In Chapter 2 of Finn Family Moomintroll Moomintroll climbs under the Hobgoblin’s Hat and suffers something of a seachange, turning all his fat bits thin (sounds like a plan actually) and all his cute bits ugly (in fact, if that works in reverse, i’m starting to think i could use a Hobgoblins hat!) To his distress, his friends don’t know who he is and based on his looks, take a terrible dislike to him.
The following short passage was one i liked all my childhood and particularly recall talking to my mum once and asking her if she would recognise me out of a line-up of fake Merry’s or if my face got changed by something. At the time we were (briefly) considering plastic surgery of a sort on my toes because they were causing me such distress and i think perhaps this passage spoke to me because of that process.
“Isn’t there anyone who believes me?” Moomintroll pleaded. “Look carefully at me, mother. You must know your own Moomintroll.”
Moominmamma looked carefully. She looked into his frightened eyes for a very long time, and then she said quietly: “Yes, you are my Moomintroll.”
And at that moment he began to change. His ears, eyes and tail began to shrink and his nose and tummy grew, until at last he was his old self again.
“It’s all right now, my dear,” said Moominmamma. “You see, i shall always know you whatever happens.”
We read this last night and of course it made me blub, because it so happens that i thought about this particular little passage a lot at one other important part of my life; in the few days i knew Fran before her lip was repaired. I can recall worrying, as is common to cleft mothers i believe, that i wouldn’t know her when she was changed and when they gave her back i wouldn’t recognise her.
But of course, i did know her and i did recognise her. A mother ALWAYS knows her own Moomintroll.