Birth of Moomin
I was inspired by @happymoomin‘s recent post about Moomin’s origin to write more about when Moomin first appeared. Thank you and I hope you enjoy this, too!
As I have written before, Moomins were born when Tove Jansson wanted to escape the horrors of war. In 1991 she wrote the following (free translation) in the renewed publication of her first book;
“During the war winter 1939 my work was standing still; it felt completely useless to draw pictures. You might understand that I suddenly felt inclined to write something that began with words “once upon a time”. The continuation had to become a fairytale, there was no helping it, but I did not include princes, princesses or small children, but instead chose the angry character from my caricatures and named it Moomintroll. My half-finished story was forgotten until 1945. Then a friend of mine said that this would make a childrens’ book, finish it and picture it, maybe it will get accepted…”
That friend was Atos.
In 1930s Tove had drawn little characters similiar to Moomin. But those were small caricatures or parts of her signature. It is believed that the first picture of a Moomin was drawn on the wall of an outhouse in Pellinki, when Tove was young. Tove had been arguing with her brother and got back at him by drawing the ugliest possible caricature of Kant. In the 30s Moomins were still scary and often appeared as signs of bad omen in the pictures.
In the 40s Moomin made an appearance in Garm as part of their regular characters. These Moomin-like-creatures were more like the Moomins that would later become so popular, but they were still called Snorks.