Tommy and Annika clapped their hands and shouted, "Bravo!"
In a little while Pippi had the coffee ready. She had made buns the day before. She came and stood under the oak and began to toss up coffee cups. Tommy and Annika caught them. Only sometimes it was the oak that caught them, and so two cups were broken. Pippi ran in to get new ones. Next it was the buns' turn, and for a while the air was full of flying buns. At least they didn't break. At last Pippi climbed up with the coffee pot in one hand. She had cream in a little bottle in her pocket, and sugar in a little box.
Tommy and Annika thought coffee had never tasted so good before. They were not allowed to drink it every day—only when they were at a party. And now they were at a party. Annika spilled a little coffee in her lap. First it was warm and wet, and then it was cold and wet, but that didn't matter to her.
When they had finished, Pippi threw the cups down on the grass. "I want to see how strong the china they make these days is," she said. Strangely enough, one cup and three saucers held together, and only the spout of the coffee pot broke off.
Presently Pippi decided to climb a little higher.
"Can you beat this?" she cried suddenly. "The tree is hollow."
There in the trunk was a big hole, which the leaves had hidden from the children's sight.
"Oh, may I climb up and look too?" called Tommy. But there was no answer.
"Pippi, where are you?" he cried, worried.
Then they heard Pippi's voice, not from above but from way down below. It sounded as if it came from under the ground.
"I'm inside the tree. It is hollow clear down to the ground. If I peek out through a little crack I can see the coffee pot outside on the grass."
"Oh, how will you get up again?" cried Annika.
"I'm never coming up," said Pippi. "I'm going to stay here until I retire and get a pension. And you'll have to throw my food down through that hole up there. Five or six times a day."
Annika began to cry.
"Why be sorry? Why complain?" said Pippi.
The Adventures of Prince Camaralzaman and the Princess Badoura
Category: Arabic folktales
Read times: 18