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The Brothers Lionheart

“Jossi, no, no, not Jossi,” he said, tears coming into his eyes.

But then he rushed up.

“Sofia must be told at once.”

“How can we do that?” I said.

“One of her pigeons is here,” he said. “Bianca. She can fly back this evening.”

Yes, Sofia’s pigeon, I thought so! I told him that it was because of that pigeon that I was there with him and not in Katla Cavern.

“It was a miracle,” I said, “that among all the houses in Wild Rose Valley I should come straight to the one you were in. But if Bianca hadn’t been outside, I would have ridden past.

“Bianca, Bianca, thank you for sitting there,” said Jonathan. But now he had no time to listen to me any more; haste was important now. He scratched on the shutter with his fingernails, rather like a little mouse scratching, and it wasn’t long before the shutter opened and Mathias peered in.

“And little Rusky, he just goes on and on sleeping...” Mathias began, but Jonathan wouldn’t let him continue.

“Please get Bianca,” he said. “She must leave as soon as dusk begins to fall.”

He explained why, telling Mathias about Jossi. Mathias shook his head in that way old people do when they are sad.

“Jossi! I knew it must be someone from Cherry Valley,” he said. “And that’s why Orvar is in Katla Cavern now. My God, the people there are in this world.”

Then he vanished to fetch Bianca, closing the shutter on us.

It was a good hiding place Jonathan had with Mathias, a tiny secret chamber with neither window nor door; the only way in was though the shutter behind the sideboard. There was no furniture in it, only a feather mattress to sleep on, and an old horn lamp which dispelled the darkness in there a little.

In the light of this lamp, Jonathan wrote a message to Sofia. “The name of the traitor, who shall be cursed forever, is Jossi the Golden Cockerel. Get him quickly. My brother is here now.”

“That was why Bianca came flying in yesterday evening,” said Jonathan. “To tell us that you had disappeared and had gone to find me.”

“Just think, that means Sofia understood the puzzle I wrote on the kitchen wall,” I said.

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