Fillyjonks like order, routine, and discipline. They become panicked if things get muddled up and frustrated if others don’t behave to their liking. They share an obsession with keeping their homes spotlessly clean, and it often takes a crisis to set them free of their long lists of chores! Mrs Fillyjonk is the most well-known fillyjonk in Moominvalley.
Mrs Fillyjonk wears a neat red dress and a matching red hat with a little bobble on the end, and her three children wear identical matching red outfits. She is often seen carrying a handbag and umbrella. (You won’t catch her unprepared for bad weather, as she’ll no doubt have been worrying about it before leaving home.)
In general, fillyjonks are fastidious about their houses and spend much of their time dusting, scrubbing, sweeping, washing, and polishing. They are horrified by insects of all sorts – worms, caterpillars, moths, and especially nasty carpet beetles who chomp through nice fillyjonk clothes with their little jaws.
“All fillyjonks sport the same worried facial expression.”
Their obsession with cleanliness and order has its downsides – there’s not much time for fun when all their chores are done. It can also result in them being a little superior, knowing their home is cleaner than anyone else’s and their children are better behaved. Many a fillyjonk has found a better balance between responsibilities and freedom, though, often with help from the Moomin family.
In appearance, fillyjonks are tall with long snouts. They all sport the same worried facial expression – it’s unavoidable when they have so much to be anxious about: dust, dirt, disorder, untidiness, insects, the unknown…
The first appearance of a fillyjonk is in The Book about Moomin, Mymble and Little My (1952). There is a short story about ‘The Fillyjonk Who Believed in Disasters’ in Tales from Moominvalley (1963), and a fillyjonk is one of the main characters in Moominvalley in November (1970). Mrs. Fillyjonk first appears in the comic strip and has become well-known to many fans through the animations. In Moominsummer Madness (1954), the Fillyjonk learns to celebrate Midsummer in a less stiff way than she’s used to, picking flowers with Snorkmaiden for magical rituals and refusing to cater to uptight relatives who don’t even show up. She even manages to get arrested, a rather un-characteristic event for a fillyjonk!
A little-known fact about fillyjonks:
Fillyjonks tend to own a lot of knick-knacks, such as small mirrors, photographs framed in red velvet and little shells, china kittens and Hemulens resting on pieces of crochet work, very small vases and Mymble-shaped tea cosies – ‘all sorts of things that make life more easy and less dangerous’.
- ‘It isn’t always easy to be a Fillyjonk.’ (Moominsummer Madness, 1954)
- “This calm is unnatural. It means something terrible is going to happen.” (Tales from Moominvalley, 1962)
- ‘“You were talking about the wind,” the Fillyjonk said suddenly. “A wind that carries off your washing. But I’m speaking about cyclones. Typhoons, Gaffsie dear. Tornadoes, whirlwinds, sand-storms… Flood waves that carry houses away… But most of all I’m talking about myself and my fears, even if I know that’s not done. I know that everything will turn out badly. I think about that all the time. Even while I’m washing my carpet. Do you understand that? Do you feel the same way?”’ (Tales from Moominvalley, 1962)
- ‘Wherever she went, whatever she did, she always came across creepy-crawly things, they were everywhere!’ (Moominvalley in November, 1970)
- “How can I go on living if I can neither clean or prepare food? There’s nothing else worth doing.” (Moominvalley in November, 1970)
Snorkmaiden is a creative and excitable dreamer whose imagination comes in handy on adventures. Do you know what her special talent is?
Curious about the first Moomin picture book? Watch our short documentary about the Book about Moomin, Mymble and Little My.
We’ve made a Moomin personality quiz that reveals which Moomin character you are. The quiz is available in English, Finnish and Swedish!