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Karlsson on the Roof

“You, Mommy—you’ve got Daddy; and Bobby and Betty always stick together; but I—I’ve got nobody.”

“But darling Eric, you’ve got us all,” said Mommy.

“I haven’t,” said Eric more bitterly still, feeling suddenly that he was quite alone in the world.

He had one thing, though. He had a room of his own, and that was where he went.

It was a light and beautiful spring evening, and the window was wide open. The white curtains blew gently in and out as if waving to the pale little stars in the spring sky. Eric went to the window and stood there, looking out. He thought about the friendly dog and wondered what it was doing now … maybe lying in a dog basket in a kitchen somewhere, and maybe a boy (another boy, not Eric) was sitting on the floor beside it, patting its shaggy head, saying, “Rickey! Good dog, Rickey!”

Eric sighed heavily. Then he heard a little buzzing sound. The buzzing got louder and louder, and he suddenly saw a fat little man slowly flying past the window. It was Karlsson-on-the-Roof! But, of course, Eric did not know that.

Karlsson merely gave Eric a quick glance and sailed on. He circled over the rooftop of the house opposite, rounded the chimney, and then steered back toward Eric’s window. By now he had got up speed and he whizzed past Eric, almost like a jet plane. Several times he shot past. Eric stood silently watching, but he had butterflies in his tummy from the excitement. After all, it isn’t every day that a fat little man flies past your window. At last Karlsson slowed down close to the window ledge.

“Hi-ho!” he said. “May I take a seat?”

“Oh, please do,” said Eric. “Isn’t it difficult to fly like that?” he added.

“Not for me,” said Karlsson importantly. “For me it is not at all difficult, because I am the World’s Best Stunt Flyer. But I wouldn’t advise any old sack of hay to try.”

Eric felt that he was probably “any old sack of hay” and decided on the spot not to try and copy Karlsson’s flying antics.

“What’s your name?” asked Karlsson.

“Eric,” he replied.

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