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The Brothers Lionheart

His coming here is the only good thing that had happened in Wild Rose Valley since Tengil invaded us and made us bondsmen. ‘Jonathan our savior’ they sing, because he’s going to liberate Wild Rose Valley, believe you me; I believe that too. Now you know everything.”

“You don’t know everything at all,” said Jonathan. “You don’t know that Mathias is the one who is leading the secret struggle in Wild Rose Valley, now that Orvar is in Katla Cavern. They should call Mathias the savior, not me.”

“No, I’m too old,” said Mathias. “He’s so right, that Veder. It’s all the same whether I live or die.”

“You mustn’t say that,” I said. “Because you’re my grandfather.”

“Well, then, that’s what I shall stay alive for. But I’m not fit to lead a struggle any longer. You have to be young for that.”

He sighed.

“If only Orvar were here. But he’s in Katla Cavern, until he’s given to Katla.”

I saw that Jonathan’s face had turned quite white.

“We’ll see,” he mumbled. “We’ll see whom Katla gets in the end.”

But then he said:

“Now we must set to work. You don’t know either, Rusky, that here in this cottage, we sleep in the daytime and work at night. Come on, and I’ll show you.”

He crawled ahead of me through the shutter into the hideout, and there he showed me something. He threw aside the feather mattress which we had slept on and took up two wide loose floorboards under it.

There I saw a black hole going straight down into the earth.

“This is where my underground passage starts,” said Jonathan.

“And where does it end?” I asked, though I could almost guess what his reply would be.

“In the wild country on the other wise of the wall,” he said. “It’ll come up there when it’s finished. A couple more nights and then I think it’ll be long enough.”

He crept down into the hole.

“But I must dig a bit farther,” he said. “For you must see that I don’t want to pop up right under Fatty Dodik’s nose.”

Then he vanished and I sat there waiting for a long time. When he came back at last, he was pushing a trough full of earth in front of him.

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