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Minnikin Commentary

The original tale concerns two boys, born one right after another, who are able to walk and talk just after birth. Immediately, they leave home and set out to seek their fortune. I have greatly emphasized its comic virtues and changed it so that it is about the adventures of two girls.

The child who is able to speak at birth is an archetype sometimes encountered in dreams and equated with knowledge; a number of religious figures have stories about them which relate they were able to speak at birth. What is curious here is the "doubling" of the children, one of them being named Pippin and the other Minnikin, especially when one considers that the word minnikin is given as equivalent to the word minne, love, but means a person or object that is delicate or diminutive, which leads me to wonder if there isn't also a relationship to be had with manikin, or mannikin, which is diminutive of man, and can mean a little man or dwarf, or a model of a human. It seems sensible as both can mean something small. This recalls that the "apple of one's eye" is a beloved one, yet the word puppet is related to pupil (of the eye, or a student) in that both come from the word pupa, meaning a little doll or puppet. An insect in its transformative stage between large and imago is also a pupa. The story of Pinocchio then is in the same class as Minnikin, as it concerns a "puppet" who is on his way to being a real boy, and though he is a puppet he recalls the magickal speaking child.

This doubling feature, brings up again the older sibling and younger sibling struggle seen often in tales, but identifies one of those supposed "siblings" as the minnikin (or mannkin), as described above, indicating they are features of one personna, different aspects of a single individual.


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