HEIDI, illustrated - complete online book

The Story Of A Young Orphan In Switzerland

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THE ALM-UNCLE
15
ray of sunlight and with a wide view of the valley below. Behind the hut stood three ancient fir trees with long, thick, untrimmed branches. Farther back the mountain with its old gray crags rose higher still, now displaying lovely, fertile pastures, now a tangle of boulders and bushes, and finally surmounted with bare, steep cliffs.
The uncle had made himself a seat by the side of the hut looking down into the valley. Here he sat with his pipe in his mouth, his hands resting on his knees, calmly watching the children, Aunt Dete, and the goats as they came climbing up the mountain. Aunt Dete had been gradually left behind, and Heidi was the first to reach the hut. She went straight to the old man, held out her hand to him, and said:—
" How do you do, grandfather ? "
"Well, well, what does this mean?" asked the old man roughly, barely touching the child's hand and giving her a long, penetrating look from under his bushy eyebrows. Heidi gazed back at him in return without once winking her eyes, for she had never seen any one like her grandfather, with his long beard and heavy gray eyebrows meeting in the middle of his fore­head like a thicket. In the meanwhile Aunt Dete arrived with Peter, who stood still for a time looking on to see what would happen.
" I wish you good morning, uncle," said Dete, step­ping up to him. " I have brought Tobias and Adelheid's child to you. You will hardly know her, for you have n't seen her since she was a year old."
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