Karlsson on the Roof
Eric still was not sure when Karlsson meant to come, and he had asked him again.
“Not later than seven, anyway,” said Karlsson. “But not before eight, I think. And listen! Mind you watch out about nine o’clock, and then you’ll see!”
Eric had to wait for what seemed an eternity, and in the end he almost thought himself that Karlsson was a make-believe and nothing else. Then he suddenly heard the familiar buzz, and in came Karlsson, jolly and bright.
“I thought you were never coming,” said Eric. “When did you say you were going to come?”
“About,” said Karlsson. “I said I was going to come about, and I did.”
He went up to Eric’s aquarium, plunged his whole face into the water, and drank deeply.
“Watch out for my fishes!” said Eric anxiously. He was afraid that Karlsson would drink up some of the little fishes that were swimming in the aquarium.
“When you’ve got a temperature, you’ve got to keep drinking,” said Karlsson. “And if a fish or two slips down your throat, it’s a small matter.”
“Have you got a temperature?” asked Eric.
“I should say I have! You just feel,” said Karlsson, putting Eric’s hand to his forehead.
But Eric did not think that Karlsson felt particularly hot. “What’s your temperature?” he asked.
“Somewhere around ninety or a hundred at least,” said Karlsson.
Eric had recently had the measles and knew what it meant to have a temperature. He shook his head. “I don’t think you’re ill,” he said.
“You’re perfectly horrid,” said Karlsson, stamping his foot. “Am I never allowed to be ill like other people?”
“Do you want to be ill?” asked Eric, astonished.
“Everyone wants to be ill, don’t they?” said Karlsson. “I want to lie in bed and have lots and lots of temperature, and you must ask how I feel, and I will say that I’m the World’s Illest, and you must ask if there’s anything I want, and I will say that I’m so very ill I don’t want anything at all … except a lot of cakes, and heaps of chocolates, and a pile of sweets.”
Karlsson looked expectantly at Eric, who stood there helpless, not knowing where he could immediately get hold of all the things that Karlsson had mentioned.
The Story of the Three Calenders, Sons of Kings, and of Five Ladies of Bagdad
Category: Arabic folktales
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