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The Brothers Lionheart

But it was so far down that it made you gasp. If we jumped down there, then at least we’d be sure of getting to Nangilima, both of us. No one need stay behind alone and lie grieving and weeping and being afraid.

But it was not we who had to jump. It was I who was to do it. It was difficult to get to Nangilima, Jonathan had said, and now I knew why. How would I dare, how could I ever dare?

Well, if you don’t dare now, I thought, then you’re a little bit of filth and you’ll never be anything else but a little bit of filth.

I went back to Jonathan.

“Yes, I dare,” I said.

“Brave little Rusky,” he said. “Let’s do it then.”

“I want to sit here for a while with you first,” I said.

“Not too long,” said Jonathan.

“No, only until it’s quite dark,” I said “So that I see nothing.”

And I sat beside him and held his hand and felt that he was strong and good though and through and that nothing was really dangerous so long as he was there.

Then night and darkness fell over Nangiyala, over mountains and rivers and lands, and I stood by the precipice with Jonathan holding on to me hard with his arms around my neck, and I felt how he was breathing on my ear from behind. He was breathing quite calmly. Not like me---Jonathan, my brother, why am I not so brave as you?

I couldn’t see the precipice below me, but I knew that it was there, and I needed to take only one step out into the dark and it would all be over. It would go so quickly.

“Rusky Lionheart,” said Jonathan. “Are you afraid?

“No---yes, I’m afraid. But I’ll do it all the same, Jonathan, I’m doing it now---now---and then I’ll never be afraid again. Never again be afr---”

“Oh Nangilima! Yes, Jonathan, yes, I can see the light! I can see the light!”

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