After three days of trawling around various sights, museums and shops in Stockholm there is one clear winner. She has strange red hair, odd stockings and a monkey called Herr Nilsson. Yes, it’s Pippi Longstocking, who as far as I can see is the most enduring Swedish character there has ever been.
She is from a children’s book written by Astrid Lindgren in 1945. On the back Pippi is described as “the strongest, the richest and the nicest girl in the whole world.” What’s not to like? On top of that she lives alone in a tumble-down house called Villa Villekulla with her horse (whom she can lift with one arm) and her monkey.
The great upside to living alone is of course that she doesn’t need to go to school, or to bed and she can also bake ginger biscuits on the floor. I think you have to be partly Swedish to understand the latter.
But my point is this. Pippi’s life is every child’s fantasy. She can do exactly what she wants, when she wants and there is no one to boss her about. No matter that her mother is dead and her father is off being a king on some remote island. She’s happy as anything. And children adore her. I adored her. So it’s nice to see my children do the same. Which I suppose is one good thing about getting older with children; you get to remember all the things you loved via them.
Now we are off to the Stockholm archipeligo so there will be no more blogs for a few days. But I expect you all to have learnt the Pippi song (in Swedish) by the time I get back. Hej hej!
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2007