Like many fairy tale stories, this one begins once upon a time.
Our story takes place in the endearing land of Moominvalley. A beautiful section of earth thriving with a multitude of colorful flora and fauna. From the flower-field meadows, to the lush forests, the rugged majesty of the Lonely Mountains, and the many rivers, lakes, and waterfalls that all found their way to the breathtaking shoreline of the ocean, many would call it a piece of paradise. For those who lived there, they thought exactly that of their home.
None more so than the Moomins. Who had the name first, be it the family of trolls or the valley itself remains a mystery, but few argued against that the Moomins were the heart of Moominvalley. The happy family of three who lived in a blue cylinder house by the riverside at the near center of the land.
There was Moominpappa, the patriarch and a moomin of many talents. A born adventurer, there was seemingly no end to his stories he now spent most of his days regaling to print in his memoirs. Still, whenever the song of adventure came, he answered the call and set off to have another chapter to add to his writings, his cane and dapper top hat in hand.
There was also Moominmamma, Moominpappa’s beloved and the family matriarch. Moominpappa may have been the one to build Moominhouse and the bridge on the riverside, but it was Moominmamma who made the house into a home. Her kindness and skill in the culinary arts unrivaled, she was bar none the greatest treasure Moominpappa ever found (not to mention the most beautiful, in his eyes).
Lastly, there was young Moomin, their only son. Named after his father, Moomin was a spirited and caring child in his own right, and what many would contest to having a heart as pure as the white of his fur. Every night, he wished on the stars to find his own adventures like his Pappa did at his age.
In fact, nearly all days of the year (not including hibernation months) Moomin would set out to explore the valley in search of adventures. He would often be accompanied by his three friends Sniff, Snorkmaiden and Little My.
Depending on the nature of the ‘adventure’ tended to determine who would join for the day if it appealed to their persuasions. Unless deemed ‘too boring’ for her tastes, Little My seemed to always tag along, but was especially enthusiastic about the promise of danger and monsters many times her tiny mymble size.
“The bigger they are, the greater my glory for being the one to take them down!” she’d boast, then snap her teeth to show off her infamous powerful bite.
Snorkmaiden wasn’t as keen on danger or any activity that was too ‘messy’ or ‘dirty’. She preferred the more casual adventures that were mostly just walks through the forests or collecting sea shells on the beach, but would be more willing to step outside her comfort zone if Moomin stayed close by to her. The rest of the times she declined, she would send them off with good luck wishes and occasionally request a souvenir from Moomin.
Sniff was much simpler creature. He was the most cowardly and easily frightened of their friend group. Anything that remotely put his nerves on edge (which was many, many things), he was the first to decline joining Moomin. However, his mind was quick to change with all worries forgotten if there was even a hint that treasure would be involved.
Many such ‘adventures’ happened throughout their youth. Alas, as fun as their small exploits were, Moomin longed for the “real deal” to experience like those his father spoke of in his stories.
By the time he was a teenager, Moomin would get his wish.
One day, the Moomins were greeted to several visitors at their doorstep. To Moominpappa’s surprise, they were all the familiar faces of his good friends from his youth: the brilliant-minded inventor, Samuel Hodgkins Fredrikson, his nephew and niece-in-law the Muddler and Fuzzy, who were Sniff’s parents, and the feline-like vagabond, Joxter.
While pleasantly surprised to see his old friends from his adventuring days again, Moominpappa was most perplexed as to why three of them were shouldering a very morose and inebriated Joxter at the front door of Moominhouse.
“Has been like this for the last month at least,” Fredrikson explained. “All he’s done is wail about a great loss and upcoming disaster, drinking until he passes out. Nothing will cheer him up.”
“Whatever has made him so upset?” Moominpappa asked, wrought with worry over the state of their friend.
“We have no idea. Every time we ask, he just bursts into tears and won’t stop crying until he falls asleep from it.” Muddler said with a shake of his head.
Indeed it was an exercise in futility to try and coax any answers from Joxter. Hearing his heartbreaking lamentations once after one attempt was enough to dissuade any more. It was highly worrying behavior from the normally carefree and laid-back mumrik. Whenever he wasn’t guzzling booze, he’d only repeat the same few words.
“The Forebodings! The Forebodings!” Joxter would slur and hiccup in a hysteric frenzy. “Something terrible is coming! Something horrible is coming this way! We must all go! Before it takes all you cherish like how what I cherished was stolen from me!!”
Joxter would go up to anyone and everyone spouting these words like a chant. Between the alcohol on his breath, his bloodshot blue eyes, and his worsened ragged appearance, he looked very much the part of a madman shouting nonsense. Thus, his words fell on deaf ears.
Seldom is the word of a drunkard taken seriously.
Even Moominpappa and his friends, who knew all about the Joxter’s unique and highly accurate clairvoyant talents for predicting ill omens, doubted his claims. For Joxter was also a known trickster in their circle and had gone to many such elaborate lengths to fool them all in the past for his own amusement. They didn’t know whether or not to believe him.
As spring came to an end, they all wished they had.
When summer arrived in Moominvalley that year, it was scorching and merciless. The season lay waste to the valley, running the rivers dry and killing off all its plant life. No rain or even a gust of wind granted any reprieve from the suffocating heat. With the crops reduced to dust and no sign of better weather to come to salvage anything for when the autumn harvest came, the denizens feared for their livelihood.
The Moominvalley inhabitants banded together to make the best of their situation for their own survival. Fredrikson and the Snork, Snorkmaiden’s inventive older brother, joined forces to put their minds together to create a water purification and irrigation system that would transport water from the sea to the valley but also purify it of salts and other contaminants. They found some success in providing a source of accessible drinking water for everyone, but had yet to regrow the plant life snuffed out by the sun.
Despite the community camaraderie, many shunned and scapegoated the Joxter for the misfortune. Ms Fillyjonk was especially vocal and scathing about it, no matter how many times Moominpappa chased her off his property every time she came by to complain. Joxter himself never seemed to be fully lucid to be bothered either way, continuing to sleep, drink and murmur sad nothings about bad Forebodings.
After a month with no change in the drought and famine, young Moomin decided to do something about it.
This is the tale of his quest and how he found the first greatest adventure of his lifetime.