Karlsson on the Roof
“Shall we bet?” repeated Karlsson.
“All right,” said Eric.
He took out one of the two bars of chocolate that he had bought and put it down on the workbench, so that they could see what the betting was about. Then he mixed the medicine according to Karlsson’s recipe. He took sour balls and gumdrops and toffee and stirred them together in a cup with an equal number of pieces of chocolate, and then he broke the macaroons into little pieces and sprinkled them on top. Eric had never seen a medicine like that in all his life, but it looked good, and he almost wished that he had a little temperature himself so that he could try it out.
Karlsson sat in bed, with his mouth wide open like a baby bird, and Eric hurried to find a spoon.
“Pour a large dose into me,” said Karlsson.
Eric did so. Then they both sat still and waited for Karlsson’s temperature to go down.
After half a minute Karlsson said, “You were right. It isn’t any good for a temperature. Give me the bar of chocolate!”
“Are you going to have the bar of chocolate?” said Eric in surprise. “It was I who won the bet.”
“If you won, then it’s only right that I should have the bar,” said Karlsson. “There must be some justice in the world. Besides, you’re a cheeky little boy to sit there and want chocolate simply because I have a temperature.”
Reluctantly Eric handed the bar of chocolate to Karlsson. Karlsson promptly got his teeth into it and said while chewing, “No sour looks, if you please. Next time it’ll be my turn to win and yours to have the bar of chocolate.”
He chewed eagerly, and when he had eaten every bit of the bar he lay back against the pillows and sighed heavily. “I pity all sick people,” he said. “I pity me! Of course, I could try taking a double dose of Cure-All Medicine, but I don’t suppose for a moment that it would help.”
“Oh, yes, I think a double would help,” said Eric quickly. “Shall we bet?”
Eric could be cunning, too. He did not at all think that Karlsson’s temperature would be cured even by a triple dose of Cure-All Medicine, but he wanted to lose a bet so that he might have the last bar of chocolate if Karlsson won.
Concerning the Fate of Essido and his Evil Companions
Category: Nigerian folktales
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