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HOME > Children's Novel > Heidi > CHAPTER XVII. A COMPENSATION
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 The next morning the doctor climbed up from Dorfli with Peter and the goats. The kindly gentleman tried now and then to enter into conversation with the boy, but his attempts failed, for he could hardly get a word out of Peter in answer to his questions. Peter was not easily persuaded to talk. So the party silently made their way up to the hut, where they found Heidi awaiting them with her two goats, all three as fresh and lively as the morning sun among the mountains.  
"Are you coming to-day?" said Peter, repeating the words with which he daily greeted her, either in question or in summons.
"Of course I am, if the doctor is coming too," replied Heidi.
Peter cast a sidelong glance at the doctor. The grandfather now came out with the dinner bag, and after bidding good-day to the doctor he went up to Peter and slung it over his neck. It was heavier than usual, for Alm-Uncle had added some meat to-day, as he thought the doctor might like to have his lunch out and eat it when the children did. Peter gave a grin, for he felt sure there was something more than ordinary in it.
And so the ascent began. The goats as usual came thronging around Heidi, each trying to be nearest her, until at last she stood still and said, "Now you must go on in front and behave properly, and not keep on turning back and pushing and poking me, for I want to talk to the doctor," and she gave Snowflake a little pat on the back and told her to be good and obedient. By degrees she managed to make her way out from among them and joined the doctor, who took her by the hand. He had no difficulty now in conversing with his companion, for Heidi had a great deal to say about the goats and their peculiarities, and about the flowers and the rocks and the birds, and so they clambered on and reached their resting-place before they were aware. Peter had sent a good many unfriendly glances towards the doctor on the way up, which might have quite alarmed the latter if he had happened to notice them, which, fortunately, he did not.
Heidi now led her friend to her favorite spot where she was accustomed to sit and enjoy the beauty around her; the doctor followed her example and took his seat beside her on the warm grass. Over the heights and over the far green valley hung the golden glory of the autumn day. The great snow-field sparkled in the bright sunlight, and the two grey rocky peaks rose in their ancient majesty against the dark blue sky. A soft, light morning breeze blew deliciously across the mountain, gently stirring the bluebells that still remained of the summer's wealth of flowers, their slender heads nodding cheerfully in the sunshine. Overhead the great bird was flying round and round in wide circles, but to- day he made no sound; poised on his large wings he floated contentedly in the blue ether. Heidi looked about her first at one thing and then at another. The waving flowers, the blue sky, the bright sunshine, the happy bird—everything was so beautiful! so beautiful! Her eyes were alight with joy. And now she turned to her friend to see if he too were enjoying the beauty. The doctor had been sitting thoughtfully gazing around him. As he met her glad bright eyes, "Yes, Heidi," he responded, "I see how lovely it all is, but tell me—if one brings a sad heart up here, how may it be healed so that it can rejoice in all this beauty?"
"Oh, but," exclaimed Heidi, "no one is sad up here, only in
The doctor smiled and then growing serious again he continued, "But supposing one is not able to leave all the sadness behind at Frankfurt; can you tell me anything that will help then?"
"When you do not know what more to do you must go and tell everything to God," answered Heidi with decision.
"Ah, that is a good thought of yours, Heidi," said the doctor. "But if it is God Himself who has sent the trouble, what can we say to Him then?"
Heidi sat pondering for a while; she was sure in her heart that God could help out of every trouble. She thought over her own experiences and then found her answer.
"Then you must wait," she said, "and keep on saying to yourself: God certainly knows of some happiness for us which He is going to bring out of the trouble, only we must have patience and not run away. And then all at once something happens and we see clearly ourselves that God has had some good thought in His mind all along; but because we cannot see things beforehand, and only know how dreadfully miserable we are, we think it is always going to be so."
"That is a beautiful faith, child, and be sure you hold it fast," replied the doctor. Then he sat on a while in silence, looking at the great overshadowing mountains and the green, sunlit valley below before he spoke again,—
"Can you understand, Heidi, that a man may sit here with such a shadow over his eyes that he cannot feel and enjoy the beauty around him, while the heart grows doubly sad knowing how beautiful it could be? Can you understand that?"
A pain shot through the child's young happy heart. The shadow over the eyes brought to her remembrance the grandmother, who would never again be able to see the sunlight and the beauty up here. This was Heidi's great sorrow, which re-awoke each time she thought about the darkness. She did not speak for a few minutes, for her happiness was interrupted by this sudden pang. Then in a grave voice she said,—
"Yes, I can understand it. And I know this, that then one must say one of grandmother's hymns, which bring the light back a little, and often make it so bright for her that she is quite happy again. Grandmother herself told me this."
"Which hymns are they, Heidi?" asked the doctor.
"I only know the one about the sun and the beautiful garden, and some of the verses of the long one, which are favorites with her, and she always likes me to read them to her two or three times over," replied Heidi.
"Well, say the verses to me then, I should like to hear them too," and the doctor sat up in order to listen better.
Heidi put her hands together and sat collecting her thoughts for a second or two: "Shall I begin at the verse that grandmother says gives her a feeling of hope and confidence?"
The doctor nodded his assent, and Heidi began,—
    Let not your heart be troubled
    Nor fear your soul dismay,
    There is a wise Defender
    And He will be your stay.
    Where you have failed, He conquers,
    See, how the foeman flies!
    And all your tribulation
    Is turned to glad surprise.
    If for a while it seemeth
    His mercy is withdrawn,
    That He no longer careth
    For His wandering child forlorn,
    Doubt not His great compassion,
    His love can never tire,
    To those who wait in patience
    He gives their heart's desire.
Heidi suddenly paused; she was not sure if the doctor was still listening. He was sitting motionless with his hand before his eyes. She thought he had fallen asleep; when he awoke, if he wanted to hear more verses, she would go on. There was no sound anywhere. The doctor sat in silence, but he was certainly not asleep. His thoughts had carried him back to a long past time: he saw himself as a little boy standing by his dear mother's chair; she had her arm round his neck and was saying the very verses to him that Heidi had just recited—words which he had not heard now for years. He could hear his mother's voice and see her loving eyes resting upon him, and as Heidi ceased the old dear voice seemed to be saying other things to him; and the words he heard again must have carried him far, far away, for it was a long time before he stirred or took his hand from his eyes. When at last he roused himself he met Heidi's eyes looking wonderingly at him.
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