He was the owner of the moonlight on the ground, he fell in love with the most beautiful of the trees, he made wreaths of leaves and strung them around his neck.

It’s only the sea,’ said Moomintroll. ‘Every wave that dies on the beach sings a little song to a shell. But you mustn’t go inside because it’s a labyrinth and you may never come out again.

Some people just shouldn’t be disturbed in their inclinations, whether large or small. A reminder can instantly turn enthusiasm into aversion and spoil everything.

Tove Jansson, from her book Fair Play.

A very long time ago, Grandmother had wanted to tell about all the things they did, but no one had bothered to ask. And now she had lost the urge.

They were always doing something. Quietly, without interruption, and with great concentration, they carried on with the hundred-and-one small things that made up their world.

Why are you in such a rush?” Sophia asked, and her grandmother answered that it was a good idea to do things before you forgot that they had to be done.

Sophia and Grandmother sat down by the shore to discuss the matter further. It was a pretty day, and the sea was running a long, windless swell. It was on days just like this—dog days—that boats went sailing off all by themselves. Large, alien objects made their way in from sea, certain things sank and others rose, milk soured, and dragonflies danced in desperation. Lizards were not afraid. When the moon came up, red spiders mated on uninhabited skerries, where the rock became an unbroken carpet of tiny, ecstatic spiders.

Small animals are a great problem. I wish God had never created small animals, or else that He had made them so they could talk, or else that He’d given them better faces. Space. Take moths. They fly at the lamp and burn themsleves, and then they fly right back again. It can’t be instinct, because it isn’t the way it works. They just don’t understand, so they go right on doing it. Then they lie on their backs and all their legs quiver, and then they’re dead. Did you get all that? Does it sound good?”
“Very good,” Grandmother said.
Sophia stood up and shouted, “Say this: say I hate everything that dies slow! Say I hate everything that won’t let you help! Did you write that?

Tove Jansson, from her book The Summer Book.

All men have parties and are pals who never let each other down. A pal can say terrible things which are forgotten the next day. A pal never forgives, he just forgets, and a woman forgives but never forgets. That’s how it is. That’s why women aren’t allowed to have parties. Being forgiven is very unpleasant.

Tove Jansson, from her book A Winter Book.

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.