The grandmother did not answer, but she had heard the words perfectly, and the expression which had pleased Heidi remained on her face.
After a while the child said : —
" It is growing dark now, grandmother; I must go back; but I am so glad that you are happy again."
The grandmother took the child's hand in hers and held it fast; then she said : —
" Yes, I am so happy again ; if I must stay lying here, I am content. You see, nobody who has not been through it knows what it is to have to lie for days and days all alone, and not hear a word from another human being, and not be able to see — not see even a single sunbeam. Then such gloomy thoughts come to one that it often seems as if it never could be bright again and one could not bear it any longer. But when I hear the words which you have read to me, it is as if a light arose in my heart, and that makes me happy again."
Then the grandmother let go Heidi's hand, and after she had said good-night, Heidi ran back into the other room and hurriedly drew Peter out, for it had already grown late. However, outside the moon was in the sky and shone as brightly on the white snow as if the daylight had come back. Peter arranged his sled, sat down on it in front, with Heidi behind, and away they shot down the Aim, exactly as if they were two birds rushing through the air.
Later, when Heidi was lying in her lovely, deep bed of hay, she began to think about the grandmother again, and how uncomfortably her head lay; and then she