KEYWORDS: peter, grandpa, goats, cave


David Berg

—MO February 18, 1973 NO.206—GP

P. O.BOX 31, LONDON WC2E 7LX, England or GPO Box 3141, San Juan‚ Puerto Rico 00936

(We've had a lot of requests for "more stories like Snowman"—so here you are!—On his Birthday, MO was very weak and sick. After an evening's nap he awoke in another world, another time—another place: He was Grandfather and I was Heidi, and someone else was Peter:)

Grandfather: You tired of taking care of your old Grandpa?

Heidi: No, I like to care for you, Grandfather.

Grandfather: If I die, you just cover me with leaves and snow. I'll be nice and frozen. I won't rot. You can tell the people in the village to come in the spring and bury me before the squirrels get me. You can't ski, but you put on your snow shoes and go down to the village, because you have to have some food. The goats will be all right. They're in the back of the cave. You got plenty peas for the goats? They've got to have lots of food for the winter.

When I'm gone you must not stay here alone. You know that boy you like—that boy with the pipe, with that little feather in his cap that you like so much that cares for the goats? When I'm gone you can have my cave and my goats and my goat cheese and all my milk and my bed and lie together here and give many many children. You give many many children up here for all of us Romanis. We're very small people so we have to have many children to live in this strange land. So‚ Heidi, you must give Grandfather many children.

I remember his name—it's Peter! I'm not too sick to remember. Will you bring Peter here and make love to him like you do to Grandpa? He'll like it very much. He can inject you with children.

Oh, I get dizzy when I look out there! I'm sorry, I can't look down there any more. It's too high. Some day they're going to build a fence at our door and charge admission.

Heidi: Why, Grandpa?

G.: So people don't fall out. That's why I tell you to be careful. Please call Peter. Maybe you better call him now, OK? Go get Peter, Honey.

H.: We've had a good time here in our cave‚ haven't we Grandpa?

G.: Yes, Honey, very good life. But now you go get Peter. I must talk to him. He's just down there in the meadow. Go get the sweet boy that plays the pipe.

(Hears a toilet being flushed) You gotta look out for that water! The river's flowing fast now the snow's melting.

H.: OK, I will

G.: You promise?

H.: Uh huh.

G.: You know what?—Some day they gonna build a road up here of steel and iron for carriages to come see our cave! They going to charge admission and eat lunch here! They going to sleep and make love here like we did, and they going to build a good fence 'cause it's dangerous! I'm always afraid you going to fall out. Always be careful and never go out that way.

H.: Grandfather, did you ever hear about the Abominable snowman?

G.: You make funny! you know I'm snowman! It's our cave‚ and everybody's afraid of me but you and the little girls. Everybody's mad I take their little girls away.

H.: But they love you, Grandpa.

G.: Yes, they love me lots and lots. They never stop making love to me until I'm so tired. Last night they love me and love me till I'm so tired!

H.: Grandpa, Where's Grandma?

G.: Oh, she's gone many years, Honey Baby, before you were born, long ago. She don't like it here. She like it in a big city. You love your Grandpa?

H.: Yes, you know I do.

G.: You love your Grandpa more than Grandma!

H.: Grandpa, who took care of you before I came?

G.: Nobody. I was here all by myself. Sometimes Peter come and look in, and I help Peter take care of his goats‚ and I show him many things and I tell him stories and he like me and he play me nice music with his pipes, and the goats they like it. They like to hear Peter play his pipe.

(Heidi is crying because Grandfather is talking about dying:) You must not cry. I'm not going to go far away. I'll still be here although you can't see me, and if you be real quiet I'll sing to you songs of David and whisper you words of spirit.—If you come to cave.

H.: Grandpa, I live here in cave! What you mean, come to cave?

G.: You'll get tired. You'll want to live in the village with all the women.

H.: No, I want to stay here forever! I like our cave!

G.: Maybe Peter can build you a nice house right here in my cave‚ and the wind will never blow it and the rain will never strike it and at night you can hear me whisper and sing to you. Maybe Peter get jealous, Honey.

H.: No, He loves you.

G.: No‚ I don't know about that, but he loves you. Don't cry, Honey. You make your eyes all sore and get your Grandpa all wet. Peter's nice boy and he love you and help you take care of Grandpa's goats, and he help you milk the goats and make the cheese and he make you good husband.

H.: He doesn't love me as much as you do!

G.: Yes, he loves you very much but he's just a boy. You've got to teach him how to love you. He loves you very much. He told me he loves you. He wants to marry you and live with you and sleep in our cave with us. You don't mind sleeping with Peter? Make me strong babies? Don't let them fall out the door, though.

H.: Maybe Peter can build the fence.

G.: Yes, he's very handy and good with goats. He'll help you take care of all my goats. He'll help you take care of them in the winter and you'll have to keep them warm and save much peas and nuts and berries for the winter.

H.: Grandpa‚ how old am I?

G.: To me you're just a little girl but to Peter you're all grown up and a beautiful woman. If you come here to my cave, you'll hear my voice. You just listen and I'll whisper to you and sing songs of David to you. I don't know if Peter can hear. You may have to leave him outside. He's a man and a boy and he might not understand or believe such things. When he comes to this meadow, you come here to the cave.

G.: Where's Peter? I wish he wouldn't stay out so late. Snows are beginning to mount and slides begin, and if he don't be careful from the weight of his goats there might be slides. Thank you, sweet Girl, for making Grandpa this good cider. Warms my heart. When I turn and look out there, I get so dizzy. It's too far and I'm too tired now. I can't make it any more‚ Honey. You must go get Peter and get some help, because I can't take care of you any more.

G.: Peter's got to come and sleep with you, cause, I'm going to be very cold. You can't bury me until summer time when the ground is soft. Peter can bring some men from the village to dig a big hole to put me in. You put over it a little cross, cause you know I'm a good Catholic even if I don't go to church. There's no church here but see, this whole mountain is my church! God built it for me!

H: Grandpa, are we Gypsies?

G.: What's Gypsies?

H.: Are we Romanis?

G.: We are Romanis from a long time ago. you know! I told you we came from mountains long time ago. If I go to sleep and don't wake up‚ you go get Peter, OK? You can pull me out there under that cedar tree and cover me with leaves and with the snow so the goats won't get me till summer comes‚ OK? Have Peter make a little white cross over me. You know Peter's good boy to take care of you. I give you everything I have, and I give you my stories.

H.: Did you write them in a book?

G.: You're supposed to be writing they down so you can give them to Peter and your grandchildren.

H.: Are you going to go be with Jesus?

G.: Of course! He come to be with me! He's going to let me stay here in the cave with you and Peter. You'll hear me if you listen. I'll still be your big snowman, Honey and I scare the village people. I like to scare them! I come out and roar at them, and run and jump up and down and they all run so scared and then I run back and laugh! (Laughs and laughs loudly:) Makes my chest laugh! You should see them run! Did you check the fire to see if it burns brightly all night? You like me to pet your skin, huh?

H.: Quench the candle, Grandpa. Let's go to sleep.

G.: Aren't the stars bright, Honey? We can see better than all the rest up here. We blew all the other little girls away. I hope they aren't mad at me. I just get hot. I know I'm awful big Honey, but if you both take hold of one foot and pull real hard, you can pull me out under the tree. It's a good place, `cause I always used to sit there and watch the goats down in the valley. It's too rocky to bury me there, but the men can dig a hole in the spring. What's my little cross going to say?

H.: What do you want it to say, Grandpa?

G.: What would you put on it?

H.: My dear Grandpa who loved Jesus...Oh‚ I don't know what I'd put.

G.: You want to put my name and my age and my year, and tell them: He is not here, He is risen! Hallelujah! (Tongues)

H.: I don't know your age.

G.: Oh Honey, I'm so old I forget. Just tell them I'm very old. I'm old father Time. And you know what? They're going to write a book about us, and Peter, too‚ and still the village is going to be scared of me, even many years from now

H.: Grandpa, I don't even know your real name. I just always call you call you Grandpa.

G.: My name is David of course! Sometimes they call me Moses. And I forget, it's so long time ago. you always call me Grandfather and that's all I need. And the scary villagers call me snowman! Ha! It doesn't take much to scare them! All I have to do is shout and roar and wave my hands up and down at them and they go running! That's why you and Peter have to buy the stores, because they're so afraid of me. They get so scared they all run in their houses, and then I can just fly free like the wind in the mountain on my skis! You buy me a paper too, so I see what's happening in the world.

H.: What goes on in the world, Grandpa?

G.: So many big things. So many wars. So many bad people. (Hears water running:) Hark! Old woman wastes water! You go tell her not to use so much. We have to haul our water from the spring, so we can't waste it. You won't forget your old Grandpa? Tell the old woman I want to see her and thank her for the good supper. She's been cooking for me since I've been sick. She doesn't think you should live here with your Grandfather' cause it makes the villagers talk. I don't care what they talk! All I have to do is jump up and down and flap my arms and they run! I squawk, and they talk! Ha‚ ha! Is Peter coming? You tell him when he comes, to close the door. Tell him to watch the fire. It's snowy and windy out there. But he can't sleep with you until I'm gone. I know he wants to but he can't. But it's all right if you sneak off and love him when I'm asleep. Just so I don't know it. Why were you crying? You're such a worry wart!

H.: Here's Peter.

G.: Son, you're going to get cold up here. Your goats OK? You put them all away? You can keep them there in that other cavern. It's got lots of room for your goats. I wish you'd take good care of Heidi when I'm gone. You love my Heidi and take good care of her and give many many grandchildren. She's writing book about us. I'm getting so old and tired, but when I go you can drag me out under the cedar bush' and when meadow gets soft, you can have men dig a hole. You tell Peter what to put on the cross. Next time you go to village to sell goats you can bring me back a paper. Peter, you show me you can love Heidi.

H.: He has all those nice little girls you blew out of the cave.

G.: You remember what you promised us to take care of Heidi when I'm gone, and make a nice little cross‚ and bury me? Peter, can you play me a little song on your pipe? How else could he get the name Peter Piper—Peter Piper‚ Pied Peter Piper!—But not so pied as his old Grandpa! You know what they're going to call me? Isaiah was a noble prophet, Jeremiah the weeping prophet‚ and David the crazy prophet! Ha! But the kids and the goats, they don't mind me to be crazy. I prophesy better when I'm crazy than when I'm sober.

Peter: Heidi writes fast.

G.: Grandma sent her to school in the town and she writes pretty good. Play me some more. The goats think you're going to feed them and they're coming, and all the little girls think you're going to love them and they're coming. Why do you stop? Why don't you pipe any more? Listen! Did you hear the birdies? They're answering you. They know you when you feed them, and they whistle and pipe for you. Will you take good care of my Heidi, and promise you sleep with her and give her a good love? You better drop in as often as you can, 'cause I'm not feeling so good, and I want you to take care of Heidi. Put lots of leaves and snow on me, 'cause I don't want the goats nibbling on me and lots of branches from the fir tree. Alright? You promise me, son? 'Cause there's nobody to keep Heidi warm but you. I wants you to kneel down by my bed and tell Jesus you're going to the care of Heidi when I'm gone.

Peter: Jesus, I promise You to take care of Heidi when Grandpa's gone, by your grace. In Jesus name.

G.: Good care! And you're going to love her and keep her warm and love her when she needs it‚ OK? And you take good care of my goats, OK? And when I'm gone you can have my cave and keep it and all the stores, OK? (with Peter's promise, dear old Grandfather falls asleep)

(And sure enough, many years later a book was written about Grandfather and Heidi and Peter and their goats and he became the legendary snowman of the Mountains! Do you believe it? And believe it or not‚ they did build a railroad up to his cave on Jungfrau Mountain near Interlaken, Switzerland! And not only that, they built a railroad station and a restaurant inside his cave and a big hotel there that later burned down! And they did build a fence across the mouth of his cave on the steep side of the mountain so people wouldn't fall out! And if you don't believe it, just go up there and see for yourself! Maybe Grandfather or Heidi will whisper to you or Peter will play for you—if you'll listen!)