Believe me: there’s nothing more dangerous in life than to become an indoor sitter.

The comet roared with its flaming tail right through the valley, across the forest and the mountains, and then disappeared again over the edge of the world.

And there it was rolling tirelessly in towards them, glittering and gleaming like soft blue silk, the same old sea that they had always loved!

It was one of those lovely warm afternoons full of the scent of flowers and the humming of bees, and the garden was brilliant with the deep colours of late summer.

A new door to the Unbelievable, to the Possible, a new day that can always bring you anything if you have no objection to it.

There might be ants in the tree, and if they bite you you’ll swell up and grow bigger than an orange.

I don’t want friends who are kind without really liking me and I don’t want anybody who is kind just so as not to be unpleasant. And I don’t want anybody who is scared. I want somebody who is never scared and who really likes me. I want a mamma!

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

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

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.

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.”