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

The Brothers Lionheart

“But it’s the boy’s horse,” said Mathias.

“Oh, yes?” But it’s Tengil’s now.”

That’s what the soldier said, and I began to cry. We had to leave Wild Rose Valley that evening, Jonathan and I. Our long underground passage was finished. Not until that moment had I even thought about it---how on earth were we going to take Grim and Fyalar with us? They couldn’t crawl along an underground passage. What a fool I was not to have thought about that before, that we’d have to leave our horses with Mathias. That was bad enough, but why should things turn out even worse? Tengil would take Fyalar; I can’t understand why my heart didn’t break when I heard that.

The soldier with the wart hauled a little wooden tag out of his pocket and held it under Mathias’s nose.

“Here,” he said. “Write your house mark on this.”

“Why should I do that?” said Mathias.

“That means it’ll be a pleasure for you to give a horse to Tengil.”

“I feel no such pleasure.”

But then the soldier drew his sword.

“You certainly do,” he said. “You feel great pleasure and this is where you put your house mark. And then you give the tag to the man who comes over from Karmanyaka to fetch the horse, because Tengil wants proof that you’ve given it voluntarily, do you see, old man?” he said, pushing Mathias so that he almost fell over.

What else could Mathias do? He wrote down his house mark, and the soldiers went off to search elsewhere for Jonathan.

It was our last evening with Mathias. For the last time we sat down at his table, and for the last time he offered us soup. We were sad, all three of us, I most of all. I cried. Because of Fyalar. Because of Mathias. He had almost been my grandfather, and now I was going to leave him. I wept, too, because I was small and scared and could do nothing about soldiers coming like that and pushing my grandfather around.

Jonathan was sitting in silence, thinking, and suddenly he mumbled:

“If only I knew the password.”

“What password?” I said.

“You have to say the password when you go in or out through the main gateway, didn’t you know that?

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