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.”

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.

I mean, anyone can let Danger out but the really clever thing is finding somewhere for it to go afterwards.

Tove Jansson, from the book Sculptor’s Daughter.

..by and by a change came: I started to muse about the shape of my nose. I put my trivial surroundings aside and mused more and more about myself, and I found this to be a bewitching occupation. I stopped asking and longed instead to speak of my thoughts and feelings. Alas, there was no one besides myself who found me interesting.

I want your first trip to be with me. I want to show you cities and landscapes and teach you how to look at things in new ways and how to get along in places you don’t already know inside out. I want to put some life in you…

Tove Jansson, from her book Art in Nature.