What’s a Moomin?
The Moomins of Moominvalley are the characters in a series of delightful illustrated chapter books and beautiful comics by Finnish author Tove Jansson. The characters have since been the basis of numerous television and film spin-offs, including a popular Japanese anime, and even a theme park called Moomin World in Finland. Anyone who grew up with the Moomins knows that they have the secrets of life figured out, and that we’re so lucky they decided to share their wisdom with us.
“Moomintroll’s mother and father always welcomed all their friends in the same quiet way, just adding another bed and putting another leaf in the dining-room table. And so Moominhouse was rather full — a place where everyone did what they liked and seldom worried about to-morrow.”
“One can never be truly free, if one admires someone else too much.”
“I knew nothing, but I believed a lot.”
“The very last house stood all by itself under a dark green wall of fir-trees, and here the wild country really began. Snufkin walked faster and faster straight into the forst. Then the door of the last house opened a chink and a very old voice cried: ‘Where are you off to?’
‘I don’t know,’ Snufkin replied.
The door shut again and Snufkin entered his forest, with a hundred miles of silence ahead of him.”
“‘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.’”
“One makes a trip by day, but by night one sets out on a journey.”
“‘What is it?’ said Moomintroll. Discoveries were his very favourite thing (after mysterious paths, swimming and secrets, that is).”
“‘Tonight is the night for a song,’ thought Snufkin. ‘I’ll think up a new song that is one part anticipation, two parts pining for spring, and the rest a joyous declaration of how wonderful it is to be alone and at peace with yourself.’”
“A theatre is the most important sort of house in the world, because that’s where people are shown what they could be if they wanted, and what they’d like to be if they dared to and what they really are.”
“Now he didn’t shout any more, because he thought how horrible it would be if nobody answered him.”
“One ought to have the right to discover a secret, keep it under wraps for a while, and then spring it on everyone. But if you live in a family, there is no point trying to have secret or arrange surprises of any kind. Everyone knows everything, right from the start, and that’s no fun at all.”
“‘It looks rather ordinary,’ said the Snork. ‘Unless you consider that a top hat is always somewhat extraordinary, of course.’”
“I like stars more than anything else. I watch them as I fall asleep and wonder who lives on them and how to get there. The night sky looks so friendly with all those little twinkling eyes.”
“The faint whisper of rain and running water was still there and it had the same tender note of solitude and perfection.”
“Just think, never to be glad or disappointed. Never to like anyone and get cross at him and forgive him. Never to sleep or feel cold, never to make a mistake and have a stomach-ache and be cured from it, never to have a birthday party, drink beer, and have a bad conscience…
“There are such a lot of things that have no place in summer and autumn and spring. Everything that’s a little shy and a little rum. Some kinds of night animals and people that don’t fit in with others and that nobody really believes in. They keep out of the way all the year. And then when everything’s quiet and white and the nights are long and most people are asleep—then they appear.”
“One by one, the snowflakes floated down on to his warm snout, and melted. He reached out to grab them so he could admire them for a fleeting moment. He looked towards the sky and watched them drift down towards him, more and more, soft and light as a feather. ‘So that’s how it works,’ thought Moomintroll. ‘And I thought somehow that the snow grew from the ground up!’”
“The hemulen woke up slowly and recognised himself and wished he had been someone he didn’t know.”
“One can’t be too dangerous, if they like to eat pancakes. Especially with jam on it.”
“Walking had been easy, because his knapsack was nearly empty and he had no worries on his mind. He felt happy about the wood and the weather, and himself. Tomorrow and yesterday were both at a distance, and just at present the sun was shining brightly between the birches, and the air was cool and soft.”
“All things are so very uncertain, and that’s exactly what makes me feel reassured.”
39. One must be aware of the consequences of excess.
“How can I be thirsty, when I’ve been…”
“…drinking all night?”
“A deep sadness welled up inside Moomintroll as he gazed about. He thought of how frightened everyone in the entire world must be right now to see the ball of fire approaching. He thought about the se, the rain, the wind, the sunshine, the grass and the moss.. and how it would be impossible to live without them. Then he thought to himself, ‘But I am sure that Mamma will figure out a way to save us all.’”
“But that’s how it is when you start wanting to have things. Now, I just look at them, and when I go away I carry them in my head. Then my hands are always free, because I don’t have to carry a suitcase.”
“Lie on the bridge and watch the water flowing past. Or run, or wade through the swamp in your red boots. Or roll yourself up and listen to the rain falling on the roof. It’s very easy to enjoy yourself.”
“‘I think I’m beginning to understand now,’ said Moomintroll slowly. ‘You aren’t a collector any longer, are you? Now you are just an owner. That’s nowhere near as much fun.’
‘No,’ said the Hemulen thoroughly dejected. ‘It is most decidedly nowhere near as much fun.’”
“‘If you’re sore, you’re sore,’ observed Little My, peeling her potatoes with her teeth. ‘You have to be angry sometimes. Every little creep has a right to be angry.’”
“When one’s dead, one’s dead… This squirrel will become earth all in his time. And still later on, there’ll grow new trees from him, with new squirrels skipping about in them. Do you think that’s so very sad?”
“It’d be awful if the world exploded, it’s so wonderfully splendid.”
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