The Brothers Lionheart
You yourself fly away somewhere quite different.”
“Where?” I asked, because I could hardly believe him.
“To Nangiyala,” he said.
To Nangiyala--he just threw out then word as if it were something everyone in the world knew. But at the time, I had never heard it mentioned before.
“Nangiyala?” I said, “Where’s that?”
Then Jonathan said that he wasn’t quite certain, but it was somewhere on the other side of the stars. And he began to tell me about Nangiyala, so that I almost felt like flying there at once.
“It’s still in the days of campfires and sagas there,” he said, “and you’ll like that.”
All the sagas came from Nangiyala, he said, for it was there that everything of that kind happened, and it you went there, then you could take part in adventures from morning till evening, and at night, Jonathan said.
“You know, Rusky,” he said, “that’ll be different from lying and coughing and being ill and never able to play, won’t it?”
Jonathan always called me Rusky. He’d done that ever since I was small, and when I asked him why once, he said it was because he liked rusks so much, especially rusks like me. Yes, he liked me, Jonathan, and that strange, for I’ve never been anything but a rather ugly, stupid and cowardly boy, with crooked legs and all. I asked Jonathan how he could like such an ugly, stupid boy like me, with crooked legs and all, and then he said:
“If you weren’t such a nice, ugly little paleface with crooked legs, then you wouldn’t be my Rusky, the one I like.”
But that evening, when I was so afraid of dying, he said that as long as I got Nangiyala, then I would at once be well and strong and even beautiful, too.
“As beautiful as you?” I asked.
“Much more beautiful,” said Jonathan.
But he shouldn’t have tried that on me, because there’s never been anything so beautiful as Jonathan and there never will be.
Once, one of those ladies Mothers sews for said:
“My dear Mrs. Lion, you’ve got a son who looks like a prince in a saga.”
And she wasn’t talking about me either!