Karlsson on the Roof
It was now quite dark, and Eric and Karlsson walked back, hand in hand, across the roofs to Karlsson’s dwelling, which stood on top of Eric’s house. When they arrived they heard a fire engine coming along the street with a tremendous noise of hooting.
“There’s a fire somewhere; you’ll see,” said Eric. “The fire engines are coming.”
“Perhaps it’s in this very house,” said Karlsson hopefully. “They’ve only got to ask me and I’ll help them because I’m the World’s Best Fire-putter-outer.”
They saw that the fire engine had stopped just below them in the street, and a whole crowd of people was gathering around it. But they could not discover any fire. On the other hand, they suddenly saw a ladder shooting up toward the roof—one of those tall, extending ladders that the firemen use.
Eric began to wonder.
“Supposing … supposing … they’re coming to fetch me,” he said, because he suddenly remembered the note which he had left in his room. And it was getting late.
“But why?” said Karlsson. “Surely nobody could possibly mind your being up here on the roof for a short time?”
“Yes, my mommy would,” said Eric. “She worries a lot.”
He felt very sorry for Mommy when he thought about it, and longed for her.
“We could play some tricks on the firemen, couldn’t we?” suggested Karlsson.
But Eric was unwilling to play any more tricks. He stood still and waited for the fireman who came climbing up the ladder.
“Well,” said Karlsson, “it’s really about time I got ready for bed. Of course, we’ve taken things pretty quietly and not played a lot of tricks, but I did, after all, have at least ninety or a hundred degrees of temperature this morning, we mustn’t forget that.”
And he scuttled off across the roof.
“Hi-ho, Eric!” he shouted.
“Hi-ho, Karlsson!” said Eric. But all the time he was watching the fireman, coming closer and closer.
“Eric,” called Karlsson before he disappeared behind the chimney, “don’t tell the firemen that I’m here … because I’m the World’s Best Fire-putter-outer, and I would never get a moment’s peace whenever a fire broke out anywhere.