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Karlsson on the Roof

He took another peep.

“I’m jolly sure they’re playing tricks on that poor fellow in the red tie,” he whispered to Eric.

The scoundrels and the man in the red tie were sitting at a small table near the window. They were eating and drinking, and the scoundrels were patting the one in the red tie cordially on the shoulder, saying, “We’re very glad we met you, Oscar!”

“I’m very glad, too,” said Oscar. “When you come to a town like this, it’s really most important to find good friends that you can rely on. Otherwise no one knows what might happen. You might easily fall into the hands of rogues.”

The scoundrels nodded.

“Yes, indeed, you might have come up against rogues,” said one. “Wasn’t it lucky you met Cosh and me!”

“Yes, if you hadn’t found Ruffy and me, anything might have happened to you,” said the other. “But now let’s eat, drink, and be merry,” said the one whose name was Cosh, patting Oscar again on the shoulder. Then he did something which surprised Eric very much. As if by accident, he put his hand into the hip pocket of Oscar’s trousers, pulled out a wallet, and put it stealthily into the hip pocket of his own trousers. And Oscar noticed nothing. Maybe it was because Ruffy, at the same time, was patting him busily. But when Ruffy had finished his patting and withdrew his hand, Oscar’s watch chanced to be in it. Ruffy popped it into his own hip pocket. And Oscar noticed nothing.

But Karlsson-on-the-Roof carefully stretched a chubby hand through the chink in the curtains and took the wallet out of the hip pocket of Cosh’s trousers, and Cosh noticed nothing. Then Karlsson stretched out a chubby hand and took the watch out of the hip pocket of Ruffy’s trousers, and Ruffy noticed nothing.

Some time after, when Ruffy and Cosh and Oscar had eaten and drunk still more, Cosh put his hand in his pocket and found that the wallet was gone. He glowered angrily at Ruffy and said, “Look here, Ruffy, you come along out on the landing. I want a word with you.”

At that moment Ruffy felt in his pocket and discovered that the watch was gone.

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