You can’t ever be really free if you admire somebody too much, I know.

‘That’s good, small villains are much better. They break more easily.’

I’m born under special stars,’ I said. ‘I was found in a small shell padded with velvet.

But Sniff snores so horribly,’ said Moomintroll. ‘Couldn’t I sleep with Snufkin instead?

Then I’ll tell your fortune,’ Sniff persisted. ‘Perhaps you’ve got one of those lucky stars shining on you.

Sniff, from the book Comet in Moominland

For if you’re not afraid how can you be really brave?

I saw it first!’ squeaked Sniff, ‘I must choose a name for it. Wouldn’t it be fun to call it Sniff? That’s so short and sweet.

So they sat in a row on the beach, very close to one another, and Sniff sat in the middle because he thought it was safest.

We’re alike, you and I,’ he thought. ‘We understand each other, we only care about beautiful things.

Darned rope!” Moomintroll said angrily.
Sniff was shocked. “Oh!” he gasped, “you swore!

Wise as she was, she realized that people can postpone their rebellious phases until they’re eighty-five years old, and she decided to keep an eye on herself.

Robes, dresses, frocks. They hung in endless rows, in hundreds, one beside the other all around the room – gleaming brocade, fluffy clouds of tulle and swansdown, flowery silk, night-black velvet with glittering spangles everywhere like small, many-coloured blinker beacons.

“I’ll have to calm down a bit. Or else I’ll burst with happiness.”

You were talking about the wind, the Fillyjonk said suddenly. A wind that carries off your washing. But I’m speaking about cyclones. Typhoons, Gaffsie dear. Tornadoes, whirlwinds, sandstorms… Flood waves that carry houses away… But most of all I’m talking about myself and my fears, even if I know that’s not done. I know everything will turn out badly. I think about that all the time. Even while I’m washing my carpet. Do you understand that? Do you feel the same way?

The spirit of adventure sped through his soul on mighty wings.

Now everything was changed. She walked about with cautious, anxious steps, staring constantly at the ground, on the lookout for things that crept and crawled. Bushes were dangerous, and so were sea grass and rain water. There were little animals everywhere. They could turn up between the covers of a book, flattened and dead, for the fact is that creeping animals, tattered animals, and dead animals are with us all our lives, from beginning to end. Grandmother tried to discuss this with her, to no avail. Irrational terror is so hard to deal with.

Isn’t it fun when one’s friends get exactly what suits them?

Grandmother walked up over the bare granite and thought about birds in general. It seemed to her no other creature had the same dramatic capacity to underline and perfect events — the shifts in the seasons and the weather, the changes that run through people themselves.

It’s funny about paths and rivers, he mused. You see them go by, and suddenly you feel upset and want to be somewhere else—wherever the path or the river is going, perhaps.

Before we left, Grandmother talked a lot about the arctic night we would fly through. ‘Isn’t it a mystical word, “arctic”? Pure and quite hard. And meridians. Isn’t that pretty? We’re going to fly along them, faster than the light can follow us… Time won’t be able to catch us.

Tove Jansson, from her book Art in Nature.

“You seem to be yourself again. Actually, you’re nicer that way.”

It’s a funny thing about bogs. You can fill them with rocks and sand and old logs and make a little fenced-in yard on top with a woodpile and chopping block – but bogs go right on behaving like bogs. Early in the spring they breathe ice and make their own mist, in remembrance of the time when they had black water and their own sedge blossoming untouched.

But he thought all the strange words were beautiful, and he had never had a book of his own before.

The lamp sizzled as it burned. It made everything seem close and safe, a little family circle they all knew and trusted. Outside this circle lay everything that was strange and frightening, and the darkness seemed to reach higher and higher and further and further away, right to the end of the world.