The Brothers Lionheart
“Little lad,” he said, so loudly that Veder and Kader could hear him. “Where have you been all this time? And what have you done, unhappy child, to return home with soldiers?”
My poor grandfather, what a scolding he got from Veder and Kader! They scolded and scolded and said that if he didn’t keep his grandchildren in better order, but let them roam about in Nangiyala’s mountains, then soon he would have no grandchildren, and he would never forget it. But they would let it go for this time, they said at last, and then they rose away. Their helmets could soon be seen as nothing but small black dots on the hillside below us.
Then I began to cry. I was still in my grandfather’s arms and I just cried and cried, for the night had been so long and hard and now at last it was over. And my grandfather, he let me, just rocking me a little, and I wished, oh, how I wished he could be my real grandfather. I tried to tell him that although I was crying.
“Well, I can probably be your grandfather,” he said. “But otherwise my name is Mathias. What’s yours?”
“Karl Lio---” I began. But then I stopped. How could I be so foolish as to say that name here in Wild Rose Valley.
“Grandfather dear, my name is a secret,” I said. “Call me Rusky.”
“Oh, Rusky is it?” said Mathias, laughing a little. “Go on into the kitchen, Rusky, and wait for me there,” he went on. “I’ll just put your horse in the stable.”
I went in, into a poor little kitchen with nothing but a table and a wooden sofa and a few chair and a hearth. There was also a big sideboard along one wall.
Mathias soon came back, and then I said:
“We’ve got a big sideboard like that in our kitchen, too, at home in Cher---”
Then I stopped.
“At home in Cherry Valley,” said Mathias, and I looked anxiously at him---once again I had said what mustn’t be said.
But Mathias said nothing else. He went over to the window and looked out, standing there for a long time, looking about as if he wanted to be sure that there was no one around. Then he turned to me and said in a low voice:
“Though there’s something special about that sideboard.