Karlsson on the Roof
Although he regarded himself as a big boy who went to school already, he still liked to sit on Mommy’s lap when there was no one there to see. It was easy to talk then; and if they were not in a hurry, Mommy and Eric would sing and tell each other stories.
Mommy was sitting by the kitchen table, reading the newspaper and drinking her morning coffee. Without a word, Eric climbed on to her lap and curled up in her arms. She held him silently until he had waked up properly.
Last night Mommy and Daddy had walked farther than they intended, and when they came home, Eric was already in bed, fast asleep. He had kicked off his bed-clothes, and when Mommy went to tuck him in she found two ugly holes in the sheet. It was very dirty, too; someone had been drawing on it with charcoal. No wonder Eric went to sleep early, thought Mommy. But now the culprit was here on her lap, and she was definitely not going to let him escape without an explanation.
“Now, Eric,” she said, “I certainly would like to know who made those holes in your sheet—and you’re not going to tell me it was Karlsson-on-the-Roof.”
Eric was silent, thinking hard. But it was Karlsson-on-the-Roof who had made the holes, and he was not allowed to say so! And it was probably best not to say anything about the thieves, either—Mommy would not believe him.
“Well?” said Mommy when there was no reply.
“Couldn’t you ask Bridget instead?” said Eric artfully. He would let Bridget tell Mommy what had happened—Mommy was bound to believe her.
Oh, so it was Bridget who cut up the sheet, thought Mommy. Eric was a splendid boy not to tattle but to let Bridget herself say what she had done. Mommy gave Eric a hug. She decided not to question him any more about the sheet just now, but she would certainly tackle Bridget about it at the earliest opportunity.
“You like Bridget quite a lot, don’t you?” said Mommy.
“Yes, I …” said Eric.
Mommy took a sidelong glance at the newspaper again, and Eric sat quietly on her lap, thinking. Who did he like, really?