“I used to stand before the mirror and look deep in my unhappy eyes and heave sighs such as: ‘Oh cruel fate!’ ‘Oh terrible lot’ ‘Nevermore.’ And in a few minutes I felt a little bit better.”

Schools of sea spooks crossed our course, and now and then a tittering trail of mermaids appeared in our wake. We fed them with oatmeal.

And all you can do is just read, she said. She raised her voice an screamed, “You just read and read and read!” Then she threw herself down on the table and wept.

You must go on a long journey before you can really find out how wonderful home is.

She started thinking about all the euphemisms for death, all the anxious taboos that had always fascinated her. It was too bad you could never have an intelligent discussion on the subject. People were either too young or too old, or else they didn’t have time.

I need to write down my observations. Even the tiniest ones; they’re the most important.

Tove Jansson, from her book Art in Nature.

Anyway, solitary people interest me. There are so many different ways of being solitary.’

‘I know just what you mean,’ said X. ‘I know exactly what you’re going to say. Different kinds of solitude. Enforced solitude and voluntary solitude.’

‘Quite,’ said Viktoria. ‘There’s no need to go into it further. But when people understand one another without speaking, it can often leave them with very little to talk about, don’t you think?

Tove Jansson, from her book Travelling Light.

Smell is important. It reminds a person of all the things he’s been through; it is a sheath of memories and security.

My bag was as light as my happy-go-lucky heart.

Tove Jansson, from the book Travelling Light.

Most of the people are homesick anyway, and a little lonely, and they hide themselves in their hair and are turned into flowers.

Tove Jansson, from the book Sculptor’s Daughter.

An island can be dreadful for someone from outside. Everything is complete, and everyone has his obstinate, sure and self-sufficient place. Within their shores, everything functions according to rituals that are as hard as rock from repetition, and at the same time they amble through their days as whimsically and casually as if the world ended at the horizon.

Everything’s much too big here,’ thought Moominmamma. ‘Or perhaps I’m too small.

Quite, quite,’ she thought with a little sigh. ‘It’s always like this in their adventures. To save and be saved. I wish somebody would write a story sometime about the people who warm up the heroes afterward.