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The Brothers Lionheart

I found the ladle, too, and I filled it with water. Then I felt someone standing behind me; yes, he was standing there in the darkness just behind my back, and I’ve rarely felt anything so creepy.

“Light the candle,” said Dodik. “I want to see what this kind of rat hole looks like.”

My hands shook; I was shaking all over, but I managed to light the candle all the same.

Dodik took the ladle and drank. He drank and drank as if he were a bottomless pit. Then he flung the ladle down on the floor and looked around suspiciously with his horrible little eyes. Then he asked just what I had expected him to ask.

“That old Mathias who lives here, where is he?”

I didn’t answer. I didn’t know what to answer.

“Didn’t you hear what I said?” said Dodik. “Where’s Mathias?”

“He’s asleep,” I said. I had to think up something.

“Where?”

There was a little room off the kitchen and Mathias had his bed in there, I knew, but I also knew he wasn’t asleep in there now. I pointed toward the door and said:

“In there.”

I squeaked it out, almost inaudibly. It sounded feeble and Dodik laughed mockingly at me.

“You don’t lie very well,” he said. “Wait while I look.”

He was so pleased, knowing that I had lied, and I expect he wanted to arrange Mathias’s death sentence and perhaps be praised by Tengil.

“Give me the candle,” he said, and I gave it to him. I wanted to rush away, just bolt out of the door and get hold of Mathias and tell him to flee before it was too late. But I couldn’t move from the spot. I just stood there, feeling sick with fear.

Dodik saw this and enjoyed the sight. He was in no hurry; oh no, he grinned and dallied just to frighten me more than ever. But when he had stopped grinning, he said:

“Come on, lad, just show me where old Mathias is lying asleep.”

He kicked open the door of the room and pushed me so hard that I tripped over the high step. Then he jerked me up again and stood in front of me with the candle in his hand.

“You liar, show me, now,” he said, raising the candle to light up the room.

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