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Redwall Wiki | Brian Jacques and Redwall Information
Redwall Wiki | Brian Jacques and Redwall Information

"Thief, rogue, warrior, questor, but all for the good of other creatures."
Brother Hubert

Gonff the Mousethief was the best friend of Martin the Warrior, husband of Columbine, father of Gonff II, great-grandfather of Bryony, and the ancestor of Dandin, the Gonfelin Thieves, Samolus Fixa, Bisky, and Andio. Known for his talents as a musician and writer of rhymes, Gonff was primarily notorious for his resourcefulness and skill at stealing.


Gonff never knew his parents, who presumably died during one of the Mossflower woodlanders' failed uprisings against the tyrant wildcat Verdauga Greeneyes. A hedgehog, Ben Stickle, and his wife, Goody, found Gonff as an infant alone in the woods and raised him.

Gonff was a very energetic and famous member of the Corim, an organization of woodlanders dedicated to fighting the rule of Verdauga and his daughter, Tsarmina Greeneyes. The mouse thief helped many woodlanders survive the winter season by stealing food from Kotir's larders. When Gonff was finally captured by Tsarmina's soldiers, the Corim devised a plan to rescue him.

Gonff first met Martin in the dungeons of Kotir, showing off some of his underhanded skills by breaking them out of their cell. Martin and Gonff became fast friends, and their combined skills and abilities allowed the pair to outwit Tsarmina's army and rejoin the Corim. Bella of Brockhall, the Corim leader, believed that her father, Boar the Fighter, would be able to lead the residents of Mossflower Woods in challenging Tsarmina's tyranny, and she needed a party of volunteers to bring Boar back to Mossflower.

When his Ben's children, Ferdy and Coggs, were captured by Tsarmina, Gonff offered to help rescue the young hedgehogs. However, Gonff quickly realized that he would be more valuable as a companion to Martin in Bella's quest, and, in characteristic Gonff fashion, told Martin he would be "a good matey to walk by your side through thick and thin."

Martin, Gonff, and Dinny journeyed from Brockhall, across the woodlands to the Great South Stream, through Batmount and the Swampland of toads, encountering many creatures, friends and foes. Along the way, they met Log-a-Log Big Club, who helped them navigate the tricky currents and followed them in their adventures. After a challenging trek along the parched sandy beach surrounding Salamandastron, Gonff and his traveling companions located Boar the Fighter.

At Salamandastron, Boar forged new weapons for his guests, including a dagger for Gonff. Thanks to this additional blade, Gonff often used two daggers during battles. Soon their new skills and weapons were to be tested, and Gonff fought heroically alongside Martin, Boar, and their friends against great hordes of sea rats led by Ripfang. On their return to Mossflower, Martin and Gonff used their newly gained experience to help the Corim defeat Tsarmina.

Shortly after, Gonff married Columbine, and had a son, also named Gonff, but known as Gonflet to escape confusion. They resided in Saint Ninian's Church. Later, he, Dinny, and Martin went questing again in order to find out more about Martin's father. Gonff's friendship with the otters and knowledge of many parts of Mossflower Woods provided a great help. His wit and boldness made an ally out of the dangerous Krar Woodwatcher, who later saved them from an angry swan.

Once while Gonff was walking through Mossflower Woods, he saw two little lights. He stayed hidden and watched as a stoat chased the lights and was led to his death into a swamp. Gonff decided to follow the lights himself, but soon lost them just after dawn. Luckily he discovered the underground lair of the Doomwytes in a nearby hill. He stealthily infiltrated the cavern, then hid behind a pile of bones and noticed the Great Doomwyte Idol. After watching the vermin who worshiped the idol execute two innocent shrews, he stole the jewels that were its eyes to avenge the pair. He returned to Redwall Abbey and offered the jewels to Columbine, which she refused. Gonff hid the stones, and left a series of riddles leading to their location. One of his descendants and their family was later banished from Redwall for finding and stealing one of the jewels, thus establishing the Gonfelin tribe.

Gonff's son also had a son, whom Bella described as the spitting image of his grandfather, and who apparently also inherited the ability to slip away unnoticed.


The self-proclaimed "Prince of Mousethieves", Gonff was renowned for his many talents and his irrepressible sense of humor. His reputation as a thief stemmed from his ability to pick locks, perform voice imitation, and move swiftly and unnoticed in the dark. Almost always in a good mood, sometimes even impudent, his ability to find hope and joy in the midst of the most depressing situations made him a much cherished and admired mouse. This was especially the case amongst the otters, such as Queen Garraway Bullow, with whom he was great friends. Gonff called everyone he met "matey" due to his great respect of the otters, who frequently used the term.

Despite having a very good appetite and a plump physique, Gonff was very agile and deft with his paws. Gonff's artistic talents included playing the flute, singing, composing, and poetry writing. Goody Stickle once commented that Mossflower Woods was singing through Gonff. Devoted to his friends and family, he was always ready for action and proved an invaluable ally in any fighting situation. His main weapons were his daggers, his voice, and his wit.

In addition to his ability to lift valuables from under the nose of his enemies, Gonff was also a great charmer, especially when he wooed the mouse maid Columbine, who eventually became his wife. Gonff was a devoted father to his son, and often missed his family during his travels.

Gonff's Flute and Dandin[]

Gonff preferred to use a reed flute, and his most famous flute was later given to Dandin, who inherited his ancestor's artistic talents. This flute was made of applewood instead of reed, and was carved with beautiful ornamental designs, most notably the letter "G", located near the mouthpiece. When Abbess Germaine offered the flute to Gonff as a present, the thief believed it to be too elegant for him and left it in Redwall Abbey. Brother Hubert found it amongst his old records and handed it to Dandin, who promptly displayed gifts in singing and composition.

The Lost Legends of Redwall[]


Gonff in "Caverns of Kotir"

In The Lost Legends of Redwall video games, Gonff appears in Escape the Gloomer and Caverns of Kotir. Along with Skipper Warthorn and Martin the Warrior, he provides instructions to Gillig on how to locate the Scroll of Inheritance.

Gonff is also mentioned in The Scout in the second entry of Gingivere's journal.


  • Brian Jacques attested multiple times that he used a younger version of himself as a model for the character of Gonff, and that Gonff was his favorite character and hero. "Why am I like Gonff? Again I go back to me childhood. He was a ducker and weaver, and so was I. There was nothing around, but if you came from a poor family and there was something left around, you picked it up. I came from the docks. Gonff tried to help others." New York Times (April 2, 2001)
  • The name Gonff comes from "gonif", the Yiddish word for thief.