The Last Unicorn Quotes
Great heroes need great sorrows and burdens, or half their greatness goes unnoticed. It is all part of the fairy tale.
Real magic can never be made by offering someone else's liver. You must tear out your own, and not expect to get it back.
The true secret in being a hero lies in knowing the order of things. The swineherd cannot already be wed to the princess when he embarks on his adventures, nor can the boy knock on the witch's door when she is already away on vacation. The wicked uncle cannot be found out and foiled before he does something wicked. Things must happen when it is time for them to happen. Quests may not simply be abandoned; prophecies may not be left to rot like unpicked fruit; unicorns may go unrescued for a very long time, but not forever. The happy ending cannot come in the middle of the story.
I am what I am. I would tell you what you want to know if I could, for you have been kind to me. But I am a cat, and no cat anywhere ever gave anyone a straight answer.
I have been mortal, and some part of me is mortal yet. I am full of tears and hunger and the fear of death, although I cannot weep, and I want nothing, and I cannot die. I am not like the others now, for no unicorn was ever born who could regret, but I do. I regret.
I am no king, and I am no lord, And I am no soldier at-arms," said he. "I'm none but a harper, and a very poor harper, That am come hither to wed with ye." "If you were a lord, you should be my lord, And the same if you were a thief," said she. "And if you are a harper, you shall be my harper, For it makes no matter to me, to me, For it makes no matter to me." "But what if it prove that I am no harper? That I lied for your love most monstrously?" "Why, then I'll teach you to play and sing, For I dearly love a good harp," said she.
Marveling at his own boldness, he said softly, "I would enter your sleep if I could, and guard you there, and slay the thing that hounds you, as I would if it had the courage to face me in fair daylight. But I cannot come in unless you dream of me.
The magician stood erect, menacing the attackers with demons, metamorphoses, paralyzing ailments, and secret judo holds. Molly picked up a rock.
Whatever can die is beautiful — more beautiful than a unicorn, who lives forever, and who is the most beautiful creature in the world. Do you understand me?.
You were the one who taught me," he said. "I never looked at you without seeing the sweetness of the way the world goes together, or without sorrow for its spoiling. I became a hero to serve you, and all that is like you.
I think love is stronger than habits or circumstances. I think it is possible to keep yourself for someone for a long time and still remember why you were waiting when she comes at last.
The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone. She was very old, though she did not know it, and she was no longer the careless color of sea foam but rather the color of snow falling on a moonlit night. But her eyes were still clear and unwearied, and she still moved like a shadow on the sea.
Then what is magic for?" Prince Lír demanded wildly. "What use is wizardry if it cannot save a unicorn?" He gripped the magician's shoulder hard, to keep from falling. Schmedrick did not turn his head. With a touch of sad mockery in his voice, he said, "That's what heroes are for.
I think that love is stronger than habits or circumstances. I think it is possible to keep yourself for someone for a long time, and still remember why you were waiting when she comes at last.... I would enter your sleep if I could, and guard you there, and slay the thing that hounds you, as I would if it had the courage to face me in fair daylight. But I cannot come in unless you dream of me.
Heroes know that things must happen when it is time for them to happen. A quest may not simply be abandoned; unicorns may go unrescued for a long time, but not forever; a happy ending cannot come in the middle of the story.
Sparrows and cats will live in my shoe, Sooner than I will live with you. Fish will come walking out of the sea, Sooner than you will come back to me.
...no cat out of its first fur can ever be deceived by appearances. Unlike human beings, who enjoy them.
The most professional curse ever snarled or croaked or thundered can have no effect on a pure heart.
Men have to have heroes, but no man can ever be as big as the need, and so a legend grows around a grain of truth, like a pearl.
You pile of stones, you waste, you desolation, I'll stuff you with misery till it comes out of your eyes. I'll change your heart into green grass, and all you love into a sheep. I'll turn you into a bad poet with dreams.
I am a king's daughter, And if I cared to care, The moon that has no mistress Would flutter in my hair. No one dares to cherish What I choose to crave. Never have I hungered, For that I did not have I am a kings daughter, And I grow old within The prison of my person, The shackles of my skin. And I would run away And beg from door to door, Just to see your shadow Once, and never more.
What happened instead was that the tree fell in love with him and began to murmur fondly of the joy to be found in the eternal embrace of a red oak. "Always, always," it sighed, "faithful beyond any man's deserving. I will keep the color of your eyes when no other in the world remembers your name. There is no immortality but a tree's love.
I always say perseverance is nine-tenths of any art — not that it's much help to be nine-tenths an artist, of course.
But I must go on," said the Lady Amalthea, "for it is never finished. Even when I wake, I cannot tell what is real, and what I am dreaming as I move and speak and eat my dinner. I remember what cannot have happened, and forget something that is happening to me know. People look at me as though I should know them, and I do know them in the dream, and always the fire draws me nearer, though I am awake—.
Unicorns are not to be forgiven." The magician felt himself growing giddy with jealousy, not only of the touch but of something like a secret that was moving between Molly and the unicorn. "Unicorns are for beginnings," he said, "for innocence and purity, for newness. Unicorns are for young girls." Molly was stroking the unicorn's throat as timidly as though she were blind. She dried her grimy tears on the white mane. "You don't know much about unicorns," she said.
song of elli (old age) "What is plucked will grow again, What is slain lives on, What is stolen will remain What is gone is gone... What is sea-born dies on land, Soft is trod upon. What is given burns the hand - What is gone is gone... Here is there, and high is low; All may be undone. What is true, no two men know - What is gone is gone... Who has choices need not choose. We must, who have none. We can love but what we lose - What is gone is gone.
Only to a magician is the world forever fluid, infinitely mutable and eternally new. Only he knows the secret of change, only he knows truly that all things are crouched in eagerness to become something else, and it is from this universal tension that he draws his power.
The Blue Jay's Lullaby— Spiders and sowbugs and beetles and crickets, Slugs from the roses and ticks from the thickets, Grasshoppers, snails, and a quail's egg or two— All to be regurgitated for you. Lullaby, lullaby, swindles and schemes, Flying's not near as much fun as it seems.
The magician was studying her face with his green eyes. "Your face is wet," he said worriedly. "I hope that's spray. If you've become human enough to cry, then no magic in the world — oh, it must be spray. Come with me. It had better be spray.
- and you are truly human now. You can love, and fear, and forbid things to be what they are, and overact.
For a moment she turned in a circle, staring at her hands, which she held high and useless, close to her breast. She bobbed and shambled like an ape doing a trick, and her face was the silly, bewildered face of a joker's victim. And yet she could make no move that was not beautiful. Her trapped terror was more lovely than any joy that Molly had ever seen, and that was the most terrible thing about it.
The Lady Amalthea beckoned, and the cat wriggled all over, like a dog, but he would not come near... She was offering her open palm to the crook-eared cat, but he stayed where he was, shivering with the desire to go to her"...[later, Molly asked the cat] "Why were you afraid to let her touch you? I saw you. You were afraid of her." "If she had touched me," he said very softly, "I would have been hers and not my own, not ever again. I wanted her to touch me but I could not let her. No cat will... The price is more than a cat can pay.
I know how to live here, I know how everything smells, and tastes, and is. What could I ever search for in the world, except this again?.
How can it be?" she wondered. "I suppose I could understand it if men had simply forgotten unicorns (...) But not to see them at all, to look at them and see something else — what do they look to one another, then? What do trees look like to them, or houses, or real horses, or their own children?.
Farewell,' she said. 'I hope you hear many more songs' - which was the best way she could think of to say good-bye to a butterfly.
My son, your ineptitude is so vast, your incompetence so profound, that I am certain you are inhabited by greater power than I have ever known.
Sing to me," she said. "That would be valiant, to raise your voice in this dark, lonely place, and it will be useful as well. Sing to me, sing loudly-drown out my dreams, keep me from remembering whatever wants me to remember it. Sing to me, my lord prince, if it please you. It may not seem a hero's task, but I would be glad of it.
It's a rare man who is taken for what he truly is," he said. "There is much misjudgment in the world. Now, I knew you for a unicorn when I first saw you, and I know that I am your friend. Yet you take me for a clown, or a clot, or a betrayer, and so I must be if you see me so. The magic on you is only magic and will vanish as soon as you are free, but the enchantment of error that you put on me I must wear forever in your eyes. We are not always what we seem, and hardly ever what we dream.
The moon was gone, but to the magician's eyes the unicorn was the moon, cold and white and very old, lighting his way to safety, or to madness.
The unicorn halted in her slow, desperate round of the cage, realizing for the first time that the magician understood her speech. He smiled, and she saw that his face was frighteningly young for a grown man-untraveled by time, unvisited by grief or wisdom. "I know you," he said.
No," he repeated, and this time the word tolled in another voice, a king's voice... whose grief was not for what he did not have, but for what he could not give.
Don't be afraid. Don't be afraid of anything. Whatever you have been, you are mine now. I can hold you.
She said, "I will go no farther." "There is no choice. We can only go on." The magician said again. "We can only go on.
She touched you twice,' he said in a little while. 'The first touch was to bring you to life again, but the second was for you.
No," she said, answering his eyes. "I can never regret."[...]"I can sorrow," she offered gently, "but it's not the same thing.
She did not look anything like a horned horse, as unicorns are often pictured, being smaller and cloven-hoofed, and possessing that oldest, wildest grace that horses have never had, that deer have only in a shy, thin imitation and goats in dancing mockery.
From that first moment of doubt, there was no peace for her; from the time she first imagined leaving her forest, she could not stand in one place without wanting to be somewhere else. She trotted up and down beside her pool, restless and unhappy. Unicorns are not meant to make choices. She said no, and yes, and no again, day and night, and for the first time she began to feel the minutes crawling over her like worms.
Lir said, "It is my right. A hero is entitled to his happy ending, when it comes at last." But Schmendrick answered, "This is not the end, either for you or for her.
We don't steal from the rich and give to the poor. We steal from the poor because they can't fight back --most of them-- and the rich take from us because they could wipe us out in a day.
All around Molly there flowed and flowered a light as impossible as snow set afire, while thousands of cloven hooves sang by like cymbals. She stood very still, neither weeping nor laughing, for her joy was too great for her body to understand.
It was not her dream that chilled him, but that she did not weep as she told it. As a hero, he understood weeping women and knew how to make them stop crying--generally you killed something--but her calm terror confused and unmanned him, while the shape of her face crumbled the distant dignity he had been so pleased at maintaining. When he spoke again, his voice was young and stumbling.