"Woah." —Her stock reaction to seeing anything strange, no matter how bizarre or horrifying.
"Other than the time I was a small stone named Edward for some time, I got off lightly."
"That...rock...looks nothing like a bunny. Neither does that one! What're the odds?"
"Dip me in chalk and call me a limestone conglomerate!"
"And anyways, 'Can't carve a tunnel with tears,' as my grandmother used to say."
"This isn't bad. Nice forest. Good soil. Quality glacial remnant boulders."
"I'm a wombat, not a lungfish."
"Well... I suppose no one was ever killed by a cave painting. Except great-aunt Ruby that time and everyone said that was a fluke."
"We swing pickaxes for twelve hours a day
. We're like biceps with feet
"What in the name of the dirt under the claws of the mother of all wombats."
"Just one question for you first: What the heck do you eat? And as a friendly advice, don't say 'wombats'."
"The thing is, I'm a wombat. And no self-respecting wombat has anything to do with magic. It's dangerous, but mostly it's just bad taste."
"REMEMBER TUNNEL SEVENTEEEEEEEEEEEEN!"
"I'm being attacked — or possibly being romanced — by an angry squash."
"Wombat ethics are pretty straightforward, and were not meant for situations this complicated unless geology is involved."
"Okay. Morality in a nutshell. Don't hurt people if you can avoid it. Don't steal stuff unless you're starving or it's really, really important. Work hard. Pay your bills. Try to help others. Always double check your math if there are explosives involved. If you screwed up, you need to see it gets fixed. And don't eat anything that talks. If it doesn't fall under one of those categories, just do the best you can."
"I'm not a philosopher, I don't think about ethics that much. They're sort of involuntary functions, like breathing. If you have to stop and think about it, you're probably already doing something wrong."
"Now, at this point, I should probably tell you about some buried trauma of mine so that you'll be willing to open up to me and tell me whatever. But frankly, I don't have any buried traumas or dark secrets or anything. Well, I'm scared of ducks, but it's really not the same thing."
: [Jhalm]'s not an evil man. Not really. Digger
: There really aren't that many evil
men out there. It's mostly good men working at cross-purposes.
Digger: Do humans ever have baby humans that get... lost? Go missing? And then they're raised by moles?
: Wolves are more traditional with us.
: I've mentioned that I'm herbivore, right? Grim Eyes
: This is no time for weird Earth-Rat hang-ups. Digger
: It's not a hang-up! My digestion is just hooked up differently!
"See? You're not as screwed up as you thought. Sometimes the craziness genuinely is outside your head."
"Indeed? I ride a troll back until my backside's been tenderised, and narrowly escape death through cunning use of undead vegetables and I get an 'Indeed'?"
"What good is a god that does not fossilise!"
Can you carry [Murai] until she wakes up? Grim Eyes:
Skinny little thing like her? To Hell and back, if you like. Digger:
That'll probably be next.
Sweetgrass Voice: Kill me? Not even a god could kill me, dirt rat. Twelve thousand years I've been down here with him, and he's never found a way to destroy me. Twelve thousand years, dirt rat! And when his sanity began to fail and I finally drove him blundering up to the surface, what did he do but find dwarves and men and one of your filthy-clawed kind to bind him! Do you have any idea how long twelve thousand years is?
Statue of Ganesh
"In the seven hundred years that I have been a temple statue, I have never heard someone utter the words 'a god' in the same tone that one might describe, oh...foot fungus
: You're a lifesaver. Statue
: On occasion, yes.
: And if I catch them, I'm gonna shove my pickaxe so far up their— Statue
: I assure you, I am not
: Says the talking elephant statue
: I am not so much a god as part of one — I am Lord Ganesh's hand, if you will, and Jhalm and the Veiled are his dogs. Digger
: Dogs have this legendary tendency to bite their master's hands, you know. Statue
: Indeed, Burrower, I am quite aware of that. But it is not the way of compassion, nor of prudence, to punish a faithful dog simply because you fear it may
: Wait, are you saying that the slug can do things you can't? Statue
: Since I am capable of neither hermaphroditic reproduction, nor moving myself about by means of a slime trail, I dare-say that slugs can do many things I cannot do. I confess, however, that I do not feel any particular grief over the lack.
"I'm half a god, Burrower, not half a geologist."
"My point, Burrower, is not horticultural."
"Neither Jhalm nor I wish to have a conversation that ends with 'Because I'm a god and I say so.' Such things are awkward, and degrade us both."
Do you know how old
the Earth is, Burrower? Digger:
4.5 billon years, give or take. Statue:
Ah yes, I forget that it is difficult to by mystical and cryptic to a species with a highly developed science of geology. Regardless, the Earth is old
, Burrower, old beyond telling, and many ages have passed of which you or I am ignorant. Strange things have walked the Earth in ages past, and vanished, and left little to mark their passing.
(To Murai) "Hold for as long as you can, but the gods do not doubt your courage and they do not require your death."
"Of course It remembers! It remembers the rabbit It ate yesterday too, but rabbit still gone. Memory not life."
Ed: Yes. Liver is where feelings come from. Mousie not know this?
Digger: I guess I thought feelings came from the heart.
Ed: No. If Mousie is ever starving, Mousie will know. Prey's liver is what hunter craves first. Kill prey, eat liver, get strong. Full of feelings. Life. Heart just muscle.
Digger: But you'd die without your heart!
: Not be getting far without liver, either.
: Demon is big thing, all thing, like wind, but is person, like Digger-mousie. Like is being storm demon, sick demon, fire demon, yes? Is person, but is also all thing, fire person, storm person. You know? Digger
: Okay, I sort of understand. Are they bad? Ed
: Some, yes, very much badness, very smart, bad person. Some not, just...big thing, scary thing. Fire burn, but not being bad, just being fire.
"But Sweetgrass voice lies. Sweetgrass voice is demon. Big demon, is all lies and hate and smoke underground."
"Gods is being like demons — is big thing, not safe."
"It was told to die, leave no name, no memory, no bones where real people might eat them. But It did not die. It has no name. But It will paint. After It is bones. After all real people are bones, after all names are eaten, someone will find pictures, maybe will not matter then that It doesn't have a name. Someone will remember pictures."
: Evil is having reason, always, many and many. If hunter beats mate, has reason, always. Mate is lazy, burning food, is stupid, is speaking on and on. Is always being a reason. Digger
: But Ed, those aren't good reasons! Ed
: No, but evil is still being — is having reason — being reasonable! Mousie understands? Is always being reason. Is punishing world for not being...like in head. Is always reason. World should be different, is reason. Is only good is not having reason. Little one hugs, not reason. Digger-mousie is giving name to nameless, say 'Ed', no reason. Skin-painter paints skin of child, no reason. Just is.
: What's a pervert? Digger
: Tell you later. Shadowchild
: Am I a—? Digger
: That was YOU, wasn't it? Shadowchild
: What was me? Digger
: That fifty-foot tall shadow-demon-thingy was you! Shadowchild
: Oh yeah. That was me. Why? Can't you do that?
: Well, that was an experience. Shadowchild
: Really? Digger
: Yeah. Shadowchild
: Am I an experience? Digger
: You have no idea.
: How are you doing? Digger
: Fine, Fine. Other than the GREAT BLOODY HUNK OF WOOD IN MY SHOULDER
. Never better. Shadowchild
: Can't you just thin out around it? Digger
: Uh... No. Wombat density is sort of — OW! — constant. Shadowchild
: That must be inconvenient. Digger
: Yes. Yes it is.
: So are they evil? Digger
: Nah, I think they're just weird. You gotta understand, good and evil's kinda...squishy at the edges.
"But what is an evil? Is it like water or like hedgehog or night or lumpy? What does it look like? How do I know?"
: I thought you were in my head! Shadowchild
: No... I could get in your head if you want, but it looks kind of crowded. I'm amazed there's room for you in there.
: Am I a hallucination? Digger
: It'd make life easier, but no.
"The eaten? ...You spoke to the eaten?! You were its guest?! ...You... you...PERVERT!
: You brroke my mother's spearrr
: Look, if you're expecting me to apologize for damaging a family heirloom, let me just point out that you were trying to skewer me with it.
might put a spear in your heart, but only an enemy
will tell you it's for your own good."
Grim-Eyes: If the Elders say may hunt you again, I will warn you first.
Digger: Errm... Thanks?
"The leaves are prophetic, not an encyclopaedia."
"One minute we're oozing along, not a care in the world, and the next, every time you cross a leaf, it's telling you the future. It's hard when you've got a brain the size of a pin head
, believe me."
: Lady, if I was gonna make up a story about how I became an oracle, it would be a lot more glamorous. Digger
: Well, I suppose there's no arguing with that logic.
"Look buddy, they don't say 'Continued on the next leaf!' The leaf said 'Bones of the sea,' and that's what I told you. Don't salt the messenger."
"The Veiled serve the gods, Honored Digger. Comparative mythology and hand-to-hand combat are our specialities."
"I looked upon the face of a goddess. And it broke me. And now some things take me back there. Children screaming, or the darkness shining, or the smell—I really can't describe the smell."
"It may sound strange, Honored Digger, but I do not believe they are malicious. I do not doubt they would skin us, but they do not mean any harm by it."
Murai: We are gazing upon what may be one of the most horrific divine tragedies of our age, and all you can say is "weird"?
Digger: Really weird?
"Only the very wise or the very foolish speak willingly with the divine."
"Go on. They won't eat you unless you do something stupid."
: Shadebones here has this one nephew, and Hare's Ghost, if I were thirty years younger... Shadebones
: You're blind. You can't even see him. Boneclaw mother
: He smells adorable. Shadebones
: You're a vile old woman
"I'm not senile. I just talk to myself because the rest of you don't provide adequate conversation."
"May the Mother of Earthquakes walk with you, but not too closely."
"Quiet back there or so-help-me I'll turn this funeral around!"
"Get out of my sight: even your sins are petty."
I am Captain Jhalm, but I fear you have the advantage of me, madam. Boneclaw Mother:
I am Boneclaw Mother. I am the eldest. I speak for the tribe. Jhalm:
Then I am honored to meet you. Boneclaw Mother:
Yes. You are.
: Now if I was a crude person, I'd say because I have my teeth inches from your throat and if you did
somehow defeat me, all that would achieve would be to make Grim-Eyes angry enough to rip out your other eye and piss in the socket. Jhalm:
How fortunate, then, that you are not a crude person.
Murai: Honored Digger!
Grim Eyes: Earth Rat!
Boneclaw Mother: Freaky Adopted Daughter!
Jhalm: If you attempt to harm one of my Veiled, it will go badly for you.
The Cold Ones: [...] A—soldier—of—too many—gods. We—do not—fear—you.
Jhalm: I need no gods to deal with you.
The Skin Lizards
"We will write the lefthand names of God on the inside of its skin."
"In purple ink."
"We like purple. Yes."
Murai: Wait — the men whose skins you were — when they died, did their shadows become deer?
Lizard 1: Yes! Yes, it knows! The little digger's friend knows! Bones became tapirs, shadow became deer, yes, breath became butterflies.
Lizard 2: Heart became kingfisher, soul became owl, yes, yes...
—Last line of the series
About the comic
A wombat. A dead god. A very peculiar epic.
"You know that quirky side character thatís really interesting and entertaining but ultimately overshadowed by the boring lead thatís got no real personality or motives? Diggerís like a comic thatís all about that quirky side character."
"I am very proud of Digger. I am proud of the fact that the majority of the characters wound up being female, and nobody ever felt the need to discuss this or stop for a round of shopping—they were mostly just people doing the next thing that needed to be done. There are probably fancy terms for this, but I never had any head for academia.
I am also proud of what I think is the consistent theme of Digger, which is that if you are reasonably polite and reasonably intelligent and work very hard, you should win in the end. I am told that this is not the normal message of fantasy, which usually seems to involve being prenatally chosen or the seventh son of a seventh son or of royal/divine/fairy blood. As I am none of these things, but I am reasonably polite and hard-working, I prefer my version, because hell, if it's NOT enough to be those things, then what's the point?
It's a humanist sort of moral, I grant you, which is probably odd in a story with so few humans in it, but there you are."
—Ursula Vernon, Digger Volume 6