"Ultima came to stay with us the summer I was almost seven. When she came the beauty of the llano unfolded before my eyes, and the gurgling waters of the river sang to the hum of the turning earth. The magical time of childhood stood still, and the pulse of the living earth pressed its mystery into my living blood."
Bless Me Ultima, Warner Books edition, 1994, page 1. The narrator Tony speaks.
"I had been afraid of the awful presence of the river, which was the soul of the river, but through her [Ultima] I learned that my spirit shared in the spirit of all things" (p.15).
Tony begins to learn wisdom from Ultima.
"The sun was good. The men of the llano were men of the sun. The men of the farms along the river were men of the moon. But we were all children of the white sun" (p. 27)
Tony wakes in the morning after the murder of Lupito.
"'Hell, Andy,' Gene said softly, 'we can't build our lives on their dreams. We're men, Andy, we're not boys any longer. We can't be tied down to old dreams-'" (p. 68).
Tony's brother expressing the need to move away from their parents' house.
"The orange of the golden carp appeared at the edge of the pond. As he came out of the darkness of the pond the sun caught his shiny scales and the light reflected orange and yellow and red. He swam very close to our feet. His body was round and smooth in the clear water. We watched in silence at the beauty and grandeur of the great fish" (p. 115).
Tony sees the golden carp for the first time.
"They will burn sulfur instead of holy incense. They will sing and dance around her coffin, pulling at their hair and flesh. They will slay a rooster and spread his blood on their dead sister" (p. 139).
Tony's uncle Mateo speaking of what the two Trementina sisters will do before they bury their sister.
"There are so many dreams to be fulfilled, but Ultima says a man's destiny must unfold itself like a flower, with only the sun and the earth and water making it blossom, and no one else meddling in it-" (p. 223).
Tony speaks to Miss Violet, his third grade teacher.
"'There are many gods,' Cico whispered, 'gods of beauty and magic, gods of the garden, gods in our own backyards-but we go off to foreign countries to find new ones, we reach to the stars to find new ones-'" (p. 237).
Cico speaks to Tony just before they see the golden carp for the second time.
"'Take the llano and the river valley, the moon and the sea, God and the golden carp-and make something new,' I said to myself" (p. 247).
Tony reflects on how he wants to create a new religion out of all the elements of the old.
"Around me the moonlight glittered on the pebbles of the llano, and in the night sky a million stars sparkled. Across the river I could see the twinkling lights of the town. In a week I would be returning to school, and as always I would be running up the goat path and crossing the bridge to go to church. Sometime in the future I would have to build my own dream out of those things that were so much a part of my childhood" (p. 261)
Part of Tony's final reflections.
Bless Me, Ultima: Top Ten Quotes