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

The Brothers Lionheart

Who knows, I thought, perhaps there were dragons and serpents and monsters galore lying in wait for us in their dark caves. I was also frightened that we would lose our way in the passages, but Jonathan made black soot marks with his torch as we went on so that we could find our way back.

Walk, Jonathan had said, but we didn’t do much walking. We crept and crawled and climbed and swam and jumped and clambered and struggled and toiled and fell, that’s what we did. What a walk! And what caves! Sometimes we came to huge caverns so vast that we could see no end to them, except for the echo which told us what huge rooms they were. Sometimes we had to go through places where you couldn’t even stand up but had to crawl on your stomach like any other dragon. Sometimes the way was barred by underground streams which we had to swim across. And worst of all, sometimes great gaping chasms appeared at our feet. I nearly fell into one of these. I was carrying the torch and I tripped, dropping the torch. We saw it falling like a stream of fire, farther and farther and farther down, until at last it disappeared, and we were left in the dark, the worst and darkest darkness in the world. I dared not move or talk or even think I tried to forget that I existed, standing there in the black darkness on the edge of a chasm. But I heard Jonathan’s voice beside me. He lit the other torch we had with us, meanwhile talking to me, talking and talking quite calmly, so that I wouldn’t go mad with terror I suppose.

So we toiled on, for how long I don’t know, for in the depths of Katla Cavern there was no time. It seemed as if we had been wandering around for an eternity, and I began to fear that we wouldn’t get there until it was too late. Perhaps it was too late already, perhaps darkness had already fallen out there, and Orvar...perhaps he was with Katla now?

I asked Jonathan if he thought so too.

“I don’t know,” he said. “But don’t think about it now if you don’t want to go mad.

We had come to a narrow, twisting path, which never seemed to come to an end, but simply grew narrower and more confined, bit by bit, shrinking in height and width until we could hardly go on, and finally it became just a hole into which you had to crawl to get through.

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