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The Brothers Lionheart

What mountains; just imagine that such high ones existed, that so many clear little lakes and rushing streams and waterfalls and meadows full of spring flowers existed, right up in the mountains. And there I was, Rusky, on my horse, seeing it all! I didn’t know that anything in the world could be so beautiful, so at first I was quite dizzy.

But gradually it changed. I had found a little bridle path, probably the one Jonathan had told me about. Through twists and turns, that’s how you get to Wild Rose Valley, he had said. Twists and turns there certainly were. Soon I had twisted and turned my way away from the meadows, and the mountains became wilder and more and more terrible and the path more and more dangerous to move along. Sometimes it climbed steeply, sometimes it plunged down, sometimes it wound its way along narrow rock shelves alongside huge precipices, and then I thought I would never manage. But Fyalar must have been very used to making his way along dangerous mountain paths. He was fine, Fyalar.

Toward evening, were tired, both I and my horse, so then I made camp for the night on a little green patch where Fyalar could graze close to a stream where we both could drink.

Then I made a campfire. All my life I had longed to be able to sit by a campfire, for Jonathan had told me how wonderful it was; and now at last I was.

“Now, Rusky, at last you’ll know what it feels like,” I said out loud to myself.

I collected some dry branches and twigs into a large heap and lit a bonfire, which burned and crackled, so that the sparks flew, and I sat by my fire and felt that it was exactly as Jonathan had said. I felt wonderful as I sat there, looking into the flames, eating my bread and chewing on my smoked meat, which was so delicious I only wished I’d been given it by someone other than Hubert.

I was happy and I sang to myself a little in my solitude. “My bread and my fire and my horse! My bread and my fire and my horse!”---I couldn’t think of anything else.

I sat like that for a long time and I thought of all the campfires that had burned in all the wildernesses of the world since the beginning of time, and how they had all gone out long ago.

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Category: Native American folktales
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