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Karlsson on the Roof

Then he went to the window and peered out into the gathering darkness. He looked up and down the street to see if Bridget and Christopher were there. But he only saw two big boys fighting. The scrap was interesting while it lasted, but unfortunately the boys soon stopped and everything was quiet and boring again.

Then he heard a heavenly sound. He heard the humming of an engine, and a second later Karlsson came sailing in through the window.

“Hi-ho, Eric!” he said airily.

“Hi-ho, Karlsson,” said Eric. “Where did you get to?”

“Why? What do you mean?” asked Karlsson.

“You disappeared,” said Eric, “just when you were going to meet Mommy and Daddy. Why didn’t you wait?”

Karlsson put his hands on his hips and looked really annoyed. “I never heard such a thing,” he said. “Shouldn’t I be allowed to attend to my house? A house-owner has to look after his property, doesn’t he? What would happen if he didn’t? I can’t help it if your mommy and daddy come to pay their respects just when I’ve gone to attend to my house, can I?”

He looked round the room.

“Talking of houses,” he said, “where is my tower? Who has spoiled my tower, and where is my meatball?”

Eric was taken back.

“I didn’t think you’d return,” he replied anxiously.

“No, that’s obvious,” said Karlsson. “The World’s Best Building-Erector builds a tower and what happens? Does anyone put up a little fence around it and make sure that the tower is preserved for posterity? Oh, no, far from it! Pull it down and destroy it, that’s what they do, and eat up other people’s meatballs!”

Karlsson went over and sat down on a stool and sulked.

“Oh, it’s a small matter, isn’t it?” said Eric, and he spread his fingers as Karlsson was in the habit of doing. “It’s not worth bothering about.”

“That’s what you think,” said Karlsson indignantly. “It’s easy enough to pull everything down and then to say it’s a small matter, and that’s all there is to it. But think of poor little me, building that tower with my own hands!”

He pushed his chubby hands right under Eric’s nose.

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