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HOME > Short Stories > Little Miss Grasshopper > CHAPTER SECOND ON THE GEMMI PASS
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Not far from the summit of the Gemmi pass a narrow path enters the woods and soon leads to the place where the traveler cannot look without a shudder over the steep walls of rock down into the deep precipice.

One beautiful Summer evening a young boy was coming along this wood-path. In his hand he held a large red flower which he had found deep within the woods and looked at it wonderingly from time to time.

Then he came out of the woods into an open place and gazed around, but appeared to find nothing in particular to look at further, and continued his way. Then he stepped into a narrow field-path, leading to the left up a green slope. There stood two cottages not far apart, each with a small out-building behind it, evidently to shelter the animals. One of these sheds was larger than the other, and the cottage also with its brand new door looked more roomy and better kept. This belonged to the guide Kaspar, who lived in it together with his wife and two boys and every year was able to improve something about it, because he earned a good deal of money as guide to travelers. In his shed stood not only two goats, like all the neighbors, but for the last two years a fine cow also, which furnished him with wonderful milk and butter.

The smaller cottage beyond with its old worm-eaten door and tumble-down shingle roof belonged to the porter, Martin, the big man, who, on account of his powerful build, was called "strong Martin." He lived there with his wife and four little children, and behind in his small shed stood his two goats, whose milk had to feed the whole family.

All through the Summer, especially in fine weather, strong Martin really had a good income; then he carried travelers' luggage over the Gemmi, but he didn't earn nearly so much as his neighbor Kaspar, who was often away many days at a time with the mountain climbers.

In front of the new house door Kaspar's two boys were now standing and were evidently discussing something very important. They were examining, handling and comparing, with great eagerness, two objects, which they held in their hands, and when at last they seemed to come to an agreement they began all over again. The little fellow, who had just come out of the woods to the cottage, now stood still and looked full of astonishment at what was going on in front of the house-door.

"Seppli, come, look! look!" called one of the two boys to him.

Seppli drew near; his eyes gazed in motionless amazement at what was shown him.

"See what Father brought us from the fair in Berne," called the larger of the boys again to Seppli, and each one of them held up his present. What a wonderful sight was offered to Seppli's eyes! Chappi and Georgie each held in his hand a large whip, in this country called a Geissel or lash. The strong and yet pliable handle was wound round with little bands of red leather. The long white lash was of solid braided leather thongs; on the end hung a firmly twisted round cord of yellow silk with a little tassel at the end. This end, which could make a wonderful crack, was called the whip-lash. Seppli looked speechless at the whips. Never in his life had he seen anything so splendid!

"Now, just listen," said Chappi, beginning to swing his whip, and Georgie did the same, and then it cracked and thundered up and down the valley and resounded from all the mountains, so that it appeared to Seppli as if there was nothing grander and more wonderful in the whole world.

"If I only had a whip with a yellow lash too!" said he, taking a deep breath, when the two had finally stopped crack............
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