“The Boy Who Dreamed of Flying” for string quartet, composed by Eric M. Pazdziora. Premiered May 2013 at UNC-Greensboro. Copyright 2013.
Little Nemo was nicely snoozing when a feeling of floating in the air came over him. He felt the bed ascending ceilingward, and while it astonished him, it also interested him considerably. Nemo was rather inclined to enjoy the sensation when he was startled by a slat dropping from underneath and from then on he was all excitement. His curiosity, however, stayed his fears. The falling of the bed slats spoiled for him what otherwise might have been a delightful trip to the sky.
— Winsor McCay, Little Nemo in Slumberland, 1905
But just about then, the gander was considering how he should go to work to raise himself from the ground. He couldn’t stop to shake the boy off, hence he had to go along with him — up in the air. They bore on toward the heights so rapidly, that the boy fairly gasped. Before he had time to think that he ought to let go his hold around the gander’s neck, he was so high up that he would have been killed instantly, if he had fallen to the ground.
…Never before had he ridden so fast; and to ride fast and recklessly — that he had always liked. And, of course, he had never dreamed that it could be as fresh and bracing as it was, up in the air; or that there rose from the earth such a fine scent of resin and soil. Nor had he ever dreamed what it could be like — to ride so high above the earth. It was just like flying away from sorrow and trouble and annoyances of every kind that could be thought of.
— Selma Lagerlöf, The Wonderful Adventures of Nils, 1906