Adelaide, the Girl from the Alps

Preface

This is my attempt at an English translation of the story Adelaide, das Mädchen vom Alpengebirge by Hermann Adam von Kamp, originally written in 1830. I didn’t find any online, so I took it upon myself to write one.

My German is not very good. The majority of this was taken directly from Google Translate, and edited by me. There are still places that might be translated wrong, or read poorly. If you have any suggestions or corrections, please let me know! I know that the songs and poems are particularly bad.

You can also read this in the original German!


The Early Morning

Already the alp glows in the morning, (Schon glüht die Alp im Morgen)
Already the gray night flees, (Schon flieht die graue Nacht)
Praise you, who saved me, (Preis dir, der mich geborgen)
Guarding my hut. (Der meine Hütt’ bewacht)

Soon the sun will shine, (Bald blickt die liebe Sonne)
There over the spruce forest, (Dort überm Fichtenwald.)
In my heart’s bliss, (In meines Herzens Wonne)
You, God, a song resounds. (Dir, Gott, ein Lied erschallt)

Like I feed the lambs, (Wie ich die Lämmlein weide)
Lead me, your faithful child, (Führ’ mich, dein treues Kind)
That I may avoid evil, (Das ich das Böse meide,)
And be pious. (und werde fromm gesinnt)

So little Adelaide sang her morning song in the chalet. She probably believed that no one but the good Lord, had heard it. But someone else had heard her song. An aristocratic gentleman, who came from the Netherlands to see beautiful Switzerland, had spent the night in a neighboring chalet. He had gone out with his guide very early to celebrate the sunrise, which is so delightfully beautiful on the Alps. And on that journey he passed the hut from which Adelaide’s morning song sounded. Its graceful manner pleased him so much that he lingered there until the song was over, and now it was quiet in the hut. Soon after, Adelaide stepped out of the hut. She was dressed in simple dress, as the shepherd girls of the Alps do. She gazed blankly ahead of her, then hurried to a nearby spring, bathed her face, breast, and arms, and then she returned to the hut.

But how frightened she was when she saw the two strangers standing there! The traveler approached her with a cheerful morning greeting as she was about to move away, and asked her to sing the morning song again. Then she blushed with shame that the stranger had heard her morning song. When he asked her even more kindly to sing once again in the beautiful way, and that he would give her a rich present if she did, she spoke with downcast eyes, she could not do that, for this song belonged to her morning prayers. Her grandfather had taught her that, and said that one must never flaunt prayers.

This pleased the traveler, who called himself Edelland, immensely well, and before he could say anything else to the girl, she had rushed into the hut with a greeting.

Mr. Edelland was now brought by his guide to the pastures. What a happy life surprised him there! As far as his eyes could see, the slopes of the mountains were covered with herds of goats, sheep, and rams. In between, the shepherds walked about. From the dense spruce forests that surrounded the feet of the mountains, the birds of prey rose to the clouds. The songs of the singers in the woods, the bells of the hearths, the sounds of the shawms and the shepherds singing, oh, that sounded so lovely! The traveler had never heard such a thing. And they climbed higher and higher. A wonderful morning! A nice area! He often said. Here everything in nature is so great, and everything praises the Creator! When they reached the height where the snowfields bordered the pastures, they descended again and came back over the pastures. There they saw a lot of beautiful things: distant mountains of snow gilded by the sun; Lakes that shone like silver; Brooks, which like rays of light descended from high icebergs, and gradually so much that can not be described.

The shepherds were already partially with their herds, and carved vessels and figures made of wood. The traveler conversed with some of them. They also found a gray shepherd sitting under a tree. At his feet lay a puppy, and beside him sat the girl whom they had already seen in the morning. Mr. Edelland recognized her the old man as her grandfather, and sat down beside him on the lawn. The few words Adelaide had said to him about her grandfather had already made him worth his while. After a cordial conversation, he soon realized that this old Swiss man was a sensible shepherd and a very pious man. He had taken Adelaide in when his wife died, and she was a comfort and joy in his elderly age. Her parents, however, lived in a nearby valley, where they lived on agriculture.

As the traveler heard this and many other things from his grandfather, the girl hopped from one place to another. And when the man set out to go and leave, she offered him a bouquet of the lovely alp-violets, on which the drops of dew still hung.

“Oh, dear girl,” said the man, “you have already pleased me very much this morning, and now you give me such a nice present again! Could I also give you a gift that would give you so much joy, as your viola bouquet?” He thought for a while. Then he gave the old man a purse with money in his hand, saying, “For the girl.”

Then he got up quickly from the grass, greeted the shepherd and the girl, and went on. The shepherd shouted his heartfelt thanks and wished him a happy journey. But Adelaide stood with shining eyes, and did not know what to say.

The Newspaper

“Let us see, Adelaide,” said the grandfather, “how richly the stranger has made you.” And he opened the purse. Lo and behold, one piece of gold after another rolled into his hand. There were several Dutch ducats and otherwise coin in the purse.

Adelaide smiled and asked, “Is that all mine?”

“Yes, my child,” was the grandfather’s answer.

“Oh, you better keep it,” said Adelaide. “I’m not going to buy anything yet. And you give me so much. You just recently gave a nice bodice and a lamb. You keep the nice money!”

“Well,” said the grandfather, “I want to keep it safe until you grow up and go shopping.”

“But why did the man give that to you?” Adelaide asked.

“Why,” asked the grandfather, “did you give the Violet Bouquet to the Lord?”

“Oh,” she said, “I wanted to please the good gentleman who spoke so kindly to you.”

“See,” replied the grandfather, “that’s how the Lord wanted to please you, because he thought you were good and kind.”

“Ah,” replied Adelaide, “I had just picked the violets, and they were not worth so much money!”

“My child,” said the grandfather, “the gentleman probably has a great deal of money, that it does not matter much to him. And whoever gives violets gives God’s gift, like the one who gives gold, which is also a gift from God. It only depends on what attitude you give something.”

Thus the grandfather and his beloved Adelaide talked much about this beautiful morning, and even after that day they often spoke of the good, unfamiliar gentleman. And serene and happy as before, they lived in their hut on the alpine heights.

But one day, the peaceful tranquility of the old shepherd was transformed into great unrest. The mayor of the Canton summoned him. He could not guess what kind of cause he might have, no matter how much he thought about it overnight. In the early morning he made his way to the place where the mayor lived. And when he had arrived there, he asked whether the mayor meant that it was him that should appear? And he heard that it was him who the mayor had called. Now the mayor asked him about his name, age, parents and siblings. He could give news about everything, but not about a brother who had gone abroad many years ago, and of whom he had not heard of since.

“If you no longer know anything about your brother,” said the mayor, “then I will give you news of him. Your brother traveled to America, was happy there, became very rich, and recently died there. He left no one there who could inherit his goods, and if you want, you could take possession of them.”

“Oh, great God,” said the shepherd, “Should I leave the Alps, and sail far across the sea into the new world, though I am already gray-haired, and may soon have to make a journey to the higher world? No, Mr Mayor, I prefer to stay in the Alps! But where does this message come from?”

“This message,” the mayor replied, “comes through newspapers from there. Look here, I have a newspaper in which a family, named Waldeck, is asked to report in a short time to the inheritance. After reading this paper I have inquired after this name, and see, I have found it, that you must be the next and only heir. Well, look forward to it!”

“I do not know if I can or should be happy,” said the shepherd, after some hesitation. “But I want to tell my children. Maybe they will be happy about it. And thank you so much for your effort, mayor! Will go now.”

“Strange,” said the mayor, “that fortune so often offers its gifts to those who do not appreciate it.”

With a polite greeting, the shepherd left. He brought this message now to his children, who had lived until then poor but satisfied in their village. But they took the news completely different. At first they could not believe that they should suddenly become so happy; but when the grandfather assured them with yes and amen that the mayor said so, their amazement was great, and their joy even greater. They decided on the spot to leave their homeland and move to the new world to live their lives on the inherited good.

The old man shook his head and said, “If only the paper had not come!” In deep thought, when he had left the alp and went back. What would Adelaide say about it? That was a very important question for him. From afar he saw her jumping cheerfully among the herd. “What’s the point he spoke in her, she is singing her favorite song.” And he guessed it. She sang:

How lovely the little bells are! (Wie lieblich die Glöcklein erklingen!)
The lambs, how beautiful they are! (Die Lämmlein, wie wieden sie schön!)
Must a song be happy to sing me (Muß froh doch ein Liedchen mir singen)
And far away into the distance (Und weit in die Ferne hin sch’n)

O herds, in sunny pastures, (O Herden, auf sonnigen Weiden,)
In spicy herbs and grass, (In würzigen Kräutern und Gras,)
How you see my eyes full of joy! (Wie schaut euch mein Augen voll Freuden!)
Is there anything so beautiful as that? (Gibt’s wohl so was Schönes als das?)

O land over clouds, the sky, (O Land über Wolken, dem Himmel,)
So close - so far away from the cities (So nahe – den Städten so fern!)
How much staying away from the crowds (Wie weilet hier fern vom Getümmel)
The girl of the Alps enjoys so much! (Das Mädchen der Alpen so gern!)

It easily flies, like chamois, the steps, (Leicht fliegt es, wie Gemsen, die Stufen)
The rocky heights, (Der felsigen Höhen hinan,)
When cheerful rounds call him (Wenn muntere Reigen ihm rufen)
Go stars on the night train. (Geh’n Sterne die nächtliche Bahn.)

How lovely the little bells are! (Wie lieblich die Glöcklein erklingen!)
The herds how they graze nicely! (Die Herden wie weiden sie schön!)
Will gladly sing on the heights here (Will froh auf den Höhen hier singen)
And never go far in the distance. (Und nie in die Ferne ihn geh’n.)

The Travelers

With the last words of this song, Adelaide jumped to meet her grandfather.

“Good to see you back here!” she called to him. “What did the mayor have to say to you, dear grandfather?”

“Tell me once more,” was his answer, “the last words of the song that you have just sung.”

Quickly sang Adelaide:

Will gladly sing on the heights here (Will froh auf den Höhen hier singen)
And never go far in the distance. (Und nie in die Ferne ihn geh’n.)

“And do you mean it, too?” asked the grandfather.

“Yes, why not?” she answered. “I’ve never wanted to go far, and I do not want to. And where should I go to?”

“Yes, see, Adelaide,” replied the grandfather, “what if someone promised to make you quite happy in the distance; would you want to go if there were a big dairy and lots of goods there?”

“How” Adelaide said, “should I go abroad? No, never! I am already happy. It seems to me that the sun is so beautiful here; Here, too, flowers that bloom so beautifully, as you often told me, do not flourish in many, many places; we have such clear water, and I taste the rust so wonderful! If you send us the cheeses far and wide, that they are nowhere to be found! And where would the pastures be so nice as here? No, no, I do not go abroad, even if I would have a rich dairy. And what should I do there without you, or anyone else I knew?”

“Yes, look, Adelaide,” said Grandfather, “that’s what I wanted to ask you: Would you like to leave your home with your parents and siblings if they would be happy in foreign lands?”

Adelaide was silent for a while, then she said, “Yes, if you also wanted to go, and everyone wanted to get away from here. Even then I would not like to move. But, dear grandfather, why do you ask me all this?”

Grandfather told her what he heard from the mayor and what he had said about it. Then he told her that he had also gone to his children, Adelaide’s parents, and what they said. How they would like to move into the new world, and he did not know what to say about it. He would rather the newspaper had never arrived.

“Oh, do not worry about it, dear grandfather,” said Adelaide. “I do not feel like sailing over the sea. I will stay with you, even though father and mother move. And they probably do not like to trek, they may also reconsider first.”

The old shepherd wiped the tears from his eyes and pulled Adelaide to his chest. After a deep sigh he said: “All right, my child. But I will soon have to start another journey, and you would then remain lonely here on the Alps, while your parents would be in a foreign land. How about that, my child?”

“Then I would rather go with you to heaven, where it should look so beautiful like nowhere on earth!” The girl spoke with emotion.

“That’s what you want,” replied the shepherd, “but that does not please God, to take you from the earth so young.”

Both were silent for a long time. At last the shepherd began again. “Let us go to the flock, and hope for God, who will do all things well.” And they went to the flock.

From that day on, however, the hut was much different than usual. The old shepherd’s cheerfulness, like that of the young girl, was often clouded. And the neighbors from the neighborhood often came and talked to the old man about the inheritance in America. One advised this, the other so, so that the hut often resembled a council chamber, in which it was too narrow for the old man.

Meanwhile, his son-in-law had already written to America that they were the heirs of the deceased, of whom the newspapers had reported, and in the autumn came the news that they wanted to come and take possession of the goods. Now in winter all arrangements were made to leave. It was not decided yet whether Adelaide should stay with grandfather or join in. Little was said about it. But the closer the time of departure came, the sadder the old man and the girl became.

The snow began to melt and the pastures turned green. One day Grandfather said to Adelaide, “I feel, my child, I will soon embark on the great journey. My days are gone! For the last time I see the herbs germinate, and the herds to mountains. Do not be sad! The great Father in heaven lives, though all the fathers on earth die. He will surely take care of you.”

You can imagine Adelaide took this to heart. And the grandfather had spoken true. A few weeks later, Heavenly Father called Him to the higher world. He had accomplished his journey. May had not passed yet, when the whole family left Switzerland, and set out on a journey to the new world. The hardest thing for Adelaide was the separation from her flock, the hut, and her grandfather’s grave. With a large number of travelers from the highlands who wanted to seek new happiness in the New World, they embarked on a journey. The Rhine quickly carried travelers to the sea. They flew singing in many villages and towns, so that they could be heard coming from far away, and therefore the shores were often occupied by many people, who saw them passing by. Usually they sang this farewell song:

Farewell Song

From distant heights we come, (Von fernen Höhen kommen wir,)
And move to the distant sea. (Und zieh’n zum fernen Meer.)
Where’s the ship flows quickly, (Wo’s Schifflein rasch vorüber flieht,)
Sounds, brothers, our farewell song: (Tönt, Brüder, unser Abschiedslied:)
We will never come back. (Wir kommen nimmer her.)

We wave in a new world (Uns winkt in einer neuen Welt)
A new earth happiness. (Ein neues Erdenglück.)
So we said to the motherland, (Drum sagten wir dem Mutterland)
“Farewell!” and our hands (Ein Lebewohl! und unsre Hand)
Wave greetings back to you. (Winkt Grüße euch zurück.)

Soon the ocean wave will weigh us (Bald wiegt die Meereswoge uns)
To beaches never seen. (Zum niegeschauten Strand.)
Where the planter lives carefree, (Da, wo der Pflanzer sorglos wohnt,)
The soil rich, worth the effort (Der Boden reich die Mühe lohnt,)
Waving to us, a new country. (Winkt uns ein neues Land.)

Your German corridors, live well! (Ihr deutschen Fluren, lebet wohl!)
You who stand on the shore! (Ihr, die am Ufer steht!)
Your hand waves goodbye kiss, (Euch winkt die Hand den Abschiedskuss,)
When it blows gently from the west. (Wenn’s sanft aus Westen weht.)

Homesickness

On the Dutch shore, the passengers embarked for the sea, and arrived at North America’s shore after a happy ride in the middle of the summer. The journey had been difficult for many, and the prospect of the happier life that had been hoped for diminished when they saw that even here the soil did not bear fruit without careful treatment, and here, though not the same, there were other complaints that they also had in the motherland. Each family was now trying to get as far as they could, until they had made more detailed decisions about where they would settle. Bergmann, as Adelaide’s father was called, went with his family to the place where the hereditary goods of the deceased uncle lay. This place was in Pennsylvania, near a major city. Here Bergmann wrote to himself about the legacy, with letters he had brought with him from Switzerland, and they now gave him a beautiful possession, which had been administered since the death of his uncle by good servants.

In addition to Adelaiden, Bergmann had two children, a boy and a girl, who were younger than Adelaide. They still thought that they would soon go back to Switzerland, which they also faithfully told the neighbors. But when they finally saw, and heard earnestly from their parents that they should always stay here, they had much to expose to the area, the way of life, and the neighbors, when they compared everything with the fatherland. Far more than her siblings, Adelaide loved Switzerland, and she did not like it as much here. The parents, too, would have liked to have themselves sweetened with their hereditary good into Switzerland, or exchanged the same for another of lesser value which lay only in their fatherland. Incidentally, they did not need to toil as much for a long time as they did in the land of the Alps. They could hold servants, and were viewed in places. So the family lived for several years in the new world, without hearing anything from the motherland. And gradually they all got used to it, except Adelaiden. She could not forget her past way of life as a shepherdess she had been until she turned sixteen. Oh, how gladly she would have once looked into Switzerland to the Alps, and how much she would have given to see the flock there for only one day! No one came, no one in this area, who would have given her the least information about the motherland, and with whom she could have talked for a while about it. Therefore, she often sat sadly in the arbor of her beautiful garden, where it was cozy and quiet, and wept. Her younger siblings found her doing so once, and asked her wistfully for the cause of her grief. But she did not want to tell the little ones, because they had become used to this place. She just said she was not feeling well. They could not do what was needed to cheer her up. They wanted to tell her something, they wanted to start a lively game; but to that all the sad sister nodded no. Then they asked their sister if they should sing a song that Grandfather once taught them? And when the sister nodded, they sang:

For us, the lovely sun laughs, (Uns lacht die liebe Sonne,)
For us, the trees, the flowers bloom, (Uns blüht der Baum, die Flur,)
And a thousandfold bliss (Und tausendfache Wonne)
Waves at us from nature. (Winkt uns in der Natur.)

For us, the birds sing songs, (Uns singt der Vogel Lieder,)
For us, falls from the blue sky (Uns fällt aus Himmelsblau)
The snow and the rain, (Der Schnee und Regen nieder,)
The seedlings shine in the dew. (Uns glänzt die Saat im Tau.)

For us, the straw carries the ears, (Uns trägt der Halm die Ähren)
We laugh through the foliage, (Uns lacht aus durchdem Laub)
The golden fruit, and nourish (Die gold’ne Frucht, und nähren)
Ourselves with the black powder. (Muß uns der schwarze Staub.)

And all these gifts (Und alle diese Gaben)
Sprinkle from God’s mild hand, (Streut Gottes milde Hand,)
To liven the hearts of man, (Des Menschen Herz zu laben,)
With desire for every country. (Mit Lust auf jedes Land.)

That’s why man should be full of joy, (Drum soll der Mensch voll Freude,)
Always look to the Giver (Stets auf den Geber seh’n)
And never shall to Grief and Sorrow (Und nie in Gram und Leide)
To on God’s Earth. (Auf Gottes Erde geh’n.)

Thus the little ones sang, and Adelaide was thereby cheered up, while at the same time thinking of the words of her grandfather: “God will make everything well.”

The Landscape

Gradually, Adelaide began to cheer up, and she had already learned to live in the area and the way of life. On a beautiful Sunday morning, she once went to church with her father and siblings. During the service, a heavy thunderstorm rose. The thunder rolled horribly through the air, so that the congregation in the house of God was afraid. The service had just ended when the storm broke loose over the city. Everyone was soon looking for their house, but for the Swiss family it was not possible to get to their house in front of the city. They therefore went to the house of a merchant, where they used to buy what they could not have in their little place. This merchant was a very kind man, and also a stranger in America. He had often asked the Swiss to spend a Sunday with him; but that still had yet happened. But now they gladly accepted his invitation, and stayed with the friendly man as guests.

When they wanted to go to the table, the merchant led them into a spacious, beautiful room decorated with many paintings. They sat down at a table, and after a simple meal flavored with friendly, cheerful conversation, the merchant led his guests into his garden. Only Adelaide stayed in the room. She wished to see the paintings once. What a joyful surprise it was for her when she saw a Swiss landscape beneath her! She stopped in front of it with gleaming eyes, and who can describe the joy she felt when she recognized the region of her home.

“God,” she exclaimed, “I am at home! There is the alp, where our herds graze, down there in the valley, where I was born, and where my grandfather sleeps in the grave.”

In the meantime the merchant and the whole company entered the room. Smiling, he approached her and said, “Oh, there you will have a friendly look in the Alps! What is it, this sight is a delicious treat, more delicious than anything I can offer here!”

“Ah,” Adelaide said, “I have not been there in five years, not in five long years. I have not heard anything from there since then. But do you know this area? Have you ever been there?”

“I know this area by story,” said the merchant. “My uncle once traveled to Switzerland, and has also bought these and several other landscapes. Now he is traveling to the beautiful areas of the Luisiana, from where he will soon return.”

“Oh,” said Adelaide, “if I could meet with the gentleman here on a Sunday, I would very much ask him to treat me with the pleasure of talking to him about this area for a while.”

“You would,” answered the merchant, “hear much boasting of this landscape. He is a great friend of nature, and has often assured me that he would have liked it there more than anywhere else. Once he’s here, he’ll enjoy himself getting to know someone here, so he can talk about his favorite place.”

“She still can not forget the Alps,” said the father. “It has always been good for her there. Here she is no longer what she was there. The rest of us think well of Switzerland; but we have it better here than there, so we got used to it here.”

Now much was said about the change of place of residence and the fatherland, and it was the opinion of the Swiss, like that of the merchant from the Netherlands, that one could well leave the fatherland, if one does not travel willfully, without a good prospect into the distance but, so to speak, would be called away from God by his fatherland.

The Swiss spent very pleasant time here all afternoon. Meanwhile, the storm had passed, and the rain had subsided, and on a pleasant, sunny evening the Swiss returned to their residence. But the picture of home was more vivid than ever before in Adelaiden’s soul, and she was delighted to have found the landscape with the merchant. She thanked God for this pleasure, and sang her evening song:

The sun has gone away, (Die Sonn’ ist hingegangen,)
Where it, with new splendor, (Wo sie mit neuem Prangen)
Awaken the flowers of home. (Die Heimatfluren weckt.)
The starts flicker again, (Die Sterne flimmern wieder,)
And night settles upon us, (Und Nacht sinkt auf uns nieder,)
Who covers us with rest and darkness. (Die uns mit Ruh’ und Dunkel deckt.)

You, whom I have never seen, (Du, den ich nie noch sahe,)
Who is always so close to me, (Der mir doch stets so nahe,)
You, Father above, (Du, Vater in der Höh’,)
Have given me Life again today, (Hast heut’ mir wieder Leben)
And given me so much good, (Und so viel Gut’s gegeben,)
And saved me from all pain. (Und much bewahrt vor allen Weh.)

Thank you, Father, and love!(Dank, Vater, dir, und Liebe!)
The heart’s purest desires, (Des Herzens reinste Triebe)
Are rushing just to you. (Sie eilen dir nur zu.)
Send your angelic crowds (Send’ deine Engelscharen)
To preserve us all, (Uns alle zu bewahren,)
And strengthen us with sweet rest. (Und stärke uns mit süßer Ruh.)

Rediscovery

A few weeks after these days so remarkable for Adelaide, the merchant, who was carrying a venerable gentleman by the arm, entered the house of the Swiss. He immediately asked for Adelaide, and when she came running quickly, he called to her, “Here I bring my dear uncle. He is happy as you can see, having returned from his journey, and very soon wished to know the family that came from the beautiful Swiss landscape. And here is the girl,” he said to his uncle, “who can not forget this landscape.”

“Yes,” began the uncle, “I have heard that the motherland still has your favor. That’s why I’ve come here to ask you if you do not want to go on a little pleasure trip with me there?”

Adelaide sighed, and replied that she liked doing that in conversation and in thought. She urged the gentlemen to come into the room, called also the father and the mother, and now a cheerful conversation had begun, which was continued without interruption, and as well as if the strange gentleman had already been here for many years.

Adelaide listened to his stories with great pleasure. He described so beautifully the strange natural objects he had seen on his long journeys, and his descriptions were always associated with praise to the omnipotence, wisdom, and goodness of the Creator. Like a pupil, the pious girl sat there with the greatest attention, and listened to the gentleman, who in his tales appeared so noble and yet so humble. At last the gentleman asked her to tell her something. Then she answered him that she had nothing to tell but the dairy hut and the alp where she stood, she would not have come further. And as she had made the journey here, she would have hurried by so fast that she could not have conceived anything special.

“But the alp and the hut,” she said, “are still in my mind, and it often seems to me that I am so close to them that I only need to hurry over a small field and a stream to get there to see. But then I think again of the wide sea, and of the many countries we traveled through when we came here – then I look down sadly. But when I recently saw the landscape where I lived with Grandfather in the painting, I felt as comfortable as I have never felt here, and since then I have often gone there to see it.”

“Yes,” said the gentleman, “that is a very nice area. I really enjoyed that.”

“Oh,” answered Adelaide, “many travelers came to our alp, and they all said that they had found no better place than there. And many years ago, when I was still a child and with my grandfather, a very kind gentleman came to us in the early morning, who said that he liked it so much here that he wanted to spend his life at our height. He gave my grandfather a purse and left.”

Before Adelaide had said anything, the gentleman interrupted her and asked, “How old were you?”

“Ten years old,” she answered.

“And the traveler gave a purse?”

“Yes,” she said, “I had given the gentleman a bouquet of flowers because he spoke so well to Grandfather.”

“Give me your hand, good girl,” said the gentleman with astonishment. “I was the traveler. Yes, I wanted then, and will it now, God willing, to spend my days in the beautiful Swiss lands. I’m leaving soon. If you want, and if your parents allow it, I will lead you back across the sea to Switzerland. In consideration of nature, I will then spend my time, and often come to you up there, where the grandfather’s herds were grazing, and many a silent hut stands.”

With joyful surprise, the girl could not speak a word. And everyone there wondered at the strange divine providence that makes people find themselves in the most foreign ways and in the most distant lands.

After a few months the Dutch gentleman, named Edelland, as we know, landed with Adelaide on Europe’s coasts. He did everything in the Netherlands on his estates, and in the next spring he started the journey with the Swiss girl to the highlands. Then he bought himself a farm in the beautiful area where he had celebrated the morning, and also made sure that his foster-daughter, as he called the girl, got a little lot, where she could live according to the country’s way. A virtuous young Alp Shepherd approached Adelaide often, and liked talking to her. At last he discovered that to him the greatest wish of his heart was that she would become his wife. He was so happy to receive her promise, and they soon dwelt in love and virtue, united as happy spouses together.

Mr. Edelland visited the young people often in the heights by their herds, and was pleased with their satisfaction. These heights always remained his favorite abode, and he brought all the friends and strangers who visited him here.

“Here, then,” he said, “I once saw the sun rise so magnificently, that it would seem so beautiful to me here on the evening of my life, and after the last night I could radiate a more beautiful sun with such delight.”

And here, according to his wishes, the noble gentleman also closed his eyes for this life a few years later. Adelaide had always been his grateful friend, she had watched with her husband at his bedside, stood with him during his hour of death, and prayed for his soul.

His estate, which he inhabited, was in his will, and she had more than she had ever wished. Humility remained the adornment of her life, for the source of humility in her breast was piety.

But the one who wrote this story often thought:

An invisible hand (Es führt unsichtbar eine Hand)
Leads us through earthly life,(Uns durch das Erdenleben,)
And where the eye cannot find, (Und wo das Auge niemand fand,)
we are surrounded by protection and help. (Uns Schutz und Hilf’ umschweben.)

You lead us through the Blumethal (Sie führt uns durch das Blumenthal)
As on the deepest grounds, (Wie an den tiefsten Gründen,)
You bring us Humans, without choice,(Sie bringt uns Menschen, ohne Wahl,)
Whom we find as Angels. (Die wir als Engel finden.)

So all go without care, (Drum gehen alle sorgenlos)
Satisfied and pious, (Zufrieden alle Frommen,)
They know that they are in the lap (Sie wissen, daß sie in den Sooß)
Of the Eternal Love. (Der ew’gen Liebe kommen.)


Sources

Text

About the Author