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Karlsson on the Roof

“What’s the good of that? You can’t throw stones, anyway. You couldn’t hit the side of a house if you tried.”

“Now you’re being silly,” said Mommy. “You don’t think I’d throw stones at Christopher, do you?”

“Then what else would you throw?” asked Eric. “There’s nothing else to throw—at least, nothing so good.”

Mommy sighed. Evidently Christopher was not the only one who could be horrid. Eric was no better than Christopher at times. But how was it possible that her little boy with those big blue eyes could be such a fighter?

“Why not try to get out of the habit of fighting?” said Mommy. “Surely you could discuss things instead? You know, Eric, there really isn’t any problem that can’t be solved by talking it over.”

“There is!” said Eric. “Like yesterday. Christopher and I fought then, too.”

“Quite unnecessary,” said Mommy. “You could just as well have decided who was right by a sensible discussion.”

Eric sat down at the kitchen table and cradled his injured head in his hands. “That’s what you think,” he said, glowering at his mother. “This is what Christopher said to me: ‘I can give you a beating,’ he said. And then I said: ‘Oh, you can, can you?’ How could we have decided that by a sensible discussion? You tell me.”

Mommy could not think what to say and broke off her peace talk abruptly. Her belligerent son looked rather gloomy and she hastened to put some hot chocolate and freshly baked buns in front of him, which Eric liked very much. He had noticed the delicious smell of baking when he came up the stairs, and his mother’s tasty cinnamon buns did at least make life more bearable.

Pensive, Eric took a bite, and while he was eating Mommy stuck a Band-Aid on the lump on his forehead. Then she kissed him lightly and asked, “And what did you two disagree about today?”

“Bridget and Christopher say that Karlsson-on-the-Roof is only make-believe. They say I’ve just invented him,” said Eric.

“And isn’t he?” asked Mommy cautiously.

Eric glared at her with an indignant eye over his cup of hot chocolate.

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