There is one moment in Pippi Longstocking that nailed it for me…

As a child, I desperately searched for characters in books that aligned with my anxious outward ways and my happy reclusive interior.  Charlie Brown came close, but he was always seeking connection.  I was seeking alone time.  Like Charlie, school terrified and exhausted me.  Home, my room, my books were my calming tools.  I found many characters (especially in Astrid Lindgren’s works– like Lotta, Emil, Pippi) that I looked up to for their passion, ability to express anger, for their independent spirits.

There is one moment, however, in Pippi Longstocking that nailed it for me- when I felt Pippi and I were aligned- and I would read that scene over and over again. To this day, think about it often, and connect with it even more.

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Annika was standing at the window of their room in pink pyjamas, looking over toward Villa Villekulla.  “Look, I see Pippi!” she called out, delighted.

Tommy rushed over to the window too.  Yes, there she was.  Now that the trees didn’t have any leaves they could look right into Pippi’s kitchen.

Pippi was sitting at the table with her head propped against her arms.  She was staring at the little flickering flames of a candle that was standing in front of her.  She seemed to be dreaming.

“She– she looks so alone,” said Annika, and her voice trembled a little.  “Oh, Tommy, of it were only morning do that we could go to her right away!”

They stood there in silence and looked out into the winter night.  The stars shining over Villa Villekula’s roof.  Pippi was inside.  She would always be there.  That was a comforting thought…

… And the most wonderful, comforting thought was that Pippi would always be in Villa Villekulla.

“If she would only look in this direction we could wave at her,” said Tommy.

But Pippi continued to stare straight ahead with a dreamy look.  Then she blew out the light. 

– Astrid Lindgren, Pippi in the South Seas (translated by Gerry Bothmer)

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See also:

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Lessons from Pippi- strength, generosity and gentleness…

Being Swedish,Pippi Longstocking has been an icon to me all my life.  Yes, there are troubling racist elements in the books and, my God, as a child I would lay awake at night worrying about Pippi living alone, but Pippi’s character is glorious and hopeful.  She’s ahead of her time- a give-no-fucks attitude combined with curiosity and caring and independence.  Her voracious need to learn and to interact.  Her love of the moment.

Don’t you worry about me. I’ll always come out on top.

My heart still yells COMRADE!  when Pippi needs her cave time to be home alone with her pets and think.

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My daughter-in-love, Emily Cowan,  gifted me this Christmas with a fantastic collection of Pippi Longstocking books!

I am obsessing over them!

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All the children sat looking at Pippi, who lay flat on the floor, drawing to her heart’s content. ‘But, Pippi,’ said the teacher impatiently, ‘why in the world aren’t you drawing on your paper?’ ‘I filled that long ago. There isn’t room enough for my whole horse on that little snip of paper.’
All the children sat looking at Pippi, who lay flat on the floor, drawing to her heart’s content. ‘But, Pippi,’ said the teacher impatiently, ‘why in the world aren’t you drawing on your paper?’
‘I filled that long ago. There isn’t room enough for my whole horse on that little snip of paper.’

  

  

Pippi is a recurring drawing subject…

Wheatpaste at 119 East Cordova, Vancouver

  

Pippi imagined as Tank Girl
Pippi imagined as Tank Girl