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Karlsson on the Roof

“Won’t you, at least, believe what I say? I asked Karlsson himself if he was real …” he said.

“And what did Karlsson say?” asked Mommy.

“He said that if he’s not real, then he’s the World’s Best Make-Believe. But it so happens that he is real,” said Eric, taking another bun.

“Karlsson thinks Bridget and Christopher are make-believes. ‘Specially silly make-believes,’ he says, and I think so, too.”

Mommy did not answer. She realized that it was quite useless to try to get these ideas out of Eric’s head; so all she said was, “I think you should play a little more with Bridget and Christopher and not think quite so much about Karlsson.”

“But Karlsson doesn’t throw great big stones at me,” said Eric, touching the lump on his forehead. Then he remembered, and he smiled sunnily at his mother. “Anyway, today I’m going to see where Karlsson lives,” he said. “I’d almost forgotten.”

He was sorry the moment he said it. How could he be so silly as to tell Mommy?

But to his mother it did not sound any more worrisome than other things he had told her about Karlsson, and she said without thinking, “Oh, that’ll be nice for you!”

She would not have felt so happy if she had taken in fully what Eric was saying and had thought of where Karlsson was supposed to live.

Eric rose from the table, and, after the good snack, suddenly felt very pleased with his world. The lump on his forehead did not hurt any longer, he still had the delicious taste of the cinnamon buns in his mouth, the sun was shining in through the kitchen window, and Mommy looked very cozy with her round arms and her checked apron. He gave her a quick squeeze and said, “I like you, Mommy!”

“That’s nice,” said Mommy.

“Yes … I like you ’cause you’re such a cozy Mommy.”

Then he went into his room and sat down to wait for Karlsson. He was going to be allowed up on the roof with him, so what did it matter if Christopher said Karlsson was nothing but make-believe?

Eric had a long wait.

“I’m coming about three o’clock, or four or five, but not a minute before six,” Karlsson had said.

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