Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

J.M. Barrie, fully Sir James Matthew Barrie, 1st Baronet

Scottish Dramatist, Author, Novelist, best known as creator of Peter Pan

"Life is a long lesson in humility."

"The praise that comes of love does not make us vain, but humble rather."

"Dreams do come true, if we only wish hard enough. You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it."

"God gave us memories so that we might have roses in December."

"I am not young enough to know everything."

"If you have it, you don't need to have anything else, and if you don't have it, it doesn't much matter what else you have"

"It is not in doing what you like, but in liking what you do that is the secret to happiness."

"Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else."

"One's religion is whatever he is most interested in."

"The secret of happiness is not in doing what one likes, but in liking what one does."

"Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves."

"We are all of us failures - at least the best of us are."

"We never understand how little we need in this world until we know the loss of it."

"What is genius? It is the power to be a boy again at will."

"When the first baby laughed for the first time, the laugh broke into a thousand pieces and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies."

""Oh, God, if I were sure I were to die tonight I would repent at once." It is the commonest prayer in all languages."

"A child should never go to bed, they only wake up a day older."

"A safe but sometimes chilly way of recalling the past is to force open a crammed drawer. If you are searching for anything in particular you don't find it, but something falls out at the back that is often more interesting."

"A woman can be anything the man who loves here would have her be."

"After you have been unfair to him he will love you again, but he will never afterwards be quite the same boy. No one ever gets over the first unfairness; no one except Peter."

"Again came that ringing crow, and Peter dropped in front of them. Greeting, boys, he cried, and mechanically they saluted, and then again was silence. He frowned. I am back, he said hotly, why do you not cheer?"

"All are keeping a sharp look-out in front, but none suspects that the danger may be creeping up from behind."

"All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this. One day when she was two years old she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother. I suppose she must have looked rather delightful, for Mrs. Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, Oh, why can't you remain like this forever! This was all that passed between them on the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end."

"All goes if courage goes."

"All of this has happened before, and it will all happen again."

"All the boys were grown up and done for by this time; so it is scarcely worthwhile saying anything more about them. You may see the twins and Nibs and Curly any day going to an office, each carrying a little bag and an umbrella. Michael is an engine driver. Slightly married a lady of title, and so he became a lord. You see that judge in a wig coming out at the iron door? That used to be Tootles. The bearded man who doesn't know any story to tell his children was once John."

"All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust."

"All you need is trust and a little bit of pixie dust!"

"Always be a little kinder than necessary."

"Ambition is the last infirmity of noble minds."

"And if he forgets them so quickly, Wendy argued, how can we expect that he will go on remembering us?"

"And so - he said - for every boy and every girl should have a fairy. There should be? And would not it? None. Here's why: Now children know very early and cease to believe that there are fairies. And every time a child says, I do not believe in fairies a fairy falls and dies."

"And so when Mrs. Darling went back to the night-nursery to see if her husband was asleep, all the beds were occupied. The children waited for her cry of joy, but it did not come. She saw them, but she did not believe they were there. You see, she saw them in their beds so often in her dreams that she thought this was just the dream hanging around her still."

"And thus, sharply, did the terrified three learn the difference between the island of make-believe and the same island made true"

"Anything is possible if you wish hard enough."

"As soon as you can say what you think, and not what some other person has thought for you, you are on the way to being a remarkable man."

"As you look at Wendy, you may see her hair becoming white, and her figure little again, for all this happened long ago. Jane is now a common grown-up, with a daughter called Margaret; and every spring cleaning time, except when he forgets, Peter comes for Margaret and takes her to the Neverland, where she tells him stories about himself, to which he listens eagerly. When Margaret grows up she will have a daughter, who is to be Peter's mother in turn; and thus it will go on, so long as children are gay and innocent and heartless."

"Asleep to rummage in their minds…"

"Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."

"Boy, why are you crying?"

"But where do you live mostly now? With the lost boys. Who are they? They are the children who fall out of their perambulators when the nurse is looking the other way. If they are not claimed in seven days they are sent far away to the Neverland to defray expenses. I'm captain. What fun it must be! Yes, said cunning Peter, but we are rather lonely. You see we have no female companionship. Are none of the others girls? Oh no; girls, you know, are much too clever to fall out of their prams."

"By the way, what a polite game tennis is. The chief word in it seems to be sorry and admiration of each other's play crosses the net as frequently as the ball."

"Can anything harm us, mother, after the night-lights are lit? Nothing, precious, she said; they are the eyes a mother leaves behind her to guard her children."

"Charm. It's a sort of bloom on a woman. If you have it, you don't need to have anything else; and if you don't have it, it doesn't much matter what else you have."

"Children know such a lot now, they soon don't believe in fairies, and every time a child says, 'I don't believe in fairies,' there is a fairy somewhere that falls down dead."

"Come this time, father, he urged lately, for it is her birthday, and she is twenty-six, which is so great an age to David, that I think he fears she cannot last much longer."

"Courage is the lovely virtue-the rib of Himself that God sent down to His children."

"Courage is the thing. All goes if courage goes."

"David tells me that fairies never say 'We feel happy': what they say is, 'We feel dancey'."

"Do you believe in fairies? Say quick that you believe. If you believe, clap your hands!"