Monday, June 2, 2008

Talking Books: Heidi, Chapter Four, Part 3


Chapter Four,

Part 3

Heidi could hardly wait before they reached the cottage. She had tried
to talk on the way, but no sound could be heard through the heavy
cover. As soon as they were inside the hut she began: "Grandfather, we
must take some nails and a hammer down tomorrow; a shutter is loose in
grandmother's house and many other places shake. Everything rattles in
her house."

"Is that so? Who says we must?"

"Nobody told me, but I know," Heidi replied. "Everything is loose in
the house, and poor grandmother told me she was afraid that the house
might tumble down. And grandfather, she cannot see the light. Can you
help her and make it light for her? How terrible it must be to be
afraid in the dark and nobody there to help you! Oh, please,
grandfather, do something to help her! I know you can."

Heidi had been clinging to her grandfather and looking up to him with
trusting eyes. At last he said, glancing down: "All right, child,
we'll see that it won't rattle any more. We can do it tomorrow."

Heidi was so overjoyed at these words that she danced around the room
shouting: "We'll do it tomorrow! We can do it tomorrow!"

The grandfather, keeping his word, took Heidi down the following day
with the same instructions as before. After Heidi had disappeared, he
went around the house inspecting it.

The grandmother, in her joy at seeing the child again, had stopped the
wheel and called: "Here is the child again! She has come again!"
Heidi, grasping her outstretched hands, sat herself on a low stool at
the old woman's feet and began to chat. Suddenly violent blows were
heard outside; the grandmother in her fright nearly upset the
spinning-wheel and screamed: "Oh, God, it has come at last. The hut is
tumbling down!"

"Grandmother, don't be frightened," said the child, while she put her
arms around her. "Grandfather is just fastening the shutter and fixing
everything for you."

"Is it possible? Has God not forgotten us after all? Brigida, have you
heard it? Surely that is a hammer. Ask him to come in a moment, if it
is he, for I must thank him."

When Brigida went out, she found the old man busy with putting a new
beam along the wall. Approaching him, she said: "Mother and I wish you
a good-afternoon. We are very much obliged to you for doing us such a
service, and mother would like to see you. There are few that would
have done it, uncle, and how can we thank you?"

"That will do," he interrupted. "I know what your opinion about me is.
Go in, for I can find what needs mending myself."

Brigida obeyed, for the uncle had a way that nobody could oppose. All
afternoon the uncle hammered around; he even climbed up on the roof,
where much was missing. At last he had to stop, for the last nail was
gone from his pocket. The darkness had come in the meantime, and
Heidi was ready to go up with him, packed warmly in his arms.

Thus the winter passed. Sunshine had come again into the blind woman's
life, and made her days less dark and dreary. Early every morning she
would begin to listen for Heidi's footsteps, and when the door was
opened and the child ran in, the grandmother exclaimed every time more
joyfully: "Thank God, she has come again!"

Heidi would talk about her life, and make the grandmother smile and
laugh, and in that way the hours flew by. In former times the old
woman had always sighed: "Brigida, is the day not over yet?" but now
she always exclaimed after Heidi's departure: "How quickly the
afternoon has gone by. Don't you think so, too, Brigida?" Her daughter
had to assent, for Heidi had long ago won her heart. "If only God will
spare us the child!" the grandmother would often say. "I hope the
uncle will always be kind, as he is now."--"Does Heidi look well,
Brigida?" was a frequent question, which always got a reassuring

Heidi also became very fond of the old grandmother, and when the
weather was fair, she visited her every day that winter. Whenever the
child remembered that the grandmother was blind, she would get very
sad; her only comfort was that her coming brought such happiness. The
grandfather soon had mended the cottage; often he would take down big
loads of timber, which he used to good purpose. The grandmother vowed
that no rattling could be heard any more, and that, thanks to the
uncle's kindness, she slept better that winter than she had done for
many a year.

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