"You don't need to make any more fire in here today, that I can guarantee. And at the most four sticks in the stove tomorrow, I should think."
Then she took one boy under each arm and stepped out on the board again.
"Now you're really going to have some fun," she said. "It's almost like walking the tight rope."
When she got to the middle of the board she lifted one leg in the air just as she had done at the circus. The crowd below gasped, and when a little later Pippi lost one of her shoes several old ladies fainted. However, Pippi reached the tree safely with the little boys. Then the crowd cheered so loudly that the dark night was filled with noise and the sound drowned out the crackling of the fire.
Pippi hauled up the rope, fastened one end securely to a branch and tied the other around one of the boys. Then she let him down slowly and carefully into the arms of his waiting mother, who was beside herself with joy when she had him safe. She held him close and hugged him, with tears in her eyes.
But Pippi yelled, "Untie the rope, for goodness' sake! There's another kid up here, and he can't fly either."
So the people helped to untie the rope and free the little boy. Pippi could tie good knots, she could indeed. She had learned that at sea. She pulled up the rope again, and now it was the second boy's turn to be let down.
Pippi was alone in the tree. She sprang out on the board, and all the people looked at her and wondered what she was going to do. She danced back and forth on the narrow board. She raised and lowered her arms gracefully and sang in a hoarse voice that could barely be heard down in the square:
The fire is burning,
It's burning so bright,
The flames are leaping and prancing.
It's burning for you,
It's burning for me,
It's burning for all who are dancing!
As she sang she danced more and more wildly until many people covered their eyes in horror for they were sure she would fall down and kill herself. Flames came leaping out of the gable window, and in the firelight people could see Pippi plainly.