There were doors that looked like large keyholes, others that resembled the entrances to caves, there were golden doors, some were padded and some were studded with nails, some were paper-thin and others as thick as the doors of treasure houses; there was one that looked like a giant's mouth and another that had to be opened like a drawbridge, one that suggested a big ear and one that was made of gingerbread, one that was shaped like an oven door, and one that had to be unbuttoned.
People never seemed to notice that, by saving time, they were losing something else. No one cared to admit that life was becoming ever poorer, bleaker and more monotonous. The ones who felt this most keenly were the children, because no one had time for them any more. But time is life itself, and life resides in the human heart. And the more people saved, the less they had.
If you have never wept bitter tears because a wonderful story has come to an end and you must take your leave of the characters with whom you have shared so many adventures, whom you have loved and admired, for whom you have hoped and feared, and without whose company life seems empty and meaningless. If such things have not been part of your own experience, you probably won't understand what Bastian did next.
He wanted to be loved for being just what he was. In this community of Yskalnari there was harmony, but no love. He no longer wanted to be the greatest, strongest or cleverest. He had left all that far behind. He longed to be loved just as he was, good or bad, handsome or ugly, clever or stupid, with all his faults - or possibly because of them. But what was he actually? He no longer knew. So much have been given to him in Fantastica, and now, among all these gifts and powers, he could no longer find himself.
As they advanced (towards the fountain) one after another of Bastian's Fastastican gifts fell away from him. The strong, handsome, fearless hero became the small, fat, timid boy. (...) But then he jumped into the crystal-clear water... He drank till his thrist was quenched. And joy filled him from head to foot, the joy of living and the joy of being himself. He was new born. And the best part of it was that he was now the very person he wanted to be. If he had been free to choose, he would have chosen to be no one else.
At certain junctures in the course of existence, unique moments occur when everyone and everything, even the most distant stars, combine to bring about something that could not have happened before and will never happen again. Few people know how to take advantage of these critical moments, unfortunately, and they often pass unnoticed. When someone does recognize them, however, great things happen in the world.
Life holds one great but quite commonplace mystery. Though shared by each of us and known to all, seldom rates a second thought. That mystery, which most of us take for granted and never think twice about, is time. Calendars and clocks exist to measure time, but that signifies little because we all know that an hour can seem as eternity or pass in a flash, according to how we spend it. Time is life itself, and life resides in the human heart.
You see, Momo... it's like this. Sometimes, when you've a very long street ahead of you, you think how terribly long it is and feel sure you'll never get it swept... And then you hurry. You work faster and faster, and every time you look up there seems to be just as much to sweep as before, and you try even harder…, and you panic, and in the end you're out of breath and have to stop-and still the street stretches away in from of you.
One may enter the literary parlor via just about any door, be it the prison door, the madhouse door, or the brothel door. There is but one door one may not enter it through, which is the child room door. The critics will never forgive you such. The great Rudyard Kipling is one of a number of people to have suffered from this. I keep wondering to myself what this peculiar contempt towards anything related to childhood is all about.
I wonder, what's in a book while it's closed. Oh, I know it's full of letters printed on paper, but all the same, something must be happening, because as soon as I open it, there's a whole story with people I don't know yet and all kinds of adventures, deeds and battles. And sometimes there are storms at sea, or it takes you to strange cities and countries. All those things are somehow shut in a book. Of course you have to read it to find out. But it's already there, that's the funny thing. I just wish I knew... Read more »
All that matters in life," the grey man went on, "is to climb the ladder of success, amount to something, own things. When a person climbs higher than the rest, amounts to more, owns more things, everything else comes automatically: friendship, love, respect, et cetera..." "Isn't there anyone who loves you?" Momo whispered.
The Nothing is spreading," groaned the first. "It's growing and growing, there's more of it every day, if it's possible to speak of more nothing. All the others fled from Howling Forest in time, but we didn't want to leave our home. The Nothing caught us in our sleep and this is what it did to us." "Is it very painful?" Atreyu asked. "No," said the second bark troll, the one with the hole in his chest. "You don't feel a thing. There's just something missing. And once it gets hold of you, something more is missing every day. Soon... Read more »
What will happen when my heart stops beating?" Momo asked. When that moment comes," said the professor, "time will stop for you as well. Or rather, you will retrace your steps through time, through all the days and nights, myths and years of your life, until you go out through the great, round, silver gate you entered by." What will I find on the other side?" The home of the music you've sometimes faintly heard in the distance, but by then you'll be part of it. You yourself will be a note in its mighty harmonies.
Once someone dreams a dream, it can't just drop out of existence. But if the dreamer can't remember it, what becomes of it? It lives on in Fantastica, deep under earth. There are forgotten dreams stored in many layers. The deeper one digs, the closer they are. All Fantastica rests on a foundation of forgotten dreams.
When it comes to controlling human beings there is no better instrument than lies. Because, you see, humans live by beliefs. And beliefs can be manipulated. The power to manipulate beliefs is the only thing that counts ... Who knows what use they’ll make of you? Maybe you’ll help them to persuade people to buy things they don’t need, or hate things they know nothing about, or hold beliefs that make them easy to handle, or doubt the truths that might save them.
One day, you don't feel like doing anything. Nothing interests you, everything bores you. Feel more and more empty inside, more and more dissatisfied with yourself and the world in general. Then even that feeling wears off, and you don't feel anything anymore. You become completely indifferent to what goes on around you... You forget how to laugh and cry - you're cold inside and incapable of loving anything or anyone... There's no going back... The disease has a name. It's called deadly tedium.
And if someone felt that his life had been an utter failure, and that he himself was only one among millions of wholly unimportant people who could be replaced as easily as broken windowpanes, he would go and pour out his heart to Momo. And, even as he spoke, he would come to realize by some mysterious means that he was absolutely wrong: that there was only one person like himself in the whole world, and that, consequently, he mattered to the world in his own particular way. Such was Momo's talent for listening.
Bastian had climbed a dune of purplish-red sand and all around him he saw nothing but hill after hill of every imaginable color. Each hill revealed a shade or tint that occured in no other. The nearest was cobalt blue, another was saffron yellow, then came crimson red, then indigo, apple green, sky blue, orange, peach, mauve, turquoise blue, lilac, moss green, ruby red, burnt umber, Indian yellow, vermillion, lapis lazuli, and so on from horizon to horizon. And between the hill, separating color from color, flowed streams of gold and silver sand.
If you stop to think about it, you’ll have to admit that all the stories in the world consist essentially of twenty-six letters. The letters are always the same, only the arrangement varies. From letters words are formed, from words sentences, from sentences chapters, and from chapters stories.