" If you are so anxious to go, come with me."
The boy sat down on the stone step in front of the door and signified that he did not care to go with them.
Heidi, holding the tower-keeper's hand, climbed many, many steps, which grew smaller and smaller ; finally she went up an extremely narrow staircase, and then she was at the top. The keeper lifted Heidi up and held her to the open window.
"There, now look down," he said.
Heidi saw below her a sea of roofs, towers, and chimneys. She drew her head back quickly and said in a tone of disappointment: —
" It is not at all what I thought it would be."
" Is that so ? What does a little girl like you know about a view ? Well, now come down, and don't ring at a church door again ! "
The keeper put Heidi on the floor and started down the narrow stairs in front of her. On the left, where they began to grow wider, there was a door which opened into the keeper's room ; close by, where the floor extended out under the sloping roof, stood a large basket, and in front of it sat a big gray cat, growling, for in the basket lived her family, and she wished to warn every passer-by not to disturb her domestic arrangements. Heidi stood still and looked amazed, for she had never seen such a huge cat before; in the old tower there lived whole flocks of mice, so the cat had no difficulty in catching half a dozen little ones every day.
The tower-keeper noticed Heidi's surprise and said: —