The Brothers Lionheart
” I asked in surprise. I hadn’t thought much about how we would get anything to eat.
“Sometimes she does,” said Jonathan.
“For free?” I asked.
“Free, yes, perhaps you can put it that way,” said Jonathan. “Everything here in Cherry Valley is free. We give to each other and help each other according to what is needed.”
“Do you give Sofia something?” I asked.
Then he laughed again.
“Yes, indeed I do,” he said. “Horse manure for her rose beds, among other things. I look after them for her--quite free.
And then he said so quietly that I hardly heard it:
“I do quite a lot of other things for her, too.”
Just then I saw him take something else out of the basket, a tiny little rolled-up piece of paper, nothing else. He unrolled it and read something that was written on it, and then he frowned as if he didn’t like what was there. But he didn’t say anything to me, and I didn’t like to ask. I thought he would tell me what was on his piece of paper when he wanted me to know.
We had an old sideboard in a corner of the kitchen, and on that first evening at Knights Farm, Jonathan had told me something about it. There was a secret drawer in the sideboard, he said, a drawer you could neither find nor open if you didn’t know the trick. I wanted to see it at once, of course, but then Jonathan said:
“Another time. You must sleep now.”
Then I fell asleep and forgot all about it, but now I remembered it again, for Jonathan went over to the sideboard and I heard a few strange little clicks. It wasn’t difficult to work out what he was doing; he was hiding the piece of paper in the secret drawer. Then he locked the sideboard and put the key in an old mortar high up on a shelf in the kitchen.
Afterward we went swimming for a while and I dived off the bridge! Just think that I dared to! And then Jonathan made me a fishing rod just like his own and we caught some fish, just enough for dinner for the two of us. I got a fine perch and Jonathan got two.
We cooked the fish in our big fireplace, in a pot that hung on an iron chain over the fire, and when we had eaten, Jonathan said:
“Now, Rusky, we’ll see if you are a marksman.