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

The Brothers Lionheart

There were riders up there, Tengil soldiers with long spears. They were coming at a gallop, but we hadn’t heard the sound of their hoofs because of the roar of the water.

Jonathan saw them too, but I could see no sign that he was afraid. We sat there silently, waiting for them to ride past. But they didn’t ride past. They stopped and jumped down from their horses as if they were going to take a rest or something like that.

I asked Jonathan:

“Is it you they’re after, do you think?”

“No,” said Jonathan. “They come from Karmanyaka and are on their way to Wild Rose Valley. There’s a suspension bridge over the river at Karma Falls. Tengil usually sends his soldiers that way.”

“But they needn’t have stopped just here,” I said.

Jonathan agreed with me.

“I really don’t want them to see me,” he said, “and get funny ideas about Lionhearts into their heads.”

I counted six of them up there on the slope. They were talking and arguing about something, pointing down towards the water, though we couldn’t hear what they were saying. But suddenly one of them started riding his horse down the slope toward the river. He came riding almost straight at us, and I was glad we were sitting so well hidden in the tree.

The others shouted after him:

“Don’t do it, Park! You’ll drown yourself and your horse!”

But he---the one they called Park---just laughed and shouted back:

“I’ll show you! If I don’t get to that rock and back, then I’ll stand you all a beer, I swear!”

Then we realized what he was going to do.

There was a rock protruding out of the river some way out. The currents were swirling around it and only a little of it showed about the surface. But Park must have happened to see it as he riding past, and now he was showing off.

“The fool,” said Jonathan. “Does he think a horse can swim against the current all the way out there!”

Park had already flung off his helmet and cloak and boots, and in nothing but shirt and trousers he was trying to force the horse down into the river. A lovely little black mare it was.

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