From Finn Family Moomintroll – CH. II
One warm summer day it was raining softly in the Valley of the Moomins, so they all decided to play hide-and-seek indoors. Sniff stood in the corner with his nose in his paws and counted up to ten before he turned round and began hunting—ﬁrst in the ordinary hiding—places and then in the extraordinary ones. Moomintroll lay under the veranda table feeling rather worried—it wasn’t a good place. Sniff would be sure to lift the table—cloth, and there he would be stuck. He looked about, and then caught sight of the tall, black hat which stood in a corner. That would be a brilliant idea! Sniff would never think of looking under the hat. Moomintroll stole quietly to the corner and pulled the hat over his head. It didn’t reach further than his middle, but if he made himself very small and tucked in his tail he would be quite invisible. He giggled to himself when he heard all the others being found, one after another. The Hemulen had obviously hidden himself under the sofa again—he could never ﬁnd a better place. And now they were all running about searching for Moomintroll.
He waited until he was afraid they would get bored with the search, and then he crept out of the hat, stuck his head through the door and said: “Look at me!”
Sniff stared at him for a long time, then he said rather unkindly: “Look at yourself!”
“Who’s that?” whispered the Snork, but the others only shook their heads and continued to stare at Moomintroll.
Poor little chap! He had been turned into a very strange animal indeed under the Hobgoblin’s Hat. All his fat parts had become thin, and everything that was small had grown big. And the strangest thing about it was that he himself didn’t realize what was the matter.
“I thought I’d surprise you all,” he said taking an uncertain step forward on his long, spindly legs. “You’ve no idea where I’ve been!”
“It doesn’t interest us,” said the Snork, “but you’re certainly ugly enough to surprise anybody.”
“You are unkind,” said Moomintroll sadly. “I suppose you got tired of hunting. What shall we do now?”
“First of all perhaps you should introduce yourself,” said the Snork Maiden, stifﬂy. “We don’t know who you are, do we?"
Moomintroll looked at her incredulously, but then it dawned on him that perhaps this was a new game. He laughed delightedly and said: “I’m the King of California!”
“And I’m the Snork Maiden,” said the Snork Maiden. “This is my brother.”
“I’m called Sniif,” said Sniff.
“I’In Snufkin,” said Snufkin.
“Oh, dear! How boring you all are,” said Moomintroll. “Couldn’t you have thought of something more original! Now let’s go out—I think the weather‘s clearing.” And he went down the steps into the garden, followed by a rather surprised and suspicious little trio.
“Who’s that?” asked the Hemulen, who was sitting in front of the house counting the stamens of a sunﬂower.
“It’s the King of California, I think,” said the Snork Maiden.
“Is he going to live here?” asked the Hemulen.
“That’s for Moomintroll to decide,” said Sniff. “I wonder where he’s got to.”
Moomintroll laughed. “You really are quite funny at times,” he said. “Shall we go and look for Moomintroll?”
“Do you know him?” asked Snufkin.
“Yes,” said Moomintroll. “Rather well as a matter of fact.” He was thoroughly enjoying the new game and thought he was doing rather well at it.
“How did you come to know him?” asked the Snork Maiden.
"We were born at the same time,” said Moomintroll, still bursting with laughter. “But he’s an impossible fellow, you know! You simply can’t have him in the house!”
“How dare you talk about Moomintroll like that!” said the Snork Maiden, ﬁercely. “He’s the best Moomin in the world, and we think a great deal of him.”
This was almost too much for Moomintroll. “Really?” he said. “Personally I think he’s an absolute pest.”
Then the Snork Maiden began to cry.
“Go away!” said the Snork to Moomintroll. “Otherwise we shall have to sit on your head.”
“All right, all right,” Moomintroll said, soothingly. “It’s only a game, isn’t it? I’m awfully glad you think so much of me.”
“But we don’t,” screamed Sniff, shrilly.“Take away this ugly king who runs down our Moomintroll.”
And they threw themselves onto poor Moomintroll. He was much too surprised to defend himself, and when he began to get angry it was too late. So when Moominmamma came out on the steps he was lying underneath a large pile of ﬂailing paws and tails.
“What are you doing there, children?” she cried. “Stop ﬁghting at once!”
“They’re walloping the King of California,” sniffed the Snork Maiden. “And it serves him right.”
Moomintroll crawled out of the scrum, tired out and angry.
“Mother,” he cried. “They started it. Three against one! It’s not fair!”
“I quite agree,” said Moominmamma seriously. “However, I expect you had teased them. But who are you, my little beast?”
“Oh, please stop this awful game,” walled Moomintroll. “It isn’t funny any more. I am Moomintroll, and you are my Mother. And that's that!”
“You aren’t Moomintroll,” said the Snork Maiden, scornfully. “He has beautiful little ears,but yours look like kettle-holders!”
Moomintroll felt quite confused and took hold of a pair of enormous crinkly ears. “But I am Moomintroll!” he burst out in despair. “Don’t you believe me?”
“Moomintroll has a nice little tail, just about the right size, but yours is like a chimney sweep’s brush,” said the Snork.
And, oh, dear, it was true! Moomintroll felt behind him with a trembling paw.
“Your eyes are like soup-plates,” said Sniff. “Moomintroll’s are small and kind!”
“Yes, exactly,” Snufkin agreed.
“You are an impostor!” decided the Hemulen.
“Isn’t there anyone who believes me?” Moomintroll pleaded. “Look carefully at me, mother. You must know your own Moomintroll.”
Moominniamma 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 the same 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.”