It was late in the autumn. Snufkin continued towards the south, sometimes he pitched his tent and let the time pass as best it might, he walked around and contemplated things without actually thinking or remembering anything, and he slept quite a lot. He was attentive but not in the least curious, and didn't worry much about where he was going--he just wanted to keep moving.
The forest was heavy with rain and the trees were absolutely motionless. Everything had withered and died, but right down on the ground the late autumn's secret garden was growing with great vigour straight out of the mouldering earth, a strange vegetation of shiny puffed-up plants that had nothing at all to do with summer. The late blueberry sprigs were yellowish-green and the cranberries as dark as blood. Hidden lichens and mosses began to grow, and they grew like a big soft carpet until they took over the whole forest. There were strong new colours everywhere, and red rowan berries were shining all over the place. But the bracken had turned black.
Snufkin got a feeling that he wanted to write songs. He waited until he was quite sure of the feeling and one evening he got out his mouth-organ from the bottom of his rucksack. In August, somewhere in Moominvalley, he had hit upon five bars which would undoubtedly provide a marvellous beginning for a tune. They had come completely naturally as notes do when they have been left in peace. Now the time had come to take them out again and let them become a song about rain.
Snufkin listened and waited. The five bars didn't come. He went on waiting without getting impatient because he knew what tunes were like. But the only things he could hear were the faint sounds of rain and running water. It gradually got quite dark. Snufkin took out his pipe but put it away again. He knew that the five bars must be somewhere in Moominvalley and that he wouldn't find them until he went back again.
There are millions of tunes that are easy to find and there will always be new ones. But Snufkin let them alone, they were summer songs which would do for just anybody. He crept into his tent and into his sleeping-bag and pulled it over his head. The faint whisper of rain and running water was still there and it had the same tender note of solitude and perfection. But what did the rain mean to him as long as he couldn't write a song about it?