The Brothers Lionheart
Jonathan really did look like a prince in a saga. his hair shone like gold and had beautiful dark blue eyes which really shone, and beautiful white teeth and perfectly straight legs. And not only that. he was kind and strong, and he knew everything and understood everything and was tops in school, and all the children in the yard hung around him wherever he went, wanting to be with him, and he found amusing things for them and took them on adventures, and I could never go with them, because I was lying on my old kitchen sofa-bed day in and day out. But Jonathan told me everything when he came home, everything he’d been doing and everything he’d seen and heard and read. He would sit for ages on the edge of my bed and tell me. Jonathan slept in the kitchen, too, in a bed which he had to get out of the clothes closet in the evenings. And when he had gone to bed, he went on telling me stories and sagas, until Mother called in from the other room:
“You two must be quiet now, Kalle must sleep.”
But it is difficult to sleep when you are coughing all the time. Sometimes, Jonathan got up in the middle of the night and boiled honey water for me to soothe my cough. He was kind, Jonathan was.
That evening, when I was so afraid of dying, he sat with me for several hours, and we talked about Nangiyala, but very quietly so that Mother wouldn’t hear. She was sitting sewing as usual, but she has her sewing machine in her room, the room where she sleeps--we only have one room and the kitchen, you see. The door into her room was open, and we could hear her singing that old song about a seaman far away at sea; it was Father she thinking about, I suppose. I don’t remember very well how it goes. I only remember a few lines which go like this:
If I die at sea, dear
perhaps there’ll be a day
when a snow-white pigeon comes
from far, far away
then hasten to the sill, dear
it’s my soul that’s there,
wanting to rest a while, here
in your arms so dear
It is a beautiful and sad song, I think, but Jonathan laughed when he hear it and said:
“You know, Rusky, perhaps you’ll come flying to me one evening.