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Pippi Goes on Board, Page 2

Astrid Lindgren

tugging at Pippi's dress.

  "That store we are going into," said Pippi, "far in!"

  And in they went.

  "Please, may I have thirty-six pounds of candy," said Pippi,

  waving a gold piece.

  The clerk in the store merely stared, openmouthed. She wasn't used

  to having anyone buy so much candy at once. "You mean you want

  thirty-six candies?" she said.

  "I mean that I want thirty-six pounds of candy," said Pippi and

  put the gold piece on the counter. And then the clerk had to hurry

  and measure out candy in big bags. Tommy and Annika pointed out the

  kinds that were best. There were some red candies that were

  wonderful. When you had sucked them for a while you came suddenly to

  a wonderful creamy center. Then there were some sour green ones that

  weren't so bad either. Jellied raspberries and licorice boats were

  good too.

  "We'll take six pounds of each," suggested Annika, and that is

  what they did.

  "Then if I could have sixty lollipops and seventy-two packages of

  caramels, I don't think I'll need any more today except one hundred

  and three chocolate cigarettes," said Pippi. "There really ought to

  be a little cart somewhere in which I could put all this.

  The clerk said she could no doubt buy a cart in the toy store next


  Meanwhile a large crowd of children had gathered outside the candy

  store. They stood looking in the window and nearly fainted with

  excitement when they saw the scale on which Pippi did her


  Pippi ran into the toy shop next door, bought a cart, and loaded

  all her bags on it. She looked around. Then she cried, "If there are

  any children here who don't eat candy, will they kindly step


  Nobody stepped forward.

  "Very strange," said Pippi. "Well, then, is there any child here

  who does eat candy?"

  Twenty-three children stepped forward, and among them were, of

  course, Tommy and Annika.

  "Tommy, open the bags," said Pippi.

  Tommy did. And then began a candy-eating party the like of which

  had never been seen in the little town. All the children stuffed

  their mouths full of candies-the red ones with the delicious creamy

  centers, the sour green ones, the licorice boats, and the jellied

  raspberries. And a chocolate cigarette you could always keep in the

  corner of your mouth, because the chocolate flavor and the

  jellied-raspberry flavor were terrifically good together.

  From all directions children came running, and Pippi dealt out

  candy by the handful. "I think I'll have to go and buy thirty-six

  more pounds," she said, "or we shan't have any left for


  She bought thirty-six pounds more, and there wasn't much left for

  tomorrow anyway.

  "Now we'll go to the next store," said Pippi and stepped into the

  toy shop. All the children followed her. In the toy shop were all

  sorts of delightful things-railroad trains and automobiles you could

  wind up, sweet little dolls in pretty dresses, dolls' dinner sets,

  cap pistols and tin soldiers, and dogs and elephants made out of

  cloth, and bookmarks and jumping jacks.

  "What can I do for you?" asked the clerk.

  "We'd like a little of everything," answered Pippi, looking

  searchingly around the shelves. "We are very short of jumping jacks,

  for example," she continued, "and of cap pistols, but you can remedy

  that, I hope."

  Pippi pulled out a fistful of gold pieces, and the children were

  allowed to pick out whatever they thought they most needed. Annika

  decided on a wonderful doll with light curly hair and a pink satin

  dress. It could say "Mama" when you pressed it on the stomach. Tommy

  wanted a popgun and a steam engine-and he got them. All the other

  children pointed out what they wanted too, and when Pippi had

  finished her shopping there wasn't very much left in the store-only a

  few bookmarks and building blocks. Pippi didn't buy a single thing

  for herself, but Mr. Nilsson got a mirror.

  Just before they went out, Pippi bought each child a cuckoo

  whistle, and when the children got out on the street they all played

  on the cuckoo whistles and Pippi beat time with her false arm. One

  little boy complained that his cuckoo whistle wouldn't blow. Pippi

  took the whistle and examined it.

  "No wonder, when there's a big cud of gum in front of the hole.

  Where did you get hold of this treasure?" she asked and threw away a

  big white chunk. "As far as I know, I haven't bought any gum."

  "I've had it since Friday," said the boy.

  "And you aren't worried that your windpipe will grow together? I

  thought that was the usual end to gum-chewers."

  She handed the boy his whistle and now he could blow as merrily as

  all the others. There was such a racket on Main Street that at last a

  policeman came to see what it was all about.

  "What's all this noise?" he cried.

  "It is the Dress Parade March of Kronoberg's Regiment," said

  Pippi, "but I am not sure that all the kids realize that. Some of

  them seem to think we are playing 'Let your song resound like

  thunder!' " (This is a famous Swedish song which begins, "Thunder

  like the thunder, brothers!" Only in Swedish the verb for "thunder"

  and the noun for "thunder" are different words.)

  "Stop, this minute!" roared the policeman and held his hands over

  his ears.

  Pippi patted his back comfortingly with her false arm. "Be

  thankful we didn't buy bassoons," she said.

  Gradually the cuckoo whistles were silenced, one after another,

  until at last it was only from Tommy's whistle that there was a

  little peep now and then.

  The policeman said emphatically that crowds were not to gather on

  Main Street and all the children must go home. The children really

  didn't object to this at all; they wanted very much to try their new

  toy trains and play with their automobiles a little and put their new

  dolls to bed. So they all went home, happy and contented. Not one of

  them ate any supper that night.

  Pippi and Tommy and Annika also started for home, Pippi drawing

  the little cart after her. She looked at all the advertisements they

  went by and spelled them out as well as she could.

  "d-r-u-g s-t-o-r-e. Isn't that where you buy 'meduseen

  "Yes, that's where you buy med-i-cine," said Annika.

  "Oh, then I must go right in and buy some," said Pippi.

  "Yes, but you aren't sick, are you?" said Tommy.

  "What one isn't one may become," said Pippi. "There are millions

  of people who get sick and die just because they don't buy meduseen

  in time. And you are mistaken if you think such a thing is going to

  happen to me."

  In the drug store stood the druggist, filling capsules; he was

  planning to fill only a few more because it was almost closing time.

  Then Pippi and Tommy and Annika stepped up to the counter.

  "I should like to buy eight quarts of meduseen," said Pippi.

  "What kind of medicine?" asked the druggist impatiently.

  "Preferably some that is good for sick
ness," said Pippi.

  "What kind of sickness?" said the druggist still more


  "Oh, let's have one that's good for whooping cough and blistered

  heels and belly ache and a charley horse and if you've happened to

  push a bean up your nose and a few little things like that. And it

  would be good if it was possible to polish furniture with it too. It

  must be really good meduseen."

  The druggist said there was no medicine that was as good as all

  that. He claimed that different kinds of sicknesses required

  different kinds of medicine, and when Pippi had mentioned about ten

  other troubles that she wanted to cure, he put a whole row of bottles

  on the counter. On some of them he wrote "For External Use Only."

  That meant that the medicine in those bottles should only be rubbed

  on, and not drunk.

  Pippi paid, took her bottles, thanked him, and left. Tommy and

  Annika followed her. The druggist looked at the clock and realized

  that it was closing time. He locked the door carefully and thought

  how good it would be to get home and have a bite to eat.

  Pippi put her bottles down outside the door. "Oh, I almost forgot

  the most important thing of all," she said.

  As the door was now locked, she put her finger on the bell and

  pushed long and hard. Tommy and Annika could hear how clearly it

  sounded inside the drug store.

  After a while a little window in the door opened-it was the window

  where you could buy medicine if you happened to be taken ill in the

  night. The druggist stuck his head out. His face was quite red. "What

  do you want now?" he asked Pippi angrily.

  "Oh, dear sir, please excuse me," said Pippi, "but I just happened

  to think of something. Sir, you understand sickness so well; which is

  better when you have a stomach ache-to eat a hot pancake or to put

  your whole stomach to soak in cold water?"

  The druggist's face grew redder still. "Get out," he screamed,

  "and be quick about it, or else-" He slammed the window.

  "Gee, what a temper he's got," said Pippi. "You'd certainly think

  I'd done something."

  She rang the bell once more, and in a few seconds the druggist's

  head appeared in the window again. His face was dreadfully red


  "Pancake really is a little hard to digest, isn't it?" said Pippi

  and looked up at him with her friendly eyes. The druggist did not

  answer but shut the window again with a bang.

  Pippi shrugged her shoulders. "Oh, well," she said. "I'll try warm

  pancake anyway. He'll have only himself to blame if anything goes


  She calmly sat down on the step in front of the drug store and

  lined up her bottles. "How impractical grownups can be!" she said.

  "Here I have-let me see-eight bottles, and everything could perfectly

  well have gone into this one that's more than half empty anyway. It's

  lucky I have a little common sense myself."

  With these words she pulled the corks out of the bottles and

  poured all the medicine into one bottle. She shook it vigorously,

  lifted the bottle to her mouth, and drank two good swallows.

  Annika, who knew that some of the medicine was to be used only to

  rub on, was a little worried. "But, Pip-pi," she said, "how do you

  know that some of that medicine isn't poison?"

  "I'll find out," said Pippi happily. "I'll find out by tomorrow at

  the latest. If I'm still alive, then we'll know that it isn't poison

  and the smallest child can drink it."

  Tommy and Annika thought this over. After a while Tommy said

  doubtfully in a rather frightened voice, "Yes, but what if it is

  poison? Then what?"

  "Then you can have what's left in the bottle to polish the

  dining-room furniture with," said Pippi. "Poison or not, this

  meduseen was not bought in vain."

  She took the bottle and put it in the cart, along with the false

  arm, Tommy's steam engine and popgun, and Annika's doll and a bag

  with five little red candies in it-that was all that was left of the

  thirty-six pounds. Mr. Nilsson was in the cart too. He was tired and

  wanted to ride.

  "For that matter, let me tell you that I think it is very good

  meduseen. I feel much better already. I feel especially healthy and

  happy in my tail," said Pippi and swung her little backside back and

  forth. Then off she went with the cart, home to Villa Villekulla.

  Tommy and Annika walked beside her and felt as if they had just a

  little stomach ache.


  Pippi Writes a Letter and Goes to School - But Only a Little Bit

  "TODAY," said Tommy, "Annika and I wrote a letter to our


  "Did you?" said Pippi, stirring something in a kettle with the

  handle of her umbrella. "This is going to be a wonderful dinner," she

  continued, putting her nose down for a good smell. "Boil one hour,

  stirring vigorously, and serve immediately without ginger. What was

  it you said-that you wrote to your grandmother?"

  "Yes," answered Tommy, who was sitting, dangling his legs, on

  Pippi's woodbox, "and pretty soon we'll be sure to have an answer

  from her."

  "I never get any letters," complained Pippi.

  "But you never write any either," said Annika. "You can't expect

  to get any unless you write some yourself."

  "And that's just because you won't go to school," said Tommy. "You

  can't ever learn to write if you don't go to school."

  "I can too write," said Pippi. "I know a whole lot of letters.

  Fridolf, who was a sailor on my father's ship, taught me a great many

  letters. And if I run out of letters I can always fall back on the

  numbers. Yes sir-ee, I certainly can write, but I don't know what to

  write about. What do you usually say in letters?"

  "Oh," said Tommy, "first I usually ask Grandmother how she is, and

  then I tell her I'm feeling well, and then I usually talk a little

  about the weather and things like that. Today I also told her that I

  had killed a big rat in our cellar."

  Pippi stirred and considered. "It's a shame that I never get any

  letters. All other children get them. This state of affairs can't go

  on. And if I haven't any grandmother to write to me, I'm not so badly

  off but that I can write to myself. I'll do it at once."

  She opened the oven door and looked in. "There ought to be a

  pencil in here, if I remember correctly."

  There was a pencil. Pippi took it out. Then she tore in two a big

  white paper bag and sat down by the kitchen table. She frowned

  deeply, chewing on the end of her pencil.

  "Don't disturb me! I'm thinking," she said.

  Tommy and Annika decided to play with Mr. Nilsson while Pippi was

  writing. They took turns dressing and undressing him. Annika also

  tried to put him into the little green doll's bed where he slept. She

  wanted to play nurse; Tommy was to be the doctor and Mr. Nilsson the

  sick child. But Mr. Nilsson didn't want to lie still. He persisted in

  getting out of bed and hopping up and hanging by his tail from the

  overhead light.

  Pippi raised her eyes from her writ
ing. "Stupid Mr. Nilsson!" she

  said. "Sick children don't hang by the tail from the lights in the

  ceiling. At least not in this country. I've heard it said that they

  do in South Africa. There they hang a kid up on the overhead light as

  soon as he gets a little fever, and let him hang there until he gets

  well again. But we aren't in South Africa now; you ought to realize


  At last Tommy and Annika left Mr. Nilsson and went out to curry

  the horse. The horse was very happy when they came out on the porch.

  He nosed around in their hands to see if they had brought him any

  sugar. They hadn't, but Annika ran right back into the house and got

  a couple of pieces.

  Pippi wrote and wrote. At last the letter was ready. She didn't

  have any envelope, but Tommy ran home for one for her. He gave her a

  stamp too. Pippi printed her name carefully on the envelope. "Miss

  Pippilotta Longstocking, Villa Villekulla."

  "What does it say in the letter?" asked Annika.

  "How should I know?" said Pippi. "I haven't received it yet."

  Just then the mailman came by Villa Villekulla.

  "Well, sometimes one does have good luck," exclaimed Pippi, "and

  meets a mailman just when one needs him!"

  She ran out onto the street. "Will you please be so kind as to

  deliver this to Miss Pippi Longstocking at once?" she said. "It's


  The mailman looked first at the letter and then at Pippi. "Aren't

  you Pippi Longstocking yourself?" he asked.

  "Sure. Who did you think I was, the Empress of Abyssinia?"

  "But why don't you take the letter yourself?"

  "Why don't I take the letter myself?" said Pippi. "Should I be

  delivering the letter myself? No, that's going too far. Do you mean

  to say that people have to deliver their letters themselves nowadays?

  What do we have mailmen for, then? We might as well get rid of them.

  I've never in my life heard anything so foolish. No, my lad, if

  that's the way you do your work, they'll never make a postmaster out

  of you, you can be sure of that."

  The mailman decided it was just as well to do what she wished, so

  he dropped the letter in the mailbox at Villa Villekulla. It had

  scarcely landed before Pippi eagerly pulled it out again.

  "Oh, how curious I am!" she said to Tommy and Annika. "This is the

  first letter I ever got in my life."

  All three children sat down on the porch steps, and Pippi slit

  open the envelope. Tommy and Annika looked over her shoulder and








  "Oh," said Pippi, delighted, "it says exactly the same things in

  my letter that it does in the one you wrote to your grandmother,

  Tommy. So you can be sure it is a real letter. I'll keep it as long

  as I live."

  She put the letter in the envelope and the envelope in one of the

  little drawers in the big chest in the parlor. Tommy and Annika

  thought it was almost more fun than anything to be allowed to look at

  all the treasures in Pippi's chest. Every now and then Pippi would

  give them a little present from the chest, and still the drawers were

  never empty.

  "Anyway," said Tommy when Pippi had put away the letter, "there

  were an awful lot of words spelled wrong in it."

  "Yes, you really ought to go to school and learn to write a little

  better," said Annika.

  "Thank you," said Pippi. "I went once for a whole day and I got so

  much learning that it's still plopping around in my head."

  "But we're going to have a picnic someday soon," said Annika. "The