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Karlsson on the Roof

“Poor thing!” said Eric. “Perhaps it’s got a tummy-ache.”

“We shall soon see,” said Karlsson. “Come with me!”

They edged along the gutter until they found themselves immediately below the attic window. Then Karlsson cautiously raised his head and peeped in.

“Very lonely little child,” he said. “Mommy and Daddy are out gallivanting, I see.”

The child wept more bitterly than ever.

“Calm, be calm!” said Karlsson, heaving himself over the window ledge. “Here comes Karlsson-on-the-Roof, the World’s Best Nursemaid.”

Eric did not want to be left alone outside. He climbed in the window after Karlsson, although he wondered anxiously what would happen if the child’s mother and father came home suddenly.

But Karlsson was not in the least worried. He walked up to where the baby was lying and put a chubby finger under its chin.

“Coo-oo,” he crowed playfully, and turned to Eric. “That’s the way to talk to babies to make them happy.”

The baby stopped crying from sheer astonishment, but as soon as she had recovered from her suprise, she started off again.

“Coo-oo … and then this is what you do,” said Karlsson, lifting the baby out of her crib and throwing her up to the ceiling, time and time again. Maybe the baby enjoyed it, because suddenly she gave a toothless little grin.

“It’s as easy as pie to amuse children,” he said. “The World’s Best Nursemai—”

He got no farther when the baby started crying again.

“COO-OO-OO,” roared Karlsson angrily, heaving the baby more violently than ever toward the ceiling. “Coo-oo, I said, and I mean it, too!”

The baby was screaming its head off, and Eric put out his arms to take her from Karlsson.

“Let me have her,” he said. He was very, very fond of tiny babies, and he had been asking Mommy and Daddy to give him a little sister, since they were so determined not to let him have a dog.

He took the small bundle from Karlsson and held her tenderly in his arms.

“Don’t cry, there’s a good baby,” he said. The baby watched him silently with a pair of big, solemn eyes.

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