Forgotten Christmas Story Found

Robin Wright Penn gestures, during a photo call for the movie "The Private Lives of Pippa Lee" at the 35th American Film Festival, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2009, in Normandy, France.
A little-known Christmas story from the Pippi Longstocking series has been rediscovered in a library nearly a year after the death of its author, Astrid Lindgren.

"I found this little story by chance some weeks ago," said Lena Toernqvist, secretary of the Astrid Lindgren Society and a librarian at Stockholm's Royal Library.

Toernqvist found the one-page story, "Pippi Longstocking Celebrates Christmas," while working on an exhibition of illustrations to Lindgren's books.

"I had never heard about this story before, despite having worked for the association for 30 years and neither had any member of Lindgren's family," Toernqvist said Tuesday.

Lindgren, who died Jan. 28 at age 94, wrote novels, short stories, plays, song books and poetry. She was best known for books featuring Pippi Longstocking, a strong-willed girl with braided red hair, freckles and mismatched stockings.

The newly discovered story is about three children seemingly headed for a cheerless Christmas. Their father is away at sea and their mother is in the hospital. But Pippi storms in, replete with horse, monkey, gifts and a Christmas tree to make the holiday bright.

The story was published once - in 1949, as an insert in a children's magazine. The other side of the page featured a clip-out doll of Pippi Longstocking.

"As it was published at the back of a clip-out doll, I believe most copies of the story were cut up," Toernqvist said.

By Tommy Grandell