P. L. Travers Quotes

Don’t you know that everybody’s got a Fairyland of their own?


Could it be … that the hero is one who is willing to set out, take the first step, shoulder something? Perhaps the hero is one who puts his foot upon a path not knowing what he may expect from life but in some way feeling in his bones that life expects something of him.

A writer is, after all, only half his book. The other half is the reader and from the reader the writer learns.

With the word creative we stand under a mystery. And from time to time that mystery, as if it were a sun, sends down upon one head or another, a sudden shaft of light – by grace, one feels, rather than deserving, for it always is something given, free, unsought, unexpected.

More and more I’ve become convinced that the great treasure to possess is the unknown.

Children’s books are looked on as a sideline of literature. A special smile. They are usually thought to be associated with women. I was determined not to have this label of sentimentality put on me so I signed by my intials, hoping people wouldn’t bother to wonder if the books were written by a man, woman or kangaroo.

I hate being good. -Mary Poppins

There are worlds beyond worlds and times beyond times, all of them true, all of them real, and all of them (as children know) penetrating each other.

Child and serpent, star and stone — all one.


When I was a child, love to me was what the sea is to a fish: something you swim in while you are going about the important affairs of life.

Perhaps we are born knowing the tales of our grandmothers and all their ancestral kin continually run in our blood repeating them endlessly, and the shock they give us when we first bear them is not of surprise but of recognition.

Trouble trouble and it will trouble you.

Once we have accepted the story we cannot escape the story’s fate.

The Irish, as a race, have the oral tradition in their blood. A direct question to them is an anathema, but in other cases, a mere syllable of a hero’s name will elicit whole chapters of stories.

Tea is balm for the soul, don’t you agree?

Stories are like birds flying, here and gone in a moment.

I don’t think that children, if left to themselves, feel that there is an author behind a book, a somebody who wrote it. Grown-ups have fostered this quotient of identity, particularly teachers. Write a letter to your favorite author and so forth. When I was a child I never realized that there were authors behind books. Books were there as living things, with identities of their own.

For me there are no answers, only questions, and I am grateful that the questions go on and on. I don’t look for an answer, because I don’t think there is one. I’m very glad to be the bearer of a question.

If you want to find Cherry-Tree Lane all you have to do is ask the Policeman at the cross-roads.

It may be that to eat and be eaten are the same thing in the end. My wisdom tells me that this is probably so. We are all made of the same stuff, remember, we of the Jungle, you of the City. The same substance composes us-the tree overhead, the stone beneath us, the bird, the beast, the star-we are all one, all moving to the same end. Remember that when you no longer remember me, my child.

What I want to know is this: Are the stars gold paper or is the gold paper stars?

You do not chop off a section of your imaginative substance and make a book specifically for children, for, if you are honest, you have no idea where childhood ends and maturity begins. It is all endless and all one.

The same substance composes us–the tree overhead, the stone beneath us, the bird, the beast, the star–we are all one, all moving to the same end.

Who are you?” she inquired, as the cat passed by. I’m the cat that looked at a king,” he replied. And I,” she remarked with a toss of her head, “am the cow that jumped over the moon.” Is that so?” said the cat. “Whatever for?” The cow stared. She had never been asked that question before. And suddenly it occured to her that there might something else to do than jumping over moons.


And all the time he was enjoying his badness, hugging it to him as though it were a friend, and not caring a bit.