Snufkin

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Snufkin
Moomins character
First appearance Comet in Moominland
Created by Tove Jansson
Information
Species Mumrik
Gender Male
Family Mymble (mother)
Relatives Little My (half-sister)
Mymble (mother)
Mymble's Daughter (half-sister)
The Joxter (father)
And numerous other half-brothers and -sisters

Snufkin (original Swedish: Snusmumriken, Finnish: Nuuskamuikkunen) is a character in the Moomin series of books authored by Swedish-speaking Finn Tove Jansson, appearing in six of the nine books. He is the best friend of the series' protagonist, Moomintroll, and lives a nomadic lifestyle, only staying in Moominvalley in the spring and summer, but leaving for warmer climates down south every winter. He is the son of the elder Mymble and the Joxter, and is half-brother to the Mymble's daughter and Little My.

Snufkin wears old green clothes and a wide brimmed hat he has had since birth. He lives in a tent, smokes a pipe and plays the harmonica. Snufkin also has a great dislike for authority figures such as the Park Keeper, and the many regulation signs and fences he erects. At one point he sabotages the Park Keeper by planting Hattifatteners in his garden, causing them to grow and drive him out. He has a great hatred for all symbols of private property, even losing his temper with the Hemulen after the latter attempts to put up a sign declaring "Moominvalley".[1]

Snufkin prefers freely-growing foliage to fenced-in lawns. Snufkin keeps as few worldly possessions as possible, seeing them as a burden, and being happier keeping the memory of a thing than the thing itself. This aspect of his personality is contrasted in the character of Sniff.

Tove Jansson based the character of Snufkin on her friend and one-time fiancé, Atos Wirtanen.

Appearances[edit]

Snufkin appears in the following books:

  • Comet in Moominland – The second book and the first appearance of Snufkin, who has not yet developed into the wise bohemian.[2] Here he meets with Moomintroll and Sniff on the journey to the observatory in an attempt to prevent the comet hitting Moominland.
  • Finn Family Moomintroll – In the third book of the series, Snufkin's role as a solitary wanderer is firmly established[3] While he stays in Moominvalley during spring and early summer, in the late summer and last part of the book he leaves to go off on his wanderings, promising to return next spring.
  • The Exploits of Moominpappa – Snufkin plays a minor role in this book (the fourth in the series), as one of the people who listen to Moominpappa's story, but his family background is also explained as his father, the Joxter, is a main character in the story.
  • Moominsummer Madness – In the fifth book, Snufkin again plays a larger role. He battles a rule-obsessed Park Keeper, saves Little My when she gets separated from the rest of the family, and briefly (and unwillingly) becomes the father figure to a group of orphans.
  • Tales from Moominvalley – This seventh book consists of several short stories, three of which heavily feature Snufkin: "A Spring Tune", in which a talkative squirrel keeps him from composing the melody he wants, "The Last Dragon on Earth", in which Moomintroll's newfound "pet" dragon falls in love with him, and "Cedric", in which he tells Sniff a story about his mother's aunt.
  • Moominvalley in November – In the ninth and final book of the series, Snufkin and several other characters end up in a Moominvalley where the Moomins have left (they've gone to live on an island, as described in the previous book, Moominpappa at Sea) and have to try to live in the valley without their reassuring presence.

He is absent from The Moomins and the Great Flood, Moominland Midwinter, and Moominpappa at Sea, though he is at least mentioned in both the latter books.

Snufkin also has cameo roles in the picture-books Who Will Comfort Toffle?, The Dangerous Journey, and An Unwanted Guest. He is also generally a prominent character in other Moomin media, such as the comics and TV series.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Jansson 1974, p. 77.
  2. ^ Jones 1984, pp. 29–30.
  3. ^ Jones 1984, pp. 34–35.

References[edit]

  • Jansson, Tove (1974). Moominvalley in November. London: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-374-45309-1. 
  • Jones, W. Glyn (1984). Vägen från Muminsalen (in Swedish). Hangö: Bonniers. ISBN 91-0-046191-1.