Karlsson on the Roof
But Eric called desperately, “Karlsson, Karlsson, bring back my dog!”
Karlsson soon returned and put Nicholson on the floor. Nicholson shook himself and looked so surprised one might have thought it was the first flight of his life.
“Well, that’s all for today. We’ve nothing else to offer,” said Karlsson. “But you have,” he said, giving Jack a little nudge.
Jack did not take the hint.
“Toffee,” said Karlsson.
Jack brought out his bag and gave Karlsson the whole lot, but first he took out a toffee for himself.
“Some people are greedy,” said Karlsson. Then he looked around eagerly.
“Where’s the box for a Deserving Charity?” he asked.
Bridget went to fetch it. She thought, Now that Karlsson’s got so many he’s sure to offer us a toffee. But Karlsson didn’t. He took the box and counted the toffees.
“Fifteen,” he said. “That’ll just do for supper. Hi-ho, I’ve got to go home and have my supper.” And Karlsson disappeared through the window.
It was time for the children to go home, including Bridget and Christopher. Eric and Nicholson were left alone, and Eric was glad. He picked the puppy up in his arms and sat whispering to him. The puppy licked his face and went to sleep. He could hear gentle sounds of breathing from the sleeping puppy.
But Mommy came up from the basement, and then everything suddenly went wrong. Mommy did not believe that Nicholson had nowhere to live. She dialed the telephone number on his collar and said that her son had found a small, white poodle.
Eric was standing beside the telephone with Nicholson in his arms, whispering the whole time, “Please, dear God, let it not be their puppy!”
But it was their puppy.
“Darling,” said Mommy, when she had put the receiver down, “Toby belongs to a boy called Stephen Nicholson.”
“Toby?” queried Eric.
“Yes, it’s the name of the puppy. Stephen has been crying all afternoon. He’s coming to pick up Toby at seven o’clock.”
Eric said nothing, but his face went white, and his eyes grew large and shiny. He squeezed the puppy and whispered in his ear when Mommy was not listening, “Little Nicholson, I want you to be my dog.