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Selma Lagerlöf

  • More die in flight than in battle.

  • If dead things love, if earth and water distinguish friends from enemies, I should like to possess their love. I should like the green earth not to feel my step as a heavy burden. I should like her to forgive that she for my sake is wounded by plough and harrow, and willingly to open for my dead body.

  • What is so certain of victory as patience?

  • A man may be outlawed for the sake of a fish net he has never seen.

  • There isn't much that tastes better than praise from those who are wise and capable.

  • Strange, when you ask anyone's advice you see yourself what is right.

  • The ways of Providence cannot be reasoned out by the finite mind ... I cannot fathom them, yet seeking to know them is the most satisfying thing in all the world.

  • ... she felt somehow that her poor heart was like a ravaged garden, in which all the flowers had been uprooted, and now Grief, as a gardener, moved about in there, planting thistles and poisonous herbs.

  • Nothing on earth can make up for the loss of one who has loved you.

  • There is so little that one can do for the dead!

  • ... it is not a good omen to meet a lot of cats when one sets out on a journey, so the Lieutenant spat three times for each cat, as his mother had taught him to do ...

  • To read the hearts of those she loved — that was as easy to Fru Lagerlöf as reading a book ...

  • There is so much one would rather not believe until one has seen for oneself whether it is true.

  • But they tell us that even the little pigs grunt when the old boar suffers.

  • For what is man's soul but a flame? It flickers in and around the body of a man as does the flame around the rough log.

  • ... she is so stiff and stand-offish. She is like a drawn bow, and we are afraid we'll get an arrow through our bodies if we come too near.

  • For, so long as there are interesting books to read, it seems to me that neither I nor anyone else, for that matter, need be unhappy.

  • [At age 14:] How the time flies when one is keeping a diary!

  • [At age 14:] There were elderly gentlemen, who Daniel said were professors. They appeared to be suffering from the effects of too much learning; they were a different kind of people from any I had seen before.

  • [At age 14:] I wish I could describe the beautiful singing of the students! If one could imagine such a thing as a wood with leaves of thin steel — small singing leaves on long vibrating stems — and that there came, now a soft breeze, now a powerful storm, which set all the tiny leaves into motion, I wonder if it would be like the students' singing.

Selma Lagerlöf, Swedish novelist, Nobel Prize winner

(1858 - 1940)

Full name: Selma Ottiliana Lovisa Lagerlöf.