Author: Hannele Huovi

The fairest in the land

26 January 2012 | Children's books, Fiction

Two fables from Gepardi katsoo peiliin (‘The cheetah looks into the mirror’, Tammi, 2003). Illustrations by Kirsi Neuvonen. (More fables by Hannele Huovi here.)


The air rippled above the pile of stones. The lizard twitched her hip and took up an s-shaped pose like an ordinary photo model. After a moment she changed her left side to a convex curve. The movement was quick and graceful; the lizard’s tail swished through a broad arc so quickly you could hardly see it. Her thin, blistery skin pressed against the surface of the stone. The lizard felt the rough, raised patterns through the thin skin of her belly. She felt unpleasant, but otherwise the place was good, and the lizard did not have the energy to look for a better one. She looked through her eyelashes at the fissured sky and saw the golden disc shining at the centre of the dome. She was happy. Everything in her life was good, the weather was pleasantly dry, the temperature exactly suitable. More…

Animal crackers

30 June 2004 | Children's books, Fiction

Fables from the children’s book Gepardi katsoo peiliin (‘A cheetah looks into the mirror’, Tammi, 2003). Illustrations by Kirsi Neuvonen


The rhinoceros was late. She went blundering along a green tunnel she’d thrashed through the jungle. On her way, she plucked a leaf or two between her lips and could herself hear the thundering of her own feet. Snakes’ tails flashed away from the branches and apes bounded out of the rhino’s path, screaming. The rhino had booked an afternoon appointment and the sun had already passed the zenith.

When the rhinoceros finally arrived at the beautician’s, the cosmetologist had already prepared her mud bath. The rhino was able to throw herself straight in, and mud went splattering all round the wide hollow. More…

The stone’s silence

Issue 2/2000 | Archives online, Fiction, poetry

From Kiven vaitiolo (‘The stone’s silence’, Tammi, 1999). Introduction by Peter Mickwitz

I buried you
    in an onion field 
the way to take care of a love whose stems 
suddenly rupture, tubes break
   the earth's covered by 
chickweed, goose foot and red-veined 
leaves of sorrel, deep down 
the inflamed wound, as sand that glints 
in the soil, underground 
golden domes and weeping under the crust
    I tear 
with dry hands the green and you do not hear 
    because you are cry and dirt 
and onion and God and a man who's been thought
   into the ground 
and the sun is wise and hot, underground 
the trees' root systems are fishing
    for strength
there is enough left for a sigh


The dog

Issue 3/1992 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

From the collection of short stories Matka Grönlannin halki (‘A journey across Greenland’, Tammi, 1992)

The water in this town tasted of shit. Unto swallowed a couple of mouthfuls, gargled the rest and spat it into the wash-basin. The taste of garlic and old booze disappeared and only a flavour of metal remained on his palate. Unto glanced at the mirror and began to fumble for a comb. The bags under his eyes were flushed.

He pulled a clean shirt from his suitcase, and suddenly remembered how Mervi smelt in bed. There was a stirring in his groin, and unconsciously Unto sniffed at his shirt-sleeve as he buttoned his cuffs. In front of the mirror, he straightened the hem of his cardigan, combed his moustache and drew a deep breath. He felt like some meat soup. More…

‘ware bears!

Issue 3/1988 | Archives online, Children's books, Fiction

Urpo and Turpo

Illustration: Jukka Lemmetty

Urpo and Turpo are a pair of teddy bears. Their family – mother, father and three children – cannot imagine who it is that makes such a mess; the bears live their own absorbing lives in house. Hannele Huovi’s text and Jukka Lemmetty’s illustrations describe the bears’ antics in a way that appeals to the sense of humour of readers of all ages.

In the green house an ordinary family are living a perfectly ordinary life. There’s father, mother, The Big Daughter, The Son, and also The Baby as well. Mother keeps running back and forth all day long shouting, ‘Goodness gracious! Who’s responsible for this?’ For very funny things keep going on in the house. Who on earth is it – always getting up to some sort of hanky-panky?

Father harrumphs and says to The Big Daughter:

‘It was you, wasn’t it?’ But The Big Daughter shakes her head. Father turns to The Son:

‘So it must have been you, then?’ But the son shakes his head. No use asking The Baby. He shakes his head anyway, because he’s always imitating the others. Father and mother are completely stumped. More…