Pippi Longstocking

Pippi Longstocking, created by Sweden’s Astrid Lindgren is my favourite rascally character. I think the term rascal may dependant on from which perspective you are viewing a person.  As nuisance, or, I think in 9 year old Pippi’s story someone that courageously questions and subverts the dominant paradigm, such as authoritarian and condescending adults, including the law.

‘As recently as the mid-1990s, a Swedish social commentator argued that the ‘Pippi cult’ had had a highly detrimental effect on both school children and pre-school children in Sweden. ‘Pippi-worship has turned everything upside down, in schools, in family life and in terms of normal behaviour’, the commentator wrote in a leading Swedish daily.’


In her stories, the independent and unconventional Pippi, who’s father is away sailing the seas, is portrayed as kind and playful girl, although uneducated and with no proper manners. She is said to have saved children from unreasonable adult laws and from the dreaded ‘pluttification’ (multiplication) tables at school. Pippi is capable and has superhuman strength, being able to lift her horse one-handed. Pippi also has a pet monkey.

The Pippi character has continued to evolve throughout history, with the first book published in 1945 and has been translated into 70 languages, then adapted into several films and television series, including an early Shirley Temple in 1961. Pippi’s movies were reinterpreted globally from America to the USSR. I loved sharing the movies with my own daughter. Although she had supernatural power and courage, she was never violent.

2 rascals characters I also like are be Aussie Icon, Dame Edna Everage, created by Barry Humphries and I dream of Jeannie as she always puts her master in a precarious situation. Then there’s Mr Bean who can be a tad cringe-worthy and perhaps the 3 pigs in the ‘Shawn the Sheep’ series. The pigs are annoying opportunist rascally characters created by Aardman Animations.








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