The Brothers Lionheart
Throw me off around a corner where they can’t see. And catch up with Orvar!”
I saw that he was astounded at first, but not nearly as astonished as I was.
“Would you really dare?” said Jonathan.
“No, but I want to all the same,” I said.
“Brave little Rusky,” he said. “I’ll come back and fetch you. As soon as I’ve left Orvar safe with Mathias, I’ll come back.”
“Promise?” I said.
“Yes, what do you think?” he said.
We had reached the willow tree where we had bathed, and I said:
“I’ll hide in our tree. Fetch me from there.”
I didn’t have any time to say more, for now we were hidden behind a hillock, and Jonathan reined in his horse so that I could slide down. Then he set off again and I rolled quickly aside into a hollow. I lay there listening to the soldiers thundering past. I saw Park’s stupid face for one brief moment. H was snarling as if ready to bite---and Jonathan had saved the man’s life!
But Jonathan had already caught up with Orvar. I saw them disappearing together and I was pleased. Ride on, old Park, I thought, if you think that helps. You’ll see no more of Jonathan and Orvar.
I stayed in the hollow until Park and his men were also out of sight, then scrambled down to the river and my tree. It was good to crawl into the green center of the tree and settle into a forked branch, because I was tired now.
There was a little rowing boat bumping against the bank just by the tree. It must have torn itself loose from its moorings higher up the river, for it was not tied up. Whoever had lost it would be sad now, I thought, as I sat there looking around and wondering about this and that. I looked at the rushing water and Park’s rock and thought that’s where he should be sitting, that cowardly Park. And I saw Katla Mountain on the other side of the river and wondered how anybody could imprison other people in its terrible caves. I thought about Orvar and Jonathan and wished until it ached that the would escape into our underground passage before Park caught up with them.
The Election of the King Bird (the black-and-white Fishing Eagle)
Category: Nigerian folktales
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