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The Brothers Lionheart

I suppose she wanted to be sure that no one could either see or hear what we were doing.

“Paloma, my pigeon,” said Sofia. “Have you a better message than the last one with you today?”

She thrust her hand under one of the pigeon’s wings and brought out a little capsule. Out of it, she took a tiny roll of paper, just like the one I had seen Jonathan take out of the basket and hide in the sideboard at home.

“Read it quickly,” said Jonathan. “Quickly, quickly!”

Sofia read it and let out a little cry.

“They’ve taken Orvar, too,” she said. “Now there’s no one left there who can really do anything.”

She handed the piece of paper to Jonathan, and as he read it, his eyes darkened even more.

“A traitor in Cherry Valley,” he said. “Who do you think it is that can be such a wretch?”

“I don’t know,” said Sofia. “Not yet. But God help him, whoever he is, when I find out.”

I was sitting there listening and not understanding a thing.

Sofia sighed and then said:

“You must tell Karl. I’ll go and get some breakfast for you in the meantime.”

She vanished into the kitchen.

Jonathan sat down on the floor with his back against the wall. He sat there in silence, looking at his muddy fingers, but finally he said:

“Well, I’ll tell you now. Now that Sofia has said that I may.”

He had told me a great deal about Nangiyala, both before I had come and afterward, but nothing like what I was told there in Sofia’s room.

“You remember what I said,” he began, “that life here in Cherry Valley was easy and simple. It has been like that, and it should be like that, but it is not likely to be like that any longer. For when it’s miserable and difficult over there in the other valley, then life becomes difficult in Cherry Valley too, you see.”

“Is there more than one valley?” I asked, and then Jonathan told me about Nangiyala’s two green valleys that lay there so beautifully in among Nangiyala’s mountains--Cherry Valley and Wild Rose Valley, deep valleys with mountains around them, high, wild mountains that were difficult to cross if you did not know the twisting dangerous little paths, Jonathan said.

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