The Thorn Birds (1983– )
Ralph de Bricassart: [telling the legend of the thorn bird to Meggie] There's a story... a legend, about a bird that sings just once in its life. From the moment it leaves its nest, it searches for a thorn tree... and never rests until it's found one. And then it sings... more sweetly than any other creature on the face of the earth. And singing, it impales itself on the longest, sharpest thorn. But, as it dies, it rises above its own agony, to outsing the lark and the nightingale. The thorn bird pays its life for just one song, but the whole world stills to listen, and God in his heaven smiles.
Young Meggie Cleary: What does it mean, Father?
Ralph de Bricassart: That the best... is bought only at the cost of great pain.
Meggie Cleary: That dear and gentle God who has taken from me everyone that I've loved most in the world. One by one. Frank, and Hal... and Stuie... and my father. And you, of course. Always you. If God is merciful... left me no one else to grieve.
Ralph de Bricassart: He is merciful, I know you can't see that now, but he is. He spared the rose. He sent the rain.
Meggie Cleary: Oh Ralph... who sent the fire?
Meggie Cleary: Oh, go away! I can't bare to look at you anymore! And there's one thing you've forgotten about your precious roses, Ralph, they've got nasty *hooky* thorns!
Meggie Cleary: The day that I first saw you at the Gilly station, you smiled at me, then you said my name. Then you touched me.
[She kisses him]
Meggie Cleary: And since that day, I have somehow known, though I never saw you again, that my last thought this side of the grave would be of you.
Meggie Cleary: And there's nothing I can do to change it. Do you know how terrifying it is, that power you have over me?
Ralph de Bricassart: Fee, she's your daughter. It's as if you never remember that.
Fiona 'Fee' Cleary: Does any woman? What's a daughter? Just a reminder of the pain... a younger version of oneself... who will do all the same things, cry the same tears. No, Father. I try to forget I have a daughter.
Meggie Cleary: You complacent, conceited, self-centered *bastard*! *You* can't make love for toffee!
Ralph de Bricassart: What kind of man is this Luke O'Neill, who roams about and doesn't even make a home for Meggie?
Fiona 'Fee' Cleary: The ambitious kind.
Dane O'Neill: Mom, is this you? Oh, you were beautiful.
Meggie Cleary: Were? Oh the cruelty of youth.
Fiona 'Fee' Cleary: It was a lovely dress. Blue wasn't it?
Meggie Cleary: No, Mum, yours was blue.
Ralph de Bricassart: Meggie's dress was rose. "Ashes of Roses", it was called. And in it, she was the most beautiful thing any of us had ever seen.
Ralph de Bricassart: How will we live without him?
Meggie Cleary: We will. Your God gathers in the good ones... and leaves the living to those of us whom fail. Your greedy God! There *is* no peace with him!
Young Meggie Cleary: Oh Father. I'm so glad I'm not dying. What would I ever do without you?
Ralph de Bricassart: Oh silly. You'll never be without me.
Meggie Cleary: What kind of god would shut men out of paradise for loving women?
Ralph de Bricassart: A god I still can't give up for you.
Meggie Cleary: I know.
Archbishop Vittorio Contini-Verchese: When your rose fell to the ground, I understood at last, the sadness you always wear like a holy mantle.
Ralph de Bricassart: Oh Vittorio, I have tried so hard to get her out of my heart.
Archbishop Vittorio Contini-Verchese: You think I don't know that?
Ralph de Bricassart: Then why?
Archbishop Vittorio Contini-Verchese: Ralph, our God has given us freewill. And with that freewill comes the burden of choice. It is time, far past time that you took up that burden, because until you do, you cannot go on.
Luddie Mueller: Well we're just glad you did show up, Your Grace, It's good to know there's someone in the world who cares about the poor girl.
Ralph de Bricassart: Thank you. I want to go back into her.
[Anne stares after Ralph, as he goes back to Meggie]
Anne Mueller: Cares about her, Luddie? If you ask me, he's in love with her.
Anne Mueller: Oh, Meggie! You've the face of an angel and the body of a goddess, and what you mean is, you don't know how to make a man get you pregnant? What you need is a good education. Lady Chatterley's lover! And Henry Miller, definitely Henry Miller!
Meggie Cleary: As for Ralph, he'll never know Dane's his, unless you tell him. And if you do, I warn you, I'll be as merciful to you, as you've always been to me!
Ralph de Bricassart: Poor little Meggie. It must be hard being the only girl.
Fiona 'Fee' Cleary: But I've been blessed with sons, these and the two I've buried. It's her sons a mother thinks of, isn't it?
[yells out to Meggie in the field]
Fiona 'Fee' Cleary: Meggie don't dawdle! You've got the chickens to feed!