The Brothers Lionheart
Tomorrow he is crossing the river of The Ancient Rivers in his golden sloop and is disembarking at the big landing stage.”
Then they prepared to leave, but Kader reined in his horse at the last moment.
“Listen, old man,” he shouted at Mathias, who was already halfway to the house. “You haven’t seen a handsome fair-haired youth called Lionheart anywhere, have you?”
I was holding Mathias’s hand and I felt how he trembled; but he answered calmly:
“I know no Lionheart.”
“Oh, don’t you?” said Kader. “But if you happen to meet him, then you know what happens to anyone who gives him shelter or hides him? The death penalty, you know?”
Then Mathias closed the door behind us.
“Death penalties here and death penalties there,” he said. “That’s all those people think about.”
The sound of horses’ hoofs had hardly died away when Mathias was out with the lamp again. Jonathan soon appeared, his hands and face scratched by thorns but glad that nothing worse had happened and that Bianca was now in full flight over the mountains.
Later on, we had our evening meal in the kitchen at Mathias’s, with the shutter open so that Jonathan could quickly disappear into his hiding place if anyone came.
But first we went out to the stable, Jonathan and I, and fed our horses. It was wonderful to see them again, standing with their heads close together. I suppose they were telling each other about everything that had happened. I gave both of them some oats. At first, Jonathan tried to stop me, but then he said:
“Yes, let them have some for once. But you don’t give oats to horses and longer here in Wild Rose Valley.”
When we went into the kitchen, Mathias had put a bowl of soup on the table.
“We haven’t anything else, and it’s mostly water,” he said. “But at least it’s hot.”
I looked around for my sack, remembering what was in it, and when I pulled out all my loaves and my smoked meat, both Jonathan and Mathias gasped, and their eyes began to shine. It was a marvelous feeling to have what was almost a feast to offer them.