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Another delightful story from the author of Heidi. The book follows life of a young boy Moni who looks after all the goats belonging to the people of a small Swiss village. He loves to sing, yodel, and whistle while playing with his goats. One day Moni's best friend Mäggerli reveals a dark secret and asks Moni not to tell anyone. This puts Moni himself into a fairly difficult situation. Will he keep his friend's secret?
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Moni the Goat Boy
LONDON ∙ NEW YORK ∙ TORONTO ∙ SAO PAULO ∙ MOSCOW
PARIS ∙ MADRID ∙ BERLIN ∙ ROME ∙ MEXICO CITY ∙ MUMBAI ∙ SEOUL ∙ DOHA
TOKYO ∙ SYDNEY ∙ CAPE TOWN ∙ AUCKLAND ∙ BEIJING
Published by Sovereign Classic
First published in 2015
Copyright © 2015 Sovereign
Design and Artwork © 2015 www.urban-pic.co.uk
Images and Illustrations © 2015 Stocklibrary.org
All Rights Reserved.
ALL IS WELL WITH MONI
It is a long, steep climb up to the Bath House at Fideris, after leaving the road leading up through the long valley of Prättigau. The horses pant so hard on their way up the mountain that you prefer to dismount and clamber up on foot to the green summit.
After a long ascent, you come first to the village of Fideris, which lies on the pleasant green height, and from there you go on farther into the mountains, until the lonely buildings connected with the Baths appear, surrounded on all sides by rocky mountains. The only trees that grow up there are firs, covering the peaks and rocks, and it would all look very gloomy if the delicate mountain flowers with their brilliant coloring were not peeping forth everywhere through the low pasture grass.
One clear summer evening two ladies stepped out of the Bath House and went along the narrow footpath, which begins to mount not far from the house and soon becomes very steep as it ascends to the high, towering crags. At the first projection they stood still and looked around, for this was the very first time they had come to the Baths.
“It is not very lively up here, Aunt,” said the younger, as she let her eyes wander around. “Nothing but rocks and fir woods, and then another mountain and more fir trees on it. If we are to stay here six weeks, I should like occasionally to see something more amusing.”
“It would not be very amusing, at all events, if you should lose your diamond cross up here, Paula,” replied the aunt, as she tied together the red velvet ribbon from which hung the sparkling cross. “This is the third time I have fastened the ribbon since we arrived; I don’t know whether it is your fault or the ribbon’s, but I do know that you would be very sorry if it were lost.”
“No, no,” exclaimed Paula, decidedly, “the cross must not be lost, on any account. It came from my grandmother and is my greatest treasure.”
Paula herself seized the ribbon, and tied two or three knots one after the other, to make it hold fast. Suddenly she pricked up her ears: “Listen, listen, Aunt, now something really lively is coming.”
A merry song sounded from far above them; then came a long, shrill yodel; then there was singing again.
The ladies looked upwards, but could see no living thing. The footpath was very crooked, often passing between tall bushes and then between projecting slopes, so that from below one could see up only a very short distance. But now there suddenly appeared something alive on the slopes above, in every place where the narrow path could be seen, and louder and nearer sounded the singing.
“See, see, Aunt, there! Here! See there! See there!” exclaimed Paula with great delight, and before the aunt was aware of it, three, four goats came bounding down, and more and more of them, each wearing around the neck a little bell so that the sound came from every direction. In the midst of the flock came the goat-boy leaping along, and singing his song to the very end:
“And in winter I am happy,
For weeping is in vain,
And, besides, the glad springtime
Will soon come again.”
Then he sounded a frightful yodel and immediately with his flock stood right before the ladies, for with his bare feet he leaped as nimbly and lightly as his little goats.
“I wish you good evening!” he said as he looked gayly at the two ladies, and would have continued on his way. But the goat-boy with the merry eyes pleased the ladies.
“Wait a minute,” said Paula. “Are you the goat-boy of Fideris? Do the goats belong to the village below?”
“Yes, to be sure!” was the reply.
“Do you go up there with them every day?”
“Is that so? and what is your name?”
“Moni is my name—”
“Will you sing me the song once more, that you have just sung? We heard only one verse.”
“It is too long,” explained Moni; “it would be too late for the goats, they must go home.” He straightened his weather-beaten cap, swung his rod in the air, and called to the goats which had already begun to nibble all around: “Home! Home!”
“You will sing to me some other time, Moni, won’t you?” called Paula after him.
“Surely I will, and good night!” he called back, then trotted along with the goats, and in a short time the whole flock stood still below, a few steps from the Bath House by the rear building, for here Moni had to leave the goats belonging to the house, the beautiful white one and the black one with the pretty little kid. Moni treated the last with great care, for it was a delicate little creature and he loved it more than all the others. It was so attached to him that it ran after him continually all day long. He now led it very tenderly along and placed it in its shed; then he said:
“There, Mäggerli, now sleep well; are you tired? It is really a long way up there, and you are still so little. Now lie right down, so, in the nice straw!”
After he had put Mäggerli to bed in this way, he hurried along with his flock, first up to the hill in front of the Baths, and then down the road to the village.
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