Teety-Woo (also known as the Creep) is a small creature who appeared in the short story The Spring Tune from the book Tales from Moominvalley. Teety-Woo, who deeply admires Snufkin, follows him around on his journey when he is attempting to compose a new tune on his mouth-organ, and is eventually given his name by Snufkin, which gives him meaning in his life and causes him to become a very busy little creature.
Teety-Woo is an unspecified forest creature, similar to the likes of the woodies, toffles and miffles, with all of them being referred to little creatures or creeps. He is described as having a mop of hair, soft, light brown fur, and a brown tail. He is a small creature, saying of himself that: "I'm so small I haven't got a name." Teety-Woo is referred to as "the Creep" and "it" until receiving a name, and therefore an identity, and is referred to from then on as "Teety-Woo" and "he".
Tove Jansson's illustrations of Teety-Woo show him to be a small, furry creature with large whiskers and small claws. He appears small and grey-coloured in the 1990 anime series Moomin, and in the 2019 television series Moominvalley he is shown much the same as he is described in the book, as a little, brown creature.
Personality and traits
Teety-Woo is first introduced as a very shy and self conscious creature, yet interested and eager. Snufkin noted that the creature had the look of people "who are never noticed." Teety-Woo was extremely attentive to Snufkin when he came across him, watching Snufkin admiringly in a manner that made him uncomfortable. Teety-Woo has heard many stories of Snufkin and becomes quite obsessive of him, as though wishing to live vicariously through someone who he considers to live a more exciting life than his own.
After Snufkin has given Teety-Woo a name, the small creature gains confidence and starts to live life with more purpose. He finds himself no longer having time to dedicate to following after Snufkin, instead busy with finding meaning in his actions and setting about finding a proper home for himself. Teety-Woo says that, now that he has a name, everything that happens "means something". He finds himself in a hurry to keep busy, saying that he has to "live as fast as [he] can", because he feels he has lost a lot of time already.
Teety-Woo was a quite forgettable creature in his past, finding that things tended to happen around him instead of happening to him. His family is unknown except for his mother, and he is familiar with a hedgehog and a toffle, who told him stories about Snufkin which caused him to quite admire the vagabond.
He is quite jumpy when first introduced, watching Snufkin's every movement as he approaches his campsite. Teety-Woo is so keen to speak to Snufkin that he wades across a brook to reach him, even though it is a difficult journey for such a small creature. Teety-Woo asks to sit near the campfire, then touches Snufkin's knapsack reverently, asking if he has his mouth-organ and if he is going to play any music, behaving very eagerly and excitably in Snufkin's presence, which makes the other uneasy.
Teety-Woo pesters Snufkin to give him a name, edging closer and closer to him as he continues to talk while Snufkin becomes quiet and uncomfortable. Teety-Woo talks about how wise Snufkin is, how he knows so much and is always right, and he longs to be as free as Snufkin, who responds by telling him that he can never "truly be free" if he admires someone too much. Snufkin becomes irritated at Teety-Woo's insistent nature, however relents and offers him the name "Teety-Woo" inspired by the sound of a flying creature.
Teety-Woo leaves and is later found by Snufkin, busy making a name plate, to hang on the door of his house once he has one of his own. Teety-Woo has moved away from home and "begun living", much to Snufkin's surprise and enjoyment. Snufkin, feeling guilty at his previous irritation, offers to play a tune or tell a story, however Teety-Woo explains that he's in a hurry at that moment, busy getting on with living his life for the first time.
Teety-Woo appears in the following media:
- Tales from Moominvalley - Teety-Woo appears for the first time in the short story: "The Spring Tune" when he follows Snufkin with great admiration and is given his name, becoming more confident in his own abilities.
- Moomin (1990 TV series) - In the episode "Hurry Up Snufkin", Teety-Woo and the plot from "The Spring Tune" feature while Snufkin is taking his time to return to Moominvalley for the spring.