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

The Brothers Lionheart

It was one thing to suspect someone, but now I would know certain, so that I could say to Sofia:

“That Hubert, get rid of him! Otherwise it’ll soon be the end for you and for the whole of Cherry Valley.”

How horrible it was, waiting, when there’s something horrible to wait for. A traitor is something horrible; I felt that, so that my whole body crawled with it as I lay there. I almost stopped being afraid of the men by the fire because of that awful thing---that I was soon to see the traitor coming on his horse, just where the path came around the cliff. I was terrified at the thought, and yet I stared so that my eyes smarted, toward the places where I knew he would appear.

The two men out by the fire were staring in the same direction. They also knew which way he would come. But none of us knew when.

We waited. They waited by their fire and I waited flat on my face in my cave. The moon moved away from the cave entrance, but time, that stood still. Nothing happened, we just waited, waited until I longed to jump up and down to put an end to it. It was as if everything were waiting, the moon, the mountains roundabout, as if the whole terrible moonlight night was holding its breath, waiting for the traitor.

He came at last. Far away on the path, right in the middle of the moonlight, a rider on his horse was approaching; yes, now I had him exactly where I knew he would appear, and I shuddered when I saw him---Hubert, how could you? I thought. My eyes were smarting so much that I had to close them. Or perhaps I closed them so that I shouldn’t see. I had waited so long for this wretch and now that he was actually coming, it was if I couldn’t bear to see his face. So I closed my eyes and just heard from the clump of the horse’s hoofs that he was approaching.

At last he arrived and reined in his horse, and then I opened my eyes, for I had to see what a traitor looked like, for he betrayed his own kind; yes, I wanted to see Hubert as he came to betray Cherry Valley and everyone who lived there.

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