Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Great Flood


A reader asked me about the significance of the "great flood" in Tove Jansson's first Moomin book. I think it's fairly clear from Tove Jansson's short introduction to the story what was in her mind when she wrote it (my translation):
It was the winter of war, in 1939. One's work stood still; it felt completely pointless to try to create pictures.

Perhaps it was understandable that I suddenly felt an urge to write down something that was to begin with "Once upon a time".

What followed had to be a fairytale, that was inevitable, but I excused myself with avoiding princes, princesses and small children and chose instead my angry signature character from the cartoons and called him the Moomintroll.

The half-written story was forgotten until 1945. Then a friend pointed out that it could become a children's book, just finish it and illustrate it, maybe they will want it.

I had thought that the title should connect to the Moomintroll and his search for his father - in the style of the search for Captain Grant - but the publisher wanted to make it easier for the readers by calling it Småtrollen och den stora oversvämningen ("The Little Trolls and the Great Flood").

The story is quite influenced by the childhood books I had read and loved, a bit of Jules Verne, some Collodi (the girl with the blue hair) and so on. But why not?

Anyhow, here was my very first happy ending!
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