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Karlsson on the Roof

“We’re off!”

They certainly were—out through the window and up in the air. Karlsson took a little extra flight over the nearest rooftops to make sure that the engine was working properly. It chuffed very evenly and well, and Eric was not in the least frightened. On the contrary, he thought it was fun.

At last Karlsson landed on their own roof.

“Now we’ll see if you can find my house,” said Karlsson. “I won’t tell you that it’s behind the chimney; you’ll have to find it for yourself.”

Eric had never been on a roof before. But sometimes he had seen men up there, repairing tiles, and walking about with ropes around their waists to keep them from falling off. Eric had always thought how lucky they were to be doing that. But this time he himself was just as lucky, although he did not have a rope around his waist, of course, and he had a fluttery feeling as he carefully made his way toward the chimney. Behind the chimney stood Karlsson’s little house, just as he had said. How pretty it looked with its green shutters and little steps that you could sit down on if you wanted to. But at the moment Eric was chiefly intent on getting inside the house to see all the steam engines and pictures and everything else that Karlsson had there.

There was a brass plate on the door to show who lived there. It read:

Karlsson threw the door wide open and shouted, “Welcome, my dear Karlsson … and you, too, Eric!” Then he rushed in ahead of Eric.

“I’ve got to get to bed! I’m the World’s Illest,” he shouted, taking a headlong leap onto a red couch which stood along one wall. Eric followed him in. He was dying with curiosity. It was nice at Karlsson’s—Eric could see that at once. Apart from the couch, there was a workbench which evidently doubled as a table, and there were two chairs and a cupboard and a fireplace with an iron grid above it. That was probably where Karlsson did his cooking.

But he could not discover any steam engines. Eric took a thorough look around, but he could not see a single one, and finally he asked, “Where do you keep your steam engines?

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