Pelle Svansløs (Peter No Tail in English) is a cat who was born without a proper tail. He compensates this by studying hard and, much to the dismay of his archrival Måns, receives a fancy degree very few cats in Sweden have obtained. The Pelle Svanslös series, consisting of 12 books in total, was written by Gösta Knutsson between 1939 and 1972.
As his name suggests, Pelle has no tail. A rat bit his tail off when he was a kitten. But despite this mean mishap, Pelle grows into a kind-hearted young cat. He has been loved by many Swedish children for decades.
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Every summer, Gösta Knutsson spent a lot of time in Småland, and it was there that he came across a cat whose tail had been bitten off by a rat. That was the inspiration for the stories of Peter No-Tail. The first book was published in 1939 and was followed over the years by eleven more books. Each of the feline characters is based on a real person who Gösta knew well. The idea was that adults could have fun figuring out which real people were hidden behind these furry personae, while their children could just enjoy listening to the stories of Peter No-Tail.
The Story of Peter No-Tail
Once upon a time, there was a kind and naive cat, who was born on a farm outside Uppsala. When he was little, he had his tail bitten off by a big rat, and so everyone called him Peter No-Tail. One day, Peter lay down in a car to take a nap, and when he woke up, he found himself in Uppsala. There he was adopted by a family who lived in an apartment near the corner of Åsgränd and Övre Slottsgatan streets.
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Peter No Tail goes to America
Later in life Peter was visited by his relative Pelle Swanson who invites him over to visit his new home country America. There everything is bigger, even the rats are much fatter. Everything seems possible in America, even the prospect of finally having a proper tail and a sweetheart to call one’s own. That’s what the animated film from 1985 is all about.
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Uppsala pays homage Peter No Tail
To mark the cat’s popularity, there are many traces related to the children’s literature star around the city, such as a statue, a peep-hole (his residence), and crossing signs.
No wonder that Peter has become a celebrity in Uppsala. The road signs in front of Carolina Rediviva Library have something unusual: cats. On closer look, you might notice the adult cat leading kittens has no tail. He isn’t just an ordinary bobtail cat.
Check also out Peter’s peep-hole in Åsgränd Street or go on a Peter No-Tail walking tour.
Do You Know Peter No Tail from Sweden? written by Tor Kjolberg