Monday, April 28, 2014

Pessi and Ilusia

Book cover illustrated by Kristina Segercrantz
Yrjö Kokko 1944

Pessi and Illusia is a story about a fairy (Illusia) that lives on rainbow. Illusia comes down to earth and meets Pessi, a troll, whose name is short for pessimist.  Illusia has "a smile that warms like the rising sun". Illusia stays so long that the sun sets and she can’t see the rainbow anymore.

The next few days are so dry that the rainbow never appears ,then comes a spider that envies Illusia’s famous father, Illusion, and bits off Illusia’s wings. Now she can never get back on the rainbow.

Pessi tries to make Illusia feel at home, but winter is coming. Luckily the forest animals help them: a muskrat digs them a hole and birds teach them to make a soft bed. Pessi also kills an evil weasel and a mouse makes a fur coat for Illusia.

 In the spring Illusia is very sick, but turns out she is having a baby. A new creature is born: a hairless troll.
Pessi and Illusia decorating their home
(Illustration by Kristina Segercrantz)
Pessi takes care of Illusia
(Illustration by Kristina Segercrantz)
The fairy tale has the following chapters:
Missing fairies
Briefbearer Bumblebee
Cross Spider
Crayfish and seashell
Sundew and drone
Daphina and heath spotted orchid
Miss Cuseuta and Princes Centaurea
Human and goose
War of the frogs
Jay and Muskrat
Mountain Ash
New Human
Heath spotted orchid
(Photograph by Yrjö Kokko)
Cover of th e1963's edition
(Photograph by Yrjö Kokko)
In the animal stories, frogs think they are related to humans, because both have calves and then one of the frogs start to think that that is not the case and a religious war starts,a muskrat wants to be called a small beaver and a jay is the forest gossip. At the same time, the soldiers find pearls inside the mussels and pick peat, where the sundew lives. The war is very present in this story. In the final chapter, Yrjö Kokko tell about his vacation from the war and how his family is waiting for him.
Cross Spide (Photograph by Yrjö Kokko)
Yrjö Kokko was a vet and he had studied in the 1920's in Tarto, Hannover and Vienna. He also was a passionate photographer and he illustrated his book with photos. His occupation explains why he uses Latin names for the animals in Pessi and Illusia. He describes the nature beautifully:  "Cloud slept on the surface of the lake and even the shadows of the reeds were yawning."

Book cover illustrated by Aleksander LindebergPessi and Illusia meet
(Illustration by Aleksander Lindeberg)
 The story has been illustrated three times: first illustrations were photographs Yrjö Kokko took, the second has illustrations by Aleksander Lindberg and the third has illustrations by Kristiina Segergranz.

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