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Karlsson on the Roof

“But how?” asked Eric.

“A baby who can get up and fetch herself a sausage can’t be left alone, that’s obvious. Who knows what she will think of next … her daddy’s beer, perhaps.”

He settled the sausage stick more firmly in Curliwig’s tiny hand.

“Calm, be calm!” he said. “I know what I’m doing because I’m the World’s Best Nursemaid.”

At that moment Eric heard footsteps on the stairs outside; it nearly made him jump with fright.

“They’re coming!” he whispered.

“Calm, be calm!” said Karlsson, and they both rushed to the window. Eric heard a key being put in the lock, and he felt desperate, but somehow he managed to heave himself over the window ledge, and a second later he heard the door open and a voice said, “Mommy’s little Susie, fast asleep!”

“Yes, she does nothing but sleep,” said another voice. Then a scream was heard, and Eric guessed that Curliwig’s mommy and daddy had now spotted the sausage.

He did not wait to hear the rest but caught up with the World’s Best Nursemaid, who was just about to hide behind a chimney.

“Would you like to see two scoundrels?” asked Karlsson, when they had had a rest. “I’ve got two first-rate scoundrels in another attic over here.”

It almost sounded as if they were Karlsson’s own scoundrels; they couldn’t very well be that, but, all the same, Eric certainly wanted to see them.

There were sounds of noisy talking and laughing coming from the scoundrels’ attic. “Mirth and joy!” said Karlsson. “Come along, let’s see what’s so funny.”

They crept along the gutter pipe. Karlsson raised his head and peeped in. The curtains were drawn, but there was a gap that you could see through.

“The scoundrels have a visitor,” whispered Karlsson.

Eric also had a peep at them. There were two men sitting there who had the appearance of tough characters, and a meek-looking little man who might have come from the country town where Grannie lived.

“Do you know what I think?” whispered Karlsson. “I think these scoundrels are playing tricks as well as me. But they’d better not!

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