For Grandmother

“What can I bring home to the grandmother?” Heidi asked after a while.

“Something good,” said the aunt; “some lovely, soft white rolls that will please her; for she can hardly eat the hard black bread any longer.”

Don’t you just love bedtime stories? Long tales that take weeks to finish? You say prayers, then open the book and the little one slowly floats into dreamland with sweet stories circulating in his head…

My big kids are too busy–too adult already–for bedtime stories, which is one reason I think God gave us John Ronan. So that we could stay immersed in the world of the little child a while longer. There are so many lessons a little person can teach a grown up.

While reading Heidi, John Ronan and I have been entranced by this little girl who has a heart bursting with goodness and life. I’m inspired on many levels by the story–to be a better mother, to find more and more ways to encounter nature, and to be the optimist and giver that Heidi is.

John Ronan has been especially worried about the blind grandmother who can’t eat hard, brown bread. He is always looking for her in the storyline and hoping that she will have plenty of those expensive, soft white rolls to eat, since she loves them so.

I’m betting that his preoccupation with the grandmother in the story has a lot to do with his very own grandmothers who are both kind and giving. What a gift to a child, to have people in your life who exude love. I’m sure that little boy of mine would do anything to keep his own grandmothers from going blind, or from lacking soft, white rolls if they wanted them.

But Heidi threw herself down by Klara’s chair and began to cry in such despair, louder and louder, and more bitterly, and sobbed again and again in her distress:–

“Now the grandmother won’t have any rolls. They were for the grandmother; now they are all gone and she won’t have any!”

It seemed as if her heart would break. Fraulein Rottenmeier ran out. Klara was alarmed and perplexed by her distress.

“Heidi, Heidi, don’t cry so!” she said imploringly, “only listen to me! Don’t be so troubled; see, I promise you I will give you just as many rolls for the grandmother, or even more, when you go home, and then they will be fresh and soft…”

We only have a few more pages of the book until we’re finished, then we’ll be moving on to a new world, and a new read. I’ll be sad to leave the Alps, though–I used to live there, high in the mountains, just like Heidi. And though I didn’t live in a hut, or go to the pasture with a rowdy band of goats, I did see God in the sky and the wind and the flowers there–and feel Him in the air, just like she did.

And Heidi now took one roll after another out of her basket, until she had piled up all twelve in the grandmother’s lap.

“Oh, child! Oh, child! what a blessing you have brought me!” exclaimed the grandmother, when the rolls did not come to an end, but one kept following another. “But the greatest blessing is you yourself, child!”


3 thoughts on “For Grandmother

  1. I ♥ Heidi.
    I also loved the two books adapted from Johanna Spyri’s other writings by her English translator, Charles Tritten : “Heidi Grows Up” and “Heidi’s Children”.

  2. Ah, one of my favorites… and one of my mother’s favorites, too. 🙂 We’ve read several of Johanna Spyri’s books. Cornelli, Moni the Goat Boy, Vinzi a Story of the Swiss Alps… Some are old ones found on ebay or at the library, others new printings, but either way, they are always a pleasure.

    If you like Heidi, you’d probably enjoy Treasures of the Snow by Patricia St. John. I think I changed a sentence when reading it so as not to confuse my children, since we are Orthodox Christians and the author used a phrase that they would have been unfamiliar with. But it is a wonderful children’s story about about a family that lived in the mountains in Switzerland. We highly recommend it.

    Incidentally, we just got back from a trip to visit Grandma and Great-Grandma. 🙂

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