Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bits from two of my favorite kids' books

My husband re-read some of my favorite books to me, and these parts stood out. If you haven't read any Moomintroll books, you should!

     They had to keep watch, so Moomintroll took the first and decided to take the Snork Maiden's, too, and while the others curled up tightly together and slept, he sat staring out over the desolate sea bottom. It was lit by the red glow of the comet, and shadows like black velvet lay across the sand.

Moomintroll thought how frightened the earth must be feeling with that great ball of fire coming nearer and nearer to her. Then he thought about how much he loved everything--the forest and the sea, the rain and the wind, the sunshine, the grass and the moss--and how impossible it would be to live without them all, and this made him feel very, very sad. But after a while he stopped worrying.

"Mamma will know what to do," he said to himself.

                        -Tove Jansson, Comet in Moominland

     Any sensible person could have told him that this was the very moment when the long spring was born.

But there didn't happen to be any sensible person on the shore, but only a confused Moomin crawling on all fours against the wind, in a totally wrong direction.

He crawled and crawled, and the snow bunged up his eyes and formed a little drift on his nose. Moomintroll became more and more convinced that this was a trick the winter had decided to play on him, with the intention of showing him simply that he couldn't stand it.

First it had taken him in by its beautiful curtain of slowly falling flakes, and then it threw all the beautiful snow in his face at the very moment he believed that he had started to like winter.

By and by Moomintroll became angry.

He straightened up and tried to shout at the gale. He hit out against the snow and also whimpered a little, as there was nobody to hear him.

Then he tired.

He turned his back to the blizzard and stopped fighting it.

Not until then did Moomintroll notice that the wind felt warm. It carried him along into the whirling snow, it made him feel light and almost like flying.

"I'm nothing but air and wind, I'm part of the blizzard," Moomintroll thought and let himself go. "It's almost like last summer. You first fight the waves, then you turn around and ride the surf, sailing along like a cork among the little rainbows of the foam, and land laughing and just a little frightened in the sand."

Moomintroll spred out his arms and flew.

"Frighten me if you can," he thought happily. "I'm wise to you now. You're no worse than anything else when one gets to know you. Now you won't be able to pull my leg any more."

                        -Tove Jansson, Moominland Midwinter