: Back to barracks, General? Or to Rome? Maximus
: Home... Wife, son, the harvest. Quintus
: Maximus the farmer... I still have difficulty imagining that. Maximus
: You know, dirt cleans off a lot easier than blood, Quintus.
Someone who is in the position that he could do something much more significant, but still chooses an agricultural job for sentimental reasons
When done with Badass
fighters, it is often used to symbolize that after seeing so much destruction and violence, they want to actually do something constructive, put down some roots, and see some new growth, maybe as a way of dealing with post traumatic stress
. In brief, instead of destroying life, they now seek to raise and maintain it. It might overlap with Real Men Wear Pink
, especially when it is about flowers, or gardening, to show that this tough man always secretly wished for such a meek pastime. For others, the pastoral life is particularly sweet because they've lived their entire lives on the move and this is the first place they can really call home, or maybe this
is what they have really
been fighting for all along (soldiers Fighting for a Homeland
, for example).
It may turn out to be a harder job than they originally thought.
When it is professional agriculture, like farming, it often happens with politically or socially important figures, to show that they wish to be mere workers of the land. They might make snarky comments informing us that in fact, this is the first really useful thing they've done
This sort of response is typical of the Cincinnatus
, possibly an Ur Example
See also: Home Sweet Home
and Retired Badass
for retirement, and Arcadia
for peaceful life. The opposite of (And a play on) Call to Adventure
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Anime & Manga
- Gordon Rosewater in The Big O. The man responsible for the creation of Paradigm City, he grows tomatoes in a private dome.
- Ryoji Kaji in Neon Genesis Evangelion inverts this trope — rather than gardening and growing watermelons because of retirement, he does it because he's about to face the end of the world and wants to at least enjoy himself in his final moments. Later on he implies that this is what he would do if he had the chance to retire. He doesn't get the chance.
- Lord Jeremiah in Code Geass ends the series in, of all things, an orange grove. This is a Call Back to the start of the series, where after being disgraced by Zero he's given the choice between tending an orange grove or starting his military career over from Square One, and shows that he's become comfortable with his new life.
- He's joined in this work by Anya Earlstreim.
- Gan Fall in One Piece becomes a pumpkin farmer after he is replaced by Eneru as the ruler of Skypiea.
- Ooishi in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai mentioned his plans for having a vegetable garden after retirement, as a way of finally having a carefree life.
- At the epilogue of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Lagann-hen, Simon becomes a wandering well-digger, asking only that the villages he assists plant lots of flowers in return. This is to help fulfill the dream of his deceased wife Nia, who wished for an Earth covered in flowers.
- Taeko from Only Yesterday has a strong yearning for the agricultural lifestyle. She gets her wish in the end.
- Gunslinger Girl: After her handler dies, the Social Welfare Agency isn't sure what do with Claes. She ends up splitting her time between destructive testing and starting her own garden on Agency land.
- In Dragon Ball: Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!!, Goku is seen tending to a radish farm.
- When faced with Taki's deportation and the resurgence of war in Maiden Rose, Klaus, who has already lost many comrades in action, tries to convince Taki to come back to his estate with him to live an idyllic life farming roses. Being A Father to His Men, Taki refuses and the dream never comes to pass.
- Rurouni Kenshin: In the OVA. "For many years I ended the lives of evil men but I've only realized inner peace by bringing life to this land and sharing its harvest with you." Its more of a cover story than a choice but he learns to love it.
- Played much straighter by Fuji, who after his Heel-Face Turn becomes a Tondenhei (a sort of soldier who works as a farmer during peace periods) in Hokkaido.
- Fleet Admiral Sidney Sithole in Legend of Galactic Heroes decided to take up bee-keeping after he was forced to retire from his position as Chief of the Joint Operations Headquarters following the Imperial territories invasion debacle.
- Having grown sick of war and bloodshed, Thorfinn of Vinland Saga wants nothing more than to do constructive things like build homes and grow crops. He is able to find meaning working as a slave working on his masters' fields. Sadly, it seems like the universe isn't going to let him avoid fighting.
- Combine this with an old man transforming himself into a Hollywood Cyborg and you get the premise behind Cyborg Grandpa G
- In an early chapter of Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, Kenichi swears off martial arts and joins the gardening club instead. The Call Knows Where You Live, naturally, but Kenichi never actually quits the club.
- In Hyperdimension Neptunia The Animation, Arfoire and Pirachu retire from being supervillains and tend an eggplant farm.
- In the seventh OVA episode of Tenchi Muyo! we find out that Tenchi, future prince of Jurai and the guy who killed one of the most wanted men in the galaxy, has started a carrot garden for Ryo-Ohki.
- Pieter Bruegel the Elder made many paintings about peasants and their daily lives. He especially admired the farmers and their hard work on the field.
- L' Angelus by Jean-François Millet shows a farmer couple praying above a grave of their dead child.
- A Brief History of Equestria — Commander Hurricane: First and Only male Commander of the Celestine Junta, a Father To His Ponies (and lover to his mares), fought tyrants and raiders alike, defended his tribe with honor and distinction for over forty years. Relinquishes his commission to start a little hideaway after Hearth's Warming.
- This trope is evidently genetic, as his daughter Private Pansy resigned from military life to become a farmer's wife.
- In Je Fais Partie De Vous after Light finally allows L out of his Gilded Cage, L finds satisfaction in being Kira's gardener.
- Pinkie Pie in Divided Rainbow. Though unlike most examples of this trope, her taking up farming represents the beginning of Pinkie's problems...
- Seen in I Am Skantarios, when the titular emperor retires from commanding Byzantium's armies and tries to tend to a palace garden. The results are inadvertently similar to the genocidal, scorched-earth tactics from his campaigns.
- Legacy of ch'Rihan: Morgaiah "Morgan" t'Thavrau was the ih'hwi'saenhe (executive officer) of a Romulan Star Navy warbird at the time of the Hobus supernova, but she's been a farmer on Virinat for the past 21 years. (The reason hasn't been given yet.)
- In A Charmed Life after settling down with Ryuk in the Shinigami Realm, Light takes up apple farming.
- In Dumbledore's Army and the Year of Darkness, Neville's potential for incredible badassery and his love of herbology are in even bigger contrast with each other than in Canon. He often declares how much he would prefer simple gardening over leading an army. He eventually gets it, with interruptions.
- Candide is probably the Trope Codifier. This was basically the whole Aesop of the story.
"I know also," said Candide, "that we must cultivate our garden."
"You are right," said Pangloss
, "for when man was first placed in the Garden of Eden, he was put there ut operaretur eum
, that he might cultivate it, which shows that man was not born to be idle."
"Let us work," said Martin
, "without disputing. It is the only way to render life tolerable."
- King Arthur in Bernard Cornwell's The Warlord Chronicles describes his ideal life as settling down with a farm and a smithy. Circumstances never seem to allow him his dream (for long anyway).
- Amusingly, when Arthur does get a few years to retire and live his dream life, Arthur is an enthusiastic but singularly bad smith and mediocre farmer.
- So does Sharpe, and he is more successful at it.
- A police major in David Wingrove's Chung Kuo fits this trope.
- Manion Butler, a politician, did this in Dune: the Butlerian Jihad.
- In the Harry Potter series, Neville Longbottom might count: he always had a soft spot for herbology, and this is what he chose as a profession after getting bored with slaying snakes with swords while on fire.
- Gabrielle Zevin's Elsewhere is about a city in which people get to lead a second life after death. The heroine is frustrated to find that her rock star idol, Curtis Jest, has taken a job as a fisherman.
Curtis: Fishing is a fine, noble profession.
Liz: Unless you're supposed to do something else!
Curtis: Last week, I met a gardener named John Lennon.
- The Odyssey: Odysseus, after returning from the Trojan War.
- ...at least until he takes off for a new kingdom and gets involved in another war in the sequel and one of the lost epics, the Telegony.
- Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot tried to do this in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.
- Detective Seargent Cuff from The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins retires to cultivate roses.
- In Romance of the Three Kingdoms, when Liu Bei had to share temporary lodging in the same city as Cao Cao, he deflected suspicion from himself by taking up gardening in his yard.
- Parodied in Interesting Times. One of Cohen's horde confronts him with the fact that one time he stole a farm and wanted to settle down. It lasted about three hours.
- Also parodied in Feet of Clay. Sergeant Colon's desire to have a rural house and raise chickens fades somewhat when he is (forcibly, brutally and messily) exposed to real livestock.
- In The Colour of Magic, the Talking Sword feels this.
"What I'd really like is to be a ploughshare. I don't know what that is, but it sounds like an existence with some point to it."
- In Reaper Man Death gets retired and spends this time as a farmhand helping to bring in the harvest; after all, he is a dab hand with a scythe
- Sherlock Holmes retired to Sussex to keep bees.
- Arsène Lupin however retired to Garden for the Kaiser. And be the Man Behind the Man of Germany.
- Coll from the Chronicles of Prydain, a legendary hero who single-handedly entered Annuvin to rescue an oracular pig, retired to a farm called Caer Dallben to take care of that pig and work the farm.
- Which is exactly what Taran wanted to do at the end of the series, having finally grasped the value of farming ... but as it turned out, fate had other plans.
- Adaon in The Black Cauldron says that "there is more honor in a field well plowed than in a field steeped in blood."
- Most of the characters in the Finnish war epic The Unknown Soldier are farmers, including captain Koskela badass Antti Rokka.
- In the Twilight of the Clans series in the Battletech novels, Victor Steiner-Davion considers doing this after learning his realm was taken over by his sister. He changes his mind, though.
- Sam ended The Lord of the Rings like this. True, gardening was his profession to begin with, but after all the adventures they went through, his final settlement in the Shire definitely had this feel.
- Éowyn and Faramir, though they technically end up ruling the province of Ithilien, talk as if they're hearing the Call.
Éowyn: I will be a shieldmaiden no longer, nor vie with the great Riders, nor take joy only in the songs of slaying. I will be a healer, and love all things that grow and are not barren. No longer do I desire to be a queen.
Faramir: That is well, for I am not a king... Let us cross the River and in happier days let us dwell in fair Ithilien and there make a garden. All things will grow with joy there, if the White Lady comes.
- Jack Aubrey opens The Mauritius Command stuck in a tiny cottage, the great garden he dreamed of in previous books filled with puny wormy cabbages. As he's used to ship's food, the worms don't bother him so much. In general, Aubrey is a subversion of this trope: though he periodically makes plans for estates or agricultural projects, they're ill-fated, and he always goes back to sea (and to war) with relief.
- Ged/Sparrowhawk in Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea Trilogy retires to a farm on his home island of Gont after losing his powers saving the world in The Farthest Shore. Of course, this wasn't his plan and he spends most of Tehanu uncharacteristically depressed, snappy and hermetic. He seems to have accepted the situation and settled down by the time of The Other Wind several years later, but still refuses to leave the farm or have anything to do with governing Earthsea.
- In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero's Daughter trilogy's Back Story part of Prospero's retirement had been gardening.
- In Shadow Keep the former hero Shone Stelft gave up his heroic career and became a respectable blacksmith.
- In Star Wars Expanded Universe - specifically the Hand of Thrawn Duology - it is revealed that Baron Fel was chosen to be the template for clones specifically to invoke this trope, so they would fight to defend their homes.
- The novel The Old Republic: Deceived ends with the Republic-soldier-turned-spice-runner Zeerid Korr buying a farm and settling down with his daughter. He is then joined by Aryn Leneer, a Jedi Knight who has quit the order and has come to be with him.
- H'Ta, one of the elderly members of the Order of the Bat'leth in Star Trek: Klingon Empire. Now a farmer, he much prefers fertilizer to blood and has no desire to leave when he receives Captain Klag's summons to battle.
- In The Belgariad, after centuries of being the protector to the Heir of the Rivan Throne, Polgara finally settles down with her husband in a simple cottage in a quiet vale where hardly anybody else lives. She cultivates her own vegetables, makes her own soap ... and is probably the second richest person in the world as well as an all-powerful sorceress who can create things through power of her own Will.
- Beldin too, though he doesn't become a farmer. After several millenia of spying on the enemy, he and his partner become (presumably immortal) hawks and fly off, never to be seen again.
- Sword of The Annals of the Chosen spends a great deak of his adventures wishing he was back in Mad Oak growing barley and beans.
- Appears in the Into the Looking Glass series by John Ringo. At the beginning of the second book, Navy SEAL protagonist Command Master Chief Robert Miller had retired from active duty and was running a floral shop, doing flower arrangements. That was until he got recalled.
- Roran Stronghammer in Inheritance Cycle is a Berserker in battle and has strong skills in leading, but returns to a life of farming following the war with Galbatorix.
- An entire army was persuaded to settle down in this fashion in Robert Asprin's Myth Conceptions. (Their leader Big Julie said that he just wanted to "sit in the sun, drink a little wine, maybe pat a few bottoms, you know what I mean?")
- In The Keys To The Kingdom, the Piper creates an army of nearly-human New Nithlings, only to discover that they would rather be farmers than soldiers. Not that they have a choice in the matter.
- Played straight in the Bazil Broketail series. The final novel ends with the main character Relkin and his dragon Bazil retiring to a life of farming after their term of military service is up. Several of his buddies in his old unit are also approaching retirement age and thinking of starting up their own farms next to Relkin's, starting a new town in the process.
Live Action TV
- Star Trek: The Next Generation: Picard was managing his family vineyard as part of the alternate future in the Grand Finale.
- In Star Trek: Generations, in the Nexus, Kirk was found chopping wood and frying eggs on a farm. This was a memory of his, right before he chose to return to Starfleet.
- Several of the former members of Kira's Resistance cell in DeepSpaceNine are also shown as farmers, seemingly for the reasons described in the trope descriptions.
- D'Argo planned to do this in Farscape. It was also considered that Crais might have not died, but been transported away at the last moment and gone off to live his life as a farmer.
- At the end of Battlestar Galactica, Baltar and Six plan some cultivation on the new Earth. His father was a farmer you know.
- Xena had Ares become a farmer at her Grandmother's farm after he lost his powers. Of course, he quit being a farmer after regaining his powers.
- This is the premise behind the show Green Acres. A successful city lawyer gives up practising law to become a farmer.
- Doc Baker was unable to save a patient or some such on one episode of Little House on the Prairie, and decides to take up farming instead. Fortunately for the sick of Walnut Grove, Hiram is a terrible farmer.
- In his first appearance on Red Dwarf, the robot Kryten says he's always wanted to have his own garden. Lister encourages him to find a planet with an atmosphere and do it. The viewers assume this is where he's gone, until he reappears as a regular cast member in the next season. According to the Opening Scroll (which passes so fast it can only be read by freeze-frame), he's been found in pieces and reassembled after crashing his space-bike into an asteroid.
- Doctor Who: In "Remembrance of the Daleks", after encountering the Doctor and the Daleks, Dr. Rachel Jensen quips in frustration, "You know, after this is over, I'm going to retire and raise begonias."
- In the PC game Hero's Quest (later re-named Quest for Glory I), you come across a centaur raking his field. In fact, that's all you ever see him do. But his description states that he looks very strong and has had his fair share of battles. If you attempt to fight him, the game simply won't let you, implying that it's not a good idea.
- Agent 47 from Hitman became a gardener at a church following the events of the first game. Too bad the Mafia had to kidnap the local priest...
- Sergei hired them to do it to force 47 back into the profession and use him through the Agency so it's an example of The Call Knows Where You Live.
- Largo in Valkyria Chronicles. He always had a dream to have a vegetable garden, and eventually he did.
- Dietrich Kellerman, an enemy ace in Ace Combat Zero, returns to his farm after the Belkan War, where the reporter narrating the story interviews him.
- After the Kilrathi War ended in Wing Commander III, Christopher Blair retired to become a farmer. He wasn't much good at it, however, and couldn't turn down the call to return to active duty in the next game.
- Weber/Kross from Rune Factory Frontier.
- If you recruit General Wallace in Fire Emblem (the first official English release) and keep him alive until the end, his epilogue with read that, after somehow winding up in Ilia, he spends the remainder of his days tilling the soil up there. Of course, he'd become a farmer after 30 years' worth of service as a knight to the Caelin house before he joins you, anyway, so it'd really be more correct to say that he went BACK to farming...
- Defied in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance. Ike's dying father advises him to take up farming instead of going after the Black Knight for revenge, but Ike disregards this Last Request.
- Brom and Nephenee follow the example of Wallace above, given that they were farmers before signing up to defend Crimea.
- One of the endings of Brave Soul has the main character and his girlfriend getting stranded on an island with a crate of cursed agricultural tools that force anyone who touches them to work for a given amount of time. The final scene shows them like this.
- In Assassin's Creed: Embers, Ezio Auditore's retired to a villa in Tuscany, Italy over ten years after his last appearance in Assassin's Creed: Revelations and spends his days tending to a vineyard.
- A depressing version occurs in Mace: The Dark Age. Mordos Kull's bad ending has him retire from mercenary work after failing to kill Asmodeus. He becomes a farm hand, but Asmodeus has fouled the soil, and the farmers cannot even afford to share their harvest with him.
- The end of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha As Portable: The Gears of Destiny shows that Yuri and the Materials have settled down in Eltria to help restore the current desert planet back to its former fertile self.
- Monomachus the Veteran Instructor and big guy in Tears to Tiara 2. Though he didn't let Hamil know until he died. Hamil prefers traveling. But part of his Aura Plan is to allow agriculture to flourish all over the empire.
- In the games where it exists as a mechanics, growing berries is one of the few things left to the player in Pokémon after beating it.
- Happened at the end of The Maxx.
- Skarr from The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy used to be the Only Sane Man Dragon to the Villain Protagonist in sister show Evil Con Carne, but now just wants to be left alone and do his gardening. Too bad for him he lives next door to the Grim Reaper.
- In The Simpsons episode "Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk", after selling the Power Plant, Mr. Burns starts up a bee farm.
- Subverted in Avatar: The Last Airbender. The man who killed Katara's mother has a garden and it is implied that he spends quite some time on it, but he is still the cold and heartless man he was when he committed murder. And he seems to be miserable as well, mostly thanks to his mother.
- Karl Rossum from Batman: The Animated Series briefly takes up farming after the disaster of the HARDAC program. He eventually does return to the robotics business full-time.
- Diocletian, the Emperor who ended the Crisis of the Third Century (i.e. the fifty-year period of successive Klingon Promotions for Roman Emperor) and invented serfdom in the West, setting the stage for the ultimate division of the Roman Empire, decided to retire to a big palace in Spalatum (now Split, Croatia) after 21 years on the throne. He spent most of the time gardening, and when asked to retake the throne, Diocletian replied: "If you could show the cabbage that I planted with my own hands to your emperor, he definitely wouldn't dare suggest that I replace the peace and happiness of this place with the storms of a never-satisfied greed."
- Cincinnatus, who returned from his farm to assume absolute power over Rome for six months while the city faced an invasion. Having repulsed and conquered the invaders in three months, he gave up his dictatorship and went back home.
- Hitler's architect Albert Speer helped design and plant the garden in the Spandau Prison. He then spent all his free time walking around it, counting his laps. He was trying to walk around the world, you seenote Nice "Pride Goeth Before A Fall"-story: for all his power and grandiose plans for "Germania," this garden is the only thing of his projects that wasn't bombed, never built because of the war or demolished after the war (in Berlin, that is). note
- According to his journal, he also spent a couple of weeks drawing a modest house for one of his American guards as a farewell present (shades of season one of Prison Break there...).
- Inversion: Early Zionists thought this part of the way to make themselves into Badass Israelis, not as a way to retire.
- After two terms as President of the United States, George Washington retired to manage his plantation, earning him the nickname "The American Cincinnatus". The city of Cincinnati was named in reference to this nickname in his honor.
- And John Adams and Thomas Jefferson did the same, although Jefferson's Monticello was a slaveholding plantation as well (so he managed it rather than toiling himself, and Adams was more a gentleman gardener.
- George W. Bush retired to his Texas ranch.
- Wittgenstein retired to become a monastery gardener after writing his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, reasoning that with its publication, all philosophy was now completed.
- Justified Trope: During the Three Kingdoms period in China, Cao Cao (as seen in Romance of the Three Kingdoms) mandated that the army re-cultivate the land ravaged by war.
- Quite a few famous philosophers and poets retired (or were forcibly exiled) to a life of gardening after trying out working for the Man and becoming disillusioned with the political system (or pissed off the wrong guy).
- After surviving a life-threatening brain aneurysm during their 1995-96 tour, R.E.M. drummer Bill Berry retired from rock to work a farm in Georgia about a half-hour's drive from Athens.
- Roman legionnaires who'd served a lifetime tour of duty (about 20-25 years) could be granted farmland in lands they'd served in or helped conquer.
- As World War II drew to a close the Willys-Overland company began to envision potential civilian markets for the Jeep. One of the first was as a "4-in 1" farm vehicle, taking over the roles of light tractor and stationary engine as well as a transporter that was both off-road capable and street-legal. While the first two roles never came to pass, the Land Rover Series I was based loosely on the same design, going on to become an Iconic Item for British farmers, gamekeepers and many other rural occupations ever since. The trope ended up coming full-circle a few years later when the Land Rover was selected as the Boring but Practical option to replace the Jeep in British Army service, after the non-success of an Awesome but Impractical custom-built replacement, the Austin Champ.
- For that matter, tens of thousands of individual Jeeps and other light utility vehicles were sold off as surplus after the war, many of which found their way into the agricultural sector.
- Raduan Nassar, a acclaimed Brazilian writer, quit literature in 1984, after only two novels and some short stories, to become a successful farmer without any explanations. In 2012, he sold / donated most of his lands. Again, leaving everyone perplexed.
- This has helped many veterans returning from the recent unpleasantness.
- The cult leader Jim Jones did this in Jonestown, he state that the settlement was highly self sufficient and they got everything they need of the land. However they faced with severe shortages, and a storm wrecked their harvest. This is an example of how this trope doesn't always work out, especially if its run by a sinister megalomaniac.
- Near the end of the Cultural Rebolution Mao Zedong sent thousands of his Red Guard to the field, according to him its an opportunity for them to learn from the peasants. But he did it to get rid of them, as their witch hunts for suspected traitors were tearing the country apart.
- Simo Häyhä (1905-2002), attributed to have been the most lethal soldier in existence, returned to his life as a farmer and hunter after World War II. He would become a successful moose hunter and dog breeder until the day he passed away.
- Kenji Miyazawa, author of Night on the Galactic Railroad, gave up teaching at Hanamaki Agricultural School in 1926 to farm the land.