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Karlsson on the Roof

But Karlsson was not frightened—far from it.

“Calm, be calm!” he whispered. “On occasions such as this you can’t do better than to have a ghost around. Come on! We’ll creep into the sitting room—I suppose that’s where your father keeps his chunks of gold and his diamonds,” he said to Eric.

Karlsson, Eric, Bridget, and Christopher crept into the sitting room as quietly, cautiously, and quickly as they could. They crouched and hid behind the furniture while Karlsson dashed into the beautiful old cupboard where Mommy kept her linen and shut the door behind him as best he could. No sooner was he hidden than the thieves came padding in. Eric, who was lying behind the couch next to the fireplace, peeped out. Two really ugly and dreadful-looking thieves were standing in the middle of the room. And (would you believe it?) they were none other than Cosh and Ruffy!

“Well, now, where do they keep the crown jewels, I wonder,” said Cosh in a low, hoarse voice.

“Here, of course,” said Ruffy, pointing at the antique bureau which had a large number of little drawers. Eric knew that Mommy kept her housekeeping money in one of the drawers, and in another there was the valuable ring and brooch that Grannie had given her. Daddy kept his gold medal there, too—the one he had received as a shooting prize. How terrible to think of the thieves taking it all, thought Eric, and he could hardly refrain from bursting into tears as he lay behind the couch.

“You have a look at it,” said Cosh. “I’m going out into the kitchen to see if they’ve got any silver spoons.”

Cosh disappeared, and Ruffy began to pull out the drawers. He gave a satisfied whistle. He had probably found the housekeeping money, thought Eric, getting sadder and sadder.

Ruffy pulled out the next drawer and whistled again. No doubt he had now found the ring and the brooch.

But there was no more whistling, for out of the cupboard burst a ghost with a threatening little groan. As Ruffy turned around and saw the ghost a rattle came from his throat, and he dropped the housekeeping money, the ring, the brooch, and everything.

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Category: Chinese folktales
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