HEIDI, illustrated - complete online book

The Story Of A Young Orphan In Switzerland

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10                                             HEIDI
" I have already reached the place where I was going. I want to speak to old goatherd Peter's wife. She does spinning for me in winter. So good-bye, Dete; good luck to you!"
Dete shook her companion's hand and stood still while Barbel went into the little, dark brown mountain hut standing a few steps from the path in a hollow, where it was somewhat sheltered from the winds. It was a good thing that it was in a little hollow, for it looked so dilapidated and decayed that it would have been a dangerous dwelling when the mighty south wind swept across the mountain, making everything in the hut, doors and windows, rattle, and all the worm-eaten rafters tremble and creak. On such days, if the hut had been up on the Aim, it would certainly have been blown down into the valley.
Here dwelt the goatherd Peter, the eleven-year-old boy who every morning went down to Dorfli to get the goats and drive them up on the Aim, to feed till even­ing on the short, nourishing herbs. Then Peter would hurry down again with the light-footed animals, give a shrill whistle through his fingers as soon as he reached Dorfli, and all the owners would immediately come and get their goats. Little boys and girls came for the most part, for the creatures were peaceful and harm­less. All through the summer it was the only time in the day when Peter associated with his fellow-beings; the rest of the time he lived alone with his goats.
To be sure, he had his mother and blind grandmother at home ; but he had to go away very early in the morn-
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