Monday, April 11, 2016

I is for the Immortal Tree

After messing up his first day at school, Misi, the black sheep (or rather, black tail) of the Squirrel family, sets out on an epic journey to find the Magic Tree that brings fruit all year around.

Misi Mókus Kalandjai (The adventures of Misi the Squirrel) is a stop motion puppet show that first aired its 13 episodes in 1980. It is based on a children's book, involves a bunch of really adorable characters, and teaches some important lessons about not being lazy.

On the first day of school, the Squirrel family (Dad, Mom, three identical red-haired kids, and Misi) realizes that Misi has a black tail - a nosy jay bird points it out - and that will get him bullied in school. While the loving siblings manage to lure the scared Misi along to school, Misi doesn't do very well: He eats the teaching materials (he is supposed to learn how to squirrel things away) and is sternly reprimanded.
In the meantime the parents ask a wise old squirrel about the meaning of the black tail. The old man fires up the prophecy machine and reads out that black-tail squirrels are strong and clever, and they all grow up to be leaders of the community. The parents are relieved.

There are a couple of very important questions one might raise right in the first episode. How did the Squirrel family never notice that Misi's tail was black before the first day of school? Why does the nosy bird think it is a good idea to suggest the tail should be cut off? 
And why does Papa Squirrel shave?!

Misi finds out from the nosy jay that there is a land where trees bring fruit (nuts) all year around. Misi immediately sets out on an epic journey to find it, so that he never has to squirrel things away again, and he can eat and sleep as much as he wants. He encounters all kinds of dangers, exotic animals, singing frogs, and a helpful explorer, until he makes his way to the island of the Eternal Tree - and finds a bunch of really fat, lazy, boring squirrels. He decides to go home instead, a lot wiser than before.

At one point, Misi is rescued from a ship in a storm by Daniel the Albatross, and flies over the desert. The following conversation is the highlight of the trip:

Misi: "There! A small moving dot!"

Daniel: "Excuse me. You are mistaken. That is not a small dot. That's Sámuel Goldman, seven-year-old bull camel. Speed 5km/h, contains 1 hectoliter stagnant water plus two humps of fat reserves, weight 2500 kg, booster shot against canine distemper."

In my family, because we watch Misi on an alarmingly regular basis courtesy of my little sister, "booster shot against canine distemper" became the colloquial equivalent of "and the kitchen sink."

You can watch the first episode (in Hungarian) here, and the rest of them here.


  1. LOL - I love "booster shot against canine distemper" - family in jokes are always the best. A squirrel that shaves - that's a new one on me :) The only squirrels I really remember from childhood are Squirrel Nutkin and Tufty, who used to teach us how not to have accidents on the road.
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  2. Thanks for sharing. I love learning about other cultures and their programs.

  3. That sounds like it'd be a fun show to watch.

    ~Ninja Minion Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
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    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

  4. That sounds like a really cute story!

  5. It looks pretty entertaining, for sure.

  6. Wow, hats off to your translation skills! 😇
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