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

The Brothers Lionheart

We rode across the bridge toward Karmanyaka, the country of Tengil, and the country of monsters. I was so frightened that I was shaking all over. That sea-serpent---perhaps I didn’t seriously believe that he existed, but all the same, suppose he suddenly flung himself up out of the depths and pulled us down off the bridge to perish in Karma Falls? And then Katla; I dreaded her more than anything. Perhaps she was waiting for us now, over there on Tengil’s shore, with her cruel fangs and her death-dealing fire. Oh, how frightened I was.

But we crossed the bridge, and I saw no Katla. She wasn’t on her cliff, and I said to Jonathan:

“No, she isn’t there.”

And yet she was there. Not on the cliff, but her terrible head was protruding from behind a huge block of rock by the path up toward Tengil’s castle. We saw her there. She saw us and let out a scream that could demolish mountains, jets of fire and smoke pouring out of her nostrils as she snorted with rage and jerked at her chain, jerking and screaming over and over again.

Grim and Fyalar were so beside themselves with terror that we could hardly hold them, and my terror was no less. I begged Jonathan to turn back to Nangiyala, but he said:

“We can’t let Orvar down. Don’t be afraid. Katla can’t reach us, however much she drags and pulls at her chain.”

And yet we had to hurry, he said, because Katla’s screams were a signal that could be heard as far as Tengil’s castle, and soon we would have a swarm of Tengil’s soldiers on us if we didn’t flee and hide in the mountains.

We rode on. We rode along wretched, narrow, steep mountain paths, riding so that sparks flew from us, riding hither and thither among the rocks to lead any pursuers astray. Every moment I expected to hear galloping horses behind us and shouts from Tengil’s soldiers trying to get us with their spears and arrows and swords. But none came. It was probably difficult to follow anyone among Karmanyaka’s many cliffs and mountains, where it was easy for the hunted to evade his pursuers.

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