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Karlsson on the Roof

Then he sat down again on the stool and looked more surly than ever. “If this is how it’s going to be, I’m going home,” he said.

Eric was in despair. He stood there, not knowing what to do. There was silence for a long time. In the end Karlsson said, “If someone gave me a little present, maybe I’d be happy again. It’s not certain, but perhaps I’d be happy if someone gave me a little present.”

Eric ran over to the table and began quickly to rummage in the drawer, because in it he had a lot of nice things. There he kept his stamps and his marbles and his crayons and his tin soldiers. It was there that he kept a small flashlight which he was very fond of.

“Would you like this?” he said, holding out the flashlight for Karlsson to see.

Karlsson snatched it from him.

“This is just the sort of thing I need to make me happy again,” he said. “It isn’t so nice as my tower, but if you give it to me I’ll try to be a little happy, anyway.”

“I’m giving it to you,” said Eric.

“It does switch on, I suppose?” said Karlsson suspiciously, pressing the knob. Yes, the flashlight lit up, and Karlsson’s eyes began to shine, too.

“Think of it! When I walk along the roof in the evenings and it’s very dark, I can switch this on and find the way to my little house and not get lost among the chimney tops,” he said, giving the light a pat.

Eric felt very content when he heard Karlsson say this. He only wished that he might be allowed to accompany Karlsson some time on one of his roof walks and watch him shine the light in the darkness.

“Hi-ho, Eric! Now I’m happy again,” said Karlsson. “Bring your mommy and daddy to see me.”

“They’ve gone to the movies,” said Eric.

“Gone to the movies! When they could have seen me?” said Karlsson in astonishment.

“Yes, there’s only Betty at home … and her new boy friend. They’re in the sitting room, and I’m not allowed in there.”

“What’s this I hear?” shouted Karlsson. “Aren’t you allowed to go where you like? I don’t intend us to put up with this for one single instant.

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