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Heidi

by Johanna Spyri (adapted by Shaun McKenna.)

The Novel is published by Penguin Books

(Extract taken from "LAMDA Acting Anthology, Volume 1", Published by Oberon).

Heidi is a young orphan girl who lives in a tiny village in the Swiss Alps with her grandfather. DETIE is Heidi's young aunt, her mother's sister, who works in a nearby town. DETIE has come hack to Heidi's village with a plan she believes will help Heidi. She is talking to Heidi's grandfather.

DETIE: How well Heidi looks, I hardly recognised her. You've certainly looked after her all right. Of course, I always intended to come back for her because I know she must be in your way but two years ago, when you took her in, I just didn't know what else to do with her. I've been on the lookout for a good home for her ever since, and that's why I'm here now. I've heard of a wonderful chance for her. I've checked everything thoroughly and everything is good. It's the chance of a lifetime. The family I work for have some very rich relations who live in one of the best houses in Frankfurt. They have a little girl who's been paralysed on one side and is very delicate. She has to be in a wheelchair all the time and have lessons with a tutor. That's awfully dull for her and she wants a playmate. My people have been talking about it ever such a lot because, of course, they want to help the poor little girl. That's how I heard what they wanted - a simple, unspoilt child to go and stay with her, someone a bit out of the ordinary. Of course. I thought of Heidi at once and I went to see the housekeeper. I told her all about Heidi and she said she thought Heidi sounded perfect. Isn't that wonderful? Isn't Heidi a lucky girl? If they like her, and if anything were to happen to the invalid, God forbid, but it's quite possible . . . indeed, it's quite likely, they might even. . . you know. What? Why are you looking at me like that?

[GRANDFATHER: Tell them we're not interested.]

Not interested? Not interested, indeed! Anyone else would jump at such an opportunity. She's my sister's child and I'm responsible for her welfare. This is a wonderful opportunity for Heidi and I won't let her miss out on it. I simply won't. If you don't agree, if you don't, I'll... Well, I'll take you to court. Heidi is going to Frankfurt whether you like it or not.

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