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Karlsson on the Roof

“Squeak!”

Eric looked all around. Far down at one end of the bed—underneath the blankets—he saw a fat little lump, moving. That was where the squeak came from. Then Karlsson’s red face peeped out from between the sheets.

“Haha,” said Karlsson. “ ‘He’s gone,’ you said, ‘he’s gone’—haha, I haven’t gone at all. I was only pretending.”

Then he caught sight of the meatballs. Presto, he turned the button, the engine started buzzing, and Karlsson glided from the bed straight past the plate. He snatched a meatball on his way, rose rapidly up to the ceiling, and circled round the light, contentedly munching the meatball.

“Delicious! Excellent!” he said. “You’d almost think the World’s Best Meatball-Maker had cooked it, but it’s obvious he hasn’t,” said Karlsson. And he made a sudden dive toward the plate and seized another.

Mommy was calling from the kitchen, “Eric, it’s dinnertime. Hurry up and wash your hands and come along!”

“I have to go,” said Eric and put the plate down. “But I’ll soon be back. Promise you’ll wait for me!”

“All right, but what shall I do while you’re away?” said Karlsson, landing beside Eric with a reproachful little thud. “I must have some fun while you’re away. Haven’t you really got any more steam engines?”

“No,” said Eric, “but you can borrow my box of building blocks.”

“O.K.,” said Karlsson.

Eric fetched his box of building blocks from the cupboard where he kept his toys. It was indeed a fine kit of blocks, with various parts that could be screwed together to make a large number of different things.

“Here you are,” he said. “You can build cars and cranes and all sorts of things …”

“And you don’t suppose that the World’s Best Building-Erector doesn’t know what you can build and cannot build?” said Karlsson. Rapidly he popped yet another meatball into his mouth and proceeded to investigate the box.

“Let’s see, let’s see,” he said, emptying out all the pieces on to the floor.

Eric had to go, although he would much rather have stayed to watch the World’s Best Building-Erector at work.

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