for choosing the book:
Toffle walked and walked but nothing happened, although there were plenty of people everywhere. He did not see anyone he knew, because he was a very lonely troll and far too shy to say: "Hello, can I talk to you? Meanwhile, four filifionkas rode past whistling and two small green carriages, with eight homsas inside, passed him. So did Mymble with a lingonberry garland hung round her neck, but Toffle hid himself and was not seen at all. But who will comfort Toffle and tell the truth: "if you keep running away you will never find a friend".
Toffle´s new shoes were very tight and his suitcase was heavy and the sun was shining. When night came and the shadows became long, there was not much left of Toffle´s legs, so he sat down on his suitcase. Then a sea breeze flew in with charming music, and a mumrik played his flute in a sleepy summer cove. So, with his suitcase and his tight shoes, Toffle wandered through the green meadow where no sorrows live. But who will comfort Toffle and explain, that a song is better than a suitcase if the road is too long.
Toffle walked on tired legs towards the West; he was as lonely as a toffle could be. There he saw a merry hemule sitting with his guests, lighting big fireworks. They all had flowers in their tails and under the trees there was dancing. Also four merry-go-rounds were whirling with music and singing. The thirteen homsas sat there and each one had a red balloon. The hemule was eating a big blini with raspberry jam and butter. but no-one saw that Toffle was standing outside. So who will comfort Toffle by saying: "Come in and say Good Evening so they can SEE that you are here!"
Little Toffle went onto the beach and found a shell that was big and white. He sat down carefully on the sand and thought: "Oh, how nice that I came here". He put some beautiful pebbles in his hat and watched the calm sea until night came. Far away the big heavy steps of the hemules could be heard, and Morran had disappeared. Toffle took off his shoes and sighed: "How come I feel so sad, although everything is so good?" But who will comfort Toffle by saying: "Little friend, what do you do with a shell if you cannot show it?"
Far out in the black water of the Atlantic a lonely bottle lay drifting until it was washed ashore during the night. Inside it there was a small letter. It was short and sad and the sea had washed away the writer's name. But Toffle managed to make out what was left of the writing. and over the whole beach the July moon shone brightly. "I am scared of Morran´s howling and I have no friends, I feel so forlorn . If you are strong and kind, please try to comfort me a little. I am a very tiny snufkin and it is almost night."
Toffle hid the letter in his pocket, it was the first letter he had ever received. Also, it was written by a girl and this did Toffle a lot of good. Suddenly he felt brave, strong and happy. So he took a cold, moonlight-swim, then emptied his suitcase, sat on it, and rowed out to sea. Two shoes were left on the beach and a hat with pebbles in it.the night was as beautiful as a summer night can be. When someone has to be comforted and protected by a toffle, everything becomes different, magic and new!
In the morning the whole sky was filled with clouds and huge whales were squirting water everywhere. In the middle of the sea the hemule splashed and shouted: "Ugh,ugh, how cold it is!" Toffle spoke to him and said: "I think we have met before!" A filifionka in a party dress passed him waving from her boat, and six sky-blue boats with nine homsas in, greeted Toffle, who shouted: "Hello, oh, it has never happened before, that someone has noticed me! I wish I could stay to chat a little bit more, but who will comfort Snufkin if I stayed here with you?"
Black mountains appeared on the horizon - three wild mountains where scruffles and morrans live - and nineteen homsas were fishing with the dront and laying out their nets peacefully. Toffle spoke to them in a friendly way and said: "Forgive a traveller who wonders if a snufkin has been here?" "Oh, yes, she certainly has, the dront said merrily. A snufkin with tangled hair was quite upset yesterday and ran away from home. But where she ran, where she is and where she was last seen, I haven't a clue. I think she was terribly scared, and who will comfort her now I do not know because I'm on holiday and about to go fishing".
When dust eventually came, small, hairy, creeping things emerged from everywhere. They had pallid night eyes that glistened and they whispered: "There goes a lonely troll, a lonely poor toffle, who believes that he is very strong and very big." Far away in the mountains, Morran´s horrible howl was heard and Toffle hid in the nearest hole. But after fifteen minutes he leapt up, stamped his foot and said: "Now I am more angry than frightened, which is good. I have to comfort Snufkin, I cannot be weak because she is probably even more frightened than I am".
Suddenly everything was quiet and all the lights went out. Morran sat alone like a mountain. All around the ground was frozen and the moon was losing its colour. Toffle said to himself: "This will not be easy since Morran is the worst creature I have ever seen". So he tried to cheer himself up with an angry, martial dance, then he set his teeth deep into Morran´s cold tail. Morran was so amazed that she yelled and ran off into the woods. All this time, Snufkin was sitting on a rock watching Toffle fight. She was easily frightened but it was very easy to comfort her afterwards.
They looked at each other in silence, a toffle and a snufkin, whilst the Summer moon shone. Perhaps Toffle was not to blame for his legs becoming so weak. Lost in his shyness he whispered: "I will write what I mean." and then disappeared. He sat down to write about his great loneliness, about the hemule, about the shell that was so white and smooth, about his thoughts at sea, and about how scared he was. But however much he tried to express himself, there was no letter! If you, the reader, would like to comfort these two, please write a letter from Toffle so that Snufkin will understand! (Here is some paper for your letter. You do not need a stamp, just put the letter in a rose-bush, or any other bush, where you can be sure Snufkin will see it).
After Snufkin had read the letter (she found Toffle´s name a bit difficult) the white rose bush suddenly turned red. Immediately, Snufkin leapt into Toffle´s arms and whispered excitedly: "We must forget how horrible it used to be and remember that we can have so much fun now! I'm really looking forward to going to the sea and collecting beautiful shells. So, that very night, they left in Filifionkan´s boat. All the homsas cheered and shouted and lamps of joy swayed over the sea wherever you looked. "Now we are comforting each other and we will never be frightened again!" .
and they lived happily ever after. THE END
NB This is a working translation for educational purpose only.
for use in school:
3. Drawing and Acting:
This story was originally written in Swedish, the second language in Finland, and can be heard on the CD which accompanies the EPBC. Also, there is an audio cassette available with Tove Jansson reading the text.
Reflection: As Finland is a very young country, only existing since 1917, the culture and languages spoken by the people are very much influenced by its Swedish and Russian ancestry. Many inhabitants of Southern Finland are, for example, bi-lingual (Swedish/Finnish) as is Tove Jansson. Consider how historical events within cultures might affect the language and customs of different countries.
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ncrcl November 2004