Karlsson on the Roof
Mommy and Betty and Bobby laughed; Eric could not understand why, but he felt that they were laughing at Daddy, and he did not like it.
“I want to be like you, Daddy, because you’re always nice,” he said, looking affectionately at his father.
“Thank you, son,” said Daddy. “Now, what about it, don’t you want some cauliflower after all?”
“No, I’d rather be dead,” said Eric.
“But it’s good for you,” said Mommy.
“Just what I thought,” said Eric. “Because the nastier the food tastes, the better it is for you. Why do they have to stuff all the vitamins into things you can’t eat? That’s what I want to know.”
“Yes, isn’t it queer?” said Bobby. “I suppose you think they should be put in toffees and chewing gum instead!”
“That’s the sensiblest thing you’ve said for a long time,” said Eric.
After dinner he went to his room. He wished with all his heart that Karlsson would come. Soon he would be going away, and he wanted to see as much of Karlsson as possible before then.
Maybe Karlsson felt this unconsciously because he came flying by as soon as Eric put his nose outside the window.
“Haven’t you got a temperature today?” asked Eric.
“Temperature! Me?” said Karlsson. “I’ve never had a temperature in my life! It was make-believe.”
“Did you imagine that you had a temperature?” said Eric, surprised.
“No, but I made you believe that I had,” said Karlsson with a delighted laugh. “The World’s Best Tricker—guess who that is?”
Karlsson was not still for a moment. All the time he was talking he scampered around the room, fingering everything inquisitively, opening as many cupboards and drawers as he could, and examining their contents with the greatest interest.
“No, I haven’t got any temperature today,” he said. “Today I’m tremendously well and feel like having some fun.”
Eric felt like some fun, too. But first of all he wanted Mommy and Daddy and Bobby and Betty to see Karlsson, so that he wouldn’t have to listen to their nagging about Karlsson’s not existing.
“Wait a minute,” he said quickly.