Mymble is Little My’s big sister and an imaginative type – she is frequently to be found spinning stories and making up fantastical tales.
From a young age, she was often left in charge of her very many siblings, but that responsibility was too much for her carefree spirit! She much prefers her independent life in Moominvalley, where she is free to do as she pleases, finding delight in small pleasures and living in the moment.
A natural storyteller, Mymble frequently tells tall tales – for example, that she was born in a clam or that she has an uncle who keeps two white mice in his beard – but only to entertain herself. She also has a dramatic streak. When Moominpappa and his friends first meet her, she tells them that she is terribly ill… when actually she had been left behind as a punishment for bad behaviour.
“Snufkin is her half-brother.”
Mymble’s mother is also known as the Mymble, which can be a little confusing at times! The mother and daughter share an easygoing nature and a wish to enjoy life to the fullest. Like all her female relatives, Mymble usually wears her long red hair in a ‘haughty mymble hairdo, glossy and tight and a soft-reddish yellow like a little onion’. This hair is her pride and joy – not to mention the envy of Mrs Fillyjonk. Mymble brushes it often and washes it in rainwater every fifth day. Unlike her round mother or her tiny sister in stature, Mymble is light and thin with long legs. Snufkin is her half-brother.
Mymble first appears in The Exploits of Moominpappa (1950). She is one of the main characters in the picture book The Book about Moomin, Mymble and Little My (1952).
What is Mymble’s party trick?
Mymble is a lovely dancer, and she takes to acting very quickly too – when the Moomin family find themselves living in a theatre and Moominpappa writes a play for them to stage, Mymble is very insistent that her character must be eaten by a lion at the end.
What does Mymble desire most in life?
Mymble longs for romance but is unlucky in love, usually because the object of her affection is an unsuitable sort, for example, a pirate or a fan of winter sports. Happily, she can cheer herself up and move on quite quickly.
A little-known fact about Mymble:
For a short while, Mymble lived on a haunted island together with Moominpappa and his friends, Hodgkins, The Joxter and The Muddler.
- ‘Morning. Have you swallowed a lemon?’ (The Exploits of Moominpappa, 1950)
- ‘I was born in a clam and wasn’t bigger than a waterflea when mother found me in her aquarium!’ (The Exploits of Moominpappa, 1950)
- ‘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.’ (Moominpappa in The Exploits of Moominpappa, 1950)
- ‘You can lie on a bridge and watch the water flowing past. Or run, or wade through a swamp in your red boots. Or roll yourself up and listen to the rain falling on the roof. It’s very easy to enjoy yourself.’ (Moominvalley in November, 1970)
- ‘Now I’m full of ferocity, she thought. I could do anything, but instead I’ll do nothing. Isn’t it marvellous to do just what one feels like?’ (Moominvalley in November, 1970)
Snufkin, the wise adventurer
Snufkin is a philosopher and a wanderer who enjoys the simple things in life – fishing, playing his harmonica and walking alone at night.
Moomin personality quiz – Which Moomin character are you?
We’ve made a Moomin personality quiz that reveals which Moomin character you are. The quiz is available in English, Finnish and Swedish!
Little My, small but fierce
Little My loves drama and adventure and is ready for any situation that comes her way! Did you know all this about her? ↓
Snufkin’s Family Tree
Curious about Snufkin’s family? Read our post on Snufkin’s Family Tree and find out who Snufkin’s father, mother and siblings are.
The first Moomin picture book was a praised breakthrough – how did Tove Jansson do it?
Curious about the first Moomin picture book? Watch our short documentary about the Book about Moomin, Mymble and Little My.
The secret message in Mymble’s name – queer themes in Tove Jansson’s life and work part 2
In this second part of our series, we take a look at the diverse gender roles in Moominvalley and queer themes in Tove Jansson’s life.