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Heidi, published 1880 in two parts named in full Heidi's Years of Learning and Travel[1] and Heidi Makes Use of What She has Learned[2], is a novel by Swiss author Johanna Spyri.

Heidi, defined by its author as a book "for children and those who love children", quickly became a classic of Children's Literature and is still one of the world's most popular books for children. Possibly it is also the internationally best known work of Swiss literature.

The novel's eponymous heroine is an orphaned Swiss girl who, at the age of five and out of necessity, is given by her Aunt Dete into the care of her grumpy grandfather, who lives as a recluse in the Swiss Alps. The grandfather, an embittered man commonly known as the Alp-Öhi, is not at all happy about this, but eventually Heidi's Blithe Spirit thaws the old man's heart. But the happiness of the two is not to last, when Aunt Dete, having received an employment in the city of Frankfurt, returns to take Heidi with her to Frankfurt.

In Frankfurt, Heidi pines for the Alps, but she also finds a friend in Klara, the daughter of Aunt Dete's employer, Herr Sesemann.

Among several adaptations (even one with Shirley Temple), Heidi was adapted in 1974 as an Anime series known as Heidi, Girl of the Alps.

Tropes used in Heidi include:
  • Aluminium Christmas Trees: The concept of a person's physical health deteriorating due to being away from home may seem strange to modern audiences, but until the late 19th century, nostalgia [3] was considered a genuine medical condition. It was first observed among Swiss mercenaries serving abroad, and some deaths from it were even reported.
  • Big Eater: Peter the goatherd.
  • Blithe Spirit: Heidi.
  • Cheerful Child
  • Cool Old Lady: Klara's grandmother, so much.
  • Country Mouse: Heidi, again.
  • Cute Kitten: Heidi and Klara like them and probably Sebastian too. Fraulein Rottenmeier, on the other hand, can't stand them.
  • Fish Out of Water: Heidi becomes this when she is forced to move to Frankfurt and become Klara's playmate.
  • Food Porn: Admit it. You want the cheese toast.
  • Gossipy Hens: The village below the mountain is full of these. Especially on the matter of Heidi's grandfather and the myriad possible reasons for his seclusion. In some versions of the book, one of the village women (Elisabeth) even talks to Dete on their way up there so Dete can become Mr. Exposition and explain Heidi's backstory.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Peter smashes Klara's wheelchair on purpose, pretty much just because he's jealous of another playmate taking all of Heidi's time. His conscience and fear of being caught catches up to him, though.
  • Heroic BSOD: Heidi goes into these more and more as she can't adapt to city life, to the point of starting to sleepwalk.
  • Ill Girl: Klara, also a Lonely Rich Kid.
  • In Harmony with Nature: Alm-Uncle has many elements of this (with the comeuppance that he is not a people person). Heidi manages to live in harmony with the goats and charm everyone around her. She also suffers in city environments.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold
    • Grandfather is revealed to be this after Heidi comes to live with him.
    • Peter is selfish, temperamental and lazy, but at the end of the day he's not a bad person.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • While not a horrible person per se, Aunt Dete gets two instances of this: First when she forces her niece to live with an old man everybody believes is insane and possibly dangerous just so she has time to further her career, and secondly a few years later when she then drags off the same niece, unwillingly, to do a job she doesn't want in a city she doesn't want to live in.
      • What's arguably worse about Dete is how she suggests to Alm-Uncle the chance that Klara (whom the audience has not yet met) will die and then Heidi will be adopted by Klara's father. She looks forward to the prospect with distinct pleasure because it will work out better for her.
    • Fraulein Rottenmeier's treatment of the kittens and her abusive behavior towards Heidi is also this, if not even worse. Dete didn't relish on her own behavior, unlike her.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Until Heidi comes in...
  • Lying on a Hillside
  • Madden Into Misanthropy: The implied reason for Grandfather's long years of seclusion up a mountain.
  • Meaningful Name: Is it any wonder that someone with the name "Rottenmeier" isn't such a nice person?
  • Morality Pet: Heidi seems to have this effect on her grandfather.
  • Matron Chaperone: Fräulein Rottenmeier's role seems to be preventing Heidi from having too much influence on Klara.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Heidi's real name is Adelheid, like her mother. Everyone who cares the slightest bit about her calls her Heidi.
  • Parents as People: Mr. Sesemann does love his girl, but can't be with her as much as he likes.
  • Parental Abandonment: Quite a bit
    • Heidi: Her father Tobias died in a work accident, which was the last straw for Grandfather and prompted him to live in the mountain. Later, his wife Adelheid dies of illness, and Adelheid's sister Dete acts as a Parental Substitute until she dumps Heidi on the old man.
    • Peter: His father is never mentioned, so he lives with his mother and his blinded grandmother.
    • Klara: Her mother died and her dad is always out in business so she's taken care of by Rottenmeier and Sebastian, and sometimes by her grandmother.
  • Pet the Dog: Grandfather gets more and more moments like this as time goes by. Fixing Peter's grandmother's rickety shack for the sake of it was just the start.
  • Puppy Love: In-Universe: Heidi and Peter. Aww.
    • They do get married in the sequel by Charles Tritten.
  • Rich Bitch: Averted by Klara and pretty much the entire Sesemann family, who are rich but pretty nice. Their head housekeeper, on the other hand, is not.
  • Scenery Porn: The Alps. And how.
  • Servile Snarker: Sebastian. Tinette, the maid, has her moments as well, but is played less sympathetically.
  • Sleepwalking
  • Spell My Name with an "S": In some editions, "Detie" instead of "Dete" and "Clara" instead of "Klara" are used.
  • Throwing Off the Disability: Klara.
    • Considering the fact, Klara was given goat’s milk; it does imply that the cause of her condition was simply due to a poor diet and not enough time in the sun despite being from a rich background. The drink contains calcium and many vitamins… especially vitamin D. It’s likely the condition could be rickets, since the cause is often a deficiency in Vitamin D, which the sun and milk provide, and calcium is also an effective treatment.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Tomboy Heidi likes playing with the goats and being outdoors, snuck in some kittens and a turtle into the Sessemann house, and asked quite a few impertinent questions. Girly Girl Klara was always prim and proper- and had to be motivated to go outdoors and try to walk again.
  • Yodel Land
  1. Orig.: Heidi's Lehr- und Wanderjahre
  2. Orig.: Heidi kann brauchen, was es gelernt hat
  3. originally a Greek word meaning "pain for home"; the English word "homesickness" is derived from it