Quotes from In the Night Garden

Catherynne M. Valente ·  483 pages

Rating: (5.7K votes)


“Never put your faith in a Prince. When you require a miracle, trust in a Witch.”
― Catherynne M. Valente, quote from In the Night Garden


“We all have someone we think shines so much more than we do that we are not even a moon to their sun, but a dead little rock floating in space next to their gold and their blaze.”
― Catherynne M. Valente, quote from In the Night Garden


“I am a Prince," he replied, being rather dense. "It is the function of a Prince—value A—to kill monsters—value B—for the purpose of establishing order—value C—and maintaining a steady supply of maidens—value D. If one inserts the derivative of value A (Prince) into the equation y equals BC plus CD squared, and sets it equal to zero, giving the apex of the parabola, namely, the point of intersection between A (Prince) and B (Monster), one determines value E—a stable kingdom. It is all very complicated, and if you have a chart handy I can graph it for you.”
― Catherynne M. Valente, quote from In the Night Garden


“It is best in the end to let women see to their own vengeance.”
― Catherynne M. Valente, quote from In the Night Garden


“Maidens stand still, they are lovely statues and all admire them. Witches do not stand still. I was neither, but better that I err on the side of witchery, witchery that unlocks towers and empties ships.”
― Catherynne M. Valente, quote from In the Night Garden



“Metamorphosis is the most profound of all acts.”
― Catherynne M. Valente, quote from In the Night Garden


“You wanted Death? This is it. Dirt and decay, nothing more. Death translates us all into earth.” He frowned at me, his cheeks puffing slightly. “Are you disappointed? Did you want a man in black robes? I’m sure I’ve a set somewhere. A dour, thin face with bony hands? I’ve more bones in this house than you could ever count. You’ve been moping over half the world looking for Death as though that word meant anything but cold bodies and mushrooms growing out of young girls’ eye-sockets. What an exceptionally stupid child!” Suddenly he moved very fast, like a turtle after a spider—such unexpected movement from a thing so languid and round. He clapped my throat in his hand, squeezing until I could not breathe…I whistled and wheezed, beating at his chest, and my vision blurred, thick as blood. “You want Death?” he hissed. “I am Death. I will break your neck and cover you with my jar of dirt. When you kill, you become Death, and so Death wears a thousand faces, a thousand robes, a thousand gazes.” He loosened his grip. “But you can be Death, too. You can wear that face and that gaze. Would you like to be Death? Would you like to live in this house and learn his trade?”
― Catherynne M. Valente, quote from In the Night Garden


“She was beautiful and terrifying, savage and pure.”
― Catherynne M. Valente, quote from In the Night Garden


“Stories,' the green-eyed Sigrid said, unperturbed, 'are like prayers. It does not matter when you begin, or when you end, only that you bend a knee and say the words.”
― Catherynne M. Valente, quote from In the Night Garden


“Yes, yes, mistress, I shall go and accomplish your task. Only—I was not only sent to kill the Leucrotta. There is a maiden in a tower—" At this the Witch spat, again rolling her marvelous eyes.

"Those revolting creatures are always getting themselves locked up. If only they would stay that way.”
― Catherynne M. Valente, quote from In the Night Garden



“You know how we can be about things which sparkle and shine. We imagine they will put back something of what has been lost.”
― Catherynne M. Valente, quote from In the Night Garden


“However wretched her origins, she chose freely to continue her crimes against us from the moment she woke to this life. It is easy to forgive beautiful women, especially when they lay a sorrowful tale before you like a sugar-dusted meal. It does not mean they deserve forgiveness.”
― Catherynne M. Valente, quote from In the Night Garden


“Children make prayers so thoughtlessly, building them up like sand castles—and they are always surprised when suddenly the castle becomes real, and the iron gate grinds shut.”
― Catherynne M. Valente, quote from In the Night Garden


“At the snowy summit of all these things, however, is the fact that you simply cannot go about locking your siblings in towers when they misbehave. It is unseemly and betrays a sad lack of creativity.”
― Catherynne M. Valente, quote from In the Night Garden


“I perceive that you have a cruel heart, my child. It lies within your breast like a smoldering blade, hissing steam at me.”
― Catherynne M. Valente, quote from In the Night Garden



“You think I am so wicked, don't you? A monster. Unnatural. How cruel of me to keep you here and rattle on about my dead grandmother whom you care nothing about. To hold back the doom I keep in store for you and tease you about your mother. I am telling you all this for a reason, you curdle-brained child. Didn't you ever have a tutor? I am teaching dead, dull history—so that you will understand why your feet carried you here instead of towards some other broken old woman's hut, and what you ended when you snapped my daughter's neck. Don't keep looking at me with that same idiot stare. Listen, or you will comprehend nothing, not even your mother. Shall I just kill you now and have my revenge? It would certainly save breath, and at my age every breath is named and numbered. I entertain you at the expense of not a few figures in that scroll of sighs, boy; do not test me." She paused, grimacing as if she truly were tallying the accounts of her lungs. "And never assume that a woman is wicked simply because she is ugly and behaves unfavorably towards you. It is unbecoming behavior for a Prince.”
― Catherynne M. Valente, quote from In the Night Garden


“...her cry is a hook and it catches me in the throat.”
― Catherynne M. Valente, quote from In the Night Garden


“Well enough. I won't ask you if your love is true or any of that rot—it's not my place to judge. After all, I'm a naked woman chained to a wall; I've no business questioning the lifestyles of wine-makers or anyone else.”
― Catherynne M. Valente, quote from In the Night Garden


“Never assume that a woman is wicked simply because she is ugly and behaves unfavorably towards you. It is unbecoming behavior for a Prince.”
― Catherynne M. Valente, quote from In the Night Garden


“Then he is a monster!" the Prince crowed, "and I must slay him at once. The Formula works!"

"Your Formula must result in a great deal of fighting," I mused.

"Oh, yes, when applied correctly mighty and noble battles result! Of course I always win—the value of Prince X is a constant. It cannot be lesser than that of Monster Y—this is the Moral Superiority Hypothesis made famous five hundred years ago by my ancestor Ethelred, the Mathematician-King. We have never seen his equal, in all these centuries.”
― Catherynne M. Valente, quote from In the Night Garden



“He tried to reconstruct the story in his mind, but it kept getting confused, bleeding into itself like watercolors.”
― Catherynne M. Valente, quote from In the Night Garden


“Love, I've never been anyone's mother; I don't know how to talk to young or old. But don't stop smiling just because I flap my mouth and say something that's not dressed around the edges like a lace tablecloth. Thicken up and we'll get along fine.”
― Catherynne M. Valente, quote from In the Night Garden


“Woman! Come out! I have—" She looked down at the bloodless grass, embarrassed. "I have come to rescue you," she finally said, as if admitting that she were covered in boils.”
― Catherynne M. Valente, quote from In the Night Garden


“She who invented words, and yet does not speak; she who brings dreams and visions, yet does not sleep; she who swallows the storm, yet knows nothing of rain or wind. I speak for her; I am her own.”
― Catherynne M. Valente, quote from In the Night Garden


“Well," the Marsh King pursed his beak politely, "at any rate, your manliness need only last for a relatively brief period. I have already discussed this in detail with some of the lower Stars—white dwarfs and the like. I shall bundle you up tight as a mitten in a human skin until," and here he cleared his long blue throat dramatically, "the Virgin is devoured, the sea turns to gold, and the saints migrate west on the wings of henless eggs."

"In the Stars' name, what does that mean?" I gasped.

"I haven't the faintest idea! Isn't it marvelous? Oracles always have the best poetry! I only repeated what I was told—it is rather rude of you to expect magic, prophecy, and interpretation. That's asking quite a lot, even from a King.”
― Catherynne M. Valente, quote from In the Night Garden



“Some thought he was quite wicked, but in truth, he was no more or less than any other crow: enamored of bright new things, and too clever to get them by the usual path.”
― Catherynne M. Valente, quote from In the Night Garden


“It appeals to the higher nature of the self to put aside food which once lived - I do not consider myself food, why should I ask all other creatures to consider themselves so?”
― Catherynne M. Valente, quote from In the Night Garden


“You'll forgive the flowery talk, won't you? Our family does so love to be told they are beautiful. Vanity is an old and venerable habit.”
― Catherynne M. Valente, quote from In the Night Garden


“Thieves are not so bad, and killing wears all possible costumes. There is no death, no murder that is better than any other. If you can kill me, the manner hardly bears consideration. You want to kill your own father, and you think it will make your sleep easier for the next seventy years if you can say you did it honorably. But your honor is blackened by patricide, and no amount of high-sounding formalities will make it white again.”
― Catherynne M. Valente, quote from In the Night Garden


“Whenever one does extraordinary things, someone is bound to try to repeat them for themselves. It's the way of the world.”
― Catherynne M. Valente, quote from In the Night Garden



About the author

Catherynne M. Valente
Born place: in Seattle, WA, The United States
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