London, April 30(ANI): The character of Heidi, the mountain girl living with her grandfather in the Swiss Alps, in author Johanna Spyri's classic Swiss tale, may actually have been inspired from a German story written 50 years earlier by Adam von Kamp.
The suggestion, made by an expert in German literature and culture, Peter Buettner, has sparked a literary squabble between the Swiss and the Germans.
"I didn't say Spyri copied. But I'm assuming that Spyri knew the work and it helped inspire her," the Telegraph quoted Buettner, as saying.
However, he insisted that he "never wanted to take Heidi away from the Swiss."
Buettner, who is a German based in Zurich, pointed out the similarities between 'Heidi' and the earlier work, which was titled 'Adelaide, the Girl from the Alps'.
Both stories revolve around little girls brought up by their grandfathers, who are later forced to leave their homes in the mountains.
Buettner also insists that the titles of the books are similar - Heidi is a shortened form of Adelaide, or Adelheid in German.
And, certain episodes in both texts resemble each other, such as the one in which the girls turn down an offer of money from their grandfathers.
Meanwhile, the Swiss have come forward to defend their literary icon, insisting a lot of 19th century writers in central Europe, dealt with migration to the cities and its effects on children, in their stories. (ANI)