"You come down here too, and then we can play that we are pining away in a dungeon."
"Never in this world!" said Annika, and to be on the safe side she climbed right down out of the tree.
"Annika, I can see you through the crack," cried Pippi. "Don't step on the coffee pot; it's an old well-mannered coffee pot that never did anyone any harm. It can't help it that it doesn't have a spout any longer."
Annika went up to the tree trunk, and through a little crack she saw the very tip of Pippi's finger. This comforted her a good deal, but she was still worried.
"Pippi, can't you really get up?" she asked.
Pippi's finger disappeared, and in less than a minute her face popped out of the hole up in the tree.
"Maybe I can if I try very hard," she said and parted the foliage with her hands.
"If it's as easy as all that to get up," said Tommy, who was still up in the tree, "then I want to come down and pine away a little too."
"Wait," said Pippi, "I think we'll get a ladder."
She crawled out of the hole and hurried down the tree. Then she ran after a ladder, pushed it up the tree, and let it down into the hole.
Tommy was wild to go down. It was difficult to climb to the hole, because it was so high up, but Tommy was brave. And he wasn't afraid to climb down into the dark hollow in the trunk. Annika watched him disappear and wondered if she would ever see him again. She peeked in through the crack.
"Annika," came Tommy's voice. "You can't imagine how wonderful it is here. You must come in too. It isn't the least bit dangerous when you have a ladder to climb on. If you only do it once, you'll never want to do anything else."
"Are you sure?" asked Annika.
"Absolutely," said Tommy.
With trembling legs Annika climbed up in the tree again, and Pippi helped her with the last hard bit. She drew back a little when she saw how dark it was in the tree trunk, but Pippi held her hand and kept encouraging her.
"Don't be scared, Annika," she heard Tommy say from down below. "Now I can see your legs, and I'll certainly catch you if you fall.