Pumuckl und Ellis Kaut


Pumukel – პუმუკელ – Pumiki – Voroojak – hans Pilfinger – Frou Frou ΦΡΟΥ-ΦΡΟΥ – Pumukli – Pumuky – Pumuckl

Ein schwerer Monat für Liebhaber von Kinderliteratur, in dem wir von einer weiteren Autorin Abschied nehmen, der Erfinderin des rotschopfigen Pumuckl – einem frechen kleinen Kobold. Dieser bleibt in einer bayrischen Schreinerwerkstatt kleben und, nun sichtbar für den Schreinermeister Eder, muss er nach altem Klabauterbrauch dort bleiben und stellt dessen Welt gründlich auf den Kopf…


Turns out to be a rough month for children’s literature, as we wave goodbye to another beloved author who gave us flamy-haired Pumuckl, a cheeky little hobgoblin who get’s stuck on a pot of glue in the workshop of a Bavarian carpenter, thus becoming visible to this one human. Now they are stuck with each other, according to ancient goblin rites. The goblin moves in and shakes up everything around him.

Pumuckl’s temper ranges between good-natured and easily incensed. He is playing tricks all the time causing wrongs he then often tries to right, because at the bottom of his not so very dark goblin heart, he is a dear wee fella that simply has to learn what his behaviour causes for others. And all that without taking your eyes out with a big moral finger being pointed.

With children’s entertainment aimed to excite more than to illuminate for some time now, this simple method of storytelling may seem a little tame to some today. However, Pumuckl embodies the overboarding enthusiasm, naivety and charm of children, together with their selfish streak inevitably present in everyone, but never out of malice. He is left to express himself and explore his little world but also learns about consequences of his actions. As things unfold, matters are being explained and amends are being made, including nasty humans being scared, there is always something to be learned, always something to be taken on board. Not always easy for a former ship’s goblin.

Pumuckl is playing with words, too: Rhyming and bursting into happy songs horrible to behold, and swapping letters, mashing up syllables with his screetchy voice, while he is learning new words and things all the time.

He is probably the only children’s book character I know of, who combines hyperactive talking with a passion for words only rivalled by, possibly, Stephen Fry. Who is, of course, not a character from a book, but him and books, children’s books, audiobooks, words, letters and character simply go together. And if he did not exist, someone would have to invent him. We don’t have to, luckily, as nature was so gracious as to invent him for us.
And that is what Ellis Kaut, passed away now in her 95th year, did for us when she created her little flame-haired creature. Pumuckl has enriched the landscape of characters from kiddies books, and safe be he from diets and boring dialogue!
Go on, goblining!


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