- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Going Up to the Alm-Uncle
FROM THE charming little old town of Mayenfeld, a footpath leads through green, well-wooded stretches to the foot of the heights which look down upon the valley. Where the footpath begins to go steeply up the Alps, the heath, with its short grass and herbs, at once sends out its soft perfume to meet the wayfarer.
One bright sunny morning in June, a tall maiden of the mountain region climbed up the narrow path, leading a little girl by the hand. The youngster's cheeks were in such a glow that it showed even through her sun-browned skin. Small wonder though! For in spite of the heat, the little one, who was scarcely five years old, was bundled up as if she had to brave a bitter frost. She wore two dresses, if not three, and around her shoulders a large red shawl. With her feet encased in heavy boots, this hot little person toiled up the mountain.
This pair had been climbing about an hour when they reached the little village halfway up the great mountain named the Aim. It was the maiden's hometown, and when she reached the end of the village a pleasant-looking young woman named Barbara stepped out of a house and joined them.
"Where are you taking the child, Deta?" she asked. "Is she the child your sister left?"
"Yes," Deta said. "I am taking her up to the Alm-Uncle and there I want her to remain."
"You can't really mean to take her there!"
"Why not? He's her grandfather, and it is high time he should do something for the child. I have taken care of her until this summer and now a good place has been offered to me. The child shall not hinder me from accepting it."
"It would not be so bad, if he were like other people. But you know him yourself. How could he look after a child, especially such a little one? She'll never get along with him.—But tell me of your prospects."
"I am going to a splendid house in Frankfurt, to work for some nice people."
"I am glad I am not the child!" exclaimed Barbara. "Nobody knows anything about the old man's life up there. He doesn't speak to a living soul, and from one year's end to the other he keeps away from church. People get out of his way when he appears once a year among us. We all fear him, with those thick gray eyebrows and that huge beard. When he wanders along the road with his twisted stick we are all afraid."
"That is not my fault," said Deta. "He won't do her any harm; and if he should, he is responsible, not I."
Barbara had long been anxious to know something about the old uncle and why he lived apart from everybody. She could not even explain to herself why he was called the Aim-Uncle. He could not possibly be the uncle of all the people in the village, but since everybody spoke of him so, she did the same. She seized Deta's arm and said, "I wish you would tell me what has happened to the old man to turn everybody against him so? Did he always hate his fellow-creatures?"
"I cannot tell whether he always did, and that for a very good reason: he being sixty years old, and I only twenty-six. But I can tell you a good deal. My mother and he both came from Domleschg." Deta looked around to see that the child was not so close to them as to overhear what might be said; but the little girl was nowhere to be seen. Deta, standing still, looked about everywhere, but no one was on the path.
"There she is!" exclaimed Barbara, pointing to a spot a good distance from the path. "She is climbing up with the goatherd Peter and his goats. I wonder why he is so late today. I must say, it suits us well enough; he can look after the child while you tell me everything."
"It will be very easy for Peter to watch her," remarked Deta. "She is bright for her five years and keeps her eyes wide open. That will be useful with the uncle. He has nothing left in the whole wide world but his cottage and two goats!"
"Did he once have more?" asked Barbara.
"I should say so. He was heir to a large farm in Domleschg. But setting up to play the fine gentleman, he soon lost everything with drink and play. His parents died with grief and he himself disappeared from these parts. After many years he came back with a half-grown boy, his son. Tobias, that was his name, became a carpenter and turned out to be a quiet, steady fellow. Many strange rumors went round about the uncle and I think that was why he left. We acknowledged the relationship, my mother's grandmother being a cousin of his. We called him uncle, and because we are related on my father's side to nearly all the people in the hamlet they too all called him uncle. He was named 'Aim-Uncle' when he moved up to the Alm."
"But what happened to Tobias?" asked Barbara.
"How can I tell you everything at once? Tobias was an apprentice in Mels, and when he was made master, he came home to the village and married my sister Adleheid. They always had been fond of each other and they lived very happily as man and wife. But their joy was short. Two years afterwards, when Tobias was helping to build a house, a beam fell on him and killed him. Adelheid was thrown into a violent fever with grief and fright, and never recovered from it. She had never been strong and only a few weeks after Tobias' death they buried poor Adelheid. After the death of his son, the Aim-uncle never spoke to a living soul. Suddenly he moved up to the Alp, to live there at odds with God and man. My mother and I took Adelheid's little year-old baby, Heidi, to live with us. When I went to Ragatz I took her with me; but in the spring the family whose work I had done last year came from Frankfurt and resolved to take me to their townhouse. I am very glad to get such a good position."
"And now you want to hand over the child to this terrible old man!" said Barbara with reproach.
"It seems to me I have really done enough for the child. I do not know where else to take her, as she is too young to come with me to Frankfurt." Deta shook hands with Barbara and bade her friend goodbye, setting off up the path.
Heidi and Peter in the meantime were ascending slowly in a zigzag way, the boy always knowing where to find all sorts of good grazing places for his goats where they could nibble. The poor little girl had followed the boy only with the greatest effort and she was panting in her heavy clothes. She did not say anything but looked enviously at Peter, who jumped about so easily in his light trousers and bare feet. She envied even more the goats that climbed over bushes, stones and steep inclines with their slender legs. Suddenly sitting down, the child took off her shoes and stockings. Getting up, she undid the shawl and the two little dresses. Wearing only a light petticoat, in sheer delight at the relief, she threw up her arms that were bare up to her short sleeves. To save the trouble of carrying them, her aunt had dressed her in her Sunday clothes over her workday garments. Heidi now joined Peter and the goats. She was as light-footed as any of them.
At last the children reached the summit in front of the boy's ramshackle hut, where he, his mother and grandmother lived. When Deta saw them, she cried out: "Heidi, what have you done? Where are your dresses and your shawl?"
The child pointed down and said, "There."
The aunt followed in the direction of her finger and saw the heap.
"Naughty child!" declared Deta. "Why have you taken your things off?"
"Because I do not need them," said the child.
"Have you lost your senses?" asked her aunt. "Who do you think will go way down there to fetch those things? Please, Peter, run down and get them."
"I am late already," replied Peter.
"I'll give you this if you go down." Deta held out a five-penny-piece under his eyes. In a great hurry he ran down the straightest path. He returned so quickly she gave him the coin without delay. His face was beaming and he dropped the money deep into his pocket.
"If you are going up to the uncle, as we are, you can carry the bundle of clothes till we get there," said Deta. They still had to climb a steep ascent that lay behind Peter's hut. The boy took the clothes and followed Deta. Heidi jumped along by his side with the goats.
After forty-five minutes they reached the height where the little house of the old man stood on a rock, exposed to every wind, but bathed in the full sunlight. From there you could gaze far down into the valley. Behind the hut stood three old fir-trees with great shaggy branches. Further back the old gray rocks rose high and sheer. Above them you could see green pastures, till at last the stony boulders reached the bare, steep cliffs.
Overlooking the valley the uncle had made himself a bench, by the side of the house. Here he sat, with the pipe between his teeth and both hands resting on his knees. He quietly watched the children climbing up with the goats and Deta behind them, for the children had caught up to her long ago. Heidi reached the top first, and approaching the old man she held out her hand to him and said, "Good evening, grandfather!"
"Well, well, what does this mean?" replied the old man in a rough voice. Heidi examined him with much curiosity; he was strange to look at, with his thick, gray beard and shaggy eyebrows.
"Good day to you, uncle," said Deta. "This is Tobias' and Adelheid's child. You won't be able to remember her, because last time you saw her she was scarcely a year old."
"Why do you bring her here?" asked the uncle, and turning to Peter he said, "Go on and take my goats. How late you are already!"
Peter obeyed and disappeared.
"Uncle," said Deta, "I have done my share these last four years and now it is your turn to provide for her."
The old man's eyes flamed with anger. "Indeed!" he said. "What on earth shall I do when she begins to whine and cry for you?"
"When the little baby was left in my hands a few years ago, I had to figure out how to care for her and nobody told me anything," answered Deta. "You can't blame me if I want to earn some money now. If you can't keep the child, you can do with her whatever you please. If she comes to harm you are responsible."
The uncle gave her such a look that she retreated a few steps. Stretching out his arm in a commanding gesture, he said, "Away with you! Go back wherever you came from and stay out of my sight!"
Deta said "Good-bye" to Heidi and "Farewell" to the uncle, and started down the mountain.
The uncle sat down again on the bench, blowing big clouds of smoke out of his pipe. In the meantime Heidi looked about her, and discovering the goat-shed, peeped in. Nothing could be seen inside. Searching for some more interesting thing, she saw the three old fir-trees behind the house. Here the wind was roaring through the branches and the treetops were swaying to and fro. Heidi stood still to listen, then walked round the house back to her grandfather. She found him just as he was, and planting herself in front of the old man, with arms folded behind her back, she gazed at him.
"What do you want now?" he asked her.
"I want to see what's in the house," replied Heidi.
"Come then," and with that the grandfather got up and entered the cottage. "And bring your things." "I do not want them any more," answered Heidi.
"Why don't you need them any more?"
"I want to go about like the goats!"
"All right, you can; but fetch your things anyway and we'll put them in the cupboard."
She did so, and the old man opened the door. Heidi followed him into a spacious room. In one corner stood a table and a chair, and in another the grandfather's bed. Across the room a large kettle was suspended over the hearth, and opposite to it a large door was sunk into the wall. This the grandfather opened. It was the cupboard. On one shelf were a few shirts, socks and towels; on another a few plates, cups and glasses; and on the top shelf Heidi could see a round loaf of bread, some bacon and cheese. Heidi pushed her things as far behind the grandfather's clothes as she could reach. She did not want them found again in a hurry. After looking around the room, she asked, "Where am I going to sleep, grandfather?"
"Wherever you want to," he replied. She peeped into all the corners of the room and looked at every little nook to find a cosy place. Beside the old man's bed she saw a ladder. Climbing up, she arrived at a loft, which was filled with fresh hay. Through a tiny round window she could look far down into the valley.
"I want to sleep up here," Heidi called down. "Oh, it is lovely here. Please come up, grandfather, and see it for yourself."
"I have already."
"I am making the bed," the little girl called out again. "Oh, do come up and bring a sheet, grandfather, for every bed must have a sheet."
"Is that so?" said the old man. After a while he opened the cupboard and rummaged around in it. He pulled out a long cloth from under the shirts, and with this he climbed to the loft. The hay was heaped up high so that her head would lie exactly opposite the window. He and Heidi together put the heavy sheet on, tucking the ends in well.
"Grandfather, we have forgotten something."
"What?" he asked.
"I have no cover. When I go to bed I always creep in between the sheet and the cover."
"What shall we do if I haven't any?"
"Never mind, I'll just take some more hay to cover me," Heidi said.
"Just wait one minute," said the old man, and went down to his own bed. From it he took a large, heavy comforter and brought it to the child.
"Isn't this better than hay?" he asked. He put the thick cover on the bed while Heidi watched him.
She said, "What a nice bed I have now, and what a splendid cover! I only wish the evening was here, that I might go to sleep in it."
"I think we might eat something first," said the grandfather.
Heidi had had only a piece of bread and a cup of thin coffee very early in the morning before her long journey. "I think we might, grandfather!"
"Let's go down then," said the old man, and followed close behind her. Going up to the fireplace, he pushed the big kettle aside and reached for a smaller one that was suspended on a chain. Then sitting down on a three-legged stool, he kindled a bright fire. When the kettle was boiling, the old man put a large piece of cheese on a long iron fork, and held it over the fire, turning it to and fro, till it was golden-brown on all sides. Heidi had watched him, but suddenly she ran to the cupboard. When her grandfather brought a pot and the toasted cheese to the table, he found it already nicely set with two plates and two knives, two bowls and two glasses and the bread in the middle.
"I am glad to see that you can think for yourself," said grandfather, while he put the cheese on top of the bread. And with that he filled the little bowl with milk. He commanded her to eat the large piece of bread and the slice of golden cheese, while he started his own dinner.
"How do you like the milk?" he asked.
"I never tasted better."
"Then you shall have more."
The little girl ate and drank with the greatest enjoyment. After she was through, both went out into the goatshed. Here the old man busied himself, and Heidi watched him while he was sweeping and putting down fresh straw for the goats to sleep on. Then he went to the little shop alongside and fashioned a high chair.
"What is this?" asked grandfather.
"This is a chair for me. I am sure of it because it is so high. How quickly it was made!" said the child.
At last the evening came. The old fir-trees were rustling and a mighty wind was roaring and howling through the treetops. Heidi danced and jumped about under the trees, for those sounds made her feel as if a wonderful thing had happened to her. Then a shrill whistle was heard, and down from the heights came one goat after another, with Peter in their midst. Uttering a cry of joy, Heidi ran into the middle of the flock, greeting her new friends. When they had all reached the hut, they stopped and two beautiful goats came out of the herd, one of them white and the other brown. They came up to grandfather, who held out some salt in his hands to them, as he did every other night. Heidi petted first one and then the other.
"Are they ours, grandfather? Are they going to the stable? Are they going to stay with us?"
Grandfather said, "Yes, yes, surely." When the goats had licked up all the salt, the old man said, "Go in, Heidi, and fetch your bowl and the bread."
Heidi obeyed and returned. The grandfather milked a full bowl from the white goat, cut a piece of bread for the child, and told her to eat. "Afterwards you can go to bed. Now, goodnight, I have to look after the goats and lock them up for the night."
"Goodnight, grandfather! Oh, please tell me what their names are," called Heidi after him.
"The white one's name is Schwänli and the brown one I call Bärli."
"Goodnight, Schwänli! Goodnight, Bärli!" the little girl called loudly, for they were just disappearing in the shed. Heidi went inside and up to her bed, where she slept quite soundly.
Excerpted from Heidi by Johanna Spyri, Thea Kliros. Copyright © 1998 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted June 22, 2001
Posted January 19, 2015
Name- Roberto Rodriguez. Jk its Robert Meeker. <p>
Nickname(s)- He is called Robbie by mostly everyone, and Rob by his closest friends and family. <p>
Age- 16. <p>
Gender- guy. Duh. <p>
Appearance- olive skin with dark brown almost black hair that is cut Abnegation short and is spiked up in the front. He has chocolate brown eyes. <p>
Clothes- he usually wears a black vee-neck t-shirt, black jeans, and gray converse. On special days like when families are allowed to visit, he will wear a black and brown leather jacket and a black and gray scarf. <p>
Crush- you shall never know! Mwahaha! >:] <p>
Status- he had a girlfriend back in Amity, but ironically she transfered to Erudite. So he's currently single. :P <p>
Family- Ryan Meeker (dad), Claudia Meeker (mom), Iris Meeker (sister). <p>
Other- he is a transfer from Amity. Oh, and he is a sodbwkwodgdbwkxk. Excuse me. He is a okbwkjvsuimwj. Ahem. He is a shuidbdjvlfwkdlwowxm. Oh, I give up. <p>
Anything else, ask mwa! ;)
Posted January 19, 2015
Name: Jessibell (Jessica) Astaria Butler
Parents:Faher amity born Mother dauntles born
Apperance: british african american
eyes:Hazel eyes (glasses)
Hair:long and wavy
BF-no (but i want one)
Mood:what i feel like at the time
Outfit: black skinny jeans and black tank top
Posted January 19, 2015
Posted January 19, 2015
Name -- Erin Drachme Ilse. <br>
Age -- 16 <br>
Gender -- &female <br>
Affiliation -- Dauntless-born <br>
Parentage -- Theodosia Ilse, Mother, deceased. Colin Drachme, Father, deceased. <br>
Appearance -- <br>
-Hair- Thin, wispy, hazel. Reaches her shoulders in finite layers. Shades vary ever-so-slightly. Always secured in a tight ponytail. <br>
-Eyes- Deep, precociously-astute cobalt. Flecks of emeralds and lavenders mar the irises. Framed by thick, dark lashes. <br>
-Stature- She's pretty short and slender, with most of her already-miniscule weight made up of muscle. <br>
-Skin- Lightly tanned, knuckles marked with ropy scars, though her veins stand out in some places. She has a tattoo of a Star-of-David-like symbol on the back of her hand. <br>
-Apparel- She has a black and silver version of a Survey Corps jacket, not to mention a pair of black pants, navy-blue tank tops, and a single silver cuff-earring on her left ear, with a tawny feather attached. <br>
-Other- Her nails are always painted black or a deep maroon. <br>
Personality -- She's pretty co<_>cky. And bi<_>tchy. Being magnanimous isn't really something she cares about. She /can/ be nice, but she generally isn't. Eh . . . . She's kinda like Annie Leonhart. [ If you get that reference I love you. ] <br>
Status -- Single. <br>
Theme Song -- Angel With A Shotgun by the Cab. <br>
I think that's it . . . .
Posted January 13, 2015
Posted January 13, 2015
Name~ Theseus Cassio Lowood. He goes by Cas, and Cas alone.<p>Age~ 18<p>Theme Song~ Another One Bites The Dust by Queen.<p>Looks~ Deep green eyes, dark hair, and tan skin laced with scars. He wears a black T-shirt, jeans, and boots.<p>Weapons~ Literally anything he can find.<p>Crush~ Maybe.<p>Gf~ Nah.<p>Rper~ Lark ♞ , also known as Pande or Pandemonium.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 13, 2015
Posted April 28, 2013
No text was provided for this review.