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Karlsson on the Roof

” whispered Bridget.

“What do you think?” said Karlsson. “Did you think it was old Mrs. Peabody from Number 92 who’s crept in here for a nap?”

Eric was unable to stop laughing, because Bridget and Christopher stood there with their mouths wide open, looking very silly.

“You haven’t got much to say now, have you?” said Eric at last.

Karlsson leaped down from the shelf. He went up to Bridget and pinched her cheek roguishly.

“And what little Childish Invention might this be, then?” he asked.

“We …” began Christopher.

“What’s your name besides Augustus?” asked Karlsson.

“My name’s not Augustus,” said Christopher.

“And a good thing, too.”

“They’re called Bridget and Christopher,” said Eric.

“Yes, it’s unbelievable the things that happen to people,” said Karlsson. “But don’t let it worry you too much … we can’t all be called Karlsson, unfortunately.” He took a good look around and continued in the same breath, “I feel like having some fun. Couldn’t we throw the chairs out of the window or something?”

Eric did not think that this would be a good idea, and he was sure that Mommy and Daddy wouldn’t think so.

“No, when they’re old-fashioned, there’s not much you can do about it,” said Karlsson. “We’ll just have to think of something else; we must have some fun. Otherwise I’m going home,” he said, and he pouted.

“Well, we can think of something else, surely,” said Eric pleadingly. But Karlsson seemed determined to sulk.

“You’d better watch out, or I might fly away and leave you,” he said.

Eric, Bridget, and Christopher all realized what a misfortune that would be, and they begged Karlsson to stay with them.

Karlsson sat for a time, still looking rather put out. “I’m not sure,” he said, “but maybe I’ll stay if she pats me and says ‘Good Karlsson,’ ” he said, pointing at Bridget with his fat little finger. Bridget hastened to pat him.

“Good Karlsson, you will stay, won’t you, so that we can have some fun?” she said.

“Very well, then, I suppose I’d better,” said Karlsson. The children heaved a sigh of relief, but too soon.

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Category: South African folktales
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