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

The Brothers Lionheart

I didn’t dare say “Grandfather lives there,” for suppose Veder and Kader went in and there was not even one little old man there, not one who wanted to be grandfather to me.

Now I was truly in a mess and I sweated as I rose along. It had been so easy to invent a grandfather, but now I no longer thought it such a good idea.

I saw people working outside their houses, but nowhere anyone who resembled a grandfather, and I began to feel more and more miserable. It was terrible, too, to see how things were with the people in Wild Rose Valley, how pale and hungry and unhappy they all were, at leas those I saw as I rode along, so unlike the people of Cherry Valley. But then we had no Tengil in our valley, who enslaved us and took from us everything we had to live on.

I rode and rode, and Veder and Kader began to get impatient, but I just rode on as if I were on my way to the end of the world.

“Is it much farther?” said Veder.

“No, not far,” I said, but I didn’t know what I was saying or doing. Now I was terrified, just waiting to be thrown into Katla Cavern.

But then a miracle happened. Believe it or not, outside a little white house an old man was sitting on a bench just by the wall, feeding his pigeons. Perhaps I would never have dared to do it if there hadn’t been one snow-white pigeon in among all those gray ones. Just one!

Tears came into my eyes; I had seen pigeons like that only at Sofia’s and then once on my windowsill long ago, in another world.

Then I did an unheard-of-thing. I jumped down from Fyalar and in two leaps; I was with the old man. I threw myself into his arms and with my arms around his neck, I whispered in my despair:

“Help me! Save me! Say that you are my grandfather!”

I was frightened and sure that he would push me away when he saw Veder and Kader in their black helmets behind me. Why should he lie for my sake and perhaps end up in Katla Cavern because of it?

But he didn’t push me away. He held me tight and I felt his good, kind, arms around me like a protection against all evil.

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