Thursday, January 14, 2010
Lessons from Villa Villekulla
A few years ago when I was shopping at a second hand store, I picked up a number of books that I enjoyed as a child. I didn't really intend to read them I guess...was just feeling a little nostalgic. This past year, I have actually read a few of them...Island of the Blue Dolphins, Romona the Pest, and 2 Pippi Longstocking books. I have particularly been enjoying reading about the adventures of Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Efraim's Daughter Longstocking. Some of her characteristics, although a little outrageous for a child, are kind of inspiring. Pippi is a very generous little girl. Her father has left her a chest full of gold coins and when she gets in the mood to spend, it is usually on other people. Two instances stand out to me. She goes to town to shop with Annika and Tommy and at a toy store, she buys a toy for every child in the vicinity. Again, when she goes to the fair, she buys tons of extra tickets and gives them all away to the kids who have no money to go on the merry go round. She gives without even thinking about it.
Interestingly Pippi also has superhuman strength. She carries her horse, and picks up a tiger who is on the prowl and takes him back to his cage. Her strength also comes in handy whe she comes across a "bad guy". She usually ends up picking him up and tossing him up and down in the air, just to give him a bit of his own medicine. But she is never cruel, and when she is finished tossing, she sends the villian on his way with a lesson learned.
She is adventurous, creative, clever and never phazed by a stressful situation. She always keeps her cool. And she always knows just what to say. Astrid Lindgren had such a unique sense of humour and always balanced the sillyness of Pippi with the always polite and responsible Annika and Tommy. Shouldn't we all have a bit of Pippi in us?
"Listen, little Pippi," she [the teacher] said in a friendly voice, "you want to be a really fine lady when you grow up, don't you?"
"You mean the kind with a veil on her nose and three double chins under it?" asked Pippi.
"I mean a lady who always knows how to behave and is always polite and well bred. You want to be that kind of a lady, don't you?"
"It's worth thinking about," said Pippi, "but you see, Teacher, I had just about decided to be a pirate when I grow up." She thought a while. "But don't you think, Teacher, one could be a pirate and a really fine lady too?"
-from Pippi Goes on Board