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.
No architect troubled to design houses that suited people who were to live in them, because that would have meant building a whole range of different houses. It was far cheaper and, above all, timesaving to make them identical.
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.