astonishment, for
never in all his life could he have said and done like that with
anything he had. He hesitated a moment, for he could not believe
that Heidi was in earnest; but the latter kept on holding out the
bread and cheese, and as Peter still did not take it, she laid it
down on his knees. He saw then that she really meant it; he
seized the food, nodded his thanks and acceptance of her present,
and then made a more splendid meal than he had known ever since
he was a goat-herd. Heidi the while still continued to watch the
goats. "Tell me all their names," she said.
Peter knew these by heart, for having very little else to carry
in his head he had no difficulty in remembering them. So he
began, telling Heidi the name of each goat in turn as he pointed
it out to her. Heidi listened with great attention, and it was
not long before she could herself distinguish the goats from one
another and could call each by name, for every goat had its own
peculiarities which could not easily be mistaken; only one had to
watch them closely, and this Heidi did. There was the great Turk
with his big horns, who was always wanting to butt the others, so
that most of them ran away when they saw him coming and would
have nothing to do with their rough companion. Only Greenfinch,
the slender nimble little goat, was brave enough to face him, and
would make a rush at him, three or four times in succession, with
such agility and dexterity, that the great Turk often stood still
quite astounded not venturing to attack her again, for Greenfinch
was fronting him, prepared for more warlike action, and her horns
were sharp. Then there was little White Snowflake, who bleated in
such a plaintive and beseeching manner that Heidi already had
several times run to it and taken its head in her hands to
comfort it. Just at this moment the pleading young cry was heard
again, and Heidi jumped up running and, putting her arms round
the little creature's neck, asked in a sympathetic voice, "What
is it, little Snowflake? Why do you call like that as if in
trouble?" The goat pressed closer to Heidi in a confiding way and
left off bleating. Peter called out from where he was
sitting--for he had not yet got to the end of his bread and
cheese, "She cries like that because the old goat is not with
her; she was sold at Mayenfeld the day before yesterday, and so
will not come up the mountain any more."
"Who is the old goat?" called Heidi back.
"Why, her mother, of course," was the answer.
"Where is the grandmother?" called Heidi again.
"She has none."
"And the grandfather?"
"She has none."
"Oh, you poor little Snowflake!" exclaimed Heidi, clasping the
animal gently to her, "but do not cry like that any more; see
now, I shall come up here with you every day, so that you will
not be alone any more, and if you want anything you have only to
come to me."
The young animal rubbed its head contentedly against Heidi's
shoulder, and no longer gave such plaintive bleats. Peter now
having finished his meal joined Heidi and the goats, Heidi having
by this time found out a great many things about these. She had
decided that by far the handsomest and best-behaved of the goats
were undoubtedly the two belonging to her grandfather; they
carried themselves with a certain air of distinction and
generally went their own way, and as to the great Turk they
treated him with indifference and contempt.
The goats were now beginning to climb the rocks again, each
seeking for the plants it liked in its own fashion, some jumping
over everything they met till they found what they wanted, others
going more carefully and cropping all the nice leaves by the way,
the Turk still now and then giving the others a poke with his
horns. Little Swan and Little Bear clambered lightly up and never
failed to find the best bushes, and then they would stand
gracefully poised on their pretty legs, delicately nibbling at
the leaves. Heidi stood with her hands behind her back, carefully
noting all they did.
"Peter," she said to the boy who had again thrown himself down on
the ground, "the prettiest of all the goats are Little Swan and
"Yes, I know they are," was the answer. "Alm-Uncle brushes them
down and washes them and gives them salt, and he has the nicest
shed for them."
All of a sudden Peter leaped to his feet and ran hastily after
the goats. Heidi followed him as fast as she could, for she was
too eager to know what had happened to stay behind. Peter dashed
through the middle of the flock towards that side of the mountain
where the rocks fell perpendicularly to a great depth below, and
where any thoughtless goat, if it went too near, might fall over
and break all its legs. He had caught sight of the inquisitive
Greenfinch taking leaps in that direction, and he was only just
in time, for the animal had already sprung to the edge of the
abyss. All Peter could do was to throw himself down and seize one
of her hind legs. Greenfinch, thus taken by surprise, began
bleating furiously, angry at being held so fast and prevented
from continuing her voyage of discovery. She struggled to get
loose, and endeavored so obstinately to leap forward that Peter
shouted to Heidi to come and help him, for he could not get up
and was afraid of pulling out the goat's leg altogether.
Heidi had already run up and she saw at once the danger both
Peter and the animal were in. She quickly gathered a bunch of
sweet-smelling leaves, and then, holding them under Greenfinch's
nose, said coaxingly, "Come, come, Greenfinch, you must not be
naughty! Look, you might fall down there and break your leg, and
that would give you dreadful pain!"
The young animal turned quickly, and began contentedly eating the
leaves out of Heidi's hand. Meanwhile Peter got on to his feet
again and took hold of Greenfinch by the band round her neck from
which her bell was hung, and Heidi taking hold of her in the same
way on the other side, they led the wanderer back to the rest of
the flock that had remained peacefully feeding. Peter, now he had
his goat in safety, lifted his stick in order to give her a good
beating as punishment, and Greenfinch seeing what was coming
shrank back in fear. But Heidi cried out, "No, no, Peter, you
must not strike her; see how frightened she is!"
"She deserves it," growled Peter, and again lifted his stick.
Then Heidi flung herself against him and cried indignantly, "You
have no right to touch her, it will hurt her, let her alone!"
Peter looked with surprise at the commanding little figure, whose
dark eyes were flashing, and reluctantly he let his stick drop.
"Well I will let her off if you will give me some more of your
cheese to-morrow," he said, for he was determined to have
something to make up to him for his fright.
"You shall have it all, to-morrow and every day, I do not want
it," replied Heidi, giving ready consent to his demand. "And I
will give you bread as well, a large piece like you had to-day;
but then you must promise never to beat Greenfinch, or Snowflake,
or any of the goats."
"All right," said Peter, "I don't care," which meant that he
would agree to the bargain. He now let go of Greenfinch, who
joyfully sprang to join her companions.
And thus imperceptibly the day had crept on to its close, and now
the sun was on the point of sinking out of sight behind the high
mountains. Heidi was again sitting on the ground, silently gazing
at the blue bell-shaped flowers, as they glistened in the evening
sun, for a golden light lay on the grass and flowers, and the
rocks above were beginning to shine and glow. All at once she
sprang to her feet, "Peter! Peter! everything is on fire! All the
rocks are burning, and the great snow mountain and the sky! O
look, look! the high rock up there is red with flame! O the
beautiful, fiery snow! Stand up, Peter! See, the fire has reached
the great bird's nest! look at the rocks! look at the fir trees!
Everything, everything is on fire!"
"It is always like that," said Peter composedly, continuing to
peel his stick; "but it is not really fire."
"What is it then?" cried Heidi, as she ran backwards and forwards
to look first one side and then the other, for she felt she could
not have enough of such a beautiful sight. "What is it, Peter,
what is it?" she repeated.
"It gets like that of itself," explained Peter.
"Look, look!" cried Heidi in fresh excitement, "now they have
turned all rose color! Look at that one covered with snow, and
that with the high, pointed rocks! What do you call them?"
"Mountains have not any names," he answered.
"O how beautiful, look at the crimson snow! And up there on the
rocks there are ever so many roses! Oh! now they are turning
grey! Oh! oh! now all the color has died away! it's all gone,
Peter." And Heidi sat down on the ground looking as full of
distress as if everything had really come to an end.
"It will come again to-morrow," said Peter. "Get up, we must go
home now." He whistled to his goats and together they all started
on their homeward way.
"Is it like that every day, shall we see it every day when we
bring the goats up here?" asked Heidi, as she clambered down the
mountain at Peter's side; she waited eagerly for his answer,
hoping that he would tell her it was so.
"It is like that most days," he replied.
"But will it be like that to-morrow for certain? Heidi persisted.
"Yes, yes, to-morrow for certain," Peter assured her in answer.
Heidi now felt quite happy again, and her little brain was so
full of new impressions and new thoughts that she did not speak
any more until they had reached the hut. The grandfather was
sitting under the fir trees, where he had also put up a seat,
waiting as usual for his goats which returned down the mountain
on this side.
Heidi ran up to him followed by the white and brown goats, for
they knew their own master and stall. Peter called out after her,
"Come with me again to-morrow! Good-night!" For he was anxious
for more than one reason that Heidi should go with him the next
Heidi ran back quickly and gave Peter her hand, promising to go
with him, and then making her way through the goats she once more
clasped Snowflake round the neck, saying in a gentle soothing
voice, "Sleep well, Snowflake, and remember that I shall be with
you again to-morrow, so you must not bleat so sadly any more."
Snowflake gave her a friendly and grateful look, and then went
leaping joyfully after the other goats.
Heidi returned to the fir-trees. "O grandfather," she cried, even
before she had come up to him, "it was so beautiful. The fire,
and the roses on the rocks, and the blue and yellow flowers, and
look what I have brought you!" And opening the apron that held
her flowers she shook them all out at her grandfather's feet. But
the poor flowers, how changed they were! Heidi hardly knew them
again. They looked like dry bits of hay, not a single little
flower cup stood open. "O grandfather, what is the matter with
them?" exclaimed Heidi in shocked surprise, "they were not like
that this morning, why do they look so now?"
"They like to stand out there in the sun and not to be shut up in
an apron," said her grandfather.
"Then I will never gather any more. But, grandfather, why did the
great bird go on croaking so? she continued in an eager tone of
"Go along now and get into your bath while I go and get some
milk; when we are together at supper I will tell you all about
Heidi obeyed, and when later she was sitting on her high stool
before her milk bowl with her grandfather beside her, she
repeated her question, "Why does the great bird go on croaking
and screaming down at us, grandfather?"
"He is mocking at the people who live down below in the villages,
because they all go huddling and gossiping together, and
encourage one another in evil talking and deeds. He calls out,
'If you would separate and each go your own way and come up here
and live on a height as I do, it would be better for you!' "
There was almost a wildness in the old man's voice as he spoke,
so that Heidi seemed to hear the croaking of the bird again even
"Why haven't the mountains any names?" Heidi went on.
"They have names," answered her grandfather, "and if you can
describe one of them to me that I know I will tell you what it is
Heidi then described to him the rocky mountain with the two high
peaks so exactly that the grandfather was delighted. "Just so, I
know it," and he told her its name. "Did you see any other?"
Then Heidi told him of the mountain with the great snow-field,
and how it had been on fire, and had, turned rosy-red and then
all of a sudden had grown quite pale again and all the color had
"I know that one too," he said, giving her its name. "So you
enjoyed being out with the goats?"
Then Heidi went on to give him an account of the whole day, and
of how delightful it had all been, and particularly described the
fire that had burst out everywhere in the evening. And then
nothing would do but her grandfather must tell how it came, for
Peter knew nothing about it.
The grandfather explained to her that it was the sun that did it.
"When he says good-night to the mountains he throws his most
beautiful colors over them, so that they may not forget him
before he comes again the next day."
Heidi was delighted with this explanation, and could hardly bear
to wait for another day to come that she might once more climb up
with the goats and see how the sun bid good-night to the
mountains. But she had to go to bed first, and all night she
slept soundly on her bed of hay, dreaming of nothing but of
shining mountains with red roses all over them, among which happy
little Snowflake went leaping in and out.