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Ghost Story is the eleventh episode in the first series of the 2019 television series Moominvalley.

Synopsis

Moomintroll uses the services of a little ghost to convince Snork Maiden that he is brave. But when his trick backfires, Moomintroll is the one who needs saving.

Plot

Moominpappa returns home to his "humble abode" one "foreboding" night near an isolated house atop a rock. He locks himself in the house, after catching sight of a "transparent being". He worries that the being might be able to "pass through" doors, and eventually hides himself under a bed. A cold draught blows past Moominpappa and suddenly he is horrified to see a "thingy" pass through his door. Moomintroll interrupts Moominpappa's story with a drawn-out, terrified yell, much to Snorkmaiden and Little My's embarrassment. Little My rolls her eyes as Snorkmaiden covers her face and Moomintroll apologises to them.

Moominpappa suggests that he will read the story when Moomintroll is "a little older", and Moomintroll protests and insists he is fine, however Moominpappa goes to bed. He tells the other three to sleep well "if [they] can", and Little My laughs while Moomintroll looks scared. Snorkmaiden coos at Moomintroll getting "all scared" and Moomintroll laughs and says it was a "silly old ghost story", however he leaps up in fright when Little My drops a couple of ice cubes down his back. Moomintroll defends himself when Snorkmaiden begins to look sorry for him again, and Little My jokes about "the icy touch of death". Snorkmaiden decides it's time for her to leave, and Moomintroll insists he will walk her home, however he cries out in terror again when he mistakes her white cape for a ghost. Snorkmaiden pats him on the arm and tells him that she can manage "on her own", and she leaves while Moomintroll gets his breath back from being scared.

Little My tells Moomintroll that Snorkmaiden will never call him "her hero" again, and Moomintroll replies that Snorkmaiden isn't "like that", and that she likes a fellow who is "in touch with his feelings". Little My asks if he means someone who screams "like a herring gull", and then tells Moomintroll that she thought he might be braver, seeing as they "already" live in a haunted house. Moomintroll runs up to the teapot Little My has hidden inside and calls down the spout that their house isn't haunted. Little My says to him: "don't tell me you haven't seen it", and when Moomintroll asks what she means she tells him about a "spirit on the stairs", a "banshee in the bedroom" and a "creeper in the kitchen". Little My whispers in his ear, drawing him in closer until she surprises him with a kiss on the cheek. Moomintroll tells her that he doesn't believe her.

That night, Moomintroll lies awake in bed, jumping up at every sound he hears. He realises that the noises are just owls and tree branches, however, when he hears creaking on the stairs he hides under his bedsheet. Moomintroll calls out to Little My, thinking it is her, however there is no response. The door rattles before opening, and as a ghost appears and says "woo" as it slowly approaches Moomintroll in his bed. Moomintroll leaps out from under his sheets, falls out of bed and then hides under his bed as the ghost continues to wail and come closer. The ghost interrupts his wailing with a sneeze and a surprised Moomintroll offers him a handkerchief, however the ghost blows its nose on its translucent sheet. The ghost explains that it is allergic to dust and asks Moomintroll if it can start again and Moomintroll says: "be my guest". The ghost begins to haunt Moomintroll again, however he isn't scared and tells the ghost that the moment has gone.

The ghost begins to cry, saying that it is a "disgrace to spirits everywhere". Moomintroll sits on his bed and invites the ghost to talk about it. The ghost hovers next to him and explains that it wanted to "drive a train" or "make shoes", and says it wanted to do "anything but this". The ghost says that when the pumpkins are "full and orange" and the woods are "dark and eerie" it is supposed to be its time, however it is "no good at scaring". Moomintroll reassures the ghost that it is alright, saying that he isn't very good at being "strong" or "brave". The ghost wonders if the two of them could help each other, and Moomintroll realises that they can. He explains that he could make the ghost seem scary, and in turn the ghost could help him look brave. Moomintroll asks to see the ghost the same time the next night, and the ghost sees itself out - floating through Moomintroll's bedroom door. It sticks its head back through the door to shout "boo" and Moomintroll laughs. The ghost tells him that it is "so excited" and that it is going to spook the mice in the attic, which is "always good for the soul". The ghost calls Moomintroll its friend before leaving, and Moomintroll smiles.

In his study the next day, Moominpappa is writing down the tale of his adventures with a ghost on Horror Island and Hodgkins' tool chest. Moominpappa looks up to see books removing themselves from his bookcase and comments: "spooky". He peers around the bookshelf to find Moomintroll, who is wanting to borrow ghost stories. Moominpappa takes a look at the books and lets Moomintroll borrow them all except one: "Spirits and How to Mix Them". He tells Moomintroll not to read them "before bed", or he'll never get to sleep, and Moomintroll says to himself: "that's the idea".

That night, Moomintroll is awake in bed, reading one of his ghost stories. He hears creaking outside his bedroom door and asks if it is the "little ghost", before turning back to his bed to find the ghost floating right next to him, which makes Moomintroll cry out in surprise and clutch onto his book. The ghost laughs and greets him, and Moomintroll tells the ghost that he thought it said it was no good at scaring, and the ghost thanks him for the compliment. The ghost explains that it is just a "classic misdirection scare", which one can't do all the time, otherwise people will expect it. Moomintroll invites the ghost to sit next to him again and tells him what he has learnt from his ghost stories. Moomintroll explains that he thinks the ghost needs to do a little less "woo-woo-ing" and a little more talking, but the ghost says how he has such a squeaky voice. Moomintroll says he could put one on, and he wraps a sheet around himself and demonstrates with his own deep voiced, ghost impression, saying: "beware the vengeance of the forgotten bones". The ghost tells him that his voice is "really good" and asks Moomintroll what it means, and Moomintroll tells him that it "doesn't matter" - so long as it sounds foreboding. The ghost tries, it's voice echoing and lighting striking behind it, and Moomintroll falls out of his bed in shock. He compliments the ghost and then finds that he has disappeared, only to see three books floating on the other side of his bedroom, which he says is "impressive". His wardrobe door begins to open and shut on it's own, and the ghost blows onto Moomintroll's neck, and he laughs.

Outside of Moomintroll's bedroom, Little My hears the voices inside and kicks open the door to ask Moomintroll what he is "up to". She finds Moomintroll tucked up in bed, reading, and she joins him to take a closer look at what he is reading. Little My asks him if he is "practicing being brave" by reading ghost stories, and says that it is "no wonder" that "she" hasn't come to visit him again. Moomintroll says that if she is referring to Snorkmaiden, she's coming to stay the next night, and Little My narrows her eyes at him. She tells Moomintroll to make sure he doesn't "shiver to pieces" in front of her, and leaves, shutting the door behind her.

Once Little My has left, the bedsheet transforms into the ghost, who was in disguise. The ghost tells Moomintroll that he finds Little My "terrifying", and Moomintroll says "tell me about it". They decide to "get to work".

Snorkmaiden walks alone through the woods, pausing when she hears a branch snap in the distance. She turns back to suddenly find Moomintroll stood next to her, who says "boo". Snorkmaiden rolls her eyes at him fondly, and the two make their way through the woods. Moomintroll begins to monologue about a storm approaching, and says it is "woe betide" any traveller who walks alone in the "haunted wood". Snorkmaiden raises an eyebrow and asks why Moomintroll is talking like his dad. Moomintroll feigns nonchalance as he tells her that he thought that he could read her the "scary ghost story" he wrote. Snorkmaiden agrees, as long as he doesn't get "too scared". Moomintroll laughs at the idea of being scared and takes Snorkmaiden's arm, announcing: "let us away". Snorkmaiden giggles.

Once Snorkmaiden and Moomintroll have returned to Moominhouse, Moomintroll begins to tell her his story. It begins on a "dark and stormy night", and heavy wagons of stone were rolling and rumbling. In the room next to them, the ghost begins to shake a sheet of metal, creating a rumbling noise. Snorkmaiden gasps, looking uncertain. Moomintroll continues his story, saying that ghosts walked the land, "dragging their chains", and the little ghost rattles some chains. Snorkmaiden leaves her seat to stand closer to Moomintroll, asking how he is "doing that". Moomintroll says that in a kitchen "just like this one", two "brave friends" sat and watched in wonder as "strange" and "unnatural" things occurred. The pots and pans in the kitchen begin to float around by themselves, and Snorkmaiden squeals in terror. Moomintroll continues his story as he punches at the kitchen utensils, saying that "luckily" the brave, strong and "exceedingly handsome" Moomintroll was there to save his "fair maiden". He says how suddenly, there came a knock at the door, and the kitchen door is knocked twice, and Moomintroll amends that part of his story to two knocks.

Snorkmaiden stands whimpering in fright as she looks at the door, and she screams when Moomintroll places a hand on her shoulder suddenly, saying "the hand of doom". The lock on the door slides open and the door is flung wide, and the ghost appears, who says "beware the vengeance of the forgotten bones" in it's echoing voice. Snorkmaiden jumps behind Moomintroll in fright while Mooomintroll asks the ghost: "what bewitchment is this?" The ghost being to wail as it floats closer and closer, and Moomintroll and Snorkmaiden back away as Snorkmaiden continues to make sounds of terror from behind him. The ghost sneezes and Moomintroll quietly says "bless you", before continuing dramatically to tell the ghost to return to the darkness from "whence it came". He begins to walk forwards and the ghost plays along as it retreats, yelling as it floats back into the next room, and Moomintroll locks the door. Snorkmaiden continues to whimper from the corner of the kitchen.

Moments later, Moomintroll places a cup of tea in front of Snorkmaiden, who sits at the table shaking in fear, her eyes wide. Moomintroll says to her: "fear not my love, I shall return", and goes into the next room to talk to the little ghost. The two of them try to shake each other's hands and congratulate each other on being "wonderful". The ghost asks Moomintroll if it was "really" scary, and Moomintroll says it was "ghastly". Moomintroll asks the ghost how brave he was, and the ghost replies: "like a very white lion". They continue to talk about the sound effects and Snorkmaiden looks over at the room as she hears them talking. She opens the door to find the two of them talking about planning their next "supernatural performance" and watches the ghost return to the attic, frowning at Moomintroll before closing the door.

Snorkmaiden and Moomintroll retire to their rooms, and Moomintroll tells her to sleep well, and tells her that if she has any "scary dreams" she knows where to find him. Once Moomintroll has gone to bed, Snorkmaiden says to herself that she can take care of herself "thank you very much". In the attic, the ghost scares some mice, saying that it'll "teach them" for bullying him "all these years". The ghost turns around to find Snorkmaiden standing there, looking very cross. The ghost is surprised but attempts to scare her, repeating his earlier speech to "beware" of the "forgotten bones", however Snorkmaiden steps closer and asks: "why should I?" The ghost struggles to answer and sneezes, becoming smaller and smaller as it backs away. Snorkmaiden tells it that it can't just go around scaring people "or mice", because it's "not nice". The ghost tries to explain itself, however Snorkmaiden traps it in a bottle, now that it is small enough to be contained. She tells the ghost to "try and escape from that", saying that the bottle is "for spirits". She places the bottle containing the little ghost on her windowsill, wishing it "sweet dreams" before closing the window and going to bed. The ghost taps on the glass and apologises, saying how it didn't mean to upset her, but Snorkmaiden has already left the window.

The door to Moomintroll's room opens slowly and Moomintroll looks at a ghost story, welcoming the ghost and telling it that he is getting some "new ideas" for their next "performance". However, he looks at the door to find Snorkmaiden there instead of the little ghost, with her arms crossed, and he jumps, dropping his book. Snorkmaiden tells him that she's just "cancelled" the next performance and that his "little ghost friend" is sleeping on the attic windowsill. Snorkmaiden waves him goodnight and tells him not to have any nightmares, calling him her "brave Moomintroll" pointedly. Moomintroll rushes to the door to explain to Snorkmaiden, however he stops and decides to go up to the attic, instead.

In the attic, the little ghost is still trapped in a bottle on the windowsill, and it notices Moomintroll and calls to him for help. Moomintroll cries out in worry and hurries to open the window, however he accidentally pushes the trapped ghost from the windowsill, and it begins to roll down the hill away from Moominhouse. Moomintroll goes outside to chase after the bottle containing the ghost, however it falls into the fast-flowing river and is carried away. The ghost continues to call out to Moomintroll for help as he struggles to keep up with the river, running alongside it. Moomintroll waits on the bridge with a stick to stop the bottle, which momentarily works, until a branch breaks and falls onto Moomintroll, causing him to fall into the river, too. Moomintroll emerges from the water to find that he still has the ghost's bottle caught in his stick, but the ghost points out that they are heading for the sea. Moomintroll manages to hold onto a wooden pole and pull himself to shore, relieved as he tells the ghost that they are safe.

A bolt of lightening suddenly catches the stick and breaks it in two, and the ghost in the bottle is dropped back into the water. Moomintroll watches in horror as the bottle is carried out into sea, bobbing up and down in the large waves of the storm. Moomintroll panicks and hops up and down before steadying himself and looking determined as he swims out into the ocean. He is carries on a very large wave and fails to grab onto the ghost's bottle. The ghost wishes his "mortal friend" Moomintroll "farewell" as it is carried further out to sea, but Moomintroll manages to catch the bottle as it is thrown into the air by another large wave, and they land on a rock, the bottle smashing and freeing the little ghost.

Moomintroll sits on the rock with the ghost beside him, isolated by the sea all around them with no way of escape. Moomintroll laments the "brave hero" he didn't quite turn out to be, and the ghost tells him to look on the "bright side", that soon Moomintroll will be a ghost like him, and they'll be able to "go into haunting" together. Moomintroll clutches onto himself and wails at the ghost's words, before suddenly remembering that the ghost can float. He tells the ghost to get some help and the ghost floats away, telling Moomintroll to stay where he is. Moomintroll shakes his head fondly at the ghost's words and sits down on the lonely rock to wait for rescue.

In her spare room at Moominhouse, Snorkmaiden wakes up with shock to find the ghost hovering beside her. The ghost tells her to "beware" of "awful peril", and Snorkmaiden dismisses him, mimicking him and says: "the awful peril of the hidden skulls, or some such nonsense". The ghost tells her that it is Moomintroll, who is in awful peril "out at sea". Snorkmaiden switches on her lamp and asks how "on earth" Moomintroll ended up at sea, and the ghost explains that he swam out to save it. Snorkmaiden frowns at the ghost and tells it that it had "better not" be another on of the spirit's tricks. The ghost wrings water out of it's translucent sheet to prove that it is telling the truth.

Both Snorkmaiden and the little ghost run along the shore of the beach in search of Moomintroll. The ghost explains how it doesn't really like scaring people "for a living", and that it wanted to be "gardener", or an "opera singer", or work in a kitchen, and Snorkmaiden tries to reply but is distracted with looking for Moomintroll. She spots him sat on the rock in the middle of the sea, and the ghost asks what she thinks, and she tells it that she is going to row out to get Moomintroll. The ghost clarifies that it was asking about it's career opportunities, and Snorkmaiden says: "how about this for a job?" and tells it to stay there and glow as brightly as it can. The ghost glows even more brightly and Snorkmaiden pushes the boat out to sea.

On the rock, Moomintroll cries and shivers, talking to himself about his "wretched fate" to "die alone" on a rock in an "empty" sea. He is surprised by Snorkmaiden saying "boo" and sees her in a rowing boat next to the rock. He says in astonishment that she came to save him and rushes into the boat to hug her. Snorkmaiden reminds Moomintroll that they are not "home and dry" yet, and Moomintroll agrees, saying that it is hard to see where the shore is. Snorkmaiden tells him that she knows, and Moomintroll helps her sail back towards the light of the little ghost on the shore. The two of them make it back and the ghost welcomes them happily, and Snorkmaiden and Moomintroll thank the ghost before sharing a proper hug. The ghost attempts to put it's arms around them and join in, and they all laugh.

Back home in front of the fire, Snorkmaiden and Moomintroll drink cups of tea as Moomintroll apologises. He tells Snorkmaiden he is sorry for scaring her and nearly drowning her, explaining that he "only wanted to look brave". Snorkmaiden tells him that he is brave, to Moomintroll's surprise, and she points out that he went out to sea in a "raging storm" to save his friend. Snorkmaiden gives Moomintroll a kiss on top of his nose before going to bed, and she calls him her "brave Moomintroll" without any sarcasm. Moomintroll finds the ghost leaning over him as he sits near the fire, and he yawns and tells the ghost that he is heading to bed, too. He asks the ghost if it will be haunting the attic again that night, but the ghost tells him sadly that it doesn't think so. The ghost begins to turn green and Moomintroll asks what is happening to it. The ghost explains that it is time for it to go, and it floats over to the window, now fully green in colour. Moomintroll asks why the ghost has to go, and the ghost replies that it's "work" is done, because it saved Moomintroll, which was it's job. Moomintroll looks sad and reaches out towards the ghost, who tells him that it is okay.

The ghost opens the windows and floats outside. The sky above is filled with green lights, like the Aurora Borealis, and Moomintroll watches the ghost with tears in his eyes. The ghost turns around and asks Moomintroll one last thing: "was I your best friend?" Moomintroll sniffles and tells him "yes" and then mumbles to himself "well, after Snufkin". The ghost smiles at him before rising up into the sky to join the green lights, and tells Moomintroll "goodbye" as it disappears. Moomintroll looks out at the lights and says: "goodbye, little ghost".

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