Pippi Moves In

Pippi Longstocking

Summer and Pippi go hand in hand, if you ask me.  What kid wouldn’t want Pippi to move in next door?  She has a suitcase full of gold, is stronger than anyone on earth, and she is an excellent thing-searcher.  Pippi books and movies {the 1970s Swedish-dubbed-in-English variety} are favorites at our house, so when we unexpectedly discovered these comic book style books at the library, of course we had to check them out!  We have since added a few to our home library because they are so funny.  I promise that if you find a copy or two for your kids, they will be laughing!  In the meantime,  here’s an abbreviated version below, featuring photos I did with my three youngest, and words by Astrid Lindgren.  Happy reading!

Tommy and Annika

PIPPI MOVES IN TO VILLA VILLEKULLA

On the outskirts of a tiny little town was a neglected garden.  In the garden stood an old house.  Many years ago, Pippi Longstocking’s father (a great sea captain) had bought the old house.  He had planned to live there with Pippi when he grew old and was no longer able to sail the seas.  Then, unfortunately, he was blown overboard.  While Pippi was waiting for him to come back, she headed straight home to Villa Villekulla.  That was what the house was called.  It stood there, all furnished and ready–just waiting for her to arrive.  Pippi took two things from the ship.  A little monkey whose name was Mr. Nilsson, and a suitcase full of gold coins.

Next to Villa Villekulla was another garden with another house.  In that house lived a father and a mother with their two sweet children, Tommy and Annika.  Tommy and Annika played nicely together in their garden, but they had often wished for a playmate.  While Pippi was still sailing the seas with her father, they would sometimes say to each other, “It’s so sad that no one has ever moved into that house!  Someone should live there, someone with children.”

Pippi Moves In

On that beautiful summer evening when Pippi stepped through the front door of Villa Villekulla for the very first time, Tommy and Annika had gone to visit their grandmother for a week.  That’s why they had no idea that someone had moved into the house next door.

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On the first day after they came home, when they were standing at their front gate and looking out at the street, they still didn’t know that a playmate was actually so close.  As they stood there, wondering what to do and whether anything fun was going to happen that day, or whether it was going to be one of those boring days when they couldn’t think of anything to do–just at that moment the gate to Villa Villekulla opened and a little girl came out.

Pippi Longstocking

Her hair was the color of a carrot and it was braided in two tight braids that stuck straight out.  Her nose was the shape of a very small potato, and it was completely covered with freckles.  Under her nose was an exceptionally wide mouth with nice white teeth.  Her dress was quite odd.  Pippi had made it herself.  There hadn’t been enough material, so Pippi had decided to sew on little patches here and there. What made Tommy and Annika really open their eyes wide was the monkey who was sitting on the strange little girl’s shoulder.

Pippi set off up the street.  She walked with one foot on the sidewalk and the other in the gutter.  Tommy and Annika fixed their eyes on her for as long as they could see her.  After a while she came back.  Now she was walking backward.  That was so she didn’t have to turn around when she came home.  As she reached the gate to Tommy and Annika’s house, she stopped.  The children looked at each other in silence.

Finally  Tommy said, “Why were you walking backward?”

“Why was I walking backward?” said Pippi.  “Don’t we live in a free country?  Can’t a person walk any way she likes?  Besides, I can tell you that in Egypt everyone walks like that, and nobody thinks there’s anything odd about it…I wonder what you would have said if I’d walked on my hands, like people do in Farthest India.”

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“Now you’re lying,” said Tommy.

Pippi thought for a moment.  “Yes, you’re right.  I was lying,” she said sadly.

“It’s bad to lie,” said Annika, finally opening her mouth.

“Yes, it’s very bad to lie,” said Pippi, sounding even sadder.  “But sometimes I forget, you see.  And how can you really expect a little girl whose mamma is an angel and whose pappa is king of the natives–a girl who has sailed the seas all her life–how can you expect her always to tell the truth?  And besides, let me tell you that in the Congo there isn’t a single person who tells the truth.  They tell lies all day long.  They start at seven o’clock in the morning and keep on going until sunset.  So if I happen to lie once in a while, you’ll have to forgive me and remember that it’s just because I’ve spent a little too much time in the Congo.  But we can still be friends, can’t we?”

“Of course,” said Tommy, and he suddenly thought that this was probably not going to be one of those boring kind of days.

“So is there anything stopping you from coming to have breakfast at my house?” said Pippi.

“No, of course not,” said Tommy.  “Come on, let’s go!”

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Afterward Pippi gave each of her new playmates a present as a souvenir.  “Now you better go home,” said Pippi, “so that you can come back tomorrow.  Because if you don’t go home, then you won’t be able to come back tomorrow.  And that would really be a shame.”

Tommy and Annika thought so too.  And so they went home.

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PIPPI IS A THING-SEARCHER

Annika woke early the next morning.  “Wake up, Tommy,” she said, shaking him by the arm.  “Let’s go over and see that funny girl.”

They threw on their clothes.  And a whole hour earlier than their mother expected, they came sliding down the banister.  They landed right at the breakfast table, where they sat down and began shouting that they wanted their hot cocoa at once.

“What’s going on?” asked their mother.  “Why are you in such a hurry?”

“We’re going over to see the new girl in the house next door,” said Tommy.

“We might stay there all day,” said Annika.

On that particular morning, Pippi was in the middle of baking gingersnaps.  She had made a huge batch of dough and rolled it out on the floor.

“Because you know what?” said Pippi, “What good is it to roll the dough on a table when you’re going to bake at least five hundred gingersnaps?”  So she lay on the floor, cutting out heart-shaped gingersnaps for dear life.

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Pippi could certainly work fast!

“Done,” said Pippi finally, as she slammed the oven door on the last baking sheets with a bang.

“What should we do now?” said Tommy.

“I don’t know what you’ve got in mind,” said Pippi, “but I’m not the sort to lie around.  I’m a thing-searcher, you see.  And that means I never have a moment to spare.”

“What did you say you were?” asked Annika.

“A thing-searcher.”

“What’s that?” asked Tommy.

“Someone who goes searching for things, of course!  The whole world is full of things, which means there’s a real need for someone to go searching for them.  And that’s exactly what a thing-searcher does.”

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All three thing-searchers set off.  Tommy and Annika watched Pippi to see how a thing-searcher was supposed to act.  Pippi ran from one side of the road to the other, shading her eyes with her hand, and she searched and searched.

“Can we really take anything that we find?” asked Annika.

“Yes, anything lying on the ground,” said Pippi.

Some distance away an old man was lying on the grass outside his house, sleeping.  “That man over there is lying on the ground,” said Pippi.  “And we found him. So let’s take him!”  Tommy and Annika were both quite startled.

“Oh, no, Pippi.  We can’t take an old man.  We just can’t,” said Tommy.  “Besides, what would we do with him?”

“We could put him in a little rabbit cage instead of a rabbit, and feed him dandelion leaves.  But if you don’t want to, that fine with me.  Even though I think it’s annoying that some other thing-searcher might come along and nab him.”

They kept on going.

Pippi gave out a roar and triumphantly held up a spool of thread.  “This seems to be my lucky day,” she said.  “Such a sweet, sweet little spool for blowing soap bubbles, or you could put it on a string and wear it like a necklace!  I’m going to go home and do that right now.”

When they reached Pippi’s garden, Tommy said that he didn’t think he and Annika were ever going to find anything.

“Tommy, why don’t you look inside that old tree?”  To please Pippi he stuck his hand into a hollow in the tree trunk.

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“Wait a minute,” he said in astonishment, and pulled out his hand.  And in it he was holding a truly splendid notebook.

“You see?” said Pippi.  “There’s nothing as great as being a thing-searcher.  It’s odd that more people don’t take up the profession.”  And then she looked at Annika. “Why don’t you go feel around inside that stump?”

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Annika stuck her hand inside and almost at once she found a necklace.  Then she and Tommy just stood there gaping for a long time, they were so surprised.  And they thought that from now on they were going to be thing-searchers every single day.

Pippi had been up half the night playing catch, and now she suddenly felt sleepy.  “I think I’d better go and lie down for a while,” she said.  “Why don’t you come along and tuck me in?”

Then she lay down to sleep.  She always slept with her feet on the pillow and her head under the covers. “They sleep like this in Guatamala,” she assured them. “I always have to sing to myself for a while, otherwise I can’t sleep a wink all night.”

Tommy and Annika listened to the humming sound coming form under the covers.  Carefully they tiptoed out of the room.  In the doorway they turned around and cast one last glance at the bed.  They could see nothing but Pippi’s feet, resting on the pillow.

Then Tommy and Annika ran home.  Annika was clutching her necklace tightly in her hand.  “Tommy, you don’t think that…you don’t think that Pippi put these things there beforehand, do you?”

“You never know,” said Tommy.  “You never really know anything when it comes to Pippi Longstocking.”

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PIPPI ORGANIZES AN EXPEDITION

“Today we’re not going to school,” Tommy told Pippi.  “Because it’s a house-cleaning holiday.”

Outside, the sun was shining in a bright blue sky. Pippi had an idea.  “What do you think about taking Mr. Nilsson with us and going on a little expedition?”

“Oh, yes,” shouted Tommy and Annika with delight.

“Run home and ask your mother then,” said Pippi.  “In the meantime I’ll make a packed lunch.”

Tommy and Annika dashed home, and it wasn’t long before they were back.  By then Pippi was already standing at the gate with Mr. Nilsson on her shoulder, a walking stick in one hand and a big basket in the other.

At first the children walked along the country road, but then they turned off into a field where a nice little path wound its way between birch tree and hazel thickets. Some distance away was a small hill that could be easily and quickly climbed.  On top of the hill was a sunny little ledge, just like a balcony.  That’s where they sat down.

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“Now close your eyes while I take everything out,” said Pippi.  Tommy and Annika shut their eyes as tight as they could.  They heard Pippi opening the basket and rustling some paper. “Now you can look,” Pippi said at last.

And so they looked.  And they shouted with delight when they saw all the treats that Pippi had set out.  Because you see, Pippi had learned all about preparing food from the cook on her father’s ship.

“It’s great having a house-cleaning holiday,” said Tommy with his mouth full.  “We should have them all the time.”

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At last the children were so full that they could hardly move, and so they sat there in the sunshine, just enjoying themselves.

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