About the Author
JOHANNA SPYRI (1827-1901) is an icon in Switzerland and around the world. She wrote more than 50 stories for children and adults.
Read an Excerpt
By Johanna Spyri, Elisabeth P. Stork
OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIACopyright © 2014 Open Road Integrated Media, Inc.
All rights reserved.
GOING UP TO THE ALM-UNCLE
The little old town of Mayenfeld is charmingly situated. From it a footpath leads through green, well-wooded stretches to the foot of the heights which look down imposingly upon the valley. Where the footpath begins to go steeply and abruptly up the Alps, the heath, with its short grass and pungent herbage, at once sends out its soft perfume to meet the wayfarer.
One bright sunny morning in June, a tall, vigorous maiden of the mountain region climbed up the narrow path, leading a little girl by the hand. The youngster's cheeks were in such a glow that it showed even through her sun-browned skin. Small wonder though! for in spite of the heat, the little one, who was scarcely five years old, was bundled up as if she had to brave a bitter frost. Her shape was difficult to distinguish, for she wore two dresses, if not three, and around her shoulders a large red cotton shawl. With her feet encased in heavy hob-nailed boots, this hot and shapeless little person toiled up the mountain.
The pair had been climbing for about an hour when they reached a hamlet half-way up the great mountain named the Alm. This hamlet was called "Im Dörfli" or "The Little Village." It was the elder girl's home town, and therefore she was greeted from nearly every house; people called to her from windows and doors, and very often from the road. But, answering questions and calls as she went by, the girl did not loiter on her way and only stood still when she reached the end of the hamlet. There a few cottages lay scattered about, from the furthest of which a voice called out to her through an open door: "Dete, please wait one moment! I am coming with you, if you are going further up."
When the girl stood still to wait, the child instantly let go her hand and promptly sat down on the ground.
"Are you tired, Heidi?" Dete asked the child.
"No, but hot," she replied.
"We shall be up in an hour, if you take big steps and climb with all your little might!" Thus the elder girl tried to encourage her small companion.
A stout, pleasant-looking woman stepped out of the house and joined the two. The child had risen and wandered behind the old acquaintances, who immediately started gossiping about their friends in the neighborhood and the people of the hamlet generally.
"Where are you taking the child, Dete?" asked the newcomer. "Is she the child your sister left?"
"Yes," Dete assured her; "I am taking her up to the Alm-Uncle and there I want her to remain."
"You can't really mean to take her there Dete. You must have lost your senses, to go to him. I am sure the old man will show you the door and won't even listen to what you say."
"Why not? As he's her grandfather, it is high time he should do something for the child. I have taken care of her until this summer and now a good place has been offered to me. The child shall not hinder me from accepting it, I tell you that!"
"It would not be so hard, if he were like other mortals. But you know him yourself. How could he look after a child, especially such a little one? She'll never get along with him, I am sure of that!—But tell me of your prospects."
"I am going to a splendid house in Frankfurt. Last summer some people went off to the baths and I took care of their rooms. As they got to like me, they wanted to take me along, but I could not leave. They have come back now and have persuaded me to go with them."
"I am glad I am not the child!" exclaimed Barbara with a shudder. "Nobody knows anything about the old man's life up there. He doesn't speak to a living soul, and from one year's end to the other he keeps away from church. People get out of his way when he appears once in a twelve-month down here among us. We all fear him and he is really just like a heathen or an old Indian, with those thick grey eyebrows and that huge uncanny beard. When he wanders along the road with his twisted stick we are all afraid to meet him alone."
"That is not my fault," said Dete stubbornly. "He won't do her any harm; and if he should, he is responsible, not I."
"I wish I knew what weighs on the old man's conscience. Why are his eyes so fierce and why does he live up there all alone? Nobody ever sees him and we hear many strange things about him. Didn't your sister tell you anything, Dete?"
"Of course she did, but I shall hold my tongue. He would make me pay for it if I didn't."
Barbara had long been anxious to know something about the old uncle and why he lived apart from everybody. Nobody had a good word for him, and when people talked about him, they did not speak openly but as if they were afraid. She could not even explain to herself why he was called the Alm-Uncle. He could not possibly be the uncle of all the people in the village, but since everybody spoke of him so, she did the same. Barbara, who had only lived in the village since her marriage, was glad to get some information from her friend. Dete had been bred there, but since her mother's death had gone away to earn her livelihood.
She confidentially seized Dete's arm and said: "I wish you would tell me the truth about him, Dete; you know it all—people only gossip. Tell me, what has happened to the old man to turn everybody against him so? Did he always hate his fellow-creatures?"
"I cannot tell you whether he always did, and that for a very good reason. He being sixty years old, and I only twenty-six, you can't expect me to give you an account of his early youth. But if you'll promise to keep it to yourself and not set all the people in Prätiggan talking, I can tell you a good deal. My mother and he both came from Domleschg."
"How can you talk like that, Dete?" replied Barbara in an offended tone. "People do not gossip much in Prätiggan, and I always can keep things to myself, if I have to. You won't repent of having told me, I assure you!"
"All right, but keep your word!" said Dete warningly. Then she looked around to see that the child was not so close to them as to overhear what might be said; but the little girl was nowhere to be seen. While the two young women had talked at such a rate, they had not noticed her absence; quite a while must have elapsed since the little girl had given up following her companions. Dete, standing still, looked about her everywhere, but no one was on the path, which—except for a few curves—was visible as far down as the village.
"There she is! Can't you see her there?" exclaimed Barbara, pointing to a spot a good distance from the path. "She is climbing up with the goatherd Peter and his goats. I wonder why he is so late to-day. I must say, it suits us well enough; he can look after the child while you tell me everything without being interrupted."
"It will be very easy for Peter to watch her," remarked Dete; "she is bright for her five years and keeps her eyes wide open. I have often noticed that and I am glad for her, for it will be useful with the uncle. He has nothing left in the whole wide world, but his cottage and two goats!"
"Did he once have more?" asked Barbara.
"I should say so. He was heir to a large farm in Domleschg. But setting up to play the fine gentleman, he soon lost everything with drink and play. His parents died with grief and he himself disappeared from these parts. After many years he came back with a half-grown boy, his son, Tobias, that was his name, became a carpenter and turned out to be a quiet, steady fellow. Many strange rumors went round about the uncle and I think that was why he left Domleschg for Dörfli. We acknowledged relationship, my mother's grandmother being a cousin of his. We called him uncle, and because we are related on my father's side to nearly all the people in the hamlet they too all called him uncle. He was named 'Alm-Uncle' when he moved up to the Alm."
"But what happened to Tobias?" asked Barbara eagerly.
"Just wait. How can I tell you everything at once?" exclaimed Dete. "Tobias was an apprentice in Mels, and when he was made master, he came home to the village and married my sister Adelheid. They always had been fond of each other and they lived very happily as man and wife. But their joy was short. Two years afterwards, when Tobias was helping to build a house, a beam fell on him and killed him. Adelheid was thrown into a violent fever with grief and fright, and never recovered from it. She had never been strong and had often suffered from queer spells, when we did not know whether she was awake or asleep. Only a few weeks after Tobias's death they buried poor Adelheid.
"People said that heaven had punished the uncle for his misdeeds. After the death of his son he never spoke to a living soul. Suddenly he moved up to the Alp, to live there at enmity with God and man.
"My mother and I took Adelheid's little year-old baby, Heidi, to live with us. When I went to Ragatz I took her with me; but in the spring the family whose work I had done last year came from Frankfurt and resolved to take me to their town-house. I am very glad to get such a good position."
"And now you want to hand over the child to this terrible old man. I really wonder how you can do it, Dete!" said Barbara with reproach in her voice.
"It seems to me I have really done enough for the child. I do not know where else to take her, as she is too young to come with me to Frankfurt. By the way, Barbara, where are you going? We are half-way up the Alm already."
Dete shook hands with her companion and stood still while Barbara approached the tiny, dark-brown mountain hut, which lay in a hollow a few steps away from the path.
Situated half-way up the Alm, the cottage was luckily protected from the mighty winds. Had it been exposed to the tempests, it would have been a doubtful habitation in the state of decay it was in. Even as it was, the doors and windows rattled and the old rafters shook when the south wind swept the mountain side. If the hut had stood on the Alm top, the wind would have blown it down the valley without much ado when the storm season came.
Here lived Peter the goatherd, a boy eleven years old, who daily fetched the goats from the village and drove them up the mountain to the short and luscious grasses of the pastures. Peter raced down in the evening with the light-footed little goats. When he whistled sharply through his fingers, every owner would come and get his or her goat. These owners were mostly small boys and girls and, as the goats were friendly, they did not fear them. That was the only time Peter spent with other children, the rest of the day the animals were his sole companions. At home lived his mother and an old blind grandmother, but he only spent enough time in the hut to swallow his bread and milk for breakfast and the same repast for supper. After that he sought his bed to sleep. He always left early in the morning and at night he came home late, so that he could be with his friends as long as possible. His father had met with an accident some years ago; he also had been called Peter the goatherd. His mother, whose name was Brigida, was called "Goatherd Peter's wife" and his blind grandmother was called by young and old from many miles about just "grandmother."
Dete waited about ten minutes to see if the children were coming up behind with the goats. As she could not find them anywhere, she climbed up a little higher to get a better view down the valley from there, and peered from side to side with marks of great impatience on her countenance.
The children in the meantime were ascending slowly in a zigzag way, Peter always knowing where to find all sorts of good grazing places for his goats where they could nibble. Thus they strayed from side to side. The poor little girl had followed the boy only with the greatest effort and she was panting in her heavy clothes. She was so hot and uncomfortable that she only climbed by exerting all her strength. She did not say anything but looked enviously at Peter, who jumped about so easily in his light trousers and bare feet. She envied even more the goats that climbed over bushes, stones, and steep inclines with their slender legs. Suddenly sitting down on the ground the child swiftly took off her shoes and stockings. Getting up she undid the heavy shawl and the two little dresses. Out she slipped without more ado and stood up in only a light petticoat. In sheer delight at the relief, she threw up her dimpled arms, that were bare up to her short sleeves. To save the trouble of carrying them, her aunt had dressed her in her Sunday clothes over her workday garments. Heidi arranged her dresses neatly in a heap and joined Peter and the goats. She was now as light-footed as any of them. When Peter, who had not paid much attention, saw her suddenly in her light attire, he grinned. Looking back, he saw the little heap of dresses on the ground and then he grinned yet more, till his mouth seemed to reach from ear to ear; but he said never a word.
The child, feeling free and comfortable, started to converse with Peter, and he had to answer many questions. She asked him how many goats he had, and where he led them, what he did with them when he got there, and so forth.
At last the children reached the summit in front of the hut. When Dete saw the little party of climbers she cried out shrilly: "Heidi, what have you done? What a sight you are! Where are your dresses and your shawl? Are the new shoes gone that I just bought for you, and the new stockings that I made myself? Where are they all, Heidi?"
The child quietly pointed down and said "There."
The aunt followed the direction of her finger and descried a little heap with a small red dot in the middle, which she recognized as the shawl.
"Unlucky child!" Dete said excitedly. "What does all this mean? Why have you taken your things all off?"
"Because I do not need them," said the child, not seeming in the least repentant of her deed.
"How can you be so stupid, Heidi? Have you lost your senses?" the aunt went on, in a tone of mingled vexation and reproach. "Who do you think will go way down there to fetch those things up again? It is half-an-hour's walk. Please, Peter, run down and get them. Do not stand and stare at me as if you were glued to the spot."
"I am late already," replied Peter, and stood without moving from the place where, with his hands in his trousers' pockets, he had witnessed the violent outbreak of Heidi's aunt.
"There you are, standing and staring, but that won't get you further," said Dete. "I'll give you this if you go down." With that she held a five-penny-piece under his eyes. That made Peter start and in a great hurry he ran down the straightest path. He arrived again in so short a time that Dete had to praise him and gave him her little coin without delay. He did not often get such a treasure, and therefore his face was beaming and he laughingly dropped the money deep into his pocket.
"If you are going up to the uncle, as we are, you can carry the pack till we get there," said Dete. They still had to climb a steep ascent that lay behind Peter's hut. The boy readily took the things and followed Dete, his left arm holding the bundle and his right swinging the stick. Heidi jumped along gaily by his side with the goats.
After three quarters of an hour they reached the height where the hut of the old man stood on a prominent rock, exposed to every wind, but bathed in the full sunlight. From there you could gaze far down into the valley. Behind the hut stood three old fir-trees with great shaggy branches. Further back the old grey rocks rose high and sheer. Above them you could see green and fertile pastures, till at last the stony boulders reached the bare, steep cliffs.
Overlooking the valley the uncle had made himself a bench, by the side of the hut. Here he sat, with his pipe between his teeth and both hands resting on his knees. He quietly watched the children climbing up with the goats and Aunt Dete behind them, for the children had caught up to her long ago. Heidi reached the top first, and approaching the old man she held out her hand to him and said: "Good evening, grandfather!"
"Well, well, what does that mean?" replied the old man in a rough voice. Giving her his hand for only a moment, he watched her with a long and penetrating look from under his bushy brows. Heidi gazed back at him with an unwinking glance and examined him with much curiosity, for he was strange to look at, with his thick, grey beard and shaggy eyebrows, that met in the middle like a thicket.
Heidi's aunt had arrived in the meantime with Peter, who was eager to see what was going to happen.
"Good-day to you, uncle," said Dete as she approached. "This is Tobias's and Adelheid's child. You won't be able to remember her, because last time you saw her she was scarcely a year old."
Excerpted from Heidi by Johanna Spyri, Elisabeth P. Stork. Copyright © 2014 Open Road Integrated Media, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
PART I - HEIDI'S YEARS OF LEARNING AND TRAVEL,
1. The Aim-Uncle,
2. At the Grandfather's,
3. In the Pasture,
4. At the Grandmother's,
5. Two Visits and Their Consequences,
6. A New Chapter and Entirely New Scenes,
7. Fräulein Rottenmeier Has an Uncomfortable Day,
8. Disturbances in the Sesemann House,
9. The Master of the House Hears of Strange Doings,
10. A Grandmamma,
11. Heidi Improves in Some Respects, and in Others Grows Worse,
12. The Sesemann House Is Haunted,
13. Up the Alm on a Summer Evening,
14. Sunday When the Church Bells Ring,
PART II - HEIDI MAKES USE OF WHAT SHE HAS LEARNED,
1. Preparations for a Journey,
2. A Guest on the Alm,
4. The Winter in Dörfli,
5. The Winter Still Continues,
6. Distant Friends Are Heard From,
7. What Further Happened on the Mountain,
8. Something Unexpected Happens,
9. Parting to Meet Again,
Johanna Spyri was born in 1827 in Hirzel, Switzerland. In 1852, she moved to Zürich, where she began to write stories about life in the country. Heidi’s Years of Wandering and Learning, usually abbreviated as Heidi, is by far the most well known. Published throughout the world, it has inspired more than twenty film or television productions, a musical drama, and a tourist areaHeidilandin Switzerland. Johanna Spyri died in 1901.
Maja Dusíková was born in Piestany, Czechoslovakia, and now lives in Florence, Italy. One of the most celebrated children’s book illustrators in Europe, she has a pet rabbit named Cici that runs under her table while she paints and doesn’t like carrots.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Heidi by Johanna Spyri is an inspiring story about a girl who lives in the 1800's in Germany. Heidi is a five year old orphan who has been living with her aunt for most of her life. When her aunt gets a job in Frankkfurt, she takes Heidi to live with her grandfather in the little village called Dorfli. Heidi's grandfather is said to be a very mean man that frightens many people. Heidi must face her grandfather alone. Heidi is a cheerful girl and she tries her best to be friendly with her grandfather. She soon begins to worm her way into his old heart and many of the other villagers in Dorfli. She makes friends with almost everyone she meets. She even gets her grandfather to come down from his mountain to be around the villagers that he separated himself from years ago. Around Heidi's 8th birthday,her aunt comes back to take Heidi to Frankfurt where there is a girl named Klara who is in a wheelchair and is in need of a companion. Heidi is very sad to have to leave her mountains and her grandfather, but she goes anyway. Heidi has many adventures with Klara and even begins to like being in Frankfurt, but she still misses the mountains. Everyday she begs to go home. Finally, they send her back to live with her grandfather in her beloved mountains. Heidi by Johanna Spyri is a classic children's story loved by many people. I would recommend this book because it was very enjoyable and I learned a lot. Even though Heidi was kind of thrown around and sometimes not wanted, she still stayed positive and tried to be as nice as possible. This is a great story about an orphan who goes on many adventures and gets through them with her head held high.
When i read Heidi i felt like i was in Heidi' s world. I could feel it when the author described the mornings in the montains. The fresh scents, and the sunrise. Although this book had no main point i really liked it. This book makes me feel at home with the fireplace on making me feel warm and cozy. There are no unbearably sad parts or scary parts in this book. Good read for mos t all ages - very heartwarming.
A lovely story of a young girl who spends time with her grandfather on a mountain. It is appropriate for people of all ages. the book is about life and love and priorities. It is one of my all time favorite stories.
There are some words left out of this nook edition on page 328, chapter 19
I loved this book! I rad it nearly 10 times, and I never got tired. I felt like wringing Miss Rottenmier's neck. Her name suits her real well. Heidi's sweet and loving nature wins her grandfather's heart. I'd reccomond this book to everyone
I loved the adventures and the dramatic feelings in this book. I also love how carefree and happy Heidi is. Even though everyone thinks that uncle alp is cruel and a horrible man, he is so sweet and caring for Heidi. I love this book because everything turns out to be wonderful for everyone!!! The book Heidi is an inspiration to me!!!
I already own a copy of his wonderful book, but bought it on here to use it to write for an english essay, so that I can highlight and write notes in it, unlike my fifty year old edition. When I opened the book, however, I found that the translation of this edition is vastly different from my older edition. In this, some convorsations were condensed, summerised, or simply not there at all, and the descriptions were far less potent. While reading this book the first time with my old edition, small though I was, I loved it so much, remembering how the wonderous descriptions of the beautiful alps transported me there, made me see it as if I were really there. When I recently reread Heidi, I experienced the same feeling, but did not get as much of a sense of that with this edition. In the end, I decided that I would much rather use my beautiful edition of Heidi despite not being able to take it to school or even put sticky notes in it for fear of it breaking than have to get used to the mew version.
this was a fabulus book and it was amazing i was wondering what it would be like to be her it was the best book i ever read i will really think you will enjoy this book
Great pictures and background information similar to a DK book, but the publisher says it's complete and unabridged, and this simply is not true. Just compare the number of pages, number of chapters, or more importantly the rich sentences in the original versus this series.
This story is the most wonderful story! I love it! ~giggles~
The book was boring
This is a wonderful story of family and friendships. Love it.
I love this book but somtimes it makes some molisakes
I am a book-worm who loves to read and loves books but I hated this one.It was so boring that I couldent even get through the first few paragraphs!So, I havent actually read this whole book because it would be to hard for me!This book is so bland.The only thing that I like about this book is the setting in the Swiss Mountains.
My mom gave me all her old books and Heidi happen to be one of the books that she gave me and I loved it. I really didn't like the other ones she gave me because they were just about there life back then and how they lived. They had really no point. Such as:Little house on the prairie.(so boring)This book actually gave some life to it. I cried once though (don't tell). It was sad and happy and well just read it and you will know why this was such a good book. My advise to you READ THIS BOOK!
I was so happy to find this book in large print but I was so disappointed in the translation into English. There was actual dialogue missing in a very important part of the book when Aunt Dete comes back to the Alm to forcibly bring Heidi to Frankfurt. Once I got to that point I stopped reading and returned the book. I read this book many times as a child and have also read it in German. This English version does not flow well at all. Helen B. Dole's translation from the German into English is the version I consider as the definitive one for this great book!
I'm here. Hola. Me llamo Dane.
This story is about a girl and her grandfather. The girl's name is Heidi and she is very cute and pure.I like this story because Heidi is so cute, and she makes me happy.
Reread this as background reading for a trip to Switzerland. Yes, it's rather sickly sweet, and a bit heavy with God making all right, but I still enjoyed this tale of the irrepressibly good Heidi
I have an antique edition, that was my mom's when she was a kid. The story is about love, loyalty and helping other people.
Normally I have a very high tolerance for old-fashioned stories featuring unrealistically saccharine children; I'm very fond of A Little Princess, The Five Little Peppers, and the like. I have to say, though, Heidi exceeded my limits. Part of it is that I have a distinct dislike for preachy characters; Heidi gets religion partway through the book (for no reason other than that someone tells her to do so), and for the rest of the story is prone to breaking out in lectures about how good God is and how one must never forget to pray. It isn't so frequent that I couldn't have overlooked it, but I didn't find the rest of the story charming enough to make up for it. There's far too much telling rather than showing in the narration; aside from one cute interlude in the schoolroom, we are generally only informed that Heidi shakes up the Sesemann household and makes it more interesting and cheerful. Mostly what we are shown is Heidi moping around and bursting into tears because she's homesick for the Alps, and it's not terribly clear why most of the household seems to find her such a treasure. When she's in the Alps, she tends to be a bit of a broken record about how beautiful everything is or how she wants to do X to help Y/is going to do X to help Y/is so happy she got to do X to help Y; it gets extremely repetitive, even for a children's book. The other characters weren't any more interesting; Heidi's friend Peter is a sullen little thing who rarely does anything aside from get violently jealous whenever Heidi pays attention to someone else (to the point that it's vaguely disturbing), and the grandmother apparently exists only to be an object of pity. Heidi's grandfather is supposed to be a grouchy old man melted by the sheer force of Heidi's charisma, but seeing as this transformation takes place more or less five minutes after they're introduced, it's not terribly convincing; even the infamous Little Lord Fauntleroy pulled it off more gracefully. The Sesemanns don't get enough dialogue to be very interesting as individuals, aside from Fraulein Rottenmeier, who is intended to be unlikeable. I did like Sebastian the butler, but then I also kept accidentally replacing him with Sebastian from Black Butler in my mind's eye - which was a terribly entertaining thought, of course, but had little to do with the story as written. The plot is fairly meandering, and not enough really happens to compensate for the weak characters. (It did make me laugh once, though, when Heidi's Aunt Dete comes to the grandfather's hut in her floor-length, sweeping skirts and the narration points out that there are things on the floor of a goatherd's hut that do not belong in a dress.) The descriptions of the Alps were lovely, of course, and if all you're interested in is the scenery, go ahead. Otherwise, there are plenty of books about adorable, cheerful little girls spreading sweetness and light in their wake, and I'd choose a different one.
This book is famous story. Main character's name is Heidi.But true name is not Heidi, but Adelheid.She lives with her grandfather in his little wooden house. Miraculously,people often change when they meet little Heidi!!This story made me feel happy and moved me.Especially, when you are not fine, I want you to read this book!!
I really enjoyed this book. I liked how not only Heidi grew but her grandfather grew as well. I was very pleased that in the end they were able to stay together.
This story is that a little Swiss girl Heidi goes to live with her grandfather (ancle Alp) His home is a little house on a mountain . He loves Heidi and he sometimes angry and feels sad .I think that almost of the people know this story and I have been looked anime on TV when I was a junior high scholl student . I like a cirtai scene that Clara was able to walk herself !! This is a wonderful surprise . If my best friend asks me help , I will work hard for my friend .
The descriptions in this book allow the reader to feel the mountains around her. Heidi is an honest, caring, open child--almost a cross between a present day Junie B. Jones and Amelia Bedilia. She finds herself in trouble due to her absolute purity and innocense, but she is loved deeply by those she encounters. The story begins as she trudges up the mountain to meet her grumpy old grandfather, but it doesn't take him long to experience joy in Heidi's presence. Peter, the goatheard, finds great friendship with Heidi, and his grandmother loves her voice, especially when she learns to read. She spends time in Frankfurt as a companion to Clara, a disabled girl, but she returns to her grandfather on the mountain as she becomes horribly homesick. Clara comes to visit Heidi on the mountain, and Peter becomes very jealous leading to a transformation in Clara.