The ladies were now getting ready to go home too. Pippi sat down in the hall near the shelf where rubbers were kept and watched the ladies putting on their hats and coats.
"Too bad you don't like your maids," said she. "You should have one like Malin. Grandmother always said there was nobody like her. Imagine! One Christmas when Malin was going to serve a little roast pig, do you know what she did? She had read in the cookbook that roast pig must be served with frilled paper in the ears and an apple in the mouth. But poor Malin didn't understand that it was the pig who was supposed to have the apple. You should have seen her when she came in on Christmas Eve with her best apron on and a big Gravenstein apple in her mouth. 'Oh, Malin, you're crazy!' Grandmother said to her, and Malin couldn't say a word in her own defense, she could only wiggle her ears until the frilled paper rustled. To be sure, she tried to say something, but it just sounded like blubb, blubb, blubb. And of course she couldn't bite people in the leg as she usually did, and it would be a day when there was a lot of company. Poor little Malin, it wasn't a very happy Christmas Eve for her," said Pippi sadly.
The ladies were now dressed and said a last good-by to Mrs. Settergren. And Pippi ran up to her and whispered, "Forgive me because I couldn't behave myself. Good-by!"
Then she put on her large hat and followed the ladies. Outside the gate their ways parted. Pippi went toward Villa Villekulla and the ladies in the other direction.
When they had gone a little way they heard someone panting behind them. It was Pippi who had come racing back.
"You can imagine that Grandmother mourned when she lost Malin. Just think, one Tuesday morning when Malin had had time to break only about a dozen teacups she ran away and went to sea. And Grandmother had to break the china herself that day. She wasn't used to it, poor thing, and she got blisters all over her hands. She never saw Malin again. And that was a shame because she was such an excellent maid, Grandmother said.
The Story of the Second Old Man, and of the Two Black Dogs
Category: Arabic folktales
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