Mio, min Mio

Mio

Nine-year-old Karl Anders Nilsson, ‘Andy’, lives on Upplandsgatan in Stockholm with his foster parents Auntie Hulda and Uncle Olaf. They think he’s difficult and a nuisance. Andy wishes he had a father just like his friend Ben’s, who builds model airplanes with him. Andy’s real mother died when he was born and his foster mother believes that his father was probably just a good-for-nothing.

Through Auntie Lundin at the fruit-sellers, a magical golden apple, and a genie in an empty bottle, Andy travels to Greenfields Island and the Farawayland. Down by the seashore Andy discovers his father the King, who has been looking for him for nine years. It turns out his name isn’t Andy after all - but Mio.

From Greenfields Island there’s a bridge leading to Outer land where the cruel Knight Kato resides, where almost everything is black, and where the people are starved and miserable. Mio and his friend Pompoo accept the mission to fight against Kato and liberate Outer land.

A magnificent and beautiful adventure tale about abandonment, about being little and having to shoulder great responsibility, about parenthood, good and evil, and about the power of love.

The story behind Mio, My Son

Astrid Lindgren passed through Tegnérlunden park in Stockholm every day on the way from her home on Dalagatan to her work at Rabén & Sjögren publishers. One evening she noticed a little boy sitting all by himself on a bench in the park.

Astrid recounted how the story came about in a radio interview:

“Mio, My Son, well that was really just a short story that I wrote, and I’m not sure exactly how I came to think of it, it begins of course in Tegnérlunden. I was walking through Tegnérlunden when I saw a little boy on a bench, and so I started thinking, well, perhaps he lives in that building over there. And then I started thinking a bit about that, and the fact that he was sitting there. And how a genie in a bottle appeared and how they flew away to the Land of Faraway. But I didn’t set out to write about it any more than that. The story was published in a newspaper at the time. Then, several years later, I began wondering how he was doing over there. If he had someone to play with now that he didn’t have Ben, whom he’d left behind back home on Tegnérgatan.”

Mio på en bänk

Illustration: Ilon Wikland