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Karlsson on the Roof

Perhaps the puppy knew this, because it walked between the crossing lines, pressed close to Eric’s leg.

“Isn’t he sweet!” said Bridget. “Come along, little dog!”

“No, he wants to come with me,” said Eric, taking a firm hold of the puppy. “He likes me.”

“He likes me as well, so pooh to you,” said Bridget.

The little puppy looked as if he would like everybody in the whole world, if only they liked him. And Eric liked him; oh, how he liked him! He stooped and stroked the puppy and made a lot of tender little sounds which were all meant to say that this puppy was the nicest dog ever. The puppy wagged his tail and looked as if he thought the same of Eric. He yapped and leaped about happily when the children turned into their own street.

Eric was seized with a wild hope.

“Perhaps he hasn’t got anywhere to live!” he said. “Perhaps he doesn’t belong to anyone!”

“Ha, ’course he does,” said Christopher.

“Shut up!” said Eric, annoyed. “You don’t know anything about it.”

Christopher, who had Joffa—what could he know about being without a dog?—not a single dog at all?

“Come along, dog,” Eric called, feeling more and more sure that the puppy had nowhere to live.

“Make sure he doesn’t follow you home,” said Christopher.

“But he can,” said Eric. “I want him to come.”

And the puppy followed. He followed him all the way to Eric’s door. Then Eric picked him up and carried him up the stairs.

“I’m going to ask Mommy if I can keep him,” said Eric eagerly. But Mommy was not in sight; he found a note lying on the kitchen table saying that she was in the basement doing the wash, and that Eric should look for her there if he wanted anything.

The puppy made a beeline for Eric’s room, and Eric, Bridget, and Christopher followed him at a run. Eric was wild with joy.

“He wants to live with me, I know,” he said.

At the same moment Karlsson came chuffing in through the window.

“Hi-ho!” he shouted. “Have you washed the dog? He seems to have shrunk!”

“This isn’t Joffa; you didn’t think it was, did you?

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