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The Brothers Lionheart

I had noticed him because he had sat looking surly all the time and hadn’t sung at all.

“Who’s that?” I asked Jonathan, as we clattered out through the entrance.

“His name is Hubert,” said Jonathan. “And he knows perfectly well what’s special about Sofia.”

Then we rode homeward. It was a chilly, starlit night. Never had I seen so many stars and never such brilliant ones. I tried to guess which was the Earth Star.

But Jonathan said: “The Earth star, well, that wanders about somewhere far, far away in space; you can’t se it from here.”

That was a little sad, I thought.

chapter 5

But then the day came when I found out what was special about Sofia.

One morning, Jonathan said:

“We're going over to the Queen of the Pigeons for a while today.”

“That sounds grand,” I said. “What kind of queen is that?”

“Sofia,” said Jonathan. “The Queen of the Pigeons--I call her that for fun.”

I soon knew why.

It was quite a way to Tulip Farm, where Sofia lived. Her house was on the outskirts of Cherry Valley, with the high mountains just behind it.

We rode over there in the morning, and Sofia was standing there feeing her pigeons, all her snow-white pigeons. When I saw them, I remembered her, that white one that sat on my windowsill, at least a thousand years ago now.

“Do you remember?” I whispered to Jonathan. “Wasn’t it one of those pigeons that lent you the protection of its feathers when--when you came to me?”

“Yes,” said Jonathan. “How could I have gone otherwise? Sofia’s pigeons are the only ones that fly through the skies as far as they like.”

The pigeons were like a white cloud around Sofia, and she was standing there quite still in the middle, surrounded by the flapping of their wings. It was exactly what a Queen of the Pigeons should look like, I thought.

Then she caught sight of us. She greeted us kindly, as usual, but she wasn’t happy. She was quite sorrowful and at once said in a low to Jonathan:

“I found Violanta dead with an arrow in her breast last night. Up in Wolf Gorge.

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