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

The Brothers Lionheart

There were thickets like that all round Mathias’s place, and wild roses are something I like, for they smell so sweet, not strong, just sweet. But I thought to myself that I would never again be able to smell the scent of wild roses without my heart thumping, and remembering how we crept among the bushes, Jonathan and I, so close to the wall, where Tengilmen were listening and watching, perhaps most of all for someone with the name of Lionheart.

Jonathan had blackened his face and pulled a hood right down over his eyes. He didn’t look like Jonathan, I must say. But it was dangerous all the same, and he was risking his life every time he left his hiding place in the secret chamber, his hideout, as he called it. A hundred men were searching for him day and night, I knew, and I had told him so, but all he said was:

“Yes, they can carry on doing that, I think,”

He had to release Bianca himself, he said, because he wanted to be certain that no one saw her as she flew away.

The guards on the wall seemed to have a piece of it each to guard. There was a fat one patrolling up and down all the time on the top of the wall just behind Mathias’s place, and we had to watch out for him.

But Mathias was standing at the corner of the house with his horn lamp, and he arranged with his how he would signal. This is what he said:

“When I hold the lamp down low, then you mustn’t even breathe, for then Fatty Dodik is quite close. But when I hold the lamp up high, then he’s over where the wall curves away and he usually talks to another Tengilman there. That’s when you must let Bianca go.”

And that’s what we did.”

“Fly, fly,” said Jonathan. “Fly, my Bianca, over the mountains of Nangiyala to Cherry Valley. And watch out for Jossi’s arrows.”

I don’t know whether Sofia’s pigeons really did understand human speech, but I think perhaps Bianca did, because she laid her beak against Jonathan’s cheek as if wishing to calm him, and then she flew away. She glimmered white in the dusk, so dangerously white.

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