Pippi's monkey banned from child's obituary

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Pippi's monkey banned from child's obituary

Parents of a three-year-old boy who died suddenly at the end of last month wanted to include in their child's obituary a picture of Mr Nilsson - the monkey from the famous children's books about Pippi Longstocking. But Saltkråkan Ltd, which owns the image rights, said no.


Saltkråkan representatives told the boy's relatives that images from "Pippi Longstocking" and other stories by the late Swedish children's author Astrid Lindgren should only occur in "happy contexts" and in contexts directly related to the stories themselves.

According to one of the Saltkråkan representatives, Lindgren's granddaughter Malin Billing, this is in accordance with Lindgren's own wishes.

Billing told the Aftonbladet newspaper that it was "Astrid herself who decided that Ingrid Vang Nyman's drawings from the Pippi books would never illustrate anything new or other than Pippi's own life. The images belong to the stories about Pippi and not to any other stories."

The deceased boy's godmother, Anna Cavallin, described him as a huge Lindgren fan.

"He loved everything about Pippi Longstocking… Mr Nilsson was his favourite toy. He always carried it around with him", Cavallin said.

In an opinion piece for newspaper Aftonbladet, Cavallin pointed out that many of Lindgren's stories deal with tragic themes like sadness, longing and death. For instance, Pippi has to cope on her own since her mother is "in heaven" and her father is a pirate.

Saltkråkan's role is to "maintain Astrid Lindgren's legacy". If, Cavallin wrote, this involves "only bringing up 'happy' things then only a small part of her legacy will be maintained. That which gives her work depth and meaning for readers will disappear."

Billing said that Saltkråkan receives daily requests for image use:

"In order to handle them in a fair and consequent manner we need to have standard rules that apply in the same way to everyone."

"We try to keep to that principle…even when it comes to such distressing things as toddlers' death notices. Sometimes it is at the cost of very strong feelings, and we are sorry about that."

Saltkråkan was the name of the fictional Stockholm archipelago island in Astrid Lindgren's 1968 film "Vi på Saltkråkan" (Us on Seacrow Island).

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