Karlsson on the Roof
Mommy best of all … and then Daddy. Sometimes he liked Bobby and Betty (well, he liked them most of the time … especially Bobby) … but now and then he was so cross with them that he saw red! He liked Karlsson-on-the-Roof. And he liked Bridget. Perhaps he would marry her when he was big: he had to have a wife, he supposed, whether he wanted to or not. He would much rather marry Mommy, though … but maybe it was not possible.
He thought again and felt it would not be at all nice to live with Bridget. She could probably be pretty difficult sometimes. Besides, he wanted to go on living with Mommy and Daddy, and Bobby and Betty. He did not particularly want a wife at all.
“I’d much rather have a dog than a wife,” he said. “Mommy, couldn’t I have a dog?”
Mommy sighed. Oh, dear! Eric was starting up about that blessed dog again! It was nearly as troublesome as Karlsson-on-the-Roof.
“I’m afraid you’ll have to hurry and get dressed,” said Mommy, “or you’ll be late for school.”
“You would say that,” said Eric crossly. “When I talk about my dog, you start talking about school!”
But it was a pleasure to go to school today, because he had a lot to talk about with Bridget and Christopher. They walked home together as usual, and it was more pleasant than it had been for a long time, thought Eric, now that Bridget and Christopher also knew Karlsson.
“He’s such fun!” said Bridget. “D’you think he’ll come again today?”
“I don’t know,” said Eric. “He only says he’s coming about, and that can be any time.”
“I hope he’ll come about today,” said Christopher. “Can Bridget and I go home with you?”
“I don’t mind,” said Eric.
There was someone else who wanted to come. As the children were starting to cross the street, a little white poodle came running up to Eric. He sniffed at his leg and yapped in a friendly fashion.
“What a dear little dog!” said Eric, blissfully happy. “Look, he’s probably afraid of the traffic and wants to cross over with us.”
Eric would have been delighted to help him across any number of streets.