“Then you must lay your finger, the same that wore the ring, upon the thread, and follow the thread wherever it leads you.”

“Oh, how delightful! It will lead me to you, grandmother, I know!”

“Yes. But, remember, it may seem to you a very roundabout way indeed, and you must not doubt the thread. Of one thing you may be sure, that while you hold it, I hold it too.”

The Princess & The Goblin (1872) by George Macdonald

I am very old indeed. It is so silly of people…to fancy that old age means crookedness and witheredness and feebleness and sticks and spectacles and rheumatism and forgetfulness! It is so silly! Old age has nothing whatever to do with all that. The right old age means strength and beauty and mirth and courage and clear eyes and strong painless limbs. I am older than you are able to think…
—  George MacDonald, The Princess and the Goblin