Karlsson on the Roof
It was no better when the ghost switched on his engine and began to fly around the ceiling light, the sheet swirling with the speed. It looked really frightening.
“I’m a little motorized ghost—savage, but beautiful,” said Karlsson.
The children stood still, staring at him in terror. Joffa barked.
“I must say I rather like the chuff-chuff I make when I fly about,” he said. “But as I am a ghost, it might be a good idea to use the silencer. Ha! That’s better!”
He floated around with hardly a sound and seemed even more ghostly than before.
The thing now was to find someone to haunt.
“I can haunt the stairs—someone is bound to come and get the shock of his life,” said Karlsson.
The telephone rang, but Eric did not feel inclined to answer it. He let it go on ringing.
Karlsson practiced a few suitable sighs and groans. A ghost who could not sigh and groan was useless, Karlsson declared—it was the first thing a little ghost learned at ghost school.
It all took time. When at last they were standing in the hall, ready to go out on the landing to begin the haunting, they heard an odd scratching sound at the front door. At first Eric thought it must be Mommy and Daddy coming home early, but then he caught sight of a long piece of wire which was being pushed through the letter box. Eric remembered something he had heard his father reading aloud to his mother from the newspaper only a few days earlier. It said in the paper that there were many thieves about at present and that they broke into homes. The thieves were very cunning: first they telephoned to find out if there was anyone at home. If there was no reply they hurried to the house they had phoned, and then all they had to do was to pick the lock, walk in, and steal everything of value.
Eric was terribly frightened when he realized that thieves were about to break in, and so were Bridget and Christopher. Christopher had shut Joffa up in Eric’s room to prevent him from barking during the haunting. Now he was sorry he had done so.