‘Snow’ by Tove Jansson, translated by Kingsley Hart

A young girl and her mother are staying in a big empty house in the country so the mother can work on her illustrations. Snow falls and falls outside until there is only an underwater light filtering through the blanketed windows. The girl tells us, “Then we began our underground life. We walked around in our nighties and did nothing. Mummy didn’t draw. We were bears with pine needles in our stomachs and anyone who dared come near our winter lair was torn to pieces. We were lavish with the wood, and threw log after log onto the fire until it roared.” When the scraping of shovels comes, we feel as angry as the girl at being torn from this subterranean life.

First published in Bildhuggarens dotter, 1968, a childhood memoir, which was translated as Sculptor’s Daughter in 1969. Collected in A Winter Book: Selected Stories by Tove JanssonSort Of Books 2006

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