What happened to the Brothers Lionheart?
Astrid Lindgren received thousands of letters from young readers thanking her, telling her how they felt comforted, and wondering what happened to Crusty and Jonathan in Nangilima. And for the first, and last, time she wrote a letter to the children who were wondering what happened next. The letter was published in the newspaper Expressen in 1974. Here it is:
This is a letter to all the children who have sent letters to me about The Brothers Lionheart. I cannot answer each individual letter, because then I would have no time for anything else. But I was very pleased to receive your letters and to hear that you enjoyed the Lionheart book. You want me to write another book and tell you what happened in Nangilima. I am afraid there won’t be another book about Crusty and Jonathan. But I can tell you in this letter what happened at Apple Farm in Nangilima.
Mathias was so happy that he wept when they came riding into his yard that evening. "I didn't think you'd come so soon," he said. "Ah, Crusty," he went on. “Now I can be your grandfather again."
There was a large orchard round Mathias Farm, and in the far corner was a gigantic old apple tree, in which Crusty built himself a tree-house, with Jonathan's help, of course. It was a good climbing tree, and easy to get up into. Even Mathias climbed up it once, but he soon got down again. Grim and Fyalar were housed in Mathias’stable, as he had a stable too, of course. He had a horse called Sturkas - a strange name, isn’t it? Sturkas was grey and very gentle, but he could jump just as well as Grim and Fyalar could. But Mathias didn’t bother much with jumping. He just needed him to ride down to the village and that kind of thing.
Jonathan and Crusty rode out into the forest, just as Jonathan had said they would, and they lit fires here and there and were away for days and nights and bathed and dived into the lakes, but they always went back home to Mathias again. There were no wolves in Nangilima’s forests, but there were wild dogs. One evening when Jonathan and Crusty had lain down by their camp fire, a wild dog came padding up to them. At first he didn't dare come too close, but finally he lay down beside Crusty, and when Crusty patted him, he wagged his tail, because he was a wild dog who wanted to come to people. He became Crusty's dog and was given the name of Mecke. When Crusty and Jonathan were out riding, he always ran alongside, as he wanted to be with Crusty all the time.
No, Tengil and Katla didn't go to Nangilima. Tengil went to a place called Lokrume. I don’t think he bad too bad a time there, but never again was he able to torment and oppress people. Jossi went to Lokrume, too, and when he and Tengil met, they just stood and glared at each other; then they hastily turned away and went off indifferent directions. No one knows where Katla and Karm went. Crusty asked Jonathan and Jonathan said: "Perhaps they went to Sorokaste." But he didn’t say anything about Sorokaste, so neither Crusty nor I know what sort of place it is.
Jonathan’s and Crusty's mother went first to Nangiyala, where Sofia looked after her at Tulip Farm. Eventually, both their mother and Sofia went to Nangilima, and they lived there together in a nice little house quite near Apple Farm. Jonathan and Crusty went to see them every day - it was rather like having two mothers, only the boys didn't live with them.
Well, now you know roughly what happened. Thank you for writing to me.
(translated by Joan Tate)