A Gallery of Mymbles

All images copyright Tove Jansson

As with most other creatures in Moominvalley, the term 'Mymble' is used both as a personal designator and a collective name. In several books the character that appears in most of these images is referred to as "the Mymble's Daughter", while her mother is "the Mymble". Later, she is referred to, and thinks of herself as "Mymble", without an article. Little My has always had a personal name, perhaps as benefits her strong personality.

Also, note how Tove Jansson's style changed; the earliest pictures of mymbles have tails, and those in Moominvalley in November have much more anthropomorphic features.


From

The Exploits of Moominpappa

aka. Moominpappa's Memoirs
"Really, I just fibbed. I'm not ill at all. Mother left me at home because I've been so impossible that even she got tired of me." Daddy Jones' Birthday Party. And the Mymble collected as many of her children as her broad lap could hold and climbed into a red carriage drawn by a dapple-grey horse.
... the Mymble's daughter, who was standing at the pump washing her small sisters and brothers.... On Midsummer Eve, the Mymble gave birth to her smallest daughter and named her My, which means the-smallest-in-existence.

From

Moominsummer Madness

"May I cut up your knitting ball?" shouted Little My from the sewing-basket. "My! My!" she yelled. "Horrible little menace! My-y-y! Come home at once so I can pull your hair!" "Heaven?" asked Little My. "Do we have to? And how does one get back again?"
Little My met a big and dangerous ant on the rug. "That's ours!" cried Little My, and landed on the pancake with a flying leap.
Only Little My laid herself on her stomach to look down into the water. "I suppose it's for enemies," she said. "A splendid trap-door for big and small villains!" She lay there all day looking for villains, but she unfortunately didn't find any. "Little My is used to taking care of herself," said the Mymble's daughter. "I'm more worried about the people that happen to cross her path." The meals were a bother, because the plates kept sliding off the table, and nearly always cracked if you tried to nail them down.
THE LION'S BRIDES or BLOOD WILL OUT A Tragedy in One Act by Moominpappa And suddenly she took a desperate leap up on the stage, rushed at the lion, and sank her small sharp teeth in its right hind leg.
Of the whole flood only a small puddle was left near the front steps, a very suitable swimming-pool for Little My. No selection would be complete without Little My. What would we do without her imperturbability - good word, what!

From

Moominland Midwinter

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From

Moominvalley in November

Mymble was walking through the forest and she thought: it's nice being a mymble. I feel absolutely splendid from top to toe. She liked her long legs and her red boots. On top of her head sat her haughty mymble hair-do, glossy and tight and a soft reddish-yellow like a little onion... she walked quickly and sometimes she broke into a run just to feel how light and thin she was. Mymble never dreamed, she slept when she felt like it and woke up when there was anything to make it worthwhile waking up.
He jerked open the door, and there sat Mymble eating pickled gherkins, with two candles burning on the shelf beside her. She turned round in the doorway and said: "Don't fuss, there's nothing here that's worse than we are ourselves."
She would wash her hair in rainwater every fifth day. "If only you combed it for ten minutes every day it wouldn't be so bad," she said. "It falls well, and it's a nice colour. So you can't do anything? Well, you were angry, weren't you? But then you crept under the table and spoilt it all."
... Mymble quickened her steps, the kitchen was full of music and movement and her long red hair looked like flying sunshine. "And why should it be different?" Mymble asked. "A hemulen is always a hemulen and the same things happen to him all the time. With mymbles it sometimes happens that they run away in order to get out of the cleaning."


"Dear reader, for your own well-being I beg of you to be most careful with Mymbles. They are interested in anything and can't ever understand that you're not interested in them."

If you want to know more about the Moomintroll books, an excellent collection of pages on them is available here.

chrisber@idiom.com, Last Modified July 17, 1997