Quotes from The Bear and the Nightingale

Katherine Arden ·  323 pages

Rating: (38.3K votes)


“All my life,” she said, “I have been told ‘go’ and ‘come.’ I am told how I will live, and I am told how I must die. I must be a man’s servant and a mare for his pleasure, or I must hide myself behind walls and surrender my flesh to a cold, silent god. I would walk into the jaws of hell itself, if it were a path of my own choosing. I would rather die tomorrow in the forest than live a hundred years of the life appointed me.”
― Katherine Arden, quote from The Bear and the Nightingale


“Nothing changes, Vasya. Things are, or they are not. Magic is forgetting that something ever was other than as you willed it.”
― Katherine Arden, quote from The Bear and the Nightingale


“We who live forever can know no courage, nor do we love enough to give our lives.”
― Katherine Arden, quote from The Bear and the Nightingale


“He is full of desire. Desire and fear. He does not know what he desires, and he does not admit his fear. But he feels both, strong enough to strangle.”
― Katherine Arden, quote from The Bear and the Nightingale


“I do not understand “damned.” You are. And because you are, you can walk where you will, into peace, oblivion, or pits of fire, but you will always choose.”
― Katherine Arden, quote from The Bear and the Nightingale



“I’d rather my sons living, and my daughters safe, than a chance at glory for unborn descendants.”
― Katherine Arden, quote from The Bear and the Nightingale


“Sleep is cousin to death, Vasya. And both are mine.”
― Katherine Arden, quote from The Bear and the Nightingale


“I gave everything for you, Vasilisa Petrovna.'
'Not everything,' said Vasya. 'Since clearly your pride is intact, as well as your illusions.”
― Katherine Arden, quote from The Bear and the Nightingale


“I do not like half answers.'
'Stop asking half questions, then,' he said, and smiled with sudden charm.”
― Katherine Arden, quote from The Bear and the Nightingale


“Vasya felt cold despite the steam. “Why would I choose to die?” “It is easy to die,” replied the bannik. “Harder to live.”
― Katherine Arden, quote from The Bear and the Nightingale



“You are too attached to things as they are,” said Morozko, combing the mare’s withers. He glanced down idly. “You must allow things to be what best suits your purpose. And then they will.” Vasya,”
― Katherine Arden, quote from The Bear and the Nightingale


“He picked up a twist of straw and began to rub her down. In the space of a blink, the twist of straw became a brush of boar’s hair. The mare stood with her ears flopping, loose-lipped with enjoyment. Vasya went nearer, fascinated. “Did you change the straw? Was that magic?” “As you see.” He went on with his grooming. “Can you tell me how you do it?” She came up beside him and peered eagerly at the brush in his hand. “You are too attached to things as they are,” said Morozko, combing the mare’s withers. He glanced down idly. “You must allow things to be what best suits your purpose. And then they will.” Vasya,”
― Katherine Arden, quote from The Bear and the Nightingale


“Am I a child? Always someone else must decide for me. But this I will decide for myself.”
― Katherine Arden, quote from The Bear and the Nightingale


“Solovey will take me to the ends of the earth if I ask it. I am going into the world, Alyosha. I will be no one's bride, neither of man nor of God. I am going to Kiev and Sarai and Tsargrad, and I will look upon the sun on the sea.”
― Katherine Arden, quote from The Bear and the Nightingale


“It is a cruel task, to frighten people in God’s name.”
― Katherine Arden, quote from The Bear and the Nightingale



“If this is the last decision I can ever make, at least it is my decision. Let me go, Alyosha. I am not afraid.”
― Katherine Arden, quote from The Bear and the Nightingale


“Married! Not to retreat, but to be the mistress of a lord's domain; not to be safe in a convent, but to live as some lord's breeding sow.”
― Katherine Arden, quote from The Bear and the Nightingale


“His voice was like snow at midnight.”
― Katherine Arden, quote from The Bear and the Nightingale


It is for the best was on the tip of the priest's tongue. But he thought again of years, of childbearing and exhaustion. The wildness gone, the hawk's grace chained up... He swallowed. It is for the best. The wildness was sinful.”
― Katherine Arden, quote from The Bear and the Nightingale


“He picked her up and sank onto the warm oven-bench with her in his arms. He was gentle. His breath was the winter wind, but his flesh was warm, and his heart beat under her hand.”
― Katherine Arden, quote from The Bear and the Nightingale



“But the rip in her blouse was large, her hunger vast, and her patience negligible even under better circumstances.”
― Katherine Arden, quote from The Bear and the Nightingale


“Nay, it is the coming storm. The first sign is fear. The second is always fire. Your people are afraid, and now the fires burn.”
― Katherine Arden, quote from The Bear and the Nightingale


“There was a time, not long ago When flowers grew all year When days were long And nights star-strewn And men lived free from fear”
― Katherine Arden, quote from The Bear and the Nightingale


“Now hear me. Before the end, you will pluck snowdrops at midwinter, die by your own choosing, and weep for a nightingale.”
― Katherine Arden, quote from The Bear and the Nightingale


“I remember more and see more than you, she said. And will for a considerable time. We do not speak to many, and the spirit of horses does not reveal himself to anyone. There is magic in your bones. You must reckon with it.”
― Katherine Arden, quote from The Bear and the Nightingale



“She is not afraid, Konstantin thought dourly. She does not fear God; she fears nothing. He saw it in her silences, her fey glance, the long hours she spent in the forest. In any case, no good Christian maid ever had eyes like that, or walked with such grace in the dark.”
― Katherine Arden, quote from The Bear and the Nightingale


“You left me this mad girl, and I love her well. She is braver and wilder than any of my sons.”
― Katherine Arden, quote from The Bear and the Nightingale


“You will walk a long road,” said Morozko. “If you have not the courage to meet it, better—far better—for you to die quiet in the snow. Perhaps I meant you a kindness.”
― Katherine Arden, quote from The Bear and the Nightingale


About the author

Katherine Arden
Born place: in Austin, The United States
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