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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Astrid Lindgren > Fairy tale "The Brothers Lionheart"

The Brothers Lionheart

Who were they? What were they doing up in the mountains at night? I would have to find out. I was so scared that my teeth clattered and I wished myself a thousand miles away. But I was there, and quite near me were some people who might be friends, but who might just as well be enemies, and I would have to find out which, however, terrified I was. So I lay down flat on my stomach and began to crawl toward the voices out there. The moon was right in the cave entrance and a ray of moonlight fell straight down onto my hiding place, but I kept in the dark at the side, and wriggled slowly, slowly, nearer to the voices.

They were sitting out in the moonlight and were building a fire, two men with coarse faces and black helmets on their heads. It was the first time I’d seen any of Tengil’s soldiers, and I knew what it was I was looking at. I knew that here were two of those cruel men who had joined Tengil to destroy the green valleys of Nangiyala. I didn’t want to fall into their hands; I’d rather the wolf took me.

They were talking quietly to each other, but inside in the darkness I was so close to them that I could hear every word. They seemed to be angry with someone, for one of them said:

“I’ll hack his ears off, if he doesn’t come in time this time either.”

And then the other man said:

“Yes, he’s got a lot to learn. We have to sit here waiting in vain, night after night. What use is he, anyhow? Shooting carrier pigeons, that’s all right, but Tengil wants more than that. He wants Sofia in Katla Cavern, and if this man can’t fix that, it’ll be the worse for him.”

Then I realized that the man they were talking about, and whom they were waiting for, was Hubert.

Calm down a bit, I thought. Just wait until he has finished skinning the wolf, and he’ll come, believe you me! Then he’ll appear over there on the path, the man who can catch Sofia for you.

I burned with shame. I was ashamed that we had a traitor in Cherry Valley. And yet I wanted to see him come, because now at last I would have proof.

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