Pelle Svanslös (Peter No-Tail) is the well-known Swedish children’s story about a tailless cat who lives in Uppsala. The eponymous main character in these children’s tales has become a well-loved figure in Uppsala and throughout Sweden. Check out Peter’s peep-hole in Åsgränd Street or go on a Peter No-Tail walking tour.
Experience Peter No-Tail in Uppsala
- Peep-Hole – In Åsgränd Street there is a peep-hole where children can peer at a re-creation of the basement apartment of Peter No-Tail and his girlfriend Maja Gräddnos (Mary Cream-Nose), and get a glimpse of how they lived.
- Peter No-Tail Playground – In Carolinaparken (Carolina Park), also known as the English park, there is a playground that captures the true spirit of Peter No-Tail. Here, children can climb Gammel-Maja’s (Old Mary’s) cathedral tower, play in Elaka Måns’s (Mean Magnus’s) shed, and visit Råttström’s confectionery shop.
- Gösta Knutsson Walk – In Carolinaparken there is a walkway named after Gösta Knutsson, the author of the Peter No-Tail books.
- Peter No-Tail Statue – In Stadsträdgården (City Park) there is a very popular statue of Peter No-Tail, which is nice to look at and fun to climb on!
- Crosswalk – At the junction of Övre Slottsgatan and Drottninggatan streets, it is safe for cats to cross the road! There is a special crosswalk for cats at this spot, because according to the story, Peter No-Tail and his friends live nearby.
- Peter No-Tail Walking Tours – GO Adventure offers fun tours of the Uppsala neighborhood where Peter No-Tail lived. The guide shares anecdotes from the stories and points out where Peter and his friends supposedly live.
The Story of Peter No-Tail
There was once a kind and naive cat, who was born on a farm outside Uppsala. When he was little, he had his tail bitten off by a big rat, and so everyone called him Peter No-Tail. One day, Peter lay down in a car to take a nap, and when he awoke he found himself in Uppsala. There he was adopted by a family who lived in an apartment near the corner of Åsgränd and Övre Slottsgatan streets.
In Uppsala, Peter met a sweet young girl-cat named Mary Cream-Nose. They moved into a basement peep-hole together and had three kittens. Peter also had run-ins with Mean Magnus and the cats Bill and Bull, who were always teasing him for having no tail. But in the neighborhood around Åsgränd Street he also met his friends Trisse, Gullan, and many others.
Gösta Knutsson was the creative force behind the stories
Gösta Knutsson was the creator of Peter No-Tail. He was born in Stockholm in 1908 and moved to Uppsala to study at the university. As chairman of the student union, he automatically gained access to the Uppsala office of Swedish National Radio service, and in 1937 he began to read the stories of Peter No-Tail aloud on the radio, while sitting in a small radio studio in the main building of the university.
Every summer, Gösta would spend a lot of time in Småland, and it was there that he came across a cat whose tail had been bitten off by a rat. That was the inspiration for the stories of Peter No-Tail. The first book was published in 1939 and was followed over the years by eleven more books. Each of the feline characters is based on a real person who Gösta knew well. The idea was that adults could have fun figuring out which real people were hidden behind these furry personae, while their children could just enjoy listening to the stories of Peter No-Tail.
Read more about Peter No-Tail and Gösta Knutsson at www.pellesvanslos.se (Unfortunately the site currently exists only in Swedish).
There are plenty of activities for children and families in Uppsala
In Uppsala there are lots of adventures, fun activities and events for children and their parents. Read more on the page “Activities for Children and Families.”