The Muskrat, the gloomy philosopher

The Muskrat is a hairy philosopher with a moustache and long whiskers. He is very serious and prefers to spend time by himself. He is wise and well-read and does not care about comfort or other worldly things. At least according to himself.

In fact, the gloomy philosopher does care very much, especially about his dignity. That is why it is so hard for him to handle the fact that he always gets into non-dignified situations like mistakenly sitting on a cake or falling on his bum when the cord of the hammock he lies in brakes. He is treated like an older relative by Moomintroll and Sniff; they call him uncle Muskrat and gladly disturb his peace with their loud games.

“The earth can crack and fire come down from heaven for all I care – that sort of thing doesn’t disturb me – but I do not like to be put into a ridiculous situation. It isn’t dignified for a philosopher!”

The Muskrat has quite a pessimistic worldview and he relishes in pointing out how useless everything is. This, however, does not keep him from frequently enjoying the comforts and treats offered to him at the Moominhouse, be it food and wine or having his own hammock in the garden.


The Muskrat appears for the first time in Comet in Moominland (originally published in 1946), appearing at the Moominhouse after the hole he was living in is destroyed by Moominpappa’s bridge-building. In Finn Family Moomintroll (originally published in 1948), he moves into the cave to be left in peace. The Muskrat only appears in these two original novels, but he is a very popular character in the different animated series and films based on the story in Comet in Moominland. 

What is the Muskrat’s biggest wish?

That he would be left in peace and quiet, which unfortunately does not happen very often in the lively Moominhouse.

What is the Muskrat’s favourite pastime?

Lying in the hammock and reading the book “The Uselessness of Everything”.

What is the worst thing than can happen to the Muskrat?

Losing his dignity. The threat of the end of the world and other worldly (!) things pale in comparison to horrifying incidents like falling to the ground from the hammock, even when no-one is looking.

A little-known fact about the Muskrat:

The Muskrat is one of the characters in the first Moomin comic, Mumintrollet och jordens undergång (translated as Moomintroll and the End of the World in 2008), published in the magazine Ny Tid at the end of the ’40s, but in the more famous later comics published in The Evening News, he is nowhere to be seen. 

The Muskrat quotes:

  • “Perhaps it will come – perhaps not. It’s all the same to a person who knows that everything is unnecessary. (Comet in Moominland, 1946)
  • “Here I shall stay for ever and ever, he thought. How unnecessary it is to run about and chatter, to build a house and cook food and collect possessions! ” (Finn Family Moomintroll, 1948)
  • “I can work anywhere,” said the Muskrat. “It’s all a matter of thinking. I sit and think about how unnecessary everything is.”
  • (Comet in Moominland, 1946)
  • ”I have every respect for your deductions,” he said, “but you are wrong, completely and absolutely, and without any doubt.”  (Comet in Moominland, 1946)
  • Wine, I am bound to say, is unnecessary,” replied the Muskrat, “but a small drop nevertheless would not be unwelcome.” (Comet in Moominland, 1946)



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