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The Brothers Lionheart

” I said.

“Because...” said Jonathan. “Because a little flame of Katla’s fire touched me as we were fleeing from her.”

My heart had been sick all day with sorrow and fear, but I hadn’t wept. Now tears came from me almost like a cry.

“Are you going to die again, Jonathan?” I cried. And Jonathan said:

“No. But that’s what I’d like to do. Because I’ll never be able to move again.”

He explained the cruelty of Katla’s fire to me. If it didn’t kill, it did something that was much worse. It destroyed something inside so that you were paralyzed. You did not notice it at first, but it crept up on you, slowly and inexorably.

“I can only move my arms now,” he said. “And soon I won’t be able to do that.”

“But don’t you think it’ll pass?” I said, weeping.

“No, Rusky, it’ll never pass,” said Jonathan. “Unless I can get to Nangilima.” Unless he could get to Nangilima. Oh, now I understood! He was thinking of leaving me alone again, I knew it! Once he had vanished to Nangiyala without me...

“But not again,” I cried. “Not without me! You mustn’t vanish to Nangilima without me!”

“Do you want to come with me, then?” he asked.

“Yes, what do you think?” I said. “Haven’t I told you that wherever you go, I’ll go to?”

“You’ve said that, and it’s a comfort to me,” said Jonathan. “But it’s difficult to get there.”

He sat silently for a while, and then he said:

“Do you remember that time when we jumped? That terrible time during the fire and we jumped down into the yard? I went to Nangiyala then, do you remember?”

“Of course I remember,” I said, weeping even more. “How can you ask? Do you think I haven’t remembered it every single moment since?”

“Yes, I know,” said Jonathan, stroking my cheek again.

And then he said:

“I thought perhaps we could jump again. Down the precipice here---down onto the meadow.”

“Well, then we’ll die,” I said. “But would we come to Nangilima then?”

“Yes, you can be sure of that,” said Jonathan.

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