The original (1881) book of Heidi by Johanna Spyri is fascinating and charming and did not leave my eyes dry reading it. It was written during a time when there was great concern about children leaving the healthy country air for the dankness and blandness of the cities.
Much like Pollyanna, it contains the peculiar frankness of tone that older children’s literature had. If you’ve read the original Grimm’s Tales in their 1880s form, the language is very similar.
But what I didn’t know from watching random pieces of the several film versions through the years was that it provided the young reader with two different messages of God’s love regarding physical health. Heidi loves people very much and wants to help them. The book provides two instances of her being able to help people with love (and good food). They are messages of God’s love because Heidi is taught why in one case that though she has done good and the person’s life is better and their joy in Christ is the greater the physical healing she hopes for will not happen in this world. In the other case the physical healing happens, but it is not due to the love and good food, but rather to an opening of the person’s heart more fully to God and the manifestation was physical healing.
The first person was open to God already and was the means by which Heidi could learn more about God. It was the other way around in the second case.
I can’t wait until my girls are old enough to read it for themselves.