Marchen – Seattle, Washington

“Pippi Långstrump, or Pippi Longstocking was one of my favorites book characters growing up. I thought she was the coolest when I was little. She’s about 10? I think, and live on her own with a pet horse and a pet monkey. The monkey’s name was Mr. Nilsson and the horse’s name was Lilla Guben, which translates into little man. I don’t know if she’s an orphan or not but she was always on her own. I really liked her red hair in pigtails and her freckles, I used to adore her because she did whatever she wanted, was sort of a trouble maker, in a good way… and she was incredibly strong.”

The informant, a Sweden born, Swedish-American who grew up in Seattle, collected all kinds of Pippi gear when she was a kid. She had the doll, a t-shirt and even Pippi’s pet posse. She also realized, looking back on the books and all, that Pippi was actually sort of a rebel. Most children probably enjoyed reading stories about her because she was anti-authority, independent and tricked adults she came across to get her way.

What I find fascinating with Pippi Longstocking is its popularity. Whereas a lot of folklore exist first by word of mouth, then becomes popularized or canonized through copyrights and literature, such is the opposite case with Pippi. From the start, Pippi was a written fictional character, already canonized if you will. Yet her popularity reached an international level, resulting in different adaptations and interpretations. In a sense, Pippi went from a canonized fictional character to folklore, the story of a little girl that has a wide range of variety and version.


Lindgren, Astrid. The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking. Hardcover. New York: Viking

Juvenile , 1997.