Courtsey: Google Images and self shot
'J' was around four years old, she did not like in the beginning her full day stays in kindergarten while many of her friends were picked up even at 12 at noon by their mothers. She wanted sometimes her mummy or daddy also to do this. Yes, her mummy and daddy tried to pick her up as soon as they finished their work, but it was seldom at 12 at noon. So she accepted the fact and made friends with them who were staying whole day like her and slowly they created their own group, playing role plays in the late afternoon (like a fisherman family or a pirate family) which they did not play otherwise. They also could listen bonus stories from their kindergarten teachers during this time. During this phase, one day she came back home with the name of Pippi Langstruemph (German for Longstockings). She was beaming with joy talking about the adventures of Pippi and how brave she is, as she lives alone in a big villa because her father is a pirate and mother is an angel. She also added that Pippi is the strongest girl of the world and she is so strong that she can pick up her horse on her shoulders!
I did not know about Pippi before, and after asking google (my parenting guru actually) I found a whole box of treasure created by a very famous children author Astrid Lindgren from Sweden. In India we grew with children books from Indian languages (Bengali and Hindi in my case) and some books from UK (written by Enid Blyton mainly) and Russia (USSR then) and no wonder I never knew about the world famous Pippi and her friends Annika and Tomy, her monkey - Herr Nilson and her horse-Kleine Onkel. A quick check in wikipedia told me that Pippi was created by Astrid Lindgren for her daughter Karin (Karin gave the name Pippi), when she was ill and bed ridden. Astrid Lindgren also has created several other memorable characters like Madita, Karlsson on the roof, Michael, Roniya the Robber daughter, Lotta, and The Six Bullerby Children. She is very much loved in Europe for her creations.
All stories are like colourful gems for children around 4 to 10. The naughty, confident, and innocent lifestyle of each characters etched by the author also attracts the parents who read the stories or see the DVDs together with their kids. Their origin in a different land and in a different time (in early 1900) does not create any boundary among the readers of today. Of course Pippi is the most famous of all and for 'J' it was no exception. She was so much mesmerised by Pippi that she started wearing two different coloured socks and used to put freckles marks on her cheek using orange sketch pens, and she was always in search of something which she can use as orange hair just like Pippi. Since then 'J' also dreams to have her own horse one day.
It became a ritual then for us to go to library on thursdays and collect books, cassattes, CDs or DVDs of any of the Astrid Lindgren's Characters.
Pippi was becoming part of our life and without our notice Pippi helped us too (just like in her stories), in solving many upcoming challenges, like once I had to leave 'J' with her daddy for 10 days for a conference, and our super sensitive 'J' was not sad but proud to prove that she is very brave, 'Just like Pippi'!
Later, we left Germany and came to UK, 'J' made new friends in her new school using Pippi Longstocking's caricatures and jokes.
In UK, after settling down a bit, it was daddy's turn to leave us and join his new job, I was sad and sitting quietly one day and 'J' came with the DVD of Pippi and told me "Come on mummy lets see this, if Pippi can live alone so can we"!