Basle (or Basel) is a city in northwest Switzerland on the river Rhine.
It is situated where Switzerland, Germany and France meet; some of Basle's suburbs are actually in Germany and France.
In 1880, it had a population of just over 60,000. Today, it has a population of over 500,000.
It is about 179 miles (288 km) from Frankfurt, so Heidi's journey would have been rather a long one. She would then have had to travel a further 99 miles (160 km) the following day to reach Maienfeld.
This is another reference to the story of the Prodigal Son (see bookmark p.128).
In the Christian Bible in the Gospel of St. Luke, this sentence is written as, And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat and be merry (Luke 15:23 - King James Version).
It describes the feast preparations that the father makes for his son to welcome him home.
Heidi's grandfather quotes from the story of the Prodigal Son in the Gospel of Luke. He uses the words spoken by the son when he returns home and asks for his father's forgiveness.
The relevant passage of the Prodigal Son in the King James Version of the Bible reads:
And the son said unto him, "Father I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son." (Luke 15:21).
In the English Standard Version of the Bible (2001), the passage is:
His son said to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son."