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Pippi Goes on Board, Page 3

Astrid Lindgren

whole class."

  "Alas!" said Pippi, biting one of her braids. "Alas! And of course

  I can't come just because I don't go to school. Seems as if people

  think they can treat you just any way if you haven't been to school

  and learned pluttification."

  "Multiplication," said Annika emphatically.

  "Yes, isn't that what I said?-'pluttification.'"

  "We're going to walk about seven miles-way, way out into the

  woods. And then we're going to play there," said Tommy.

  "Alas," said Pippi once again.

  The next day was so warm and beautiful that all the school

  children in the little town found it very hard to sit still in their

  seats. The teacher opened all the windows and let the sun come

  streaming in. Just outside the school window stood a birch tree, and

  high up in it sat a little starling, singing so cheerily that the

  children just listened to him and didn't care at all that nine times

  nine equals eighty-one.

  Suddenly Tommy jumped up in amazement. "Look, Teacher," he cried,

  pointing out of the window, "there's Pippi!" All the children turned

  to look and, sure enough, there sat Pippi on a branch of the birch

  tree. She was sitting very close to the window, for the branch

  reached almost down to the window sill.

  "Hi, Teacher!" she cried. "Hi, kids!"

  "Good morning, little Pippi," said Teacher. Once Pippi had come to

  school for a whole day, so Teacher knew her very well. Pippi and

  Teacher had agreed that Pippi might come back to school when she grew

  a little older and more sensible.

  "What do you want, little Pippi?" asked Teacher.

  "Oh, I was just going to ask you to throw a little pluttification

  out of the window," said Pippi, "as much as would be necessary for me

  to be allowed to go to the picnic with you. And if you have

  discovered any new letters, you might throw them out at the same


  "Don't you want to come in for a little while?" askedTeacher.

  "I'd rather not," said Pippi honestly, leaning back comfortably on

  the branch. "I just get dizzy. The knowledge in there is so thick you

  can cut it with a knife. But don't you think, Teacher," she continued

  hopefully, "that a little of that knowledge might fly out through the

  window and stick to me-just enough so that I could go with you on the


  "It might," said Teacher, and then went on with the arithmetic

  lesson. All the children thought it was very pleasant to have Pippi

  sitting in a tree outside. She had given them all candy and toys that

  day when she went shopping. Pippi had Mr. Nilsson with her, of

  course, and the children thought it was fun to see how he threw

  himself from one branch to another. Sometimes he even hopped down

  into the window, and once he took a long jump and landed right on

  Tommy's head and began to scratch his hair. But then Teacher told

  Pippi she'd have to call Mr. Nilsson because Tommy was just going to

  figure out how much 315 divided by 7 is, and you can't do that when

  you have a monkey in your hair. But anyway, lessons just wouldn't go

  right that morning. The spring sunshine, the starling, and Pippi and

  Mr. Nilsson -all this was just too much for the children.

  "I don't know what's got into you, children," said Teacher.

  "Do you know what, Teacher?" said Pippi out in the tree. "To tell

  the truth, I don't think this is the right kind of a day for


  "We're doing division," said Teacher.

  "On this kind of day you shouldn't have any kind of 'shun,'" said

  Pippi, "unless of course it's recreation."

  Teacher gave up. "Maybe you can furnish some recreation, Pippi,"

  she said.

  "No, I'm not very good at recreation," said Pippi, suddenly

  hanging over the branch by her knee joints so that her red braids

  almost touched the ground. "But I know a school where they don't have

  anything but recreation. 'All Day: Recreation' is what it says on the

  school program."

  "Is that so?" said Teacher. "And where is that school?"

  "In Australia," said Pippi. "In a little village in Australia. Way

  down in the southern part." She sat up on the branch again, and her

  eyes began to sparkle.

  "What kind of recreation do they have?" asked Teacher.

  "Oh, all kinds," said Pippi. "Usually they begin by jumping out of

  the window, one after another. Then they give a terrific yell and

  rush into the schoolroom again and skip around on the seats as fast

  as ever they can.

  "But what does their teacher say then?" asked Teacher.

  "She?" said Pippi. "Oh, she skips too-faster than anyone else.

  Then the children usually fight for half an hour or so, and the

  teacher stands near and cheers them on. When the weather is rainy all

  the kids take off their clothes and rush out into the rain and dance

  and jump. The teacher plays a march on the organ for them so that

  they can keep time. Some of them stand under the rain spout so that

  they can have a real shower."

  "Do they indeed?" said Teacher.

  "They certainly do," said Pippi, "and it's an awfully good school,

  one of the better ones in Australia. But it is very far down in the


  "Yes, I can imagine so," said Teacher. "But I don't think we'll

  have as much fun as all that in this school."

  "Too bad," said Pippi. "If it was only a matter of skipping around

  on the seats I'd dare to come in for a while."

  "You'll have to wait to skip until we have the picnic," said


  "Oh, may I really go to the picnic?" cried Pippi, and was so happy

  that she turned a somersault backward right out of the tree. "I'll

  certainly write and tell them about that in Australia. Then they can

  keep on with their recreation as much as they want to. Because a

  picnic is certainly more fun."


  Pippi Goes to the School Picnic

  THERE was a tramping of many feet on the ground, and much talk and

  laughter. There was Tommy with a knapsack on his back, and Annika in

  a brand- new cotton dress, and their teacher and all their classmates

  except one poor child who had the misfortune to get a sore throat on

  the very day of the picnic. And there in front of all the others was

  Pippi, riding on her horse. Back of her sat Mr. Nilsson with his

  pocket mirror in his hand. Yes, there he sat, making "sun cats" with

  the mirror and looking extraordinarily pleased when he managed to put

  a sun cat right in Tommy's eye.

  Annika had been absolutely sure it would rain on this important

  day. In fact, she had been so sure of it that she had almost been

  angry at the weather in advance. But just think how lucky you can be

  sometimes-the sun continued to shine just as usual, even if it was

  picnic day, and Annika's heart almost jumped for joy as she walked

  along the road in her brand-new cotton dress. For that matter, all

  the children looked happy and eager. Pussy willows were growing

  everywhere along the roadside, and in one place there was a whole

  field of wild flowers. All the children decided to pick big bunches

; of pussy willows and bouquets of yellow wild flowers on the way


  "Such a glorious, glorious day," said Annika with a sigh, looking

  up at Pippi, who sat on her horse as straight as a general.

  "Yes, I haven't had so much fun since I fought with the champion

  boxer in San Francisco," said Pippi. "Would you like to ride a little


  Annika would indeed, so Pippi lifted her up onto the horse's back,

  and there she rode, right in front of Pippi. When the other children

  saw her, of course they all wanted to ride too. And Pippi let them,

  each in turn. But Tommy and Annika were allowed to ride a little

  longer than most of the others. There was one girl who had a blister

  on her heel. She was allowed to sit behind Pippi and ride all the

  way. Mr. Nilsson pulled her braids whenever he could get hold of


  The picnic was to be held in a wood which was called the Monsters'

  Forest-probably Pippi thought because it was so monstrously

  beautiful. When they were almost there Pippi jumped out of the

  saddle, patted her horse, and said, "Now you've carried us for such a

  long time that you must be tired. It isn't right for one person to do

  all the work."

  And she lifted the horse up in her strong arms and carried him

  until they came to a little clearing in the woods and Teacher said,

  "We'll stop here."

  Pippi looked around and screamed, "Come out now, all you monsters,

  and let's see who is the strongest."

  Teacher explained that there were no monsters in the woods, and

  Pippi was much disappointed.

  "A Forest of Monsters without any monsters! What will folks think

  of next? Soon they'll invent fires without any fire and a

  Christmas-tree gift party without any Christmas tree-just out of

  stinginess.. But on the day they begin having candy stores without

  any candy, I'll go and tell them a thing or two. Oh, ,well, I'll have

  to be a monster myself, I suppose. I don't see any other way out of


  She let out such a terrific roar that Teacher had to hold her

  hands over her ears and several of the children were scared almost to


  "Oh, yes, we'll play that Pippi is a monster," cried Tommy,

  enchanted, and clapped his hands. All the children thought that was a

  fine idea. The Monster then went into a deep crevice between the

  rocks, which was to be its den, and all the children ran around

  outside, teasing and yelling, "Stupid, stupid Monster, stupid, stupid


  Out rushed the Monster, bellowing and chasing the children, who

  ran in all directions to hide. Those who were captured were dragged

  home to the den in the rocks, and the Monster said they were to be

  cooked for dinner. Sometimes they managed to escape while the Monster

  was out hunting for more children, although in order to get away they

  had to climb up a steep rock and that was hard work. There was only

  one little pine tree to get hold of, and it was difficult to know

  where to put one's feet. But it was very exciting, and the children

  thought it was the best game they had ever played.

  Teacher lay in the green grass, reading a book and casting a

  glance at the children every now and then. "That's the wildest

  monster I ever saw," she mumbled to herself.

  And it certainly was. The Monster jumped around and bellowed and

  threw three or four boys over its shoulder at once and dragged them

  down into the den. Sometimes the Monster climbed furiously up into

  the highest treetops and skipped from branch to branch, just as if it

  were a monkey. Sometimes it threw itself upon the horse's back and

  chased a whole crowd of children who were trying to escape through

  the trees. With the horse still in full gallop, the Monster would

  lean down from the saddle, snatch up the children, place them in

  front of itself on the horse, and gallop madly back to the den,

  yelling, "Now I'm going to cook you for dinner!"

  It was such fun the children thought they'd never want to stop.

  But suddenly everything was quiet, and when Tommy and Annika came

  running to see what was the matter they found the Monster sitting on

  a stone with a very strange expression on its face, looking at

  something in its hand.

  "He's dead. Look, he's absolutely dead," said the Monster.

  It was a little baby bird that was dead. It had fallen out of the

  nest and killed itself.

  "Oh, what a shame!" said Annika. The Monster nodded.

  "Pippi, you're crying," said Tommy suddenly.

  "Crying? Me?" said Pippi. "Of course I'm not crying."

  "Yes, but your eyes are all red," insisted Tommy.

  "My eyes red?" said Pippi, and borrowed Mr. Nils-son's pocket

  mirror to see. "Do you call that red? Then you ought to have been

  with Father and me in Batavia. There was a man there whose eyes were

  so red that the police refused to allow him on the streets."

  "Why?" asked Tommy.

  "Because people thought he was a stop sign, of course. And there

  was a dreadful traffic jam every time he came out. Red eyes? Me? No

  sir-ee, you needn't think I'd cry for a little scrap of a bird like

  this," said Pippi.

  "Stupid, stupid Monster! Stupid, stupid Monster!" From all

  directions the children came running to see where the Monster was

  hiding. The Monster took the little scrap of a bird and laid it down

  very carefully on a bed of soft moss.

  "If I could, I'd bring you to life again," she said with a deep


  Then she let out a terrific yell. "Now I'll cook you for dinner,"

  she shrieked. And with happy shouts the children disappeared into the


  One of the girls in the class-her name was Ulla- lived right near

  the Forest of the Monsters. Ulla's mother had promised her that she

  could invite her teacher and her classmates-and Pippi, too, of

  course-for refreshments in the garden. So when the children had

  played the monster game for a long time, and climbed about among the

  rocks for a while, and sailed their birch-bark boats on a large pool,

  and seen how many of them dared to jump off a high stone, then Ulla

  said that it must be time to go to her house and have their fruit

  punch. And Teacher, who had read her book from cover to cover,

  agreed. She gathered the children together and they left the Forest

  of the Monsters.

  Out on the road they met a man with a wagonload of sacks. They

  were heavy sacks and there were many of them, and the man's horse was

  tired. All of a sudden one of the wagon wheels went down into the

  ditch. The man, whose name was Mr. Blomsterlund, became terrifically

  angry. He thought it was the horse's fault. He got out his whip and

  immediately began to beat the horse fast and furiously. The horse

  pulled and tugged and tried with all its might to pull the load up

  onto the road again, but it couldn't do it. Mr. Blomsterlund grew

  angrier and angrier and beat harder and harder. Then Teacher noticed

  him and was almost overcome with sympathy for the poor horse.

  "How can you bear to beat an animal that way?" she said
to Mr.


  He let the whip rest a moment and spat before he answered. "Don't

  interfere with what doesn't concern you," said he. "Otherwise it

  might just happen that I'll give you a taste of the whip too, the

  whole lot of you."

  He spat once more and picked up the whip again. The poor horse

  trembled through its whole body. Then something came dashing through

  the crowd of children like a flash of lightning. It was Pippi. She

  was absolutely white around the nose, and when Pippi was white around

  the nose she was angry. Tommy and An- nika knew that. She rushed at

  Mr. Bldrnsterlund, caught him around the waist, and threw him high up

  in the air. When he came down, she caught himand threw him up again.

  Four, five, six times he had to take a trip up into the air. He

  didn't know what had happened to him.

  "Help! Help!" he cried, terrified. At last he landed with a thump

  on the road. He had lost the whip.

  Pippi went and stood in front of him with her hands on her hips.

  "You are not to hit that horse any more. You are not to do it, I tell

  you. Once down in Cape Town I met another man who was whipping his

  horse. He had on such a beautiful uniform, that man, and I told him

  that if he ever whipped his horse again I'd scratch and claw him so

  that there wouldn't be one single thread left whole in his beautiful

  uniform. Just imagine, a week later he did whip his horse again.

  Wasn't it too bad about such a nice uniform?"

  Mr. Blomsterlund was still sitting in the road, completely


  "Where are you going with your load?" asked Pippi.

  Mr. Blomsterlund, still frightened, pointed at a cottage a little

  way down the road. "Home, over there," he said.

  Then Pippi unhitched the horse, which stood there trembling with

  weariness and fright. "There, there, little horsie!" she said. "Now

  you'll see another kettle of fish!"

  With that she lifted it up in her strong arms and carried it home

  to its stall. The horse looked just as astonished as Mr. Blomsterlund


  All the children were standing with Teacher, waiting for Pippi.

  And Mr. Blomsterlund stood by his load, scratching his head. He

  didn't know how he was going to get it home.

  Then Pippi came back. She took one of the big, heavy sacks and

  hung it on Mr. Blomsterlund's back.

  "There now!" said she. "Let's see if you're as good at carrying as

  you were at whipping." She picked up the whip. "I really ought to

  give you a few whacks with this, since you seem to be so fond of

  whippings. But the whip is beginning to wear out," she added and

  broke off a piece of it. "Completely worn out, sad to say," she

  continued, and broke the whole whip into tiny, tiny pieces.

  Mr. Blomsterlund with his sack was trudging along the road without

  saying a word. He only puffed a little.

  And Pippi took hold of the wagon shafts and pulled the wagon home

  for him.

  "There, that won't cost you a cent," said she when she had

  deposited the wagon outside Mr. Blomsterlund's barn. "I was glad to

  do it. The trips up into the air were free too."

  Then she went away. Mr. Blomsterlund stood staring after her for a

  long time.

  "Three cheers for Pippi," cried the children when she came


  Teacher too was much pleased with Pippi and praised her. "That was

  well done," she said. "We should always be kind to animals-and to

  people too, of course."

  Pippi sat on her horse, looking perfectly satisfied. "Well, I

  certainly was good to Mr. Blomsterlund, anyway," she said. "All that

  flying in the air for nothing!"

  "That is why we are here," said Teacher, "to be good and kind to

  other people."

  Pippi stood on her head on the horse's back and waved her legs in

  the air. "Heigh-ho," said she, "then why are the other people