For the smallest children, the tradition-filled Skansen open-air museum on the Djurgården island in the heart of Stockholm is home to Lill-Skansen, where visitors can get acquainted with different animals such as sheep, goats, pigs and cows. There is also a rescue centre for homeless kittens at Lill-Skansen. There, kittens are taken care of until a new home is found for them.
The quaintness of Lill-Skansen comes from a vast amount of children’s dummies, which have been hung on tree branches. On the tree branches, the dummies form long, brightly coloured garlands. The kittens use part of the dummies as toys.
The story tells that, some ten years ago, a mother came to Lill-Skansen with her small child. The mother thought that the time had come for the child to give up the dummy and she then said to her child: ”Could you not give your dummy to those poor little kittens? You see, they do not have a mum who could comfort them when they feel lonely.” Since then, dummies have been brought to Lill-Skansen every day. When children give their dummies to the kittens, they get to stroke the soft fur of the cats as a reward.
In Helsinki, a similar dummy tree could be erected in a library. A child could leave their dummy on the tree as they borrow their first books. They could then come and greet the dummy on their every visit to the library. But who could we comfort with the dummies? Do we also need a real live library cat?