Karlsson on the Roof
“I want you to be like a mother to me,” continued Karlsson, “and you must tell me that I have to take some horrid medicine … but I must have a penny for taking it. And then you’ll wrap a warm, woolly scarf around my neck, and I’ll say that it tickles … if you don’t give me another penny.”
Eric wanted to be like a mother to Karlsson. And this meant that he must empty the money box which held his savings. It stood on the bookshelf, heavy with coins. Eric fetched a knife from the kitchen and began to prod them out. Karlsson helped eagerly and shouted with joy every time a coin came tumbling out. There were some nickels and dimes, but Karlsson liked the pennies best.
When the box was empty, Eric ran down to the sweet shop and spent nearly all his savings on gumdrops and chocolate. When he handed it over, he thought for a moment of how he had saved up all this money to buy a dog. He sighed a little at the thought. But he realized that when you have to be like a mother to Karlsson you can’t afford to keep a dog.
Eric went into the sitting room for a few minutes on his way back, with the sweets well hidden in his trousers pockets. His family were all sitting there: Mommy and Daddy and Bobby and Betty, having coffee after dinner. But today Eric had no time to linger. The idea had crossed his mind to ask them to come and meet Karlsson, but on second thought he decided not to. They would only stop him from going up on the roof with Karlsson. They had better see him another day.
Eric picked up two macaroons from the coffee tray (hadn’t Karlsson said that he wanted cakes, too?) and scuttled off to his room.
“How long am I to sit and wait, ill and miserable like this?” asked Karlsson reproachfully. “My temperature’s going up several degrees every minute, and soon you’ll be able to fry an egg on me.”
“I hurried as much as I could,” said Eric. “And I bought masses …”
“But you’ve got some money left, haven’t you, so that I can have a penny when the scarf tickles?” asked Karlsson anxiously.