Interesting article here about the writer Tove Jannson, a favourite of Esme’s from many a moon ago. I have all her Moomintroll series and find each of them still to be a fine read (especially when laid low with any kind of lurgyness). I’m not at all surprised at the feminist slant, she wrote parables that cover many walk of life mind you, one and all — smiles broadly
The character’s most loved by this Cloud dancer;
The Groke – (Swedish: Mårran – morra “to growl; to grumble“) – She is cold and ghostlike, and represents loneliness and all that is scary in the world of Moomin. She seeks warmth and fire, but is unable to do anything but to put them out. She has a scary appearance and is dangerous to approach due to the cold that she radiates, and yet, she is not truly evil, just very lonely. Wherever she walks the ground dies and freezes over. The Groke is used for an exclamation,-“The Groke knows…” – She is the only character who Little My is genuinely afraid of, and Little My is hardcore.
Esme loves the Groke.
The Hattifatteners! – (Swedish: Hattifnattar – with the first element compare hatta, “dither”;) – Small white ghost-like creatures that resemble worn socks (Hahahahaha – that’s the official description too). Hattifatteners are always on the move and travel in large groups (but always in odd numbers), such as boat convoys. Their only goal in life is to reach the horizon. During their travels they never say a word to each other, and it is doubtful that they have the ability to talk at all, they seem to communicate solely by telepathy – except in the comics, where they complain bitterly to their host Moomin about the lack of food, cocktails and beds (sounds like having Mr Pink to stay). The Hattifatteners cannot see very well, but their sense of touch is very strong, and they can feel ground vibrations and electricity. Hattifatteners assemble once a year when they “recharge” in a thunderstorm. At this time they should be avoided since they are highly charged and can give you electrical burns. Despite physiologically resembling animals, Hattifatteners grow from seeds. Planting Hattifattener seeds where someone has taken up residence is an effective way to get rid of him/her. Hattifatteners can only grow from this seed if it is sown on Midsummer Eve.
The Hemulin – Hemulens (Swedish: Hemul – hemul. In Swedish “Hemulen” means “the hemul”) – Hemulens feature frequently in the books. One of them is an avid stamp collector, and another is an avid skier. A female Hemulen raised Moominpappa in an orphanage, and later Moominpappa met her aunt, who looked confusingly like her. Other characters frequently find the Hemulens annoying or overwhelming, as they can be somewhat loud, bossy, abrasive and insensitive, but they are well-intentioned and usually have other redeeming qualities. In the beginning of Finn Family Moomintroll, a hemulen who is a keen stamp collector is depressed, as he has every stamp on the face of earth and has lost the purpose in life. Later on, he finds a new purpose: to collect plants. In Finn Family Moomintroll, “un-Hemulenish” (ohemul) contains a sense of “unwarranted, unjustified”.
All Hemulens regardless of gender wear big long dresses, and tend to be intense by nature.
Little My – (Lilla My) – She is a small, determined and fiercely independent Mymble. When she wants something done, she does it straight away. She is very aggressive and totally disrespectful, but can be a good friend. She has a brash personality. She is Snufkin’s half-sister and later Moomin’s adopted sister. She cuts up your knitting when you aren’t looking and would only be allowed onto the Cloud in a box with air holes. And then would be watched like a hawk on amphetamines.
The Fillyjonk – (Filifjonkan) – Known as The Fillyjonk (Emma too) in some English translations, the first we hear of her is as the widow of the late theatre director (a Hemulin) in Moominsummer Madness. Later we meet the wonderful psychological study of the Fillyjonk Who Believed In Disasters in Tales from Moominvalley. Not a single moment of fantasy or joy, only duties and discipline; she is an extremely methodical person tied down with principles and has a deep rooted belief in prestige and tradition. Nevertheless, after a catastrophe, The Fillyjonk can be freed from the trammels of social expectation and can discover the joys of freedom, irrationality and self-expression. Deep inside she has had a wish to live freely as the Moomin family does, without any worries. She’s very O.C.D basically. Greatto invite round when the Spring Cleaning is due. Bit of a fusspot.
Snufkin – (Swedish: Snusmumriken – dialectical snusmumrik or mumrik, “old man who talks carelessly; old codger, old bore; old snuff-taker; snotty or scruffy old man,” derived from snus, “snuff,”) – Moomintroll’s best friend, who goes south every winter and returns in the spring. He is the son of the Mymble and the Joxter, and is half-brother to The Mymble’s Daughter and Little My. Snufkin is an adventurer and a vagabond, admired by those who are small and shy. Snufkin wears old green clothes and a wide-brimmed hat that he has had since birth. He lives in a tent, smokes a pipe, and plays the harmonica. Snufkin also has a great dislike for The Park Keeper, and the many regulation signs and fences he puts up. At one point he sabotages The Park Keeper by planting Hattifatteners in his garden, causing them to grow and drive him out. He is based on Tove Jansson’s friend Atos Wirtanen. Esme has him down as a bit of a hippy and always welcome to drop in for a spot of tea.
Thingummy and Bob – Thingumy and Bob (Swedish: Tofslan och Vifslan – tofs, “tuft”; dialectical vivsa, “tuft,” cf. vifta, “wave”; comparison to the names of Tove Jansson and Vivica Bandler) – Two little creatures who turn up in Moominvalley with a large suitcase, which contains the King’s Ruby. They speak a strange language (with “-slan” appended to the ends of some words in the Swedish original, which became spoonerisms, e.g. :”‘Man you cake it out?’ asked Thingumy. ‘Mot nutch,’ said Bob”, in the English translation) and are pursued by the Groke who wants the contents. They upset Moominmamma by stealing her handbag. They eventually return it and the whole family throws a party to celebrate. The Hobgoblin arrives when Thingumy and Bob open the suitcase, exposing the King’s Ruby for all to see. They didn’t give him the ruby, but when the Hobgoblin gave everyone there a wish, then they wished for the Hobgoblin to have a ruby as beautiful as theirs; the Queen’s Ruby. A pair of scallywags.
The above are to name but a few. Here is a link to the rest and from which parts of the text here is taken (purloined no less) –List of Moomin characters
Tis an incredible world, filled with weird and wonderful little beings, and highly entertaining stories relating their exploits.
Esme has the holdall below as well (no hat or shoes to match just yet, but there’s time for that).
Thnks to Hariod for sending the original link in the Guardian Esme’s way – waves