This post continues my translation of the Moomin novels written by Tove Marika Jansson. To learn more about this project, please refer to my previous Moomin-posts:
- Moomin-troll and the Wizard Hat. Introduction
- Moomin-troll and the Wizard Hat. Chapter 2
- My Moomin-story disclaimer
Where it tells of how Moomin-troll, Snoo-Smumrick and Sniff found the magic hat, how 5 little clouds appeared from nowhere, and how Hemul found a new hobby for himself.
One spring morning, about 4 AM, the first cuckoo flew over Moomin-dale. She landed on the blue roof of Moomin-house and then cuckooed 8 times. Because it was an early spring, her voice was rough and cracked, which is understandable.
After that, the cuckoo proceeded further to the East. Moomin-troll woke up and then spent some time laying down silently and staring on the ceiling, trying to figure out where he is. He spent 100 nights and 100 days sleeping. And he was still in his dream world and did not want to leave it.
But when he turned to the other side in his bed , to find a better position, he suddenly saw something that made him forget about sleep. Snoo-Smumrick’s bed was empty!
Moomin-troll jumped out of his bed. Of course, Snoo-Smumrick’s hat was also missing!
– Wow! – said Moomin-troll.
He came to a window and looked up outside. Aha! Snoo-Smumrick used a rope ladder. Moomin-troll also climbed over the window sill and, stepping carefully with his short legs, descended to the ground.
Snoo-Smumrick’s footprints were clearly visible on the wet ground. However, they were intricate and confusing as if they belong to a chicken. And no one could say where exactly Snoo-Smumrick was going. In some places, one could see big leaps, while in others the footprint paths crossed.
“He was doing it because he was so happy” – thought Moomin-troll. – “And here, I bet, he jumped over his head.”
Moomin-troll raised his head and listened. Somewhere far, Snoo-Smumrick was playing his harmonica. HE was playing his favorite song “Hey, puppies, knot your tails”.
Moomin-troll runs towards the music. Below, on the river bank, he saw Snoo-Smumrick. He was sitting ( his hat on his forehead) on the bridge railings and wagging his legs above the stream.
-Hello – said Moomin-troll sitting next to Snoo-Smumrick.
– Hello-hello – answered Snoo-Smumrick – still keeping the harmonica close to his lips.
Sun just rose above the tree tops and its rays were shining right to Moomin-troll and Snoo-Smumrick faces. And they both sit happily and relaxed, smiling, wagging their legs and screwing their eyes from sunshine.
They followed this river for so many times to reach a Big World and to meet wonderful adventures. They made new friends in every adventure and always brought them to Moomin-valley, where Moomin-papa and Moomin-mama willingly accepted all strangers. In such occasions they asked no questions and only bothered themselves with putting additional beds and widening the dinner table. As a result, Moomin-house was always full with people and everybody was allowed to do whatever he wants to do and don’t care about the future. And, of course, from time to time some wonderful or even scary things happened in Moomin- house, but no one has ever been bored there. And this makes a great honor to every house.
Snoo-Smumrick finished playing the last note of his song, put his harmonica in his pocket and asked:
– Did Sniff wake up?
-Very unlikely -answered Moomin-troll – He is always one week late.
– We must wake him up then – said Snoo-Smumrick and jumped down from the bridge rails. In such a nice day we should come up with something extraordinary to do.
Moomin-troll came under the window of the Eastern Attic, he put two his paws into his mouth and made a special signal following the secret, familiar only to them, system: 3 simple whistles followed by one long. This means – “we have a business”. Then he could hear that Shiff stopped snoring, but did not move.
– One more time! – said Snoo-Smumrick. And they repeated the signal twice as strong.
The window opened with loud, cracked sound.
– I am still sleeping! – cried Sniff angrily.
– Come down, and don’t be angry – said Snoo-Smumrick. – We are planning something extraordinary.
Sniff pricked his ears twisted from the long sleep and came down using the rope attached to the window. I should mention that in Moomin-house every window had a rope or a rope-ladder attached to it, because its occupants thought that leaving the house through the window is faster and using the main door is very inconvenient.
A day promised to be a nice one. Everywhere one could see a lot of tiny creatures half wake from the winter sleep, they run back and forth trying to restore last year friendships and acquaintances. Ones ventilated their clothes and brushed their whiskies, others built their houses, and others were busy with spring preparations. Moomin-troll, Snoo-Smumrick and Sniff stopped frequently to watch the progress of someone’s house or to listen a quarrel. Quarrels are common in early spring because one very often has a bad mood after long winter hibernation. Tree fairies were sitting on the trees brushing their long hairs, while under the north sides of the trees, mouse and other small fry were making tunnels in snow that still exist in spots there.
– Happy new spring – said one old grass snake. – How was your winter?
– Good, thank you – answered Moomin-troll. – And what about yourself brother, did you sleep well?
– Very good! – answered the grass snake – Please, say “Hello” from me to your mother and father.
Friends conducted similar conversations with many Moomin-dale inhabitants as they followed their way up to the mountain. But the higher they proceed, the more uninhabited become around. And finally, they come to a deserted land with only occasional mouse -houses occupied with mouse-mothers busy with spring cleaning.
– Oh, it is so unpleasant! – said Moomin-troll picking up his paws high on the melting snow. – Moomin-tolls do not like when there is a lot of snow. My mom told me that. – And he sneezed.
– Listen, Moomin-troll – said Snoo-Smumrick – I have an idea. What if we climbed to the very top of the mountain and made a stone pyramid there? So very one will know that we were first on the summit.
– Good idea – said Sniff and moved towards the mountain, because he did not want to let anybody to the top before him.
A strong spring wind was blowing on the summit. And in each direction spread a wide blue vista. On the west, there was a big blue sea, on the east -a slow river that moved windy towards the Desert Mountains, on the north one could see a thick green forest that looked like a spring carpet, and on the south one could see the smoke going out of the Moomin-house pipe – Moomin-mama was preparing the morning coffee.
But Sniff could see nothing of it, because a black hat or rather a black cylinder that lays on the very summit caught his attention.
– Somebody was there before us! – said Sniff.
Moomin-troll picked up the hat and examined it closely.
– It is a good hat – said he – don’t you think, it might be your size Moomrick?
– Oh, no, no – answered Snoo-Smumrick (because he loved his old green hat) – It looks too new for me!
– And, may be my father will like it? – Moomin-troll thought aloud.
– Let’s take it with us – said Sniff – And now, I want to go home. I want my coffee madly! And you, guys?
– Of course, – agreed Moomin-troll and Snoo-Smumrick eagerly.
That is how it happened that they found the Wizard hat and took it back home with them, having no idea that by doing this they transformed Moomin-dale into a place where some assorted magic and extraordinary events take place.
When Moomin-troll, Snoo-Smumrick and Sniff returned back to the Moomin-house porch, everybody already finished their coffee and run away with their shores. Only Moomin- papa stayed home reading a newspaper.
– Aha – said Moomin-papa – so, you all also have woken up. Today’s newspaper is surprisingly blank (no interesting news at all). A brook broke the dam and demolished the ants’ settlement. No causalities. And, at 4 AM this morning, the first cuckoo arrived to our dale and, after a short rest, followed further to the East.
– Look what we found – said Moomin-troll with pride. – a cool black cylinder, just for you.
Moomin-papa examined the hat from all sizes, and then tried it upon the mirror in the living room. This hat was little too big and too heavy for him. However the overall impression was very good.
– Mother – called Moomin-troll – please come and look at the father.
Moomin-mama opened the door, and then stopped frozen from surprise at the threshold.
– How I look? – asked Moomin-papa. – Does it fit me?
– It fits you perfectly – answered Moomin-mama – You look very manly in this hat. It might be a little bit too big for you, thogh.
Moomin-papa moved the hat to the back of his head and asked – is it better now?
– H-m-m, it is OK – answered Moomin-mama – but, I think, you look more decent without a hat.
– You are right – said he – It is not a good hat that makes a man look good, but a good man makes his hat look good.
– Yes, not that is good for one which is good, but what suits one good is good for one – answered Moomin-mama pleasantly and added – Kids, please eat more eggs, you spent the whole winter on bare pine needles.
And she returned back to kitchen.
– But we should find some use for it. This is such a superior hat – persisted Sniff.
– Let’s use it as a waste (paper) basket – answered Moomin-papa and retired upstairs write memoirs (that was a big book about his riotous youth).
Snoo-Smumrick put the hat on the floor between the chest of drawers and the kitchen door.
– Wow, now you got more stuff – said he griming, because the feeling of joy from having some stuff to posses was absolutely alien for him. Snoo-Smumrick was pretty happy with his old clothes, which he wore since the time he was born (nobody know when and where. And his only possession he never part with was harmonica.
-When you finish your breakfast; let’s go visit Snorks – said Moomin-troll. He went outside to the garden, but before he left the kitchen, he threw egg shells into a new waste basket, because (sometimes) he was a very careful (OV: or accurate??) Moomin-troll.
The living-room became empty. Yet, the Wizard hat was left where it was – between the chest and the kitchen door. And here a miracle happens: egg shells started transforming.
The fact is that anything get transformed in something totally different if spent enough time in the Wizard hat, and nobody knows into what exactly. Moomin-papa was the lucky one, because the hat did not suit him. Had he spent little more time wearing the hat – and only the god of all Trolls and Sniffs knows what could happen with him.
Moomin-papa got only a minor headache, which was gone after dinner. Egg shells which stayed in the hat, however, started changing their appearance. Although, they keep staying white, they become bigger and bigger in size and softer and fuzzier. Soon, they fill out the hat, and then 5 little round clouds flew out of the hat. They floated on the porch, then quietly moved down and hanged in the air close to earth. And the Wizard hat became empty.
– Wow – said Moomin-troll.
– Is it a fire? – asked Snork with concern, because 5 clouds stayed before them as if they have been waiting for something.
Freken Snork drew her paw cautiously and touched lightly the cloud that was closer to her.
– They feel like cotton balls. – said she with surprise.
Suddenly, everybody moved closer and started patting the clouds.
– This feels like a pillow, I bet you – confirmed Sniff.
Snoo-Smumrick warily pushed one of the clouds. It flew slowly a short distance and then stopped in the air.
– Whose are they? – asked Sniff. – How did they appear here, on the porch?
Moomin-troll only shacked his head.
Miracles like this have never happened to me before – said he. – I think we should call my mother.
– No, no, please – disagreed Freken Snork – Let’s examine them ourselves.
She pressed a cloud to the ground and stroked it with her paws.
– It is so soft!
And the next moment she was sitting on the cloud and hopping on it giggling.
– And me, and me – screamed Sniff. And then he climbed quickly on the other cloud – Come on!
And as soon as he cried “Come on!”, the cloud raised into air and moved making a neat arch.
– Oh my God! It is moving! – screamed Sniff with shock.
Momentarily, each of friends has chosen and climbed on it.
– Come on! Hop! – cried they.
Clouds were floating above the ground like a huge submissive rabbits. Clouds were controllable, this discovery was made by Snork. Easy pressing by one leg means a turn, easy pressing made by two legs – means “move forward with full speed”, and if one shakes a cloud, it starts going up ( or gaining elevation).
It all was a big fun. Very soon, they become brave enough to soar up to the very tops of the trees and even on the roof of the Moomin-house. Moomin-troll stopped next to the window of his father (on the second floor) and cried loudly “Coo-ka-re-coo” like a roster. He was in such excitement that cannot think anything smarter. Moomin-papa dropped his pen and hurried toward the window.
– I swear my tail, I swear my tail – yelled he. He had no words for anything else.
– You can write about it in your memoirs, that will make a cool chapter in your book – said Moomin-troll to his father and moved forward to the kitchen window. He called his mother, but Moomin-mama was very busy preparing meat with onions and potatoes.
– What did you come up with again, darling? – asked she. – Please be careful, do not fall down.
And below in the garden, Snork and Snoo-Smumrick played a new game. They hit each other with the full speed and one who falls down loses the game.
– I will show you – shout Snoo-Smumrick, spurring his cloud. – Come on!
But Snork cleverly turned sharply to the side, and then attached Snoo-Smumrick from underneath. Snoo-Smumrick cloud tilted and he fell down and stuck his head into a flower bed in a way that his hat slides to his nose.
-Third game! -yelled Sniff – he was a judge and floated higher to better see the opponents. – Score 2-1! Take your places! Ready? Go!
– Do you want ride together for a while? – asked Moomin-troll Freken Snork.
-With pleasure – answered she and moved closer to him.-But where?
– Let’s go and find Hemul. He will be surprised.
They flew around all Hemul’s favorite places, but did not find him.
-Usually he is not leaving a house for a long time – said Freken Snork. – the last time I have seen him, he was busy examining his collection of postal stamps.
– But this was 6 month ago – pointed out Moomin-troll.
– Oh, yes – agreed Freken Snork – We were sleeping the whole winter.
– Did you sleep well? (Did you have sweet dreams?) – asked Moomin-troll.
Freken Snork graciously flew over the top of the tree, then thought a little and answered:
-I had a bad dream. Some ugly man in a black cylinder was looking at me and grinning.
– Funny – said Moomin-troll – I had the same dream. Did you notice that he was in white glows?
– Yes – nodded Freken Snork.
They were flying easily amongst the trees thinking about their winter dream and suddenly they saw Hemul. He was walking in the forest, keeping his arms behind his back and staring down to earth. Moomin-troll and Freken Snork flew down, stopped on both his sides and yelled at once:
– Good Morning!
– Oh! – cried Hemul – You frightened me to death! Did not you know that I hate such surprises. My heart went down to my hills.
– Please, forgive us – begged Freken Snork – Can you see on what we are riding?
– A wonder, I can say nothing more – answered Hemul – but this is not a news for me, because I know that each your step is a wonder. But I am in a blue mood (downhearted).
– Why? – asked Freken Snork with sympathy. – How could you be gloomy in a such a nice day?
Hemul shacked his head.
– You would not understand me.
– We will try our best – said Moomin-troll – Did you lost some misprint again?
– On the opposite – answered Hemul in a gloomy voice – I have everything intact. My all post stamps are in one place. My collection is perfect.
– So what? – encouraged him Freken Snork.
– I know you would not understand me.
Moomin-troll and Freken Snork anxiously glanced on each other. In respect to Hemul’s trouble, they slowed down and now followed him from little behind. And Hemul kept plodding further. They were waiting patiently when he reveals his troubles to them.
And some time after, Hemul shouted:
– No, this makes no sense.
And some time after, he said:
– Why this all, all- you can take my collection and use it as a toilet paper.
– But what happened to you? – asked Freken Snork anxiously. – You are talking heresy. You collection is the best in a world.
– That’s the matter! – said Hemul with extreme anxiety – It is complete! My collection contains all variety of post stamps and misprints. There is no single post stamp or misprint that I did not have in my collection. Not a single one. What should I occupy myself with now?
– I think, I am beginning to understand you now. – said Moomin-troll slowly. You are not a stamp collector anymore. Now you are just an owner of a perfect collection of stamps, and this is not so interesting.
– Yes – agreed Hemul with a dead voice – this is not so interesting.
He stooped and turned his sulky face to them.
– Dear Hemul, – said Freken Snork and lightly touched his arm – I have an idea. Don’t you want to start collecting something different, I mean completely different?
– That is a good idea – agreed Hemul – but wrinkles were still on his forehead, because he simply could not become happy again so soon after such a big trouble.
– What about butterflies? – suggested Moomin-troll
– That’s impossible – said Hemul – my cousin already collects butterflies, and I hate him.
– What about movie stars? – asked Freken Snork.
But Hemul just snorted contemptuously.
– May be jewels, then? – asked Freken Snork. – Because, there is no end for jewels ever.
– Ugh! – just said Hemul.
– Well, I cannot think anything else – said Freken Snork.
– Don’t worry, we will choose something for you – soothed him Moomin-troll – I bet that Moomin-mama can think about something for you. By the way, have you seen Ondatr?
– He is still sleeping – answered Hemul with sadness in his voice, – He believes that there is no reason to wake up so early, and he is right.
And Hemul resumed his lonely walking, while Moomin-troll and Freken Snork rose above the tree tops and moved smoothly forward bathing in the sun shine. However, they were very concerned about Hemul and kept thinking of what artifacts they could suggest him for collecting.
– May be sea shells? – said Freken Snork.
– Or may be trouser buttons? – added Moomin-troll.
When they finally arrived [come, returned] home for dinner, Hemul was already there. He was shining from happiness.
– What? – asked Moomin-troll – What did you decide to collect next?
– Plants! – exclaimed Hemul – I will study Botanic. Snork gave me this brilliant idea. I am determined to collect [create] the best herbarium in the world.
And he unfolded folds of his skirt (Hemul was always wearing a dress, which he inherited from his aunt. I am suspicions that all Hemuls are wearing skirts. Weird as it is, it is so.) and presented his first prey. It was a thin pedicle of goose onion all covered with clumps of soil and last year leafs.
– Gagea lutea – said Hemul in Latin with proud. – An excellent sample, and the number one in my collection!
He entered the Moomin-house and dropped out his skirt’s content to the kitchen table.
– You better go to the corner – said Moomin-mama – here I will put the soup. Is everybody here? Is Ondatr is still sleeping?
– As a baby [not feeling his back legs] – answered Sniff.
– Have you had a good time today? – asked Moomin-mama filling cups with soup.
– Very good! – answered all members of the Moomin-household in refrain.
When next morning Moomin-troll opened the woodshed door to let the clouds out, he did not find them there. And nobody ever thought that these clouds have anything to do with 5 egg shells that were resting (as if nothing has happened) in the Wizard’s hat.