Creators fight over cartoon imp's right to wed

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BERLIN - The writer of one of Germany's best known fictional characters, an imp called Pumuckl, is heading to court to battle his illustrator over whether the red-headed mischief maker can marry or should stay chaste.

Writer Ellis Kaut is unhappy that illustrator Barbara von Johnson has given her support to a local TV show's contest to design a girlfriend for Pumuckl.

The winner will get to visit von Johnson's Munich villa and take part in a "wedding" staged for the popular fictional character.

Von Johnson says Pumuckl deserves a girlfriend after more than 40 years of fooling around in books and on the radio and television. However, Kaut says the cheeky imp must stay true to his spirit nature.

"Pumuckl is a pure child of fantasy, a spiritual being, and he must remain that way," Kaut said in part of a statement published by the Munich court where Kaut and von Johnson will go head to head.

"Fundamentally, spiritual beings have no discernable gender. They are not born ... they do not grow old. They take part in good or bad frolicking, but frolicking without sexuality."

According to his fans' Web site Pumuckl is also known in Spain, Hungary and Greece. In the stories, the mischievous imp lives in Master Eder's workshop in Munich and likes to make rhymes and get up to naughty tricks.

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