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

The Brothers Lionheart

“A curse on Tengil! And on Katla! Everything would be all right, if only he hadn’t got Katla.”

She threw her apron over her eyes, and I think she crying.

I couldn’t bear to watch, so I went to find some more wild strawberries; who was Katla and where was Katla? When would I be told that?

We got to the river in the end, in the heat of the midday sun. The sun was sitting like a ball of fire in the sky and the water glittered too, flashing like a thousand little suns. We stood high up on the steep bank and saw the river far below us. What a sight it was! The river of The Ancient Rivers was rushing toward Karma Falls so that the foam swirled. It wanted to get there with all those mighty waters, and we could hear the falls thundering in the distance.

We wanted to go down to the water to cool off. Grim and Fyalar were let loose in the forest to find themselves a stream to drink from, but we wanted to bathe in the river. So we rushed down the steep slope, almost tearing our clothes off as we ran. There were willow trees down on the riverbank, and one of them had grown right out over the river, dragging its branches in the water. We climbed along the trunk and Jonathan showed me how I should hold on to a branch and let myself down into the swirling water.

“But don’t let go,” he said, “or you’ll get to Karma Falls far quicker than is good for you.”

I held on so hard that my knuckles turned white. I swung there on my branch and let the water rush over me; never have I had such a wonderful bath, nor such a dangerous one. I felt the pull of Karma falls right through my body.

Then I climbed up onto the trunk again, Jonathan helping me, and we sat in the crown of the willow as it in a green house swaying over the water. The river leapt and played directly below us, trying to lure us in again, trying to make us think it wasn’t at all dangerous. But I only needed to dip my toes in, and in my big toe alone I could feel that pull that wanted to take me with it.

As I was sitting there, I happened to look up on the slope and then I grew frightened.

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