Terry Pratchett is very quotable. This page is under construction and mostly stolen from the Pratchett Quote File.
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"[...] a number of offences of murder by means of a blunt instrument, to whit, a dragon, and many further offences of generalized abetting [...]"
“Would you mind giving it a push? The Door of Knowledge Through Which the Untutored May Not Pass sticks something wicked in the damp.”
"Have another drink, not-Corporal Nobby?" said Sergeant Colon unsteadily.
"I do not mind if I do, not-Sgt Colon," said Nobby.
"I do not mind if I do, not-Sgt Colon," said Nobby.
The joys of working undercover
Fabricati diem, Pvnc.
The motto of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch
A good bookshop is just a genteel Black Hole that knows how to read.
There was a thoughtful pause in the conversation as the assembled Brethren mentally divided the universe into the deserving and the undeserving, and put themselves on the appropriate side.
All dwarfs have beards and wear up to twelve layers of clothing. Gender is more or less optional.
All dwarfs are by nature dutiful, serious, literate, obedient and thoughtful people whose only minor failing is a tendency, after one drink, to rush at enemies screaming "Arrrrrrgh!" and axing their legs off at the knee.
People who are rather more than six feet tall and nearly as broad across the shoulders often have uneventful journeys. People jump out at them from behind rocks then say things like, "Oh. Sorry. I thought you were someone else."
It was possibly the most circumspect advance in the history of military manoeuvres, right down at the bottom end of the scale that things like the Charge of the Light Brigade are at the top of.
It always amazed Vimes how Nobby got along with practically everyone. It must, he’d decided, have something to do with the common denominator. In the entire world of mathematics there could be no denominator as common as Nobby.
Vetinari: You think there are the good people and the bad people. You are wrong, of course. There are, always and only, the bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides.
Lady Ramkin's bosom rose and fell like an empire.
Someone out there was going to find out that their worst nightmare was a maddened Librarian. With a badge.
Vimes: It's a metaphor of human bloody existence, a dragon. And if that wasn't bad enough, it's also a bloody great hot flying thing.
The three rules of the Librarians of Time and Space are: 1) Silence; 2) Books must be returned no later than the date last shown; and 3) Do not interfere with the nature of causality.
A number of religions in Ankh-Morpork still practiced human sacrifice, except that they didn't really need to practice any more because they had got so good at it. City law said that only condemned criminals should be used, but that was all right because in most of the religions refusing to volunteer for sacrifice was an offense punishable by death.
Thunder rolled. It rolled a six.
"Right, you bastards, you're... you're geography!"
The reason that cliches become cliches is that they are the hammers and screwdrivers in the toolbox of communication.
You have the effrontery to be squeamish. But we were dragons. We were supposed to be cruel, cunning, heartless and terrible. But this much I can tell you, you ape — we never burned and tortured and ripped one another apart and called it morality.
Men At Arms
If the Creator had said, "Let there be light" in Ankh-Morpork, he'd have gotten no further because of all the people saying "What colour?"
From the back, Vetinari looked like a carnivorous flamingo.
Cuddy had only been a guard for a few days, but already he had absorbed one important and basic fact: it is almost impossible for anyone to be in a street without breaking the law.
The Battle of Koom Valley is the only one known to history where both sides ambushed each other.
Carrot was two metres tall but he'd been brought up as a dwarf, and then further up as a human.
"Young Edward thinks that there is no lake of blood too big to wade through to put a rightful king on a throne, no deed too base in defence of a crown. A romantic, in fact."
The Ramkins were more highly bred than a hilltop bakery, whereas Corporal Nobbs had been disqualified from the human race for shoving.
He was said to have the body of a twenty-five year old, although no one knew where he kept it.
Gaspode the Wonder Dog: Pride is all very well, but a sausage is a sausage.
The river Ankh is probably the only river in the universe on which the investigators can chalk the outline of the corpse.
The Alchemist's Guild is opposite the Gambler's Guild. Usually. Sometimes it's above it, or below it, or falling in bits around it.
Sham Harga had run a successful eatery for many years by always smiling, never extending credit, and realizing that most of his customers wanted meals properly balanced between the four food groups: sugar, starch, grease and burnt crunchy bits.
Sometimes it's better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness.
"Yes," said Carrot. "An appointment is an engagement to see someone, while a morningstar is a large lump of metal used for viciously crushing skulls. It is important not to confuse the two, isn't it, Mr.-?"
Being a werewolf meant having the dexterity and jaw power to instantly rip out a man's jugular. It was a trick of her father's that had always annoyed her mother, especially when he did it just before meals.
"It's got three keyboards and a hundred extra knobs, including twelve with '?' on them."
The Unseen University Organ, as designed by B. S. Johnson
The Librarian of Unseen University had unilaterally decided to aid comprehension by producing an Orang-utan/Human Dictionary. He'd been working on it for three months. It wasn't easy. He'd got as far as "Oook".
"It could be a torture chamber or a dungeon or a hideous pit or anything!"
"It's just a student's bedroom, sergeant."
"It's just a student's bedroom, sergeant."
The maze was so small that people got lost looking for it.
Bloody Stupid Johnson, for all your landscaping needs.
He was a good copper. That had got said at every guard funeral Vimes had ever attended. If d probably be said even at Corporal Nobbs' funeral, although everyone would have their fingers crossed behind their backs. It was what you had to say.
Feet Of Clay
"Bingeley bingeley beep!"
He hated the very idea of the world being divided into the shaved and the shavers. Or those who wore the shiny boots and those who cleaned the mud off them. Every time he saw Willikins the butler fold his, Vimes's, clothes, he suppressed a terrible urge to kick the butler's shiny backside as an affront to the dignity of man.
I am Death, not taxes. I turn up only once.
Slab: Jus' say "AarrghaarrghpleeassennononoUGH"
Detritus' war on drugs
And, while it was regarded as pretty good evidence of criminality to be living in a slum, for some reason owning a whole street of them merely got you invited to the very best social occasions.
There were no public health laws in Ankh-Morpork. It would be like installing smoke detectors in Hell.
Vimes: Just because someone's a member of an ethnic minority doesn't mean they're not a nasty small-minded little jerk.
You never ever volunteered. Not even if a sergeant stood there and said, "We need someone to drink alcohol, bottles of, and make love, passionate, to women, for the use of." There was always a snag. If a choir of angels asked for volunteers for Paradise to step forward, Nobby knew enough to take one smart pace to the rear.
Today Is A Good Day For Someone Else To Die!
Rumour is information distilled so finely that it can filter through anything. It does not need doors and windows — sometimes it does not need people. It can exist free and wild, running from ear to ear without ever touching lips.
Vetinari to Vimes: In all, I've had seventeen demands for your badge. Some want parts of your body attached. Why did you have to upset everybody?
It was Carrot who'd suggested to the Patrician that hardened criminals should be given the chance to "serve the community" by redecorating the homes of the elderly, lending a new terror to old age and, given Ankh-Morpork's crime rate, leading to at least one old lady having her front room wallpapered so many times in six months that now she could only get in sideways.
It was hard enough to kill a vampire. You could stake them down and turn them into dust and ten years later someone drops a drop of blood in the wrong place and guess who's back? They returned more times than raw broccoli.
As every student of exploration knows, the prize goes not to the explorer who first sets foot upon the virgin soil but to the one who gets that foot home first. If it is still attached to his leg, this is a bonus.
Jugglers will tell you that juggling with items that are identical is always easier than a mixture of all shapes and sizes. This is even the case with chainsaws, although of course when the juggler misses the first chainsaw it is only the start of his problems. Some more will be along very shortly.
Vimes's grin was as funny as the one that moves very fast towards drowning men. And has a fin on top.
"Taxation, gentlemen, is very much like dairy farming. The task is to extract the maximum amount of milk with the minimum of moo. And I am afraid to say that these days all I get is moo."
Sergeant Colon had had a broad education. He’d been to the School of My Dad Always Said, the College of It Stands to Reason, and was now a postgraduate student at the University of What Some Bloke In the Pub Told Me.
Vimes’s approach to paperwork was not to touch it until someone was shouting, and then at least there would be someone to help him sort through the stacks.
The watchmen realized that the man holding them up had paused to redesign his weapon and had given it to them to hold while he looked for a screwdriver. This was a thing that did not often happen.
Technically they were all in uniform, too, except that mostly they weren’t wearing the same uniform as anyone else. Everyone had just been sent down to the armory to collect whatever fitted, and the result was a walking historical exhibit: Funny-Shaped Helmets Through the Ages.
She sighed again. She was familiar with the syndrome. They said they wanted a soulmate and helpmeet but sooner or later the list would include a skin like silk and a chest fit for a herd of cows.
It is a long-cherished tradition among a certain type of military thinker that huge casualties are the main thing. If they are on the other side then this is a valuable bonus.
One of the universal rules of happiness is: always be wary of any helpful item that weighs less than its operating manual.
'Look, sir, I know Angua. She's not the useless type. She doesn't stand there and scream helplessly. She makes other people do that.'
"Give a man a fire and he's warm for a day, but set fire to him and he's warm for the rest of his life."
"Veni, vici... Vetinari."
And there was nothing finer than a wizard dressed up formally, until someone could find a way of inflating a Bird of Paradise, possibly by using an elastic band and some kind of gas.
And Sergeant Colon once again knew a secret about bravery. It was arguably a kind of enhanced cowardice—the knowledge that while death may await you if you advance it will be a picnic compared to the certain living hell that awaits should you retreat.
"One o'clock pee em! Hello, Insert Name Here!"
He had the look of a lawn mower just after the grass had organised a workers' collective. There was a definite suggestion that, deep inside, he knew this was not really happening. It could not be happening because this sort of thing did not happen. Any contradictory evidence could be safely ignored.
It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone's fault. If it was Us, what did that make Me? After all, I'm one of Us. I must be. I've certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We're always one of Us. It's Them that do the bad things.
Vimes: "Think of it (shipwreck) as the lesser of two evils."
Ship Captain: What's the other?
Vimes (drawing his sword): "Me."
Vimes: “Arrest the lot of ’em. Conspiracy to cause an affray, going equipped to commit a crime, obstruction, threatening behavior, loitering with intent, loitering within tent, hah, traveling for the purposes of committing a crime, malicious lingering and carrying concealed weapons.”
Carrot: “I don’t think that one—”
Vimes: “I can’t see ’em.”
The Fifth Elephant
It is in the nature of the universe that the person who always keeps you waiting ten minutes will, on the day you are ten minutes tardy, have been ready ten minutes early and will make a point of not mentioning this.
There was no such thing as a Dwarfish female pronoun or, once the children were on solids, any such thing as women’s work.
Then Cheery Littlebottom had arrived in Ankh-Morpork, and had seen that there were men out there who did not wear chain mail or leather underwear ** , but did wear interesting colors and exciting makeup, and these men were called “women.” ††
But dwarf girls had heard about sequins. They seemed to have decided in their bones that, if they were going to overturn thousands of years of subterranean tradition, they weren’t going to go through all that for no damn twin-set and pearls.
He wasn’t strictly aware of it, but he treated even geography as if he was investigating a crime (Did you see who carved out the valley? Would you recognize that glacier if you saw it again?).
He was aware that a wise man should always respect the folkways of others, to use Carrot’s happy phrase, but Vimes often had difficulty with this idea. For one thing, there were people in the world whose folkways consisted of gutting other people like clams and this was not a procedure that commanded, in Vimes, any kind of respect at all.
It often seemed to him that Leonard, who had pushed intellect into hitherto undiscovered uplands, had discovered there large and specialized pockets of stupidity.
"In those days rich young men from Ankh-Morpork used to go on what we called the Grand Sneer, visiting far-flung countries and cities in order to see at first hand how inferior they were."
Some people said that gnomes were no more belligerent than any other race, and this was true. However, the belligerence was compressed down into a body six inches high and, like many things when they are compressed, had an inclination to explode.
Besides…while he’d begged, fought, tricked and stolen, he’d never actually been a Bad Dog.
You needed to be a moderately good theological disputant to accept this, especially since a fair number of sausages and prime cuts had disappeared from butchers’ slabs in a blur of gray and a lingering odor of lavatory carpet, but nevertheless Gaspode was clear in his own mind that he’d never crossed the boundary from merely being a Naughty Boy. He’d never bitten a hand that fed him. ** He’d never done It on the carpet. He’d never shirked a Duty. It was a bugger, but there you were. It was a dog thing.
It’s odd, Gaspode mused, as he lay in the sled alongside the slumbering Carrot. He was so int’rested when Bum talked about the howl and how it could send messages right up into the mountains. If I was a suspicious dog, I’d wonder if he knew that she’d come back for him if he was really in trouble, if he decided to gamble everything on it…
Ordinary golems would not harm a human because they had magic words in their head that ordered them not to. Dorfl had no magic words, but he didn’t harm people because he’d decided that it wasn’t moral. This left the worrying possibility that, given enough provocation, he might think again.
As castles went, this one looked as though it could be taken by a small squad of not very efficient soldiers. Its builder had not been thinking about fortifications. He’d been influenced by fairy tales and possibly by some of the more ornamental sorts of cake. It was a castle for looking at. For defense, putting a blanket over your head might be marginally safer.
"Lord Vetinari, I know, believes that information is currency. But everyone knows that currency has alvays been information. Money doesn’t need to talk, it merely has to listen.”
He’d noticed that sex bore some resemblance to cookery: It fascinated people, they sometimes bought books full of complicated recipes and interesting pictures, and sometimes when they were really hungry they created vast banquets in their imagination—but at the end of the day they’d settle quite happily for egg and chips, if it was well done and maybe had a slice of tomato.
Vimes had once discussed the Ephebian idea of “democracy” with Carrot, and had been rather interested in the idea that everyone** had a vote until he found out that while he, Vimes, would have a vote, there was no way in the rules that anyone could prevent Nobby Nobbs from having one as well. Vimes could see the flaw there straightaway.
The news that they have nothing to fear is guaranteed to strike fear into the hearts of innocents everywhere.
The Marquis of Fantailler got into many fights in his youth, most of them as a result of being known as the Marquis of Fantailler, and wrote a set of rules for which he termed “the noble art of fisticuffs” which mostly consisted of a list of places where people weren’t allowed to hit him. Many people were impressed with his work and later stood with noble chest outthrust and fists balled in a spirit of manly aggression against people who hadn’t read the Marquis’s book but did know how to knock people senseless with a chair. The last words of a surprisingly large number of people were “Stuff the bloody Marquis of Fantailler—”
Vimes: “Are you Death?”
it's the scythe, isn't it. people always notice the scythe.
Vimes: “I’m going to die?”
Vimes: “Possibly? You turn up when people are possibly going to die?”
oh yes. it's quite the new thing. it's because of the uncertainty principle.
Vimes: "What’s that?”
i'm not sure.
Vimes: “That’s very helpful.”
i think it means people may or may not die. i have to say it's playing hob with my schedule, but i try to keep up with modern thought.
About halfway toward the ground it tried to change back again, combining in one falling shape all the qualities of something not good at staying in trees with something not good at landing on the ground.
Vimes: "I’ve been saved from werewolves by wolves?”
Carrot: “It’s all right, sir. When you think about it, it’s not really any different from being saved from werewolves by people.”
Vimes: “When I think about it, I think perhaps I was better off lying down,”
“It wasn’t until ten years ago they replaced trial by ordeal here with trial by lawyer, and that was only because they found that lawyers were nastier.”
Mr. Vimes is going to go completely bursar. He’s going to go totally Librarian-poo.
Among the other unwanted baggage that had been heaped on the young Sybil to hamper her progress through life was the injunction to be pleasant to people and say helpful things. People took this to mean that she didn’t think.
She got on with people. Practically from the moment she’d been able to talk she’d been taught how to listen. And when Sybil listened to people she made them feel good about themselves. It was probably something to do with being a…a big girl. She tried to make herself seem small, and by default that made those around her feel bigger. She got on with people almost as well as Carrot. No wonder even the dwarfs liked her.
"Integrity makes very poor armor."
There were a lot of things he could say. “Son of a bitch!” would have been a good one. Or he could say “Welcome to civilization!” He could have said “Laugh this one off!” He might have said “Fetch!”
But he didn’t, because if he had said any of those things, then he’d know that what he had just done was murder.
“This will become, in time, the ax of someone’s grandfather. And no doubt over the years it will need a new handle or a new blade and over the centuries the shape will change in line with fashion, but it will always be, in every detail and respect, the ax I give you today. And because it’ll change with the times, it’ll always be sharp. There’s a grain of Truth in that, see."
"When Mister Safety Catch Is Not On, Mister Crossbow Is Not Your Friend."
He hated being thought of as one of those people that wore stupid ornamental armour. It was gilt by association.
"Don't put your trust in revolutions. They always come around again. That's why they're called revolutions. People die, and nothing changes."
His movements could be called cat-like, except that he did not stop to spray urine up against things.
"Do you mean that most of them will be human, or that each individual will be mostly human?" note
His glare ran from face to face, causing most of the squad to do an immediate impression of the Floorboard and Ceiling Inspectors Synchronized Observation Team.
We who think we are about to die will laugh at anything.
Ninety per cent of most magic merely consists of knowing one extra fact.
"And for close-up fighting, as your senior sergeant I explicitly forbid you to investigate the range of coshes, blackjacks and brass knuckles sold by Mrs Goodbody at No. 8 Easy Street, at a range of prices and sizes to suit all pockets, and should any of you approach me privately I absolutely will not demonstrate a variety of specialist blows suitable for these useful yet tricky instruments."
As soon as you saw people as things to be measured, they didn't measure up.
"Good grief, you don't just pile stuff up, for gods' sake! A barricade is something you construct! "
"What good would a statue be? It'd just inspire new fools to believe they're going to be heroes. They wouldn't want that. Just let them be. For ever."
Who really knew what evil lurked in the heart of men?
Who knew what sane me were capable of?
Vimes glanced at the door of the last room. No, he wasn't going in there again. No wonder it stank in there.
You can't hear me, can you? Oh. I thought you might, said Death, and went back to waiting.
There was The Beast, all around him. And that's all it was. A beast. Useful, but still a beast. You could hold it on a chain, and make it dance, and juggle balls. It didn't think. It was dumb. What you were, what you were, was not The Beast. You didn't have to do what it wanted. If you did, Carcer won."
All the little angels rise up, rise up.'
All the little angels rise up high!
How do they rise up, rise up, rise up?
How do they rise up, rise up high?
On this day in 1802, the painter Methodia Rascal woke up in the night because the sounds of warfare were coming from a drawer in his bedside table.
'All right. Who's going to be the first to tell me a huge whopper?'
You could barely understand the man, he was that posh. It was not so much speech as modulated yawning.
It was the dumb way the pawns went off and slaughtered their fellow pawns while the kings lounged about doing nothing that always got to him; if only the pawns united, maybe talked the rooks round, the whole board could've been a republic in a dozen moves.
Why Vimes doesn't play chess
Only Bloody Stupid Johnson could have invented the 13-inch foot and a triangle with three right angles in it. Only Bloody Stupid Johnson could have twisted common matter through dimensions it was not supposed to enter. And only Bloody Stupid Johnson could have done all this by accident.
Sally: 'Hold it! There's something we'd better sort before this goes any further!'
Sally: 'Yes. We're both wearing nothing, we're standing in what, you may have noticed, is increasingly turning into mud, and we're squaring up to fight. Okay. But there's something missing, yes?'
Angua: 'And that is ?'
Colon: 'I don't believe there's a dancer called Broccolee!'
Nobby: 'Well, she did use to be called Candi, sarge, but then she heard that broccoli is better for you-'
Vetinari: I'm sorry? Mr A. E. Pessimal attacked a troll?'
Vetinari: 'A. E. Pessimal?'
Vimes: 'That's the man, sir.'
Vetinari: 'A whole troll?'
Vimes: 'Yessir. With his teeth, sir.'
Vetinari: 'You wish me to believe, that Mr A. E. Pessimal single-handedly attacked a troll?'
Vimes: 'Both hands, sir. And feet, too. And tried to bite it, we think.'
'Sam Vimes once arrested me for treason. And Sam Vimes once arrested a dragon. Sam Vimes stopped a war between nations by arresting two high commands. He's an arresting fellow, Sam Vimes. Sam Vimes killed a werewolf with his bare hands, and carries law with him like a lamp. Watchmen across half the continent will say that Sam Vimes is as straight as an arrow, can't be corrupted, won't be turned, never took a bribe.'
Vetinari: 'Given, then, a contest between an invisible and very powerful quasi-demonic thing of pure vengeance on the one hand, and the commander on the other, where would you wager, say... one dollar?'
Drumknott: 'I wouldn't, sir. That looks like one that would go to the judges.'
There appeared to be hundreds of them. They all seemed to have names like Bunny or Bubbles, they kept in touch meticulously, they'd all married influential or powerful men, they all hugged one another when they met and went on about the good old days in Form 3b or whatever, and if they acted together, they could probably run the world or, it occurred to Vimes, might already be doing so.
They were Ladies Who Organize.
On the alumni of the Quirm College for Young Ladies
Vimes: 'Is this it? This time I die?'
death: could be.
Vimes: 'Could be? What sort of answer is that?'
death: a very accurate one. you see, you are having a near death experience, which inescapably means that i must undergo a near vimes experience. don't mind me. carry on with whatever you were doing. i have a book.
That! Is!! Not!!! My!!!! Cow!!!!!
'He created me. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who Watches the Watchmen?? Me. I watch him. Always. You will not force him to murder for you.'
'What kind of human creates his own policeman?'
'One who fears the dark.'
'And so he should.'
'Indeed. But I think you misunderstand. I am not here to keep darkness out. I'm here to keep it in. Call me the Guarding Dark. Imagine how strong I must be.'
Nobby's face was an open book, albeit the kind that got banned in some countries.
Let it be said here that those who live their lives where life hangs by less than a thread understand the dreadful algebra of necessity, which has no mercy, and when necessity presses in extremis, well, that is the time when the women need to make the unggue pot called “soul of tears”, the most beautiful of all the pots, carved with little flowers and washed with tears.
Pastor Oats on Goblin culture
The exchange scheme with the Quirm gendarmerie was working very well: they were getting instruction on policing à la Vimes, while the food in the Pseudopolis Yard canteen had been improved out of all recognition by Captain Emile, even though he used far too much avec.
This offended Vimes to his shakily egalitarian core. note
Sybil considered it her wifely duty to see to it that her husband lived for ever, and was convinced that this happy state of affairs could be achieved by feeding him bowel-scouring nuts and grains and yoghurt, which to Vimes’s mind was a type of cheese that wasn’t trying hard enough.
Vimes died … The sun dropped out of the sky, giant lizards took over the world, the stars exploded and went out and all hope vanished with a gurgle into the sink-trap of oblivion, and gas filled the firmament and combusted and behold there was a new heaven, one careful owner, and a new disc, and lo, and possibly verily, life crawled out of the sea, or possibly didn’t because it had been made by the gods - that was really up to the bystander - and lizards turned into less scaly lizards, or possibly did not, and lizards turned into birds, and worms turned into butterflies, and a species of apple turned into bananas, and possibly a kind of monkey fell out of a tree and realized that life was better when you didn’t have to spend your time hanging on to something, and, in only a few million years, evolved trousers and ornamental stripy hats and lastly the game of crockett and there, magically reincarnated, was Vimes, a little dizzy, standing on the village green looking into the smiling countenance of an enthusiast.
‘Once a street boy always a street boy, sir. It comes with us, in the pinch. Mothers go, fathers go - if we ever knew who they were - but the Street, well, the Street looks after us. In the pinch it keeps us alive.’
She told us it would be totally impossible to breed dragons stable enough for use in warfare. She was right, and no mistake. Of course, we went on trying, because that’s the military way!
‘Surely you don’t think that the blacksmith really had the right to fight you for this house?’
‘No, of course not. I mean, there wouldn’t be an end to it. People have been winning and losing on the old roulette wheel of fate for thousands of years. I know that, but you know that I think that if you’re going to stop the wheel then you have to spare some thought for the poor buggers who’re sitting on zero.’
He reminded himself that 'agricultural implement' did not mean 'not a weapon'.
A copper should always be willing to learn, and Vimes had learned from Lord Vetinari that you should never react to any comment or situation until you had decided exactly what you were going to do. This had the dual attraction of preventing you from saying or doing the wrong thing while at the same time making other people extremely nervous.
The law is one and immutable. It does not care who anybody is and at that moment you, in a very real way, are it, and therefore nor do you.’
“No canting hypocrite going on about the rights of man ever gave me as much as a quarter-farthing so I say here’s to Lord Ramkin, who gave me a whole half-dollar when he was as pissed as a fart, and never asked for it back when he were sober. That’s what I call a gentleman.”’
— Feeny's dad
Hobby of stink-collecting note: It was all a mystery to Vimes, who was absolutely sure that it was impossible to tell the difference between a chicken fart and a turkey fart, but there were those who professed to be able to do so, and he was glad that such people had chosen this outlet for their puzzling inclinations rather than, for example, fill their sink with human skulls, collected in the high street.
It was a leap in the dark, but, hell, he had leapt so often that the dark was a trampoline.
‘I think things got a bit tangled: you see, you thought about things as being legal or illegal. Well, I’m just a soldier and never was a very good one, but it’s my opinion you were so worried about legal and illegal that you never stopped to think about whether it was right or wrong.’
You of all people must recognize a substition when you’re possessed by it? It’s the opposite of a superstition: it’s real even if you don’t believe in it.
And he thought, I’ve just told a goblin not to be frightened of my son because he loves her and the world has turned upside-down and all sins are forgiven, except possibly mine.
Lord Justice Hangnail, who famously declared that he never took account of any plea of not guilty on the basis that “criminals always lie” and was, by happy chance, the Worshipful Master of the Benevolent Company of Rope Makers and Braiders.
‘I believe him, chief. He hasn’t got it in him, I swear. The best he could manage would be knocking over an old lady for her purse, and even then she’d probably have to be blind too.’
Cheery was aware that Commander Vimes didn’t like the phrase ‘The innocent have nothing to fear’, believing the innocent had everything to fear, mostly from the guilty but in the longer term even more from those who say things like ‘The innocent have nothing to fear’.
As for bloody jurisdiction, murder is the crime of crimes. According to the Omnians it was the third crime ever committed! note I know of no society anywhere in the world that doesn’t consider it a crime to be pursued with vigour, understand? And as for the law, don’t try to talk to me about the law. I am not above the law, but I stand right underneath it, and I hold it up!
Something was going on at the lock-up - it looked to Vimes as though it might be a domestic disturbance, a ruckus, possibly a fracas or even a free-for-all, in which case it was definitely unlucky for some. A happy thought occurred: yes, maybe it was an affray, always a useful word because nobody is quite certain what it means, but it sounds dangerous.
‘Don’t you dare say my lad Feeney ain’t a copper! He is a copper, and so was his dad, and his granddad and his great-granddad before him. Pardon me, I tell a lie, he was a criminal, but anyway that’s nearly like being a copper!’
While Mr Slant would bow (rather stiffly) to the rich and influential, he did not like mistakes, and he did not like seeing the law being brought into disrepute by inept lawyers and laymen, believing that this particular duty should be left to senior lawyers, such as Mr Slant, who could do it with care and panache and AM$300 an hour.
Vimes had floated on the face of the darkness, and there he had found enlightenment growing, and understood that fear and rage could be hammered into a sword, and the desire to once again read a book to a child could be forged into a shield and armour for a ragged dying castaway, who thereafter shook hands with kings.
‘Don’t hit somebody who surrenders and, if a man drops his weapon, be a little bit wary of him until you’re certain he hasn’t got another one tucked away somewhere, right? If in doubt, knock ’em out.’
How easy it is to kill, yes, but not when a smart young copper who thinks you are a good guy is looking to you. At home, the Watch and his family surrounded Vimes like a wall. Here the good guy was the good guy because he didn’t want anyone to see him being bad. He did not want to be ashamed. He did not want to be the darkness.
Some parts of his body reported for duty, others protested that they had a note from their mother.
‘Excuse me, commander, we all speak pretty good Morporkian here. Everybody here speaks Morporkian. If you hear us speaking Quirmian it’s because we want to talk about you behind your back.’
Vimes let this one pass for the moment. Captain Murderer would be orientated to the world as seen by Commander Vimes at Commander Vimes’s leisure.
‘Stinky don’t need no badges, fellow po-leess-maan! Stinky worst nightmare all by himself! Remember a little boy? Little boy open book? And he see evil goblin, and I see nasty little boy! Good for us, little boy, that we were both right!’
The sound of the gentle rattle of china cup on china saucer drives away all demons, a little-known fact.
The Three Disgraces were apparently the daughters of Blind Io (but you know how people talk); they were Nudicia, Pulchritudia and Voluptia.
If there was any person of substance on the Plains and beyond who didn’t get a letter from Sybil that day, it was because their name had fallen out of her beautifully bound and obsessively updated little black book, which was, in fact, a delicate pink with tiny embroidered flowers on it, and a small phial of perfume. Nevertheless the only comparable weapon in the entire history of persuasion was probably the ballista.
Ventinari: All because of a song. It was a thing of strangely tinkling tones and unbelievable cadences which somehow found its way into our souls, reminding some of us that we have some.
But most of all, later that year, Vimes was totally amazed to find that the bestselling novel taking the Ankh-Morpork literary world by storm was dedicated to Commander Samuel Vimes. The title of the book was Pride and Extreme Prejudice.
If broomsticks were cars, this one would be a split-window Morris Minor.
Activity, movement, liveliness—all these words would be completely inaccurate descriptions of the staff’s response.
Witches and wizards were objects of awe, but sisters weren’t. Somehow, knowing your own sister was learning to be a witch sort of devalued the whole profession.
"While I'm still confused and uncertain, it's on a much higher plane, d'you see, and at least I know I'm bewildered about the really fundamental and important facts of the universe."
Treatle nodded. "I hadn't looked at it like that," he said, "But you're absolutely right. He's really pushed back the boundaries of ignorance."
Treatle nodded. "I hadn't looked at it like that," he said, "But you're absolutely right. He's really pushed back the boundaries of ignorance."
Discworld scientists at work
"You're wizards! Bloody well wizz!"
They both savoured the strange warm glow of being much more ignorant than ordinary people, who were only ignorant of ordinary things.
Discworld scientists at work
The landlord of The Fiddler’s Riddle considered himself to be a man of the world, and this was right, because he was too stupid to be really cruel, and too lazy to be really mean and although his body had been around quite a lot his mind had never gone further than the inside of his own head.
"I don’t want to hit the ground. It’s never done anything to me."
They may have been ugly. They may have been evil. But when it came to poetry in motion, the Things had all the grace and coordination of a deck-chair.
A hint was to Esk what a mosquito bite was to the average rhino because she was already learning that if you ignore the rules people will, half the time, quietly rewrite them so that they don’t apply to you.
"They say there's dwarf mines under the Ramtops," she said inconsequentially. "My, but them little buggers is in for a surprise."
Granny reflects on Esk's methods of lighting a fire.
One reason for the bustle was that over large parts of the continent other people preferred to make money without working at all, and since the Disc had yet to develop a music recording industry they were forced to fall back on older, more traditional forms of banditry.
For animals, the entire universe has been neatly divided into things to (a) mate with, (b) eat, (c) run away from, and (d) rocks.
As the cauldron bubbled, an eldritch voice shrieked, "When shall we three meet again?"
Another voice said, in far more ordinary tones, "Well, I can do next Tuesday."
Another voice said, in far more ordinary tones, "Well, I can do next Tuesday."
In fact no gods anywhere play chess. They haven’t got the imagination. Gods prefer simple, vicious games, where you Do Not Achieve Transcendence but Go Straight To Oblivion; a key to the understanding of all religion is that a god’s idea of amusement is Snakes and Ladders with greased rungs.
“I hate cats.”
I see. The tone suggested that death was too good for cat-haters.
I see. The tone suggested that death was too good for cat-haters.
“Oh, obvious. I’ll grant you it’s obvious. Trouble is, just because things are obvious doesn’t mean they’re true.”
“Things that try to look like things often do look more like things than things. Well-known fact.”
"'Tis not right, a woman going into such places by herself."
Granny nodded. She thoroughly approved of such sentiments so long as there was, of course, no suggestion that they applied to her.
Granny nodded. She thoroughly approved of such sentiments so long as there was, of course, no suggestion that they applied to her.
The duke had a mind that ticked like a clock and, like a clock, it regularly went cuckoo.
This wasn’t right, she knew. Never mind about the—whatever it was—but it was unheard of for a witch to go out on Hogswatchnight. It was against all tradition. No one knew why, but that wasn’t the point.
The Ogg grandchildren were encouraged to believe that monsters from the dawn of time dwelt in its depths, since Nanny believed that a bit of thrilling and pointless terror was an essential ingredient of the magic of childhood.
Demons were like genies or philosophy professors—if you didn’t word things exactly right, they delighted in giving you absolutely accurate and completely misleading answers.
Goodie Whemper had, in fact, been a research witch. * **
Something told her that at times like these a good sharp breadknife was probably the best friend a girl could have.
“I like a girl with spirit,” he said, incorrectly as it turned out.
It was probably some wonderful organization on the part of Nature to protect itself. It saw to it that everyone with any magical talent was about as ready to cooperate as a she-bear with toothache, so all that dangerous power was safely dissipated as random bickering and rivalry.
Ninety percent of true love is acute, ear-burning embarrassment.
“When you break rules, break ’em good and hard.”
Greebo's grin gradually faded, until there was nothing left but the cat. This was nearly as spooky as the opposite way around.
Granny’s implicit belief that everything should get out of her way extended to other witches, very tall trees and, on occasion, mountains.
Only in our dreams are we free. The rest of the time we need wages.
“And then, I hope, we shall leave him to fight his battles in his own way.”
“Quite right. Provided he looks like winning.”
“Quite right. Provided he looks like winning.”
The calender of the Theocracy of Muntab counts down, not up. No-one knows why, but it might not be a good idea to hang around and find out.
Within seconds his face went white. His teeth began to chatter. He clutched at his stomach and groaned. *
“I’d like to know if I could compare you to a summer’s day. Because—well, June 12th was quite nice, and…Oh. You’ve gone…”
This is Art holding a Mirror up to Life. That’s why everything is exactly the wrong way around.
They were far more the type of kings who got people to charge into battle at five o’clock on a freezing morning and still managed to persuade them that this was better than being in bed.
“We’re bound to be truthful. But there’s no call to be honest.”
- Stories don’t care who takes part in them. All that matters is that the story gets told, that the story repeats. Or, if you prefer to think of it like this: stories are a parasitical life form, warping lives in the service only of the story itself. It takes a special kind of person to fight back, and become the bicarbonate of history.Granny Weatherwax didn’t like maps. She felt instinctively that they sold the landscape short.It’s a strange thing about determined seekers-after-wisdom that, no matter where they happen to be, they’ll always seek that wisdom which is a long way off. Wisdom is one of the few things that looks bigger the further away it is.“Our Sean read to me in the almanac where there’s all these fearsome wild beasts in foreign parts. Huge hairy things that leap out on travelers, it said. I’d hate to think what’d happen if they leapt out on mum and Granny. You will see no harm comes to them, won’t you?”“Don’t you worry. I’ll do my best.”“Only it said in the almanac that some of them were nearly extinct."The waterfall was the second highest anywhere on the Disc and had been discovered in the Year of the Revolving Crab by the noted explorer Guy de Yoyo (Of course, lots of dwarfs, trolls, native people, trappers, hunters and the merely badly lost had discovered it on an almost daily basis for thousands of years. But they weren’t explorers and didn’t count.)
Most witches don't believe in gods. They know that the gods exist, of course. They even deal with them occasionally. But they don't believe in them. They know them too well. It would be like believing in the postman.
The bat squirmed under his claw. It seemed to Greebo’s small cat brain that it was trying to change its shape, and he wasn’t having any of that from a mouse with wings on.
Vampires have risen from the dead, the grave and the crypt, but have never managed it from the cat.
Most people, on waking up, accelerate through a quick panicky pre-consciousness check-up: who am I, where am I, who is he/she, good god, why am I cuddling a policeman’s helmet, what happened last night?
It’s one thing to chase a lot of panicking bulls, and quite another to find that they’re suddenly trying to run the other way.
Fortunately, the horrible women left on a riverboat that afternoon, after one of them rescued her cat which had cornered twenty-five stone of confused bull and was trying to toss it in the air and play with it.
The village held a flower festival the next year, and no-one ever talked about That Thing With The Bulls ever again. At least, not in front of the men.
"It’s not gambling to play against someone who’s no good. It’s common sense."
The Yen Buddhists are the richest religious sect in the universe. They hold that the accumulation of money is a great evil and burden to the soul. They therefore, regardless of personal hazard, see it as their unpleasant duty to acquire as much as possible in order to reduce the risk to innocent people.
No one ever went hungry when they had some dwarf bread to avoid. You only had to look at it for a moment, and instantly you could think of dozens of things you’d rather eat. Your boots, for example. Mountains. Raw sheep. Your own foot.
“You said your mummy knows about the big bad wolf in the woods, didn’t you?”
“But nevertheless she sent you out by yourself to take those goodies to your granny?”
“That’s right. Why?”
“Nothing. Just thinking."
Asking someone to repeat a phrase you’d not only heard very clearly but were also exceedingly angry about was around Defcon II in the lexicon of squabble.
Anyway, no one took much notice of little old ladies. Little old ladies were by definition harmless, although in a string of villages across several thousand miles of continent this definition was currently being updated.
Genua had once controlled the river mouth and taxed its traffic in a way that couldn’t be called piracy because it was done by the city government, and therefore sound economics and perfectly all right.
Despite many threats, Granny Weatherwax had never turned anyone into a frog. The way she saw it, there was a technically less cruel but cheaper and much more satisfying thing you could do. You could leave them human and make them think they were a frog, which also provided much innocent entertainment for passers-by.
A black patch covered his bad eye. But the other one glittered like the sins of angels, and his smile was the downfall of saints. Female ones, anyway.
Greebo as a human
They couldn’t be real glass, or else she’d be hobbling toward some emergency first aid by now. Nor were they transparent. The human foot is a useful organ but is not, except to some people with highly specialized interests, particularly attractive to look at.
There’s always a few of them, he thought to himself. It says “Masque” in big curly letters on the invite, in gold yet, but there’s always a few buggers who thinks it means it’s from someone called Maskew.
The wages of sin is death but so is the salary of virtue, and at least the evil get to go home early on Fridays.
Because when all people had was practically nothing, then anything could be almost everything.
Genuan cooking, like the best cooking everywhere in the multiverse, had been evolved by people who had to make desperate use of ingredients their masters didn’t want. No one would even try a bird’s nest unless they had to. Only hunger would make a man taste his first alligator. No one would eat a shark’s fin if they were allowed to eat the rest of the shark.
Cats are like witches. They don’t fight to kill, but to win. There is a difference. There’s no point in killing an opponent. That way, they won’t know they’ve lost, and to be a real winner you have to have an opponent who is beaten and knows it. There’s no triumph over a corpse, but a beaten opponent, who will remain beaten every day of the remainder of their sad and wretched life, is something to treasure.
Greebo’s technique was unscientific and wouldn’t have stood a chance against any decent swordsmanship, but on his side was the fact that it is almost impossible to develop decent swordsmanship when you seem to have run into a food mixer that is biting your ear off.
The trouble with witches is that they’ll never run away from things they really hate.
And the trouble with small furry animals in a corner is that, just occasionally, one of them’s a mongoose.
“You mean you didn’t even have fun? If I’d been as bad as you, I’d have been a whole lot worse. Better at it than you’ve ever dreamed of.”
Lords and Ladies
He had formed the unusual opinion that the job of a king is to make the kingdom a better place for everyone to live in.
There are no delusions for the dead. Dying is like waking up after a really good party, when you have one or two seconds of innocent freedom before you recollect all the things you did last night which seemed so logical and hilarious at the time, and then you remember the really amazing thing you did with a lampshade and two balloons, which had them in stitches, and now you realize you’re going to have to look a lot of people in the eye today and you’re sober now and so are they but you can both remember.
The Librarian looked out at the jolting scenery. He was sulking. This had a lot to do with the new bright collar around his neck with the word "PONGO" on it. Someone was going to suffer for this.
"Kneel and deliver!"
Casanunda, the world's smallest lover turns highwaydwarf
Nanny Ogg never did any housework herself, but she was the cause of housework in other people.
Verence would rather cut his own leg off than put a witch in prison, since it'd save trouble in the long run and probably be less painful.
Nanny Ogg had a pragmatic attitude to the truth; she told it if it was convenient and she couldn’t be bothered to make up something more interesting.
I like to think I am a picker-up of unconsidered trifles. Death grinned hopefully.
Mustrum Ridcully did a lot for rare species. For one thing, he kept them rare.
Using a metaphor in front of a man as unimaginative as Ridcully was like a red flag to a bu— was like putting something very annoying in front of someone who was annoyed by it.
The thing about iron is that you generally don't have to think fast in dealing with it.
Nanny Ogg looked under her bed in case there was a man there. Well, you never knew your luck.
The chieftain had been turned into a pumpkin although, in accordance with the rules of universal humour, he still had his hat on.
She was an incredibly comfortable person to be around, partly because she had a mind so broad it could accommodate three football fields and a bowling alley.
About Nanny Ogg
In fact, the mere act of opening the box will determine the state of the cat, although in this case there were three determinate states the cat could be in: these being Alive, Dead, and Bloody Furious.
Greebo went off like a claymore mine.
The shortest unit of time in the multiverse is the New York Second, defined as the period of time between the traffic lights turning green and the cab behind you honking.
There was the long-drawn-out chord that by law must precede all folk music to give bystanders time to get away.
Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, especially simian ones. They are not all that subtle.
Magrat: Go ahead, bake my quiche.
In the Beginning there was nothing, which exploded.
Pterry explains the Big Bang
Remember, A Dragon is For Life, Not Just for Hogswatchnight
Motto of The Sunshine Home for Sick Dragons in Morphic Street, Please Leave Donations of Coal by Side Door.
There have, in the course of decadent history, been many large wigs, often with build-in gewgaws to stop people having to look at boring hair all the time. There had been ones big enough to contain pet mice or clockwork ornaments. Mme Cupidor, mistress of Mad King Soup II, had one with a bird cage in it, but on special state occasions wore one containing a perpetual calendar, a floral clock and a take-away linguini shop.
"This is a lovely party," said the Bursar to a chair, "I wish I was here."
No matter what she did with her hair it took about three minutes for it to tangle itself up again, like a garden hosepipe in a shed [Which, no matter how carefully coiled, will always uncoil overnight and tie the lawnmower to the bicycles].
And the child had a permanently runny nose and ought to be provided with a handkerchief or, failing that, a cork.
It was here that the thaum, hitherto believed to be the smallest possible particle of magic, was successfully demonstrated to be made up of /resons/ (Lit.: 'Thing-ies') or reality fragments. Currently research indicates that each reson is itself made up of a combination of at least five 'flavours', known as 'up', 'down', 'sideways', 'sex appeal' and 'peppermint'.
He turned to the others with the agonized expression of a man who has the whole great whirring machinery of the Universe to dismantle and only a bent paper clip to do it with.
A heap of discarded garments by the bed suggested that Verence had mastered the art of hanging up clothes as practised by half the population of the world, and that he had equally had difficulty with the complex topological manoeuvres necessary to turn the socks the right way out.
Oh, gods. He'd always slept in front of the door of his master. And now he was king, he slept in front of the door to his kingdom.
Chain-mail isn't much defence against an arrow. It certainly isn't when the arrow is being aimed between your eyes.
It's not enough to be able to pick up a sword. You have to know which end to poke into the enemy.
The Monks of Cool, whose tiny and exclusive monastery is hidden in a really cool and laid-back valley in the lower Ramtops, have a passing-out test for a novice. He is taken into a room full of all types of clothing and asked: Yo note , my son, which of these is the most stylish thing to wear? And the correct answer is: Hey, whatever I select.
His progress through life was hampered by his tremendous sense of his own ignorance, a disability which affects all too few people.
The person on the other side was a young woman. Very obviously a young woman. There was no possible way that she could have been mistaken for a young man in any language, especially Braille.
Ahahahahaha! Ahahahaha! Aahahaha!
The Opera Ghost
The Opera Ghost
Nanny Ogg found herself embarrassed to even think about this, and this was unusual because embarrassment normally came as naturally to Nanny as altruism comes to a cat.
People who didn't need people needed people around to know that they were the kind of people who didn't need people.
He had a unique stride: it looked as though his body was being dragged forward and his legs had to flail around underneath it, landing wherever they could find room. It wasn't so much a walk as a collapse, indefinitely postponed.
She'd even given herself a middle initial - X - which stood for "someone who has a cool and exciting middle initial".
You needed at least three witches for a coven. Two witches was just an argument.
"What sort of person," said Salzella patiently, "sits down and writes a maniacal laugh? And all those exclamation marks, you notice? Five? A sure sign of someone who wears his underpants on his head. Opera can do that to a man."
Most people in Lancre, as the saying goes, went to bed with the chickens and got up with the cows. footnote
"...my father is the Emperor of Klatch and my mother is a small tray of raspberry puddings."
Though there may be some superficial similarities between a psychiatrist and a headologist, there is a huge practical difference. A psychiatrist, dealing with a man who fears he is being followed by a large and terrible monster, will endeavor to convince him that monsters don’t exist. Granny Weatherwax would simply give him a chair to stand on and a very heavy stick.
Instead, people would take pains to tell her that beauty was only skin-deep, as if a man ever fell for an attractive pair of kidneys.
“I assure you, madam, your fur is eating my chocolates. It’s started on the second layer!”
“Oh, dear. Show him the little map inside the lid, will you? He’s only after the truffles, and you can soon rub the dribble off the others.”
A day ago the future had looked aching and desolate, and now it looked full of surprises and terror and bad things happening to people... If she had anything to do with it anyway.
She could feel a future trying to land on her.
She’d caught herself saying “poot!” and “dang!” when she wanted to swear, and using pink writing paper.
She’d got a reputation for being calm and capable in a crisis.
Next thing she knew she’d be making shortbread and apple pies as good as her mother’s, and then there’d be no hope for her.
It was done far more often than the audiences ever realized — when singers had a sore throat, or had completely dried, or had turned up so drunk they could barely stand, or, in one notorious instance many years previously, had died in the interval and subsequently sung their famous aria by means of a broom-handle stuck up their back and their jaw operated with a piece of string.
Good and Evil were quite superfluous when you’d grown up with a highly developed sense of Right and Wrong.
After you'd known Christine for any length of time, you found yourself fighting a desire to look into her ear to see if you could spot daylight coming the other way.
"Well, basically there are two sorts of opera,' said Nanny, who also had the true witch's ability to be confidently expert on the basis of no experience whatsoever. 'There's your heavy opera, where basically people sing foreign and it goes like "Oh oh oh, I am dyin', oh, I am dyin', oh, oh, oh, that's what I'm doin'", and there's your light opera, where they sing in foreign and it basically goes "Beer! Beer! Beer! Beer! I like to drink lots of beer!", although sometimes they drink champagne instead. That's basically all of opera, reely."
There was a crash from the direction of the kitchen, although it was really more of a crashendo—the long-drawn-out clatter that begins when a pile of plates begins to slip, continues when someone tries to grab at them, develops a desperate counter-theme when the person realizes they don’t have three hands, and ends with the roinroinroin of the one miraculously intact plate spinning around and around on the floor.
The pre-luncheon drinks were going quite well, Mr Bucket thought. Everyone was making polite conversation and absolutely no one had been killed up to the present moment.
She could feel the auditorium in front of her, the huge empty space making the sound that velvet would make if it could snore.
It wasn’t silence. A stage is never silent. It was the noise produced by a million other sounds that have never quite died away—the thunder of applause, the overtures, the arias. They poured down…fragments of tunes, lost chords, snatches of song.
Nanny could get a statue to cry on her shoulder and say what it really thought about pigeons.
Greebo could, in fact, commit sexual harrassment simply by sitting very quietly in the next room.
Bergholt Stuttley (“Bloody Stupid”) Johnson was Ankh-Morpork’s most famous, or rather most notorious, inventor. He was renowned for never letting his number blindness, his lack of any skill whatsoever or his complete failure to grasp the essence of a problem stand in the way of his cheerful progress as the first Counter-Renaissance man. Shortly after building the famous Collapsed Tower of Quirm he turned his attention to the world of music, particularly large organs and mechanical orchestras. Examples of his handiwork still occasionally come to light in sales, auctions, and quite frequently, wreckage.
It is the fate of all banisters worth sliding down that there is something nasty waiting at the far end.
She sang in harmony. Not, of course, with her reflection in the glass, because that kind of heroine will sooner or later end up singing a duet with Mr. Bluebird and other forest creatures and then there’s nothing for it but a flamethrower.
When people were in serious trouble they went to a witch.**
"It's not a black and white issue. There are so many shades of grey."
"There's no greys, only white that's got grubby. I'm surprised you don't know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That's what sin is."
"It's a lot more complicated than that—"
"No. It ain't. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they're getting worried that they won't like the truth. People as things, that's where it starts."
"Oh, I'm sure there are worse crimes—"
"But they starts with thinking about people as things. . ."
"But you read a lot of books, I'm thinking. Hard to have faith, ain't it, when you've read too many books?"
"Nac mac Feegle wha hae!"
In Ghat they believe in vampire watermelons, although folklore is silent about what they believe about vampire watermelons. Possibly they suck back.
Perdita thought that not obeying rules was somehow cool. Agnes thought that rules like "Don't fall into this huge pit of spikes" were there for a purpose.
Lancre operated on the feudal system, which was to say, everyone feuded all the time and handed on the fight to their descendants.
"I name you ... Esmeralda Margaret Note Spelling of Lancre!"
There are many rhymes about magpies, but none of them is very reliable because they are not the ones the magpies know themselves.
One or two of the old barrows had been exposed over the years, their huge stones attracting their own folklore. If you left your unshod horse at one of them overnight and placed sixpence on the stone, in the morning the sixpence would be gone and you'd never see your horse again, either...
"You wouldn't let a poor old lady go off to confront monsters on a wild night like this, would you?"
"So why should we care what happens to monsters?"
"Would you go out alone on a night like this?"
"Depends if I knew where Granny Weatherwax was."
He was trying to find some help in the ancient military journals of General Tacticus, whose intelligent campaigning had been so successful that he'd lent his very name to the detailed prosecution of martial endeavour, and had actually found a section headed What to Do If One Army Occupies a Well-fortified and Superior Ground and the Other Does Not, but since the first sentence read "Endeavour to be the one inside" he'd rather lost heart.
"Remember — that which does not kill us can only make us stronger."
"And that which does kill us leaves us dead!"
"And that which does kill us leaves us dead!"
In fact there are many things everyone knows about vampires, without really taking into account that perhaps the vampires know them by now, too.
They thought you could see life through books but you couldn’t, the reason being that the words got in the way.
“How can you break both your legs falling off a donkey?”
“It was going up that little path on the side of Skund Gorge. He fell sixty feet.”
For example, you couldn’t say things like “who died and made you king?” because they’d know. “You and whose army?” was another difficult one, although in this case Verence’s army consisted of Shawn and a troll and was unlikely to be a serious threat to Shawn’s own mother if he wanted to be allowed to eat his tea indoors.
On the rare maps on the Ramtops that existed, it was spelled Überwald. But Lancre people had never got the hang of accents and certainly didn’t agree with trying to balance two dots on another letter, where they’d only roll off and cause unnecessary punctuation.
It was the sort of grin that Agnes supposed was called infectious but, then, so was measles.
"..if I hears a single word I understand, well, I’m standing behind you with a pointy stick." **
National anthems only ever have one verse or, rather, all have the same second verse, which goes “nur…hnur…mur…nur nur, hnur…nur…nur, hnur” at some length until everyone remembers the last line of the first verse and sings it as loudly as they can.
There was some sort of chemistry there, although it was the sort that results in the entire building being evacuated.
"I believe that in Glitz you have to fill their mouth with salt, hammer a carrot into both ears, and then cut off their head.”
“I can see that must’ve been fun finding that out.”
They stared into the abyss, which didn’t stare back.
“Am I dyin’?”
“Will I die?”
“But from your point of view, everyone is dying and everyone will die, right?”
“So you aren’t actually bein’ a lot of help, strictly speakin’.”
"An’ make sure ye initial all the sub-clauses and codicils. We of the Nac mac Feegle are a simple folk but we write verra comp-lic-ated documents."
“Oh, we’re always all right. You remember that. We happen to other people.”
“‘Don’t take thiƒ quickeƒt route to the Caƒtle,’” she read aloud. “You’ve got to admire a mind like that. Definitely a student of human nature.”
It had replaced swords with sermons, which at least caused fewer deaths except in the case of the really very long ones.
The role of the lower intestine in the efforts to built a better nation is one that is often neglected by historians.
They’re going to kill the vampires, and the children will watch.
Good, that’s exactly right.
It’ll give them nightmares!
No, it’ll take the nightmares away. Sometimes, everyone has to know the monster is dead, and remember, so that they can tell their grandchildren.
The ideal situation for a vampire is a world in which every other vampire has been killed off and no one seriously believes in vampires anymore. They are by nature as cooperative as sharks.
Vampyres are just the same, the only real difference being that they can’t spell properly.
There’s no point in having underlings if you don’t let them be the first to go through suspicious doors.
Holiness is where you find it.
The Colour Of Magic
"Stranger, if you stay here you will be knifed or poisoned by nightfall. But don't stop smiling, or so will I."
Rincewind, introducing himself to Twoflower
"We have nothing they want, and they have nothing we can afford."
The Partrician, discribing the economic difference between Ankh-Morpork and the Counterweight Continent
It was the King Colour, of which all the lesser colours are merely partial and wishy-washy reflections. It was octarine, the colour of magic. It was alive and glowing and vibrant and it was the undisputed pigment of the imagination, because wherever it was a sign that mere matter was a servant of the powers of the magical mind. It was enchantment itself.
But Rincewind always thought it looked a sort of greenish purple.
The Light Fantastic
The room had been part of the library until the magic had drifted through, violently reassembling the possibility particles of everything in its path. So it was reasonable to assume that the small purple newts had been part of the floor and the pineapple custard may have once been some books. And several of the wizards later swore that the small sad orangutan sitting in the middle of it all looked very much like the head librarian.
Dark in here, isn't it?
Death, to a wizard who's just sealed himself in an airtight box, ironically to hide from Death.
The Octavo filled the room with a dull sullen light, which wasn't strictly light at all but the opposite of light; darkness isn't the opposite of light, it is simply its absence, and what was radiating from the book was the light that lies on the other side of darkness, the light fantastic.
It was a rather disappointing purple color.
There are places where even magic cannot go
The truth isn't easily pinned to a page. In the bathtub of history the truth is harder to hold than the soap, and much more difficult to find ...
"And what would humans be without love?”
The vermine is a small black and white relative of the lemming, found in the cold Hublandish regions. Its skin is rare and highly valued, especially by the vermine itself; the selfish little bastard will do anything rather than let go of it.
In a truly magical universe everything has its opposite. For example, there's anti-light. That's not the same as darkness, because darkness is merely the absence of light. Anti-light is what you get if you pass through darkness and out the other side. On the same basis, a state of knurdness isn't like sobriety. By comparison, sobriety is like having a bath in cotton wool. Knurdness strips away all illusion, all the comforting pink fog in which people normally spend their lives, and lets them see and think clearly for the first time ever. Then, after they've screamed a bit, they make sure they never get knurd again.
No matter how far a wizard goes, he will always come back for his hat.
Rincewind rather enjoyed times like this. They convinced him that he wasn't mad because, if he was mad, that left no word at all to describe some of the people he met.
There are eight levels of wizardry on the Disc; after sixteen years Rincewind has failed to achieve even level one. In fact it is the considered opinion of some of his tutors that he is incapable even of achieving level zero, which most normal people are born at; to put it another way, it has been suggested that when Rincewind dies the average occult ability of the human race will actually go up by a fraction.
Well, he'd show them. Precisely who "they" were and what they were going to be shown was merely a matter of detail.
The people of Ankh are of a practical persuasion, and felt that the Patrician's edict forbidding all street theatre and mime artists made up for a lot of things. He didn't administer a reign of terror, just the occasional light shower.
Wizards didn't kill ordinary people because a) they seldom noticed them and b) it wasn't considered sporting and c) besides, who'd do all the cooking and growing food and things. And killing a brother wizard with magic was well-nigh impossible on account of the layers of protective spells that any cautious wizard maintained about his person at all times. **
The Hashishim, who derived their name from the vast quantities of hashish they consumed, were unique among vicious killers in being both deadly and, at the same time, inclined to giggle, groove to interesting patterns of light and shade on their terrible knife blades and, in extreme cases, fall over.
No enemies had ever taken Ankh-Morpork. Well technically they had, quite often; the city welcomed free-spending barbarian invaders, but somehow the puzzled raiders found, after a few days, that they didn't own their horses any more, and within a couple of months they were just another minority group with its own graffiti and food shops.
Demons have existed on the Discworld for at least as long as the gods, who in many ways they closely resemble. The difference is basically the same as that between terrorists and freedom fighters.
Rincewind had been told that death was just like going into another room. The difference is, when you shout, "Where's my clean socks?", no-one answers.
It didn’t matter if you were fleeing from or to, so long as you were fleeing. It was flight alone that counted. I run, therefore I am; more correctly, I run, therefore with any luck I’ll still be.
It was true about the time measurement as well. The Tezumen had realized long ago that everything was steadily getting worse and, having a terrible little-mindedness, had developed a complex system to keep track of how much worse each succeeding day was.
"There's a door."
"Where does it go?"
"It stays where it is, I think."
"Where does it go?"
"It stays where it is, I think."
The trouble is that things never get better, they just stay the same, only more so.
"So we're surrounded by absolutely nothing. There's a word for it. It's what you get when there's nothing left and everything's been used up."
"Yes. I think it's called the bill."
"Yes. I think it's called the bill."
"What're quantum mechanics?"
"I don't know. People who repair quantums, I suppose."
"I don't know. People who repair quantums, I suppose."
The librarian was, ex officio, a member of the college council. No-one had been able to find any rule about orang-utans being barred, although they had surreptitiously looked very hard for one.
I hope we are not going to have any of this "Foul Fiend" business again.
Death gets summoned by the college council
There had been some desultory talk about putting up a statue to Rincewind but, by the curious alchemy that tends to apply in these sensitive issues, this quickly became a plaque, then a note on the Roll of Honour, and finally a motion of censure for being improperly dressed.
Unseen University politics at work
Any wizard bright enough to survive for five minutes was also bright enough to realise that if there was any power in demonology, then it lay with the demons. Using it for your own purposes would be like trying to beat mice to death with a rattlesnake.
Why summoning demons is a Bad Idea
The gods of the Disc have never bothered much about judging the souls of the dead, and so people only go to hell if that's where they believe, in their deepest heart, that they deserve to go. Which they won't do if they don't know about it. This explains why it is so important to shoot missionaries on sight.
The consensus seemed to be that if really large numbers of men were sent to storm the mountain, then enough might survive the rocks to take the citadel. This is essentially the basis of all military thinking.
The sergeant put on the poker face which has been handed down from NCO to NCO ever since one protoamphibian told another, lower ranking protoamphibian to muster a squad of newts and Take That Beach.
Eric: "What shall I do?"
Rincewind: "Well, if you see anything crawl out of the sea and try to breathe, you could try telling it not to bother."
Rincewind: "Well, if you see anything crawl out of the sea and try to breathe, you could try telling it not to bother."
At the Beginning of Time
"Multiple exclamation marks," he went on, shaking his head, "are a sure sign of a diseased mind."
The Supreme Life President of Hell wrote: "What business are we in???" He thought for a bit, and then carefully wrote, underneath: "We are in the damnation business!!!"
Rincewind could scream for mercy in nineteen languages, and just scream in another forty-four.
Just because it's not nice doesn't mean it's not miraculous.
++?????++ Out of Cheese Error. Redo From Start.
"Luck is my middle name," said Rincewind, indistinctly. "Mind you, my first name is Bad."
Natural selection saw to it that professional heroes who at a crucial moment tended to ask themselves questions like "What is my purpose in life?" very quickly lacked both.
"Stercus, stercus, stercus, moriturus sum." Translation
The Emperor had all the qualifications for a corpse except, as it were, the most vital one.
Rincewind: I know about people who talk about suffering for the common good. It's never bloody them! When you hear a man shouting "Forward, brave comrades!" you'll see he's the one behind the bloody big rock and the one wearing the only really arrow-proof helmet!
Many an ancient lord's last words had been, "You can't kill me because I've got magic aaargh."
Inexperienced travellers might think that 'Aargh!' is universal, but in Betrobi it means 'highly enjoyable' and' in Howondaland it means, variously, 'I would like to eat your foot', 'Your wife is a big hippo' and 'Hello, Thinks Mr Purple Cat.' One particular tribe has a fearsome reputation for cruelty merely because prisoners appear, to them, to be shouting 'Quick! Extra boiling oil!
The Last Continent
All tribal myths are true, for a given value of 'true'.
They say the heat and the flies here can drive a man insane. But you don't have to believe that, and nor does that bright mauve elephant that just cycled past.
Wasn't it a basic principle never to let your employer know what it is you actually do all day?
Reading the invisible writings was a delicate and meticulous job, suited to the kind of temperament that follows Grand Prix Continental Drift and keeps bonsai mountains as a hobby or even drives a Volvo.
'He called me in and asked me what I did, exactly. Have you ever heard of such a thing? What sort of question is that? This is a university!'
Don't go digging things up in case they won't let you bury them again.
In theory, because of the nature of L-space, absolutely everything was available to him, but that only meant that it was more or less impossible to find whatever it was you were looking for, which is the purpose of computers.
Any true wizard, faced with a sign like 'Do not open this door. Really. We mean it. We're not kidding. Opening this door will mean the end of the universe,' would automatically open the door in order to see what all the fuss was about.
Rincewind's hourglass looked like something created by a glassblower who'd had the hiccups in a time machine. According to the amount of actual sand it contained – and Death was pretty good at making this kind of estimate – he should have died long ago.
dangerous mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish, jellyfish, insects, spiders, crustaceans, grasses, trees, mosses, and lichens of terror incognita.
Creators aren't gods. They make places, which is quite hard. It's men that make gods. This explains a lot.
This isn't magic. It is a simple universal law. People always expect to use a holiday in the sun as an opportunity to read those books they've always meant to read, but an alchemical combination of sun, quartz crystals and coconut oil will somehow metamorphose any improving book into a rather thicker one with a name containing at least one Greek word or letter (The Gamma Imperative, The Delta Season, The Alpha Project and, in the more extreme cases,even The Mu Kau Pi Caper). Sometimes a hammer and sickle turn up on the cover. This is probably caused by sunspot activity, since they are invariably the wrong way round. It's just as well for the Librarian that he sneezed when he did, or he might have ended up a thousand pages thick and crammed with weapons specifications.
'I thought I was just naturally lucky,' said Rincewind. He thought about what he'd just said. 'I must have been crazy.'
'All bastards are bastards, but some bastards is bastards.'
Discworld constellations changed frequently as the world moved through the void, which meant that astrology was cutting-edge research rather than, as elsewhere, a clever way of avoiding a proper job.
'Haven't you noticed that by running away you end up in more trouble?'
'Yes, but, you see, you can run away from that, too. That's the beauty of the system. Dead is only for once, but running away is for ever.'
'Ah, but it is said that a coward dies a thousand deaths, while a hero dies only one.'
'Yes, but it's the important one.'
Ponder had been that kind of child. He still had all the pieces for every game he'd ever been given. Ponder had been the kind of boy who carefully reads the label on every Hogswatch present before opening it, and notes down in a small book, who it is from, and has all the thank-you letters written by teatime. His parents had been impressed even then, realizing that they had given birth to a child who would achieve great things or, perhaps, be hunted down by a righteous citizenry by the time he was ten.
Even now, if he closed his eyes, he could still see the God of Evolution beaming so happily as the cockroach stirred.
Was it just possible that someone had invented a regional speciality you could eat?
'But my suspicions were first aroused when the Bursar developed planets.'
There were two of them, orbiting his head at a height of a few inches. As was so often the case with magical phenomena, they possessed virtual unreality and passed unscathed through him and one another. They were slightly transparent.
There are platonic burgers made of beef instead of cow lips and hooves. There are fish 'n' chips where the fish is more than just a white goo lurking at the bottom of a batter casing and you can't use the chips to shave with. There are hot dog fillings which have more in common with meat than mere pinkness, whose lucky consumers don't apply mustard because that would spoil the taste. It's just that people can be trained to prefer the other sort and seek it out. It's as if Machiavelli had written a cookery book.
Even so, there is no excuse for putting pineapple on pizza.
'Why did he have to go to prison?'
'We put all our politicians in prison as soon as they're elected. Don't you?'
'It saves time.'
It was obvious that some time after the brewery had been closed, but before people had got around to securely locking every entrance, the cellars had been employed by young people as such places are when you live with your parents, the house is too small, and no one has got around to inventing the motorcar.
They cancelled the regatta. A river full of water made a mockery of the whole idea.
This has annoyed a number of people who feel, somehow, that it should not, and who want a monarch instead, thus replacing a man who has achieved his position by cunning, a deep understanding of the realities of the human psyche, breathtaking diplomacy, a certain prowess with the stiletto dagger, and, all agree, a mind like a finely balanced circular saw, with a man who has got there by being born. note
Usually there is, on the pillow, a very elderly teddy bear called Mr Wobble. Traditionally, in the lexicon of pathos, such a bear should have only one eye, but as the result of a childhood error in Glenda’s sewing, he has three, and is more enlightened than the average bear.
There is a phrase ‘neither flesh nor fowl nor good red herring’. This thing was all of them, plus some other bits of beasts unknown to science or nightmare or even kebab.
Hunting The Megapode
He neglected to think strategically, always a mistake when talking to fellow academics, and as a result made the mistake of employing, as at this point, common sense.
It is a well-known fact in any organization that, if you want a job done, you should give it to someone who is already very busy. It has been the cause of a number of homicides, and in one case the death of a senior director from having his head shut repeatedly in quite a small filing cabinet.
Somehow, in all the confusing histories that had been sung or written, the goblins were down as nasty cowardly little bastards who collected their own earwax and were always on the other side. Alas, when the time came to write their story down, his people hadn’t even had a pencil.
The Ankh-Morpork Trespassers’ Society **
"They fight, they fall, and they cannot turn back because the whips drive them on, and all they know is whips, kill or be killed. Darkness in front of them, darkness behind them, darkness and whips in their heads. But what if you could take one out of this game, get him before the whips do, take him to a place without whips-what might he become? One creature. One singular being. Would you deny them that chance?"
Lecturer in Recent Runes: ‘Under university statute we are specifically forbidden to engage, other than within college precincts, in any magic above level four, unless specifically asked to do so by the civil power or, under clause three, we really want to. We are acting as place holders, and as such, forbidden from working.’
Ridcully: ‘Would you accept “slackers by hand and brain”?’
Lecturer in Recent Runes: ‘Slackers by hand and brain by statute.’
Apes had it worked out. No ape would philosophize, ‘The mountain is, and is not.’ They would think, ‘The banana is. I will eat the banana. There is no banana. I want another banana.’
The Librarian was not very familiar with love, which had always struck him as a bit ethereal and soppy, but kindness, on the other hand, was practical. You knew where you were with kindness, especially if you were holding a pie it had just given you.
Carter: ‘Coming down here, taking our jobs, yeah?’
Trevor: ‘Like, how often do you do a hand’s turn?’
Carter: ‘Well, I might want to one day.’
In fact, Juliet’s rising from beneath the cart passed relatively unnoticed by all except an art student who was almost blinded by the light at the spectacle, and many years later painted the picture known as Beauty Arising from the Pease Pudding Cart Attended by Cherubs Carrying Hot Dogs and Pies. It was widely regarded as a masterpiece, although no one could ever work out exactly what the hell it was all about. But it was beautiful and so it was true.
Confusion always helped, when it wasn’t yours; when it was time for a hue and cry, make sure who was hue.
The unofficial motto of the Lady Sybil Free Hospital was ‘Not everybody dies’. It was true that, subsequent to the founding of the Lady Sybil, the chances of death from at least some causes in the city were quite amazingly reduced. Its surgeons were even known to wash their hands before operating as well as after.
‘But it’ll still be a murder case, even if he comes walking in here tomorrow. Lord Vetinari’s rules: if it takes an Igor to bring you back, you were dead. Briefly dead, it’s true, which is why the murderer will be briefly hanged. A quarter of a second usually does it.’
'I’d like him to send his boys down when they’re not busy for a bit of first-aid tuition, to wit, the difference between dead and sleeping. It’s a fine line sometimes, but it’s generally possible to spot the clues. The profession has always tended to consider walking about to be among the more reliable, although in this city we’ve learned to look on that as just a very good start. But when we pulled back the sheet he sat up and asked Igor if he had a sandwich, which is generally conclusive.'
Juliet: ‘I luvim.’
Glenda: ‘You can’t!’
Juliet: ‘He saved my life!’
Glenda: ‘That’s no basis for a relationship! A polite thank you would have sufficed!’
It has been said that crowds are stupid, but mostly they are simply confused, since as an eyewitness the average person is as reliable as a meringue lifejacket.
She didn’t have a career; they were for people who could not hold down jobs.
'We have to play this game in any eventuality and so we will abide by them in the best traditions of sportsmanship until we have worked out where they may be most usefully broken to our advantage.'
The wizards paid no further attention and settled down to the passing of cups, the handing round of the sugar bowl, the inspection of the quality of the chocolate biscuits with a view to taking more than one’s entitlement and all the other little diversions without which a committee would be a clever device for making worthwhile decisions quickly.
The laws of favours are amongst the most fundamental in the multiverse. The first law is: nobody asks for just one favour; the second request (after the granting of the first favour), prefaced by ‘and can I be really cheeky…?’ is the asking of the second favour. If the aforesaid second request is not granted, the second law ensures that the need for any gratitude for the first favour is nullified, and in accordance with the third law the favour giver has not done any favours at all, and the favour field collapses.
In theory, something should fit, but all she ever found was facts, which are so unbecoming.
A variety of wizards had turned out this afternoon from curiosity, a suspicion that being there might turn out to be a good career move, and the prospect of maybe seeing some colleagues travelling across the lawn on their noses.
Rincewind: ‘I would like permission to fetch a note from my mother, sir.’
Ridcully: ‘Rincewind, you once informed me, to my everlasting puzzlement, that you never knew your mother because she ran away before you were born. Distinctly remember writing it down in my diary. Would you like another try?’
Rincewind: ‘Permission to go and find my mother? ... Look, a mysterious urn turns up and suddenly it’s all about football. That bodes. It means something bad is going to happen.’
Ridcully:‘Come now, it could be something wonderful.’
'You know how to do this! Pick the teams alternately so one of you ends up with the weird kid and the other with the fat kid. Some of the fastest mathematics of all time has been achieved by team captains trying not to end up with the weird kid—Stay where you are, Rincewind!’
But authority must back up authority, in public at least, otherwise there is no authority, and therefore the senior authority is forced to back up the junior authority, even if he, the senior authority, believes that the junior authority is a tiresome little tit.
Nutt: ‘Beauty can be considered to be neutral, sir. It is not the same as nice or good.’
Ponder: ‘I thought it was the same as truth, though.’
Nutt: ‘Which is often horrible, sir.'
This diagram was devised to chart the tendency of wizards, who start out small and pale, to progress through the craft getting bigger and cholerically redder until at last they swell up and explode in a cloud of pomposity.
— Owlspring/Tips Diagram
The politics of wizardry were either very simple, and resolved by someone ceasing to breathe, or as complex as one ball of yarn in a room with three bright-eyed little kittens.
That’s how it works. People from the Sisters disapproving when a girl takes the trolley bus. That’s crab bucket. Practically everything my mum ever told me, that’s crab bucket. Practically everything I’ve ever told Juliet, that’s crab bucket, too. Maybe it’s just another word for the Shove. It’s so nice and warm on the inside that you forget that there’s an outside. The worst of it is, the crab that mostly keeps you down is you… The realization had her mind on fire.
'Warfare, as it were, without the tedious necessity of picking up all those heads and limbs afterwards.'
Vetinari: 'And that’s when I first learned about evil. It is built in to the very nature of the universe. Every world spins in pain. If there is any kind of supreme being, I told myself, it is up to all of us to become his moral superior.’
Ridcully picked up a spoon and tapped the side of a wine glass, in the time-honoured ‘Look, everybody, I’m trying to make a loud noise very quietly!’ procedure, which has successfully eluded after-dinner speakers ever since the invention of glasses, spoons and dinners.
Some scenes are only ever a memory rather than an experience, because they happen too fast for immediate comprehension.
Although some seasoned captains could stand up for some time while being, technically, falling-down drunk. And there is nothing more embarrassing than seeing a falling-down drunk except for when it is a falling-down drunk who is still standing up.
She recognized one that she had always liked: the ball shall be called the ball. The ball is the ball that is played as the ball by any three consecutive players, at which point it is the ball. She’d loved it when she first read it for the sheer stupidity of its phraseology. Apparently, it had been added on a day, centuries ago, when an unfortunately severed head had rolled into play and had rather absent-mindedly replaced the ball currently in play on account of some body, formerly belonging to the head, now lying on the original ball. That kind of thing stuck in the memory, especially because after the match the owner of the head was credited with scoring the winning goal.
Just because he was a tyrant and capable of having just about anybody killed on a whim, people acted as if they were scared of him. Someone ought to tell him off.
Where a battering ram cannot work, really good shortcrust pastry can often break through.
Juliet’s version of cleanliness was next to godliness, which was to say it was erratic, past all understanding and was seldom seen.
Even Mrs. Carter, who in theory at least should entertain some lukewarm affability to her son, didn’t like Carter. He was fundamentally unlikeable. It was a sad thing to have to say, but Carter, farting or otherwise, was a wonderful example of charisn'tma.
Lady Margalotta: ‘You would take untested food from a member of the public?’
Vetinari: ‘Certainly from this one. There is no possible way that she would ever put poison in anything. Not out of respect for me, you understand, but out of respect for the food.'
Policemen have a way of pronouncing the word ‘sir’, as if they would really like to spell it ‘cur’.
The singing of the National Anthem was always a ragged affair, the good people of Ankh-Morpork feeling that it was unpatriotic to sing songs about how patriotic you were, taking the view that someone singing a song about how patriotic they were was either up to something or a Head of State. **
It is considered in the Sto Plains that only scoundrels know the second verse of their national anthem, since anyone spending time memorizing that would be up to no good purpose. The Ankh-Morpork national anthem, therefore, had a second verse that was deliberately written as ner ner ners and the occasional coherent word desperately trying to stay afloat, on the basis that this is how it would sound in any case.
It was later agreed that, in a footballing context, mysteriously appearing fruit should have been greeted with a certain amount of caution. But he was hungry, it was a banana and the metaphysics were sound. He ate it.
'He's sick as a parrot.' **
Juliet: ‘You know what some people said when we were drinking? They said Dave Likely was your father.’
Trevor: ‘Well, yes, that’s true.’
Juliet: ‘Yes, but they used to say you were his son.’
Fortuitously she had pulled out of her pocket a pair of tickets, placed there by Dr Hix in his attempt to spread darkness and despondency throughout the world by the means of amateur dramatics.
Ridcully: 'I think we should take the senior faculty as well. They will lend some much-needed… what’s the word?’
Ridcully: ‘No, not that.’
Ponder: ‘Appetite? Weight?’
Ridcully: ‘Something like that…Ah, gravitas. Oh, yes, lots of gravitas. We aren’t the kind of fellows who run around chasing strange birds.'
Death And Company
"It would seem that you have no useful skill or talent whatsoever," he said. "Have you thought of going into teaching?"
Only one creature could have duplicated the expressions on their faces, and that would be a pigeon who has heard not only that Lord Nelson has got down off his column but has also been seen buying a 12-bore repeater and a box of cartridges.
"My granny says that dying is like going to sleep," Mort added, a shade hopefully.
I wouldn't know. I have done neither.
"Pardon me for living, I'm sure."
No-one gets pardoned for living.
Although the scythe isn't pre-eminent among the weapons of war, anyone who has been on the wrong end of, say, a peasants' revolt will know that in skilled hands it is fearsome.
The only things known to go faster than ordinary light is monarchy, according to the philosopher Ly Tin Weedle. He reasoned like this: you can't have more than one king, and tradition demands that there is no gap between kings, so when a king dies the succession must therefore pass to the heir instantaneously. Presumably, he said, there must be some elementary particles — kingons, or possibly queons — that do this job, but of course succession sometimes fails if, in mid-flight, they strike an anti-particle, or republicon. His ambitious plans to use his discovery to send messages, involving the careful torturing of a small king in order to modulate the signal, were never fully expanded because, at that point, the bar closed.
I don't know about you, he said, But I could murder a curry.
Poets have tried to describe Ankh-Morpork. They have failed. Perhaps it's the sheer zestful vitality of the place, or maybe it's just that a city with a million inhabitants and no sewers is rather robust for poets, who prefer daffodils and no wonder.
It is a fact that although the Death of the Discworld is, in his own words, an Anthropomorphic Personification, he long ago gave up using the traditional skeletal horses, because of the bother of having to stop all the time to wire bits back on.
Forget peas and mattresses—sheer natural selection had established over the years that the royal families that survived longest were those whose members could distinguish an assassin in the dark by the noise he was clever enough not to make, because, in court circles, there was always someone ready to cut the heir with a knife.
Ankh-Morpork had dallied with many forms of government and had ended up with that form of democracy known as One Man, One Vote. The Patrician was the Man; he had the Vote.
I ushered souls into the next world. I was the grave of all hope. I was the ultimate reality. I was the assassin against whom no lock would hold.
"Yes, point taken, but do you have any particular skills?"
"Sodomy non sapiens."
"You won't get away with this," said Cutwell. He thought for a bit and added, "Well, you will probably get away with it, but you'll feel bad about it on your deathbed and you'll wish — "
He stopped talking.
He stopped talking.
"You like it?" he said to Mort, in pretty much the same tone of voice people used when they said to St George, "You killed a what?"
"He remembered the knowledge. He remembered his mind feeling as cold as ice and limitless as the night sky. He remembered being summoned into reluctant existence at the moment the first creature lived, in the certain knowledge that he would outlive life until the last being in the universe passed to its reward, when it would then be his job, figuratively speaking, to put the chairs on the tables and turn the lights off.
No one was avoiding him, it was just that an apparent random Brownian motion was gently moving everyone away.
There is no hope but us. There is no mercy but us. There is no justice. There's just us.
People have believed for hundreds of years that newts in a well mean that the water's fresh and drinkable, and in all that time never asked themselves whether the newts got out to go to the lavatory.
He'd never realized that, deep down inside, what he really wanted to do was make things go splat.
Drop the scythe, and turn around slowly.
No crown. No crown. Only the harvest.
Five exclamation marks, the sure sign of an insane mind.
It is traditional, when loading wire trolleys, to put the most fragile items at the bottom.
What's the good of having mastery over cosmic balance and knowing the secrets of fate if you can't blow something up?
One said, That is the point. The word is him. Becoming a personality is inefficient. We don’t want it to spread. Supposing gravity developed a personality? Supposing it decided to like people?
One said, Got a crush on them, sort of thing?
Most species do their own evolving, making it up as they go along, which is the way Nature intended. And this is all very natural and organic and in tune with mysterious cycles of the cosmos, which believes that there’s nothing like millions of years of really frustrating trial and error to give a species moral fibre and, in some cases, backbone.
Death had tried fiery steeds and skeletal horses in the past, and found them impractical, especially the fiery ones, which tended to set light to their own bedding and stand in the middle of it looking embarrassed.
it's a skeletal steed. impressive but impractical. i had one once but the head fell off.
"Windle!” he said. “We thought you were dead!”
He had to admit that it wasn’t a very good line. You didn’t put people on a slab with candles and lilies all round them because you think they’ve got a bit of a headache and want a nice lie down for half an hour.
It took him several minutes to understand any new idea put to him, and this is a very valuable trait in a leader, because anything anyone is still trying to explain to you after two minutes is probably important and anything they give up after a mere minute or so is almost certainly something they shouldn’t have been bothering you with in the first place.
The Chief Priest of Blind Io: “I haven’t felt like this since Mrs. Cake was one of my flock.”
Archchancellor Ridcully: “Mrs. Cake? What’s a Mrs. Cake?”
The Chief Priest of Blind Io: “You have . . . ghastly Things from the Dungeon Dimensions and things, yes? Terrible hazards of your ungodly profession?”
Archchancellor Ridcully: “Yes.”
The Chief Priest of Blind Io: “We have someone called Mrs. Cake.”
It was another day. Cyril the cockerel stirred on his perch.
The chalked words glowed in the half light. He concentrated.
He took a deep breath.
Now that the memory problem was solved, there was only the dyslexia to worry about.
It was amazing how many friends you could make by being bad at things, provided you were bad enough to be funny.
Bill Door made the mistake millions of people had tried before with small children in slightly similar circumstances. He resorted to reason.
i have received the badly-written note of the banshee.
No naked little men sat on the summit dispensing wisdom, because the first thing the truly-wise man works out is that sitting around on mountaintops gives you not only haemorrhoids but frostbitten haemorrhoids.
Traditionally, only two people ever went into the innermost sanctuary. They were the High Priest and the other priest who wasn’t High. They had been there for years, and took turns at being the high one.
No matter how fast light travels it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.
On the fabled hidden continent of Xxxx, somewhere near the rim, there is a lost colony of wizards who wear corks around their pointy hats and live on nothing but prawns.
"You know," said Windle, "it's a wonderful afterlife."
"Being needed is important.
Yes. But why?
"I don't know. How should I know? Because we're all in this together, I suppose. Because we don't leave our people in there. Because you're a long time dead. Because anything is better than being alone. Because humans are human."
Do you know why the prisoner in the tower watches the flight of birds?
What can the harvest hope for, if not for the care of the reaper man?
Words have always had the power to change the world.
Be Careful What You Wish For. You never know who will be listening.
Or what, for that matter.
Miss Eulalie Butts and her colleague Miss Delcross had founded the College on the astonishing idea that, since gels had nothing much to do until someone married them, they may as well occupy themselves by learning things.
Susan hated Literature. She’d much prefer to read a good book.
Traditionally, the ways of forgetting include joining the Klatchian Foreign Legion, drinking the waters of some magical river, no one knows where it is, and imbibing vast amounts of alcohol.
Glod knew a guitar when he saw one. They were supposed to be shaped like a woman, but this was only the case if you thought a woman had no legs, a long neck, and too many ears.
And they were such sad, wet girls. They always let things happen to them, without making any effort. They just went around saying things like “My goodness me,” when it was obvious that any sensible human being could soon get the place properly organized.
It didn’t have a name. Animals don’t normally bother with them. The wizard who thought he owned him called him Quoth, but that was only because he didn’t have a sense of humor and, like most people without a sense of humor, prided himself on the sense of humor he hadn’t, in fact, got.
There is a type of girl who, while incapable of cleaning her bedroom even at knife point, will fight for the privilege of being allowed to spend the day shoveling manure in a stable.
There was a brass plate screwed on the wall beside the door. It said: “C V Cheesewaller, DM (Unseen), B. Thau, B.F.”
Colon: “What do you mean, what’s his first name?”
Nobby: “What’s his first name?”
Colon: “He’s Death. Death. That’s his whole name. I mean…what do you mean?…you mean like…Keith Death?”
The D’regs were at war with everyone, including one another, and having considerable fun because the D’reg word for “stranger” was the same as for “target”.
“He can’t stop us. We’re on a mission from Glod.”
They’d assumed that insulating her from the fluffy edges of the world was the safest thing to do. In the circumstances, this was like not telling people about self-defense so that no one would ever attack them.
The Reader had a theory that all the really good books in any building — at least, all the really funny ones — gravitate to a pile in the privy but no one ever has time to read all of them, or even knows how they came to be there. His research was causing extreme constipation and a queue outside the door every morning.
Glod:“In my experience, what every true artist wants, really wants, is to be paid.”
Buddy: “And famous."
Glod: “Famous I don’t know about. It’s hard to be famous and alive. I just want to play music every day and hear someone say, ‘Thanks, that was great, here is some money, same time tomorrow, okay?’”
Ponder looked absolutely crestfallen. There are some people born with the instinctive feeling that the universe is solvable.
Bee There Orr Bee A Rectangular Thyng
They Are Totallye Unable To Bee Seene! And A Longe Way Oute!
BORN TO RUNE
There is something very sad about an empty dressing room. It’s like a discarded pair of underpants, which it resembles in a number of respects. It’s seen a lot of activity. It may even have witnessed excitement and a whole gamut of human passions. And now there’s nothing much left but a faint smell.
“Well, we think it might be able to do quite complicated math. If we can get enough bugs in it.”
Wizards were rumored to be wise—in fact, that’s where the word came from*.
*From the Old wys-ars, lit: one who, at bottom, is very smart.
Going into the Mended Drum and calling yourself Vincent the Invulnerable was clearly suicide by Ankh-Morpork standards.
“Maybe dey don’t want der hotels redecorated. I said it was a mistake, orange curtains with yellow wallpaper.”
He didn’t have henchmen. Most trolls weren’t clever enough to hench.
Proper lawn maintenance could be a real problem when things from another dimension were allowed to slither over it.
She had a tall bearing and a tall voice and a tall manner, and was tall in every respect except height. Amazingly, she’d apparently been able to keep this a secret from people.
Susan: Real children don't go hoppity-skip unless they are on drugs.
You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?
Getting an education was a bit like a communicable sexual disease. It made you unsuitable for a lot of jobs and then you had the urge to pass it on.
She'd become a governess. It was one of the few jobs a known lady could do. And she'd taken to it well. She'd sworn that if she did indeed ever find herself dancing on rooftops with chimney sweeps she'd beat herself to death with her own umbrella.
It's the expression on their little faces I like.
"You mean sort of fear and awe and not knowing whether to laugh or cry or wet their pants?"
Yes. Now that is what I call belief.
“…and then Jack chopped down the beanstalk, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and trespass charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you’re a hero, because no one asks inconvenient questions."
Susan tells a bedtime story
Er... Ho. Ho. Ho.
This is very similar to the suggestion put forward by the Quirmian philosopher Ventre, who said, "Possibly the gods exist, and possibly they do not. So why not believe in them in any case? If it's all true you'll go to a lovely place when you die, and if it isn't then you've lost nothing, right?" When he died he woke up in a circle of gods holding nasty-looking sticks and one of them said, "We're going to show you what we think of Mr. Clever Dick in these parts..."
"Did you check the list?"
Yes. Twice. Are you sure that's enough?
Yes. Twice. Are you sure that's enough?
"That statement is either so deep it would take a lifetime to fully comprehend every particle of its meaning, or it is a load of absolute tosh. Which is it, I wonder?"
Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time.
Everything starts somewhere, though many physicists disagree. But people have always been dimly aware of the problem with the start of things. They wonder how the snowplough driver gets to work, or how the makers of dictionaries look up the spelling of words.
We took pity on him because he'd lost both parents at an early age. I think that, on reflection, we should have wondered a bit more about that.
Lord Downey reflects on Mister Teatime
It's a sad and terrible thing that high-born folk really have thought that the servants would be totally fooled if spirits were put into decanters that were cunningly labelled backwards. And also throughout history the more politically conscious butler has taken it on trust, and with rather more justification, that his employers will not notice if the whisky is topped up with eniru.
Down in the deepest kingdoms of the sea, where there is no light, there lives a type of creature with no brain and no eyes and no mouth. It does nothing but live and put forth petals of perfect crimson where none are there to see. It is nothing except a tiny "yes" in the night. And yet... and yet... it has enemies that bear on it a vicious, unbending malice, who wish not only for its tiny life to be over but also that it had never existed. Are you with me so far?
"Well, yes, but—"
Good. Now, imagine what they think of humanity.
Death on the Auditors
+++ Divide By Cucumber Error. Please Reinstall Universe And Reboot +++
"Millennium hand and shrimp."
Then take the universe and grind it down to the finest powder and sieve it through the finest sieve and then show me one atom of justice, one molecule of mercy. And yet — . And yet you act as if there is some ideal order in the world, as if there is some... some rightness in the universe by which it may be judged.
“Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what’s the point—”
My point exactly.
"Don't worry, I'm on your side. A violent death is the last thing that will happen to you."
Mister Teatime is very reassuring.
It’s amazing how good governments are, given their track record in almost every other field, at hushing up things like alien encounters.
One reason may be that the aliens themselves are too embarrassed to talk about it.
It’s not known why most of the space-going races of the universe want to undertake rummaging in Earthling underwear as a prelude to formal contact. But representatives of several hundred races have taken to hanging out, unsuspected by one another, in rural corners of the planet and, as a result of this, keep on abducting other would-be abductees. Some have been in fact abducted while waiting to carry out an abduction on a couple of other aliens trying to abduct the aliens who were, as a result of misunderstood instructions, trying to form cattle into circles and mutilate crops.
The planet Earth is now banned to all alien races until they can compare notes and find out how many, if any, real humans they have actually got. It is gloomily suspected that there is only one—who is big, hairy and has very large feet.
The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.
Thief of Time
The trouble was that he was the kind of person who, having decided to be an interesting person, would first of all try to find a book called How to Be an Interesting Person and then see whether there were any courses available.
Genius is always allowed some leeway, once the hammer has been pried from its hands and the blood has been cleaned up.
She tossed the ball into the wastepaper basket. She never missed. Sometimes the basket moved in order to ensure that this was the case.
Wen considered the nature of time and understood that the universe is, instant by instant, re-created anew. Therefore, he understood, there is, in truth, no Past, only a memory of the Past. Blink your eyes, and the world you see next did not exist when you closed them. Therefore, he said, the only appropriate state of the mind is surprise. The only appropriate state of the heart is joy. The sky you see now, you have never seen before. The perfect moment is now. Be glad of it.
Why Wen was eternally surprised
Igor: “Oh, yeth. We are ready to grathp the future with both handth, thur.”
Jeremy:“—And four thumbs—”
Igor: “Yeth, thur. We can grathp like anything.”
There may, as the philosopher says, be no spoon, although this begs the question of why there is the idea of soup.
Jeremy: “This one is signed by someone called Mad Doctor Scoop.”
Igor: “Oh, he wathn’t actually named Mad, thur. It wath more like a nickname, ath it were.”
Jeremy: “Was he mad, then?”
Igor: “Who can thay, thur.”
Jeremy: “And Crazed Baron Haha? It says under Reason for Leaving that he was crushed by a burning windmill.”
Igor: “Cathe of mithtaken identity, thur.”
Igor: “Yeth, thur. I underthtand the mob mithtook him for Thcreaming Doctor Berthserk, thur.”
Jeremy: “Oh. Ah, yes. Who you also worked for, I see.”
Igor: “Yeth, thur.”
Jeremy: “And who died of blood poisoning?”
Igor: “Yeth, thur. Cauthed by a dirty pitchfork.”
Jeremy: “And… Nipsie the Impaler?”
Igor: “Er… would you believe he ran a kebab thhop, thur?”
Jeremy: “Did he?”
Igor: “Not conventionally tho, thur.”
“My name,” said Lu-Tze, leaning on his broom as the irate ting raised a hand, “is Lu-Tze.”
The dojo went silent. The attacker paused in midbellow.
“—Ai! Hao—gng! Gnh? Ohsheeeeeeohsheeeeeee…”
“Do not act incautiously when confronting a little bald wrinkly smiling man!”
If children were weapons, Jason would have been banned by international treaty. Jason had doting parents and an attention span of minus several seconds, except when it came to inventive cruelty to small furry animals, when he could be quite patient. Jason kicked, punched, bit, and spat. His artwork had even frightened the life out of Miss Smith, who could generally find something nice to say about any child. He was definitely a boy with special needs. In the view of the staff, they began with an exorcism.
“No one would be that stu—”
Susan stopped. Of course someone would be that stupid. Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible to do it. If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying “End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH,” the paint wouldn’t even have time to dry.
Madam Frout: “Algebra? But that’s far too difficult for seven-year-olds!”
Susan: “Yes, but I didn’t tell them that and so far they haven’t found out.”
A chocolate you did not want to eat does not count as chocolate. This discovery is from the same branch of culinary physics that determined that food eaten while walking along contains no calories.
History needs shepherds, not butchers.
Jeremy: “I’m not sure I’ve got any work for you, though. “I’ve got a new commission, but I’m not sure how… anyway, I’m not insane!”
Igor: “That’th not compulthory, thur.”
Jeremy: “I’ve actually got a piece of paper that says I’m not, you know.”
Igor: “Well done, thur.”
Jeremy: “Not many people have one of those!”
Igor: “Very true, thur.”
Igor had to admit it. When it came to getting weird things done, sane beat mad hands down.
Igors did not believe in “Forbidden Knowledge” and “Things Man Was Not Meant to Know” but obviously there were some things a man was not meant to know, such as what it felt like to have every single particle of your body sucked into a little hole, and that seemed to be one of the options available in the immediate future.
An Igor soon learned a secret way out of any castle and where to stash an overnight bag. In the words of one of the founding Igors: “We belong dead? Excuthe me? Where doth it thay ‘we’?”
The Auditors avoided death by never going so far as to get a life. They strove to be as indistinguishable as hydrogen atoms, and with none of the latter’s joie de vivre.
“It’s very important that you are all heavily armed. It makes it fairer.”
Every society needs a cry like that, but only in a very few do they come out with the complete, unvarnished version, which is “Remember-The-Atrocity-Committed-Against-Us-Last-Time-That-Will-Excuse-The-Atrocity-That-We’re-About-To-Commit-Today! And So On! Hurrah!”
The cat, a feral ginger tom, flicked a serrated ear and curled up in a tighter ball. Anything that could survive in Ankh-Morpork’s alleys, with their abandoned swamp dragons, dog packs, and furriers’ agents, was not about to open even one eye for a bunch of floating nightdresses.
Sometimes the gods have no taste at all. They allow sunrises and sunsets in ridiculous pink and blue hues that any professional artist would dismiss as the work of some enthusiastic amateur who’d never looked at a real sunset. This was one of those sunrises. It was the kind of sunrise a man rises and looks at and says, “No real sunrise could paint the sky Surgical Appliance Pink.”
Nevertheless, it was beautiful.note
Lu-Tze had long considered that everything happens for a reason, except possibly football.
“And the Angel clothéd all in white opened the Iron Book, and a fifth rider appeared in a chariot of burning ice, and there was a snapping of laws and a breaking of bonds and the multitudes cried ‘Oh God, we’re in trouble now!’”
First Edition Book of Om, Prophecies of Tobrun, chapter two, verse seven
Susan was sensible. It was, she knew, a major character flaw. It did not make you popular, or cheerful, and — this seemed to her to be the most unfair bit — it didn’t even make you right.
In fact, they actually preferred chocolate made mostly from milk, sugar, suet, hooves, lips, miscellaneous squeezings, rat droppings, plaster, flies, tallow, bits of tree, hair, lint, spiders, and powdered cocoa husks. This meant that, according to the food standards of the great chocolate centers in Borogravia and Quirm, Ankh-Morpork chocolate was formally classed as “cheese” and only escaped, through being the wrong color, being defined as “tile grout.”
exactly. only, while it is true we have to ride out, it doesn't say anywhere against whom.
"No one is even sure that taupe is a proper color!”
"Because in this world, after everyone panics, there’s always got to be someone to tip the wee out of the shoe."
Tiffany Aching and The Wee Free Men
The Wee Free Men
People say things like 'listen to your heart', but witches learn to listen to other things too. It's amazing what your kidneys can tell you.
Ordinary fortune-tellers tell you what you want to happen; witches tell you what's going to happen whether you want it to or not. Strangely enough, witches tend to be more accurate but less popular.
They looked like tinkers, but there wasn’t one among them, she knew, who could mend a kettle. What they did was sell invisible things. And after they’d sold what they had, they still had it. They sold what everyone needed but often didn’t want. They sold the key to the universe to people who didn’t even know it was locked.
The Travelling Teachers
Teacher: “I remember. You asked all those…little questions.”
Tiffany: “I would like a question answered today."
Teacher: “Provided it’s not the one about how you get baby hedgehogs."
Tiffany: “No. It’s about zoology."
Teacher: “Zoology, eh? That’s a big word, isn’t it.”
Tiffany: “No, actually it isn’t. Patronizing is a big word. Zoology is really quite short.”
'I can see we're going to get along like a house on fire. There may be no survivors.'
'But sometimes it's so hard to find half a mind when you need one.'
Toad: 'Er . . . you want to bring them back, then?'
Toad: 'It's just that's something not many people have ever wanted to do. They're not like brownies. If you get Nac Mac Feegles in the house, it's usually best to move away.'
Miss Tick: “You could say this advice is priceless. Are you listening?”
Miss Tick:“Good. Now…if you trust in yourself…”
Miss Tick:“…and believe in your dreams…”
Miss Tick:“…and follow your star…”
Miss Tick:“…you’ll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren’t so lazy. Good-bye.”
'Them as can do, has to do for them as can't. And someone has to speak up for them as has no voices.'
- Granny Aching
That was how it worked. No magic at all. But that time it had been magic. And it didn't stop being magic just because you found out how it was done.
Rob Anybody: “We canna just rush in, ye ken.”
Big Yan: “Point ’o order, Big Man. Ye can just rush in. We always just rush in.”
Rob Anybody: “Aye, Big Yan, point well made. But ye gotta know where ye’re just gonna rush in. Ye canna just rush in anywhere. It looks bad, havin’ to rush oout again straight awa’.”
She’d never really liked the book. It seemed to her that it tried to tell her what to do and what to think. Don’t stray from the path, don’t open that door, but hate the wicked witch because she is wicked. Oh, and believe that shoe size is a good way of choosing a wife.
Tiffany on The Goode Childe’s Booke of Faerie Tales
She was going to commit an act of extreme bravery and no one would know if it all went wrong. That was frightening, but also…annoying. That was it—annoying.
All witches are selfish, the Queen had said. But Tiffany's Third Thoughts said: Then turn selfishness into a weapon! Make all things yours! Make other lives and dreams and hopes yours! Protect them! Save them! Bring them into the sheepfold! Walk the gale for them! Keep away the wolf! My dreams! My brother! My family! My land! My world! How dare you try to take these things, because they are mine! I have a duty!
“Hey, youse scunners, we got a cheap lawyer and we’re no’ afraid tae use him!”
This Queen woman, whoever she was, had been stealing children but Roland had beaten her, oh yes, and helped these two young children to get back as well. ... Obviously the girl had been very brave (this was the Baron speaking) but, well, she was nine, wasn't she? And didn't even know how to use a sword! Whereas Roland had fencing lessons at his school. . .
A Hat Full Of Sky
The Nac Mac Feegle (also called Pictsies, The Wee Free Men, The Little Men, and “Person or Persons Unknown, Believed to be Armed”)
From Fairies and How to Avoid Them by Miss Perspicacia Tick
It’s quite easy to accidentally overhear people talking downstairs if you hold an upturned glass to the floorboards and accidentally put your ear to it.
Wishes needed thought. She was never likely to say, out loud, 'I wish that I could marry a handsome prince,' but knowing that if you did you'd probably open the door to find a stunned prince, a tied-up priest and a Nac Mac Feegle grinning cheerfully and ready to act as Best Man definitely made you watch what you said.
A nine-year-old girl armed with a frying pan couldn’t possibly have rescued a thirteen-year-old boy who’d had a sword.
Admittedly - and it took some admitting - he was a lot less of a twit than he had been. On the other hand, there had been such a lot of twit to begin with.
'Taint what a horse looks like. It's what a horse be.'
She was a witch and a teacher and that's a terrible combination. They want things to be right. They like things to be correct. If you want to upset a witch you don't have to mess around with charms and spells, you just have to put her in a room with a picture that's hung slightly crooked and watch her squirm.
It turned out that when Miss Level had asked Tiffany if she was scared of heights, it had been the wrong question. Tiffany was not afraid of heights at all. She could walk past tall trees without batting an eyelid. Looking up at huge towering mountains didn’t bother her a bit.
What she was afraid of, although she hadn’t realized it until this point, was depths. She was afraid of dropping such a long way out of the sky that she’d have time to run out of breath screaming before hitting the rocks so hard that she’d turn to a sort of jelly and all her bones would break into dust. She was, in fact, afraid of the ground. Miss Level should have thought before asking the question.
The beef stew tasted, indeed, just like beef stew and not, just to take an example completely and totally at random, stew made out of the last poor girl who'd worked here.
There was a sliding noise and a tinkle exactly like the tinkle a spoon makes when it's put back amongst the other spoons, who have missed it and are anxious to hear its tales of life amongst the frighteningly pointy people.
Daft Wullie: “Is somethin’ wrong?”
Jeannie: “Aye! Rob willna tak’ a drink o’ Special Sheep Liniment!”
Daft Wullie: “Ach, the Big Man’s deid! Oh waily waily waily—”
Rob Anybody: “Will ye hush yer gob, ye big mudlin! I am no’ deid! I’m trying to have a moment o’ existential dreed here, right?"
'Oh no! Witches are all equal. We don't have things like head witches. That's quite against the spirit of witchcraft. Besides, Mistress Weatherwax would never allow that sort of thing.'
'Sorry aboot this,' it said. I talk to my knees, but they dinnae listen to me.'
That's the job of Third Thoughts: First and Second Thoughts might understand your current tragedy, but something has to remember that you haven't eaten since lunch time.
The hermit elephant of Howondaland has a very thin hide, except on its head, and young ones will often move into a small mud hut while the owners are out. It is far too shy to harm anyone, but most people quit their huts pretty soon after an elephant moves in. For one thing, it lifts the hut off the ground and carries it away on its back across the veldt, settling it down over any patch of nice grass that it finds. This makes housework very unpredictable. Nevertheless, an entire village of hermit elephants moving across the plains is one of the finest sights on the continent.
'It's pronouned Ah-Wij.'
Mrs. Letice Earwig
Lovely to look at
Nice to hold
If you drop it
It's an unfair world, child. Be glad you have friends.
It was dreadful when your own thoughts tried to gang up on you.
"Learnin’ how not to do things is as hard as learning how to do them. Harder, maybe. There’d be a sight more frogs in this world if I didn’t know how not to turn people into them."
“Are you sure?”
“I walk safely in my mountains.”
“But aren’t there trolls and wolves and things?”
“Oh, yes. Lots.”
“And they don’t try to attack you?”
She had a momentary picture of Petulia standing in front of some horrible raging thing, but it wasn't as funny as she'd first thought. Petulia would stand in front of it, shaking with terror, her useless amulets clattering, scared almost out of her mind . . . but not backing away. She'd thought there might be people facing something horrible here, and she'd come anyway.
It was followed by a long scream of rage mixed with a roar of complaint: 'AAaargwannawannaaaagongongonaargggaaaa BLOON!' which is the traditional sound of a very small child learning that with balloons, as with life itself, it is important to know when not to let go of the string. The whole point of balloons is to teach small children this.
We heard a song, it went 'Twinkle twinkle little star...' What power! What wondrous power! You can take a billion trillion tons of flaming matter, a furnace of unimaginable strength, and turn it into a little song for children! You build little worlds, little stories, little shells around your minds and that keeps infinity at bay and allows you to wake up in the morning without screaming!
'I'm made up of the memories of my parents and grandparents, all my ancestors. They're in the way I look, in the colour of my hair. And I'm made up of everyone I've ever met who's changed the way I think. So who is "me"?'
There's no shame in pity.
“This I choose to do. If there is a price, this I choose to pay. If it is my death, then I choose to die. Where this takes me, there I choose to go. I choose. This I choose to do.”
They say that there can never be two snowflakes that are exactly alike, but has anyone checked lately?
They carried sticks and wore white clothes with bells on them, to stop them from creeping up on people. No one likes an unexpected Morris dancer.
It was in fact Miss Tick who had written Witch Hunting for Dumb People, and she made sure that copies of it found their way into those areas where people still believed that witches should be burned or drowned. Since the only witch ever likely to pass through these days was Miss Tick herself, it meant that if things did go wrong, she’d get a good night’s sleep and a decent meal before being thrown into the water.
Miss Treason: “This seems an honorable enterprise. Why start by lying?”
Rob Anybody: “Oh, the lie wuz goin’ tae be a lot more interestin’.”
Miss Treason: “The truth of the matter seems quite interesting to me.”
Rob Anybody: “Mebbe, but I wuz plannin’ on puttin’ in giants an’ pirates an’ magic weasels. Real value for the money!”
You had to deal every day with people who were foolish and lazy and untruthful and downright unpleasant, and you could certainly end up thinking that the world would be considerably improved if you gave them a slap. But you didn’t because, as Miss Tick had once explained: a) it would make the world a better place for only a very short time; b) it would then make the world a slightly worse place; and c) you’re not supposed to be as stupid as they are.
That’s Third Thoughts for you. When a huge rock is going to land on your head, they’re the thoughts that think: Is that an igneous rock, such as granite, or is it sandstone?
Miss Treason: "Oh, I know all about those stories. I made up most of them!”
Tiffany: “You made up stories about yourself?”
Miss Treason: “Oh, yes. Of course. Why not? I couldn’t leave something as important as that to amateurs.”
Rob turned the rustling pages and grinned. “Ach, she’s writ here: Oh, the dear Feegles ha’ turned up again,” he said.
This met with general applause.
“Ach, what a kind girl she is tae write that,” said Billy Bigchin. “Can I see?” He read: Oh dear, the Feegles have turned up again.
It was called You, as in “You! Stop that!” and “You! Get off there!” When it came to names, Granny Weatherwax didn’t do fancy.
- On naming her kitten, You
It was as if the idea of there being no Miss Treason was the wrong shape to put in anyone’s head. She was 113 years old, and they argued that it was practically unheard of for anyone to die aged 113.
Some people think that “coven” is a word for a group of witches, and it’s true that’s what the dictionary says. But the real word for a group of witches is an “argument.”
It was wizard magic, showy and dangerous. Witches preferred to cut enemies dead with a look. There was no sense in killing your enemy. How would she know you’d won?
Petulia: “Then it’s all obvious. He’s a boy.”
Petulia: “A boy. You know what they are? Blush, grunt, mumble, wibble? They’re pretty much all the same.”
She’d always been so nervous about getting them wrong that the first time she’d had to go out to deal with someone who looked dead—a young man who’d been in a horrible sawmill accident—she’d done every single test note , even though she’d had to go and find his head.
death: mustard is always tricky
Miss Treason:“No mustard? What about pickled onions?”
death: pickles of all sorts don't seem to make it. i'm sorry.
Miss Treason: “No relishes in the next world? That’s dreadful! What about chutneys?”
The Feegles didn’t know the meaning of the word “fear.” Sometimes Tiffany wished they’d read a dictionary.
Tiffany had looked up “strumpet” in the Unexpurgated Dictionary, and found it meant “a woman who is no better than she should be” and “a lady of easy virtue.” This, she decided after some working out, meant that Mrs. Gytha Ogg, known as Nanny, was a very respectable person. She found virtue easy, for one thing. And if she was no better than she should be, then she was just as good as she ought to be.
She had a feeling that Miss Treason hadn’t meant this, but you couldn’t argue with logic.
“When a bull coo meets a lady coo, he disna have tae say, ‘My heart goes bang-bang-bang when I see your wee face,’ ’cuz it’s kinda built intae their heads. People have it more difficult. Romancin’ is verra important, ye ken. Basically it’s a way the boy can get close to the girl wi’oot her attackin’ him and scratchin’ his eyes oot.”
Tiffany: "What else can I expect apart from…well, the feet?”
Miss Tick: “I’m, er, checking. Ah…it says here that she was, I mean is, fairer than all the stars in heaven….”
Nanny Ogg: “You could try doing something with your hair."
The librarians were mysterious. It was said they could tell what book you needed just by looking at you, and they could take your voice away with a word.
Rob Anybody: Er…I dinna wanta be a knee aboot this, but why is ye all here freezin’ tae death?”
Head Librarian: “Our oxen wandered off, and alas, the snow’s too deep to walk through.”
Rob Anybody: “Aye. But youse got a stove an’ all them dry ol’ books.”
Head Librarian: “Yes, we know.”
There was the kind of wretched pause you get when two people aren’t going to understand each other’s point of view at all.
“They don’t think they’re poor, because everyone around here is poor! But they’re not so poor they can’t afford to do the right things! That would be poor!”
Sooner or later, every curse is a prayer.
“I warn you! I’ve got a Cornucopia and I’m not afraid to use it!”
Rob Anybody: “An’ hoo come ye ken whut name a cheese has?”
Daft Wullie: “He told me, Rob.”
Rob Anybody: “Aye? Oh, okay. I wouldna argue wi’ a cheese.”
Nanny Ogg: “The Wintersmith will chase our girl, though.”
Granny Weatherwax: “Yes, he will. And, you know, I almost feel sorry for him.”
Rob Anybody: “And ye know how tae fight?”
Roland: “I’ve read the Manual of Swordsmanship all the way through!”
Rob Anybody: “Ah, I think I’ve put ma finger on a wee flaw in this plan….”
"There be a lot o’ men who became heroes ’cuz they wuz too scared tae run!"
Rob Anybody: “An’ this one is a lot harder than Abker, right? That one was easy! An’ a very predictable plot. Whoever writted that book didna stretch himself, in ma opinion.”
Billy Bigchin: “You mean The ABC?”
Rob Anybody: “Aye.”
These Are the Things That Make a Man
Iron enough to make a nail,
Lime enough to paint a wall,
Water enough to drown a dog,
Sulfur enough to stop the fleas,
Poison enough to kill a cow,
Potash enough to wash a shirt,
Gold enough to buy a bean,
Silver enough to coat a pin,
Lead enough to ballast a bird,
Phosphor enough to light the town,
Strength enough to build a home,
Time enough to hold a child,
Love enough to break a heart.
I Shall Wear Midnight
The hare runs into the fire. The hare runs into the fire. The fire, it takes her, she is not burned. The fire, it loves her, she is not burned. The hare runs into the fire. The fire, it loves her, she is free.
First Sight means that you can see what really is there, and Second Thoughts mean thinking about what you are thinking. And in Tiffany’s case, there were sometimes Third Thoughts and Fourth Thoughts, although these were quite difficult to manage and sometimes led her to walk into doors.
'Poison goes where poison’s welcome. And there’s always an excuse, isn’t there, to throw a stone at the old lady who looks funny. It’s always easier to blame somebody. And once you’ve called someone a witch, then you’d be amazed how many things you can blame her for.’
- Mrs. Proust
Wee Mad Arthur: ‘Whereas ye are a bunch of thieving drunken reprobates and scoff-laws with no respect for the law whatsoever!’
Rob Anybody: ‘Would you no’ mind adding the words drunk and disorderly? We wouldnae want to be sold short here.’
‘No, don’t say that it would be impossible for even a small witch to get inside an eggshell without crushing it, because that is what we in the craft would call a logical argument and therefore no one who wanted to believe that witches sank ships would pay any attention to it.
- Eskarina Smith
It seemed to her, looking down the length of the hall, that you didn’t need to grind the faces of the poor if you taught them to do their own grinding.
‘I was unfortunately born clever, miss, and I’ve learned that sometimes it’s not such a good idea to be all that clever. Saves trouble.’
I got packed off to be an apprentice priest in the Church of Om. I quite liked that; I learned a lot of interesting words, but they threw me out for asking too many questions, such as, “Is this really true or what?”’
There is a lot of folklore about equestrian statues, especially the ones with riders on. There is said to be a code in the number and placement of the horse’s hooves: if one of the horse’s hooves is in the air, the rider was wounded in battle; two legs in the air means that the rider was killed in battle; three legs in the air indicates that the rider got lost on the way to the battle; and four legs in the air means that the sculptor was very, very clever. Five legs in the air means that there’s probably at least one other horse standing behind the horse you’re looking at; and the rider lying on the ground with his horse lying on top of him with all four legs in the air means that the rider was either a very incompetent horseman or owned a very bad-tempered horse.
‘It’s just for people who think that witchcraft is all about flowers and love potions and dancing around without your drawers on - something I can’t imagine any real witch doing … Well, maybe Nanny Ogg, when the mood takes her.’
'She wasn’t executed, by the way. I think she wants everybody to know that. It was simply a freak accident involving a flight of stairs, a cat, and a scythe.’
- Letitia, about the headless ghost
It didn’t help very much at this point, as a small human skeleton walked out of the wall, through the library shelves as though they were smoke, and disappeared. It had been holding a teddy bear. It was one of those things that the brain files under ‘something I would rather not have seen’.
'You are, you know, an extremely unusual witch. As far as I can tell, you have a natural talent for making cheese, and as talents go, it is a pretty good talent to have. The world needs cheese-makers. A good cheese-maker is worth her weight in, well, cheese. So you were not born with a talent for witchcraft.’ ... 'People say you don’t find witchcraft; witchcraft finds you. But you’ve found it, even if at the time you didn’t know what it was you were finding, and you grabbed it by its scrawny neck and made it work for you.’
- Eskarina Smith
We do right, we don’t do nice.
- what Granny Weatherwax always says
‘Don’t meddle in the affairs of witches because they clout you around the ear.’
- Preston’s granny
‘So who watches the witches? Who cares for the people who care for the people? Right now, it looks like it needs to be me.’
There were never any mice in Granny’s cottage these days; You just stared at them until they realized how worthless they were and slunk away.
From Tiffany’s point of view, a good funeral was one where the main player was very old.
‘When I am old, I shall wear midnight. But not today.’
‘Nae king, nae quin, nae laird! One baron – and underrr mutually ag-rreeeed arrr-angement, ye ken!’
By the blinking of my eyes, something wicked this way dies.
'The cook has told me that you are a very religious woman, always on your knees, and that is fine by me, absolutely fine, but did it ever occur to you to take a mop and bucket down there with you?
I think Roland was very impressed with your wonderful white coat, but I am not Miss Spruce, because you never do anything that will get it dirty.
'I have never been so insulted before in my life'
' Really? I'm genuinely surprised.'
Moist von Lipwig
Steal five dollars and you were a petty thief. Steal thousands of dollars and you were either a government or a hero.
There is a saying ‘You can’t fool an honest man’ which is much quoted by people who make a profitable living by fooling honest men.
DONT ARSK US ABOUT:
troll's with sticks
All sorts of dragons
Huje green things with teeth
Any kinds of black dogs with orange eyebrows
Rains of spaniel's
Dimwell Arrhythmic Rhyming Slang: Various rhyming slangs are known, and have given the universe such terms as ‘apples and pears’ (stairs), ‘rubbity-dub’ (pub) and ‘busy bee’ (General Theory of Relativity). The Dimwell Street rhyming slang is probably unique in that it does not, in fact, rhyme. No one knows why, but theories so far advanced are 1) that it is quite complex and in fact follows hidden rules or 2) Dimwell is well named or 3) it’s made up to annoy strangers, which is the case with most such slangs.
What kind of man would put a known criminal in charge of a major branch of government? Apart from, say, the average voter.
In the same way, the man climbing out of your window in a stripy jumper, a mask and a great hurry might merely be lost on the way to a fancy-dress party, and the man in the wig and robes at the focus of the courtroom might only be a transvestite who wandered in out of the rain. Snap judgements can be so unfair.
Gilt and Vetinari shared a look. It said: while I loathe you and every aspect of your personal philosophy to a depth unplumbable by any line, I’ll credit you at least with not being Crispin Horsefry.
Mr. Pump: 'I Worked It Out. You Have Killed Two Point Three Three Eight People.'
Moist von Lipwig: 'I have never laid a finger on anyone in my life, Mr. Pump. I may be — all the things you know I am, but I am not a killer! I have never so much as drawn a sword!'
Mr. Pump: 'No, You Have Not. But You Have Stolen, Embezzled, Defrauded And Swindled Without Discrimination, Mr Lipvig. You Have Ruined Businesses And. Destroyed Jobs. When Banks Fail, It Is Seldom Bankers Who Starve. Your Actions Have Taken Money From Those Who Had Little Enough To Begin With. In A Myriad Small Ways You Have Hastened The Deaths Of Many. You Do Not Know Them. You Did Not See Them Bleed. But You Snatched Bread From Their Mouths And Tore Clothes From Their Backs. For Sport, Mr Lipvig. For Sport. For The Joy Of The Game.’
‘Firstly, sir, I reasoned that if I destroyed the universe all in one go no one would know; secondly, when I walloped the thing the first time the wizards ran away, so I surmised that unless they had another universe to run to they weren’t really certain; and lastly, sir, the bloody thing was getting on my nerves.’
Why Chief Postal Inspector Rumbelow risked disabling the Letter Sorting Engine.
The wizards from Unseen University had been jolly interested in the problem, like doctors being really fascinated by some new, virulent disease; the patient appreciates all the interest but would very much prefer it if they either came up with a cure or stopped prodding.
Anghammarad: 'Neither Deluge Nor Ice Storm Nor The Black Silence Of The Netherhells Shall Stay These Messengers About Their Sacred Business. Do Not Ask Us About Sabre-Tooth Tigers, Tar Pits, Big Green Things With Teeth Or The Goddess Czol.’
Tropes: 'You had big green things with teeth back then?’
Anghammarad: 'Bigger. Greener. More Teeth.’
Moist: 'And the goddess Czol?’
Anghammarad: ‘Do Not Ask.’
By general agreement Anghammarad was given the unique rank of Extremely Senior Postman. It seemed . . . fair.
People flock in, nevertheless, in search of answers to those questions only librarians are considered to be able to answer, such as ‘Is this the laundry?’ ‘How do you spell surreptitious?’ and, on a regular basis: ‘Do you have a book I remember reading once? It had a red cover and it turned out they were twins.’
'In my experience Miss Cripslock tends to write down exactly what one says. It’s a terrible thing when journalists do that. It spoils the fun. One feels instinctively that it’s cheating, somehow.'
And he was employing an Igor, everyone knew, which of course was sensible when you had such a high veterinary overhead, but you heard stories . . . note
It’s a matter of style, okay? A proper brawl doesn’t just happen.
‘What is sticking in your foot is a Mitzy “Pretty Lucretia” four-inch heel, the most dangerous footwear in the world. Considered as pounds per square inch, it’s like being trodden on by a very pointy elephant. Now, I know what you’re thinking: you’re thinking, “Could she press it all the way through to the floor?” And, you know, I’m not sure about that myself. The sole of your boot might give me a bit of trouble, but nothing else will. But that’s not the worrying part. The worrying part is that I was forced practically at knifepoint to take ballet lessons as a child, which means I can kick like a mule; you are sitting in front of me; and I have another shoe.
Adora Belle Dearheart
If he’d been a hero, he would have taken the opportunity to say, ‘That’s what I call sorted!’ Since he wasn’t a hero, he threw up.
Anoia, a minor goddess of Things That Stick In Drawers. note
Moist was sure doctors kept skeletons around to cow patients. Nyer, nyer, we know what you look like underneath…
Dr. Lawn: Yes, his trousers were the subject of a controlled detonation after one of his socks exploded. We’re not sure why.’
Moist: ‘He fills them with sulphur and charcoal to keep his feet fresh, and he soaks his trousers in saltpetre to prevent Gnats.’
He wanted to say, oh, how he wanted to say: Craftsmen. D’you know what that means? It means men with some pride, who get fed up and leave when they’re told to do skimpy work in a rush, no matter what you pay them. So I’m employing people as “craftsmen” now who’re barely fit to sweep out a workshop. But you don’t care, because if they don’t polish a chair with their arse all day you think a man who’s done a seven-year apprenticeship is the same as some twerp who can’t be trusted to hold a hammer by the right end. He didn’t say this aloud, because although an elderly man probably has a lot less future than a man of twenty, he’s far more careful about it…
It was garbage, but it had been cooked by an expert. Oh, yes. You had to admire the way perfectly innocent words were mugged, ravished, stripped of all true meaning and decency and then sent to walk the gutter for Reacher Gilt, although ‘synergistically’ had probably been a whore from the start.
Always remember that the crowd which applauds your coronation is the same crowd that will applaud your beheading. People like a show.
There was a pregnant pause. It gave birth to a lot of little pauses, each one more deeply embarrassing than its parent.
Moist: 'So now you’re, what was it again . . . crackers?’
Mad Al: 'That’s right. Because we can crack the system.'
Moist: 'That sounds a bit over-dramatic when you’re just doing it with lamps, doesn’t it?’
Sane Alex: 'Yes, but "flashers" was already taken.’
Every organization needs at least one person who knows what’s going on and why it’s happening and who’s doing it, and at UU this role was filled by Stibbons, who often wished it wasn’t.
Headquarters had even started an Employee of the Month scheme to show how much they cared. That was how much they didn’t care.
Never promise to do the possible. Anyone could do the possible. You should promise to do the impossible, because sometimes the impossible was possible, if you could find the right way, and at least you could often extend the limits of the possible. And if you failed, well, it had been impossible.
Archchancellor Ridcully was a great believer in retaliation by promotion. You couldn’t have civilians criticizing one of his wizards. That was his job.
I’ll kill you, Mr. Gilt. I’ll kill you in our special way, the way of the weasel and cheat and liar. I’ll take away everything but your life. I’ll take away your money, your reputation, and your friends. I’ll spin words around you until you’re cocooned in them. I’ll leave you nothing, not even hope…
All the way to Genua there were people who'd been duped, fooled, swindled and cheated by that face. The only thing he hadn't done was hornswoggle, and that was only because he hadn't found out how to.
When parties are interested in unprepossessing land, it might just pay for smaller parties to buy up any neighboring plots, just in case the party of the first part had heard something, possibly at a party.
What harm can it do to find out? It's a question that has left bruises down the centuries, even more than 'It can't hurt if I only take one' and 'It's all right if you only do it standing up'.
Moist: 'But I don't know anything about running a bank!'
Vetinari: 'Good. No preconceived ideas.'
Moist: 'I've robbed banks!'
Vetinari: 'Capital! Just reverse your thinking. The money should be on the inside!
What we have here, he told himself, is a Mk. 1 Feisty Old Lady: turkey neck, embarrassing sense of humour, a gleeful pleasure in mild cruelty, direct way of speaking that flirts with rudeness and, more importantly, also flirts with flirting. Likes to think she's no 'lady'. Game for anything that doesn't carry the risk of falling over and with a look in her eye that says 'I can do what I like, because I am old. And I have a soft spot for rascals.'
About Topsy Lavish
Whoever said you can't fool an honest man wasn't one.
The people of Ankh-Morpork took a straightforward approach to letter-writing, which could be summarized as: If I know what I mean, so should you. As a result, the Post Office was used to envelopes addressed to “My brofer Jonn, tall, by the brij” or “Mrs. Smith wot does, Dolly Sistres.” The keen and somewhat worrying intellects employed in the Blind Letter Office enjoyed the challenge, and during their tea break they played chess in their heads.
The lady in the boardroom was certainly an attractive woman, but since she worked for the Times Moist felt unable to award her total ladylike status. Ladies didn't fiendishly quote exactly what you said but didn't exactly mean, or hit you around the ear with unexpectedly difficult questions. Well, come to think of it, they did, quite often, but she got paid for it.
But, he had to admit, Sacharissa Cripslock was fun.
Is it some kind of duplex magical power I have, he wondered, that lets old ladies see right through me but like what they see?
It was more than likely that Mr Fusspot had never seen a real bone before. He circled it carefully, waiting for it to squeak.
Colon: “Now you see, that was good. He went right through the cab window without touching the sides and bounced off that bloke creepin’ up. Very nice roll as he landed, I thought, and he still had hold of the little dog the whole time. Done it before, I shouldn’t wonder. Nevertheless, I’m forced, on balance, to consider him a twit.”
Nobby: “The first cab. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. I would not have thought it of a man like him.”
Colon: “My point exactly. When you know you’ve got enemies at large, never, ever get in the first cab. Fact of life. Even things what live under rocks know it.”
Miss Pucci simply didn’t know how to work a crowd. She stomped and demanded attention and bullied and insulted and it didn’t help that she’d called them “good people,” because no one likes an outright liar.
Building a temple didn’t mean you believed in gods, it just meant you believed in architecture.
“The arts are not my field,” he added, in a way that suggested his was a pretty superior field with much better flowers in it.
He was not naturally at ease in the presence of skulls. Humans have been genetically programmed not to be ever since monkey times, because a) whatever turned that skull into a skull might still be around and you should head for a tree now, and b) skulls look like they're having a laugh at one's expense.
It contained herbs and all natural ingredients. But belladonna was a herb, and arsenic was natural.
Children were climbing on the golem in the square, despite the efforts of the watchmen who were guarding it. **
As a member of the Ancient and Venerable Order of Greengrocers', Mr Parker was honour bound never to put his punctuation in the right place.
She was technically a Ruined Woman, which seemed unfair given that, even more technically, she wasn’t.
Quia Ego Sic Dico note
Vetinari: "I love democracy. I could listen to it all day."
A shouted order to do something of dubious morality with an unpredictable outcome? Thweet!
'You get a wonderful view from the point of no return.'
The bystanders, most of whom were now byrunners, and in certain instances bystampeders, fled and complained, except, of course, for every little boy of any age who followed it with eyes open wide, vowing there and then that one day he would be the captain of the terrible noxious engine, oh yes indeed.
Scouting for trolls, dwarfs and humans was brought in shortly after the Koom Valley Accord had been signed, on the suggestion of Lord Vetinari, to allow the young of the three dominant species to meet and hopefully get along together. Naturally the young of all species, when thrown together, instead of turning against one another would join forces against the real enemy, that is to say their parents, teachers, and miscellaneous authority which was so old-fashioned.
There was a difference between a banker and a crook, there really was, and although it was very, very teeny Moist felt that he should point out that it did exist and, besides, Lord Vetinari always had his eye on him.
"If you’re another chancer wanting to bamboozle me I’ll have you down the Effing stairs ** before you know it."
Of the Twilight the Darkness: "And how is Mister Slightly Damp?"
Adora Belle: "Moist is fine, my friend, and surely you know my husband doesn’t like the name you goblins have given him. He thinks you’re doing it on purpose."
Of the Twilight the Darkness: "You want that we stop doing it?"
Adora Belle: "Oh, no! It teaches him a lesson in humility. I think he needs to go to university on that score."
"And she said if someone wants to do business in the big city, Dick, make out that you’re simple and see ’ow they treat you. If they treats you properly, simple as you are, then it’s likely you can trust them. And then you can show them how smart you really are. "
The whole business traditionally begins with a plot, in every sense of the word. Entire suburbs were being built with such beguiling names as Nightingale Valley and Sunflower Gardens which had never heard a nightingale or seen a sunflower in bloom, but nevertheless were on the market with CMOT Dibbler Practically Real Estate and Associates, currently doing a roaring trade.
Dick Simnel smiled the expansive smile of a man who really, really wants to talk about his wonderful pet project and is now keen to illuminate every bystander to the point of boredom, and in the worst cases suicide.
Glumly, Rhys wondered what the word was for a large number of agendas, and decided that the term should be a living death of agendaritis.
He ventured to wonder if they ever thought back to when things were just old-fangled or not fangled at all as against the modern day when fangled had reached its apogee. Fangling was indeed, he thought, here to stay. Then he wondered: had anyone ever thought of themselves as a fangler?
"My dad said always put a few nasty little booby traps around the place before you lock up and then after that owt they can steal from you they’re welcome to, if they’ve still got their arms to carry it away, that is."
The men of the sliding rule. Moist liked them because they were everything he wasn’t. But maybe he should teach them about being a scoundrel. Oh, not about taking money from widows and orphans, but about being aware that many people weren’t as straight as a theodolite.
Even Professor Rincewind, who spent most of the journey hiding under his seat in the firm belief that locomotion was exactly the kind of thing that usually led to certain death, conceded that trains could come in very handy when one wanted to get somewhere, or, more importantly, away from somewhere, quickly.
"I am a liar for the purposes of amusement, publicity, trivial one-upmanship, personal profit and the gaiety of nations, but I’m not lying to you now."
Of the Twilight the Darkness: "Mister Mar-keee, I’m real. If you cut me, do I not bleed? And if you do, I bleeding well cuts you too, no offence meant."
"One of our golem horses arrived here declaring “Give me livery or give me death”."
Please do not panic. You are merely dead.
Colon and Nobby had lived a long time in a dangerous occupation and they knew how not to be dead. To wit, by arriving when the bad guys had got away.
The grags came down heavily on those who did not conform and seemed not to realize that this was like stamping potatoes into the mud to stop them growing.
The Queen appeared as innocent as one of those mountains which year after year do nothing very much but smoke a little, and then one day end up causing a whole civilization to become an art installation.
The way that Moist fought was erratic, since he took the view that if you didn’t know what you were going to do next, neither would the enemy.
"And if you think your Queen is not as good a ruler as your King, do you really believe your mother was inferior to your father? I see embarrassment among all of you. That’s good. The thing about being embarrassed is that sooner or later you aren’t, but you remember that you were."
"My, oh my, Mister Lipwig, you are the smart one, just as they say. I am me. I am Iron Girder. But all it takes is for people to believe and I am no longer just an artefact put together by clever engineers. I am an idea, a something made of nothing, whose time has come to be. Some even call me “goddess”."
What our ancestors would really be thinking, if they were alive today, is: "Why is it so dark in here?"
All assassins had a full-length mirror in their rooms, because it would be a terrible insult to anyone to kill them when you were badly dressed.
Morpork was not a good address. Morpork was twinned with a tar pit. There was not a lot that could be done to make Morpork a worse place. A direct hit by a meteorite, for example, would count as gentrification.
All self-respecting river kingdoms have vast supernatural plagues, but the best the Old Kingdom had been able to achieve in the last hundred years was the Plague of Frog. **
When you die, the first thing you lose is your life. The next thing is your illusions.
Like many river valley cultures the Kingdom has no truck with such trivia as summer, springtime and winter, and bases its calendar squarely on the great heartbeat of the Djel; hence the three seasons. Seedtime, Inundation and Sog. This is logical, straightforward and practical, and only disapproved of by barbershop quartets.**
The Ephebians made wine out of anything they could put in a bucket, and ate anything that couldn't climb out of one.
A philosopher had averred that although truth was beauty, beauty was not necessarily truth, and a fight was breaking out.
The late king had had many fine attributes, but doing mighty deeds wasn’t among them. The score was: Number of enemies ground as dust under his chariot wheels = 0. Number of thrones crushed beneath his sandaled feet = 0. Number of times world bestrode like colossus = 0. On the other hand: Reigns of terror = 0. Number of times own throne crushed beneath enemy sandals = 0. Faces of poor ground = 0. Expensive crusades embarked upon = 0. His life had, basically, been a no-score win.
Nature abhors dimensional abnormalities, and seals them neatly away so that they don't upset people. Nature, in fact, abhors a lot of things, including vacuums, ships called the "Marie Celeste", and the chuck keys for electric drills.
Pteppicymon XXVII: “What’s my son got to say about all this?”
Dil: “Don’t know how to tell you this, sir.”
Pteppicymon XXVII: “Out with it, man.”
Dil: “Sir, they say he’s dead, sir. They say he killed himself and ran away.”
Pteppicymon XXVII: “Killed himself?”
Dil: “Sorry, sir.”
Pteppicymon XXVII: “And ran away afterward?”
Dil: “On a camel, they say.”
Pteppicymon XXVII: “We lead an active afterlife in our family, don’t we?”
The role of listeners has never been fully appreciated. However, it is well known that most people don’t listen. They use the time when someone else is speaking to think of what they’re going to say next. True Listeners have always been revered among oral cultures, and prized for their rarity value; bards and poets are ten a cow, but a good Listener is hard to find, or at least hard to find twice.
It is now known to science that there are many more dimensions than the classical four. Scientists say that these don’t normally impinge on the world because the extra dimensions are very small and curve in on themselves, and that since reality is fractal most of it is tucked inside itself. This means either that the universe is more full of wonders than we can hope to understand or, more probably, that scientists make things up as they go along.
The Librarian had seen many weird things in his time, but that had to be the 57th strangest.note
"Woof bloody woof."
Gaspode the Wonder Dog
It was the sort of thing you expected in the Street of Alchemists. The neighbours preferred explosions, which were at least identifiable and soon over. They were better than the smells, which crept up on you.
The Archchancellor's most important job, as the Bursar saw it, was to sign things, preferably, from the Bursar's point of view, without reading them first.
By and large, the only skill the alchemists of Ankh-Morpork had discovered so far was the ability to turn gold into less gold.
"If you put butter and salt on it, it tastes like salty butter."
Of course, it is very important to be sober when you take an exam. Many worthwhile careers in the street-cleansing, fruit-picking and subway-guitar-playing industries have been founded on a lack of understanding of this simple fact.
And then you bit onto them, and learned once again that Cut-me-own-Throat Dibbler could find a use for bits of an animal that the animal didn't know it had got. Dibbler had worked out that with enough fried onions and mustard people would eat anything.
"The thing is that Mr. Dibbler can even sell sausages to people who have bought them off him before."
"Why's it called Ming?" said the Archchancellor, on cue.
The Bursar tapped the pot. It went ming.
The Bursar tapped the pot. It went ming.
Azhural raised his staff. "It's fifteen hundred miles to Ankh-Morpork," he said. "We've got three hundred and sixty-three elephants, fifty carts of forage, the monsoon's about to break and we're wearing... we're wearing... sort of things, like glass, only dark... dark glass things on our eyes..."
People who used magic without knowing what they were doing usually came to a sticky end. All over the entire room, sometimes.
"It looks worse than you can imagine!"
"I can imagine some pretty bad things!"
"That's why I said worse!"
"Woof. In tones of low menace."
"There's nothin' wrong with bein' a son of a bitch."
"I can explain it in Dog, but you only listen in Human."
"Well, 'scuse me. I was jus' tryin' to save the world."
"If gharstely creatures from before the Dawna Time starts wavin' at you from under your bed, jus' you don't come complainin' to me."
"Messin' around with girls in thrall to Creatures from the Void never works out, take my word for it."
"Can't sing. Can't dance. Can handle a sword a little."
"Did I hear things, or can that little dog speak?" said Dibbler.
"He says he can't," said Victor. Dibbler hesitated.
"Well," he said, "I suppose he should know."
"He says he can't," said Victor. Dibbler hesitated.
"Well," he said, "I suppose he should know."
In retrospect, Victor was always a little unclear about those next few minutes. That's the way it goes. The moments that change your life are the ones that happen suddenly, like the one where you die.
"Chain letters," said the Tyrant. "The Chain Letter to the Ephebians. Forget Your Gods. Be Subjugated. Learn to Fear. Do not break the chain — the last people who did woke up one morning to find fifty thousand armed men on their lawn."
"It's a god-eat-god world."
"You can't trample infidels when you're a tortoise. I mean, all you could do is give them a meaningful look."
His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools — the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans — and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, "You can't trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there's nothing you can do about it, so let's have a drink."
One day, a tortoise will learn how to fly.
History, contrary to popular theories, is kings and dates and battles.
People think that professional soldiers think a lot about fighting, but serious professional soldiers think a lot more about food and a warm place to sleep, because these are two things that are generally hard to get, whereas fighting tends to turn up all the time.
Brother Preptil, the master of the music, had described Brutha's voice as putting him in mind of a disappointed vulture arriving too late at the dead donkey.
Words are the litmus paper of the minds. If you find yourself in the power of someone who will use the word "commence" in cold blood, go somewhere else very quickly. But if they say "Enter", don't stop to pack.
"Not a man to mince words. People, yes. But not words."
Cuius testiculos habes, habeas cardia et cerebellum.
Gravity is a habit that is hard to shake off.
The trouble with being a god is that you've got no one to pray to.
There are hardly any excesses of the most crazed psychopath that cannot easily be duplicated by a normal kindly family man who just comes in to work every day and has a job to do.
The people who really run organizations are usually found several levels down, where it is still possible to get things done.
Guilt was the grease in which the wheels of the authority turned.
The furthest anyone ever got through the labyrinth without a guide was nineteen paces. Well, more or less. His head rolled a further seven paces, but that probably doesn’t count.
Most gods find it hard to walk and think at the same time.
When the least they could do to you was everything, then the most they could do to you suddenly held no terror.
"What's a philosopher ?" said Brutha.
"Someone who's bright enough to find a job with no heavy lifting."
"Someone who's bright enough to find a job with no heavy lifting."
"Slave is an Ephebian word. In Om we have no word for slave," said Vorbis.
"So I understand," said the Tyrant. "I imagine that fish have no word for water."
"So I understand," said the Tyrant. "I imagine that fish have no word for water."
"He says gods like to see an atheist around. Gives them something to aim at."
"You're not one of us."
"I don't think I'm one of them, either," said Brutha. "I'm one of mine."
"I don't think I'm one of them, either," said Brutha. "I'm one of mine."
Simony's eyes gleamed with the gleam of a man who had seen the future and found it covered with armour plating.
"All holy piety in public, and all peeled grapes and self-indulgence in private."
When you can flatten entire cities at a whim, a tendency towards quiet reflection and seeing-things-from-the-other-fellow's-point-of-view is seldom necessary.
"Take it from me, whenever you see a bunch of buggers puttering around talking about truth and beauty and the best way of attacking Ethics, you can bet your sandals it's all because dozens of other poor buggers are doing all the real work around the place."
"Why do you bother with him? He's had thousands of people killed!"
"Yes, but perhaps he thought that you wanted it."
"Yes, but perhaps he thought that you wanted it."
The figures looked more or less human. And they were engaged in religion. You could tell by the knives (it's not murder if you do it for a god).
The trouble was that he was talking in philosophy, but they were listening in gibberish.
"He's muffed it," said Simony. "He could have done anything with them. And he just told them the facts. You can't inspire people with facts. They need a cause. They need a symbol."
"You can't find a hermit to teach you herming, because of course that rather spoils the whole thing."
Om began to feel the acute depression that steals over every realist in the presence of an optimist.
"All the other prophets came back with commandments!"
"Where'd they get them?"
"I ... suppose they made them up."
"You get them from the same place."
"Where'd they get them?"
"I ... suppose they made them up."
"You get them from the same place."
Brutha tried to nod, and thought: I'm on everyone's side. It'd be nice if, just for once, someone was on mine.
Probably the last man who knew how it worked had been tortured to death years before. Or as soon as it was installed. Killing the creator was a traditional method of patent protection.
Give anyone a lever long enough and they can change the world. It's unreliable levers that are the problem.
"We died for lies, for centuries we died for lies. Now we've got a truth to die for!"
"No. Men should die for lies. But the truth is too precious to die for."
"No. Men should die for lies. But the truth is too precious to die for."
You have perhaps heard the phrase that hell is other people?
"Yes. Yes, of course."
Death nodded. In time, he said, you will learn that it is wrong.
"Yes. Yes, of course."
Death nodded. In time, he said, you will learn that it is wrong.
"I used to think that I was stupid, and then I met philosophers."
"I like the idea of democracy. You have to have someone everyone distrusts," said Brutha. "That way, everyone's happy."
"That's why it's always worth having a few philosophers around the place. One minute it's all Is Truth Beauty and Is Beauty Truth, and Does A Falling Tree in the Forest Make A Sound if There's No one There to Hear It, and then just when you think they're going to start dribbling one of 'em says, 'Incidentally, putting a thirty-foot parabolic reflector on a high place to shoot the rays of the sun at an enemy's ships would be a very interesting demonstration of optical principles.'"
"He remembered Didactylos saying the world was a funny place. And, he thought distantly, it really was. Here people were about to roast someone to death, but they'd left his loin-cloth on, out of respectability. You had to laugh. Otherwise you'd go mad."
A lie can run around the world before the truth has got its boots on
The rumor spread through the city like wildfire (which had quite often spread through Ankh-Morpork since its citizens had learned the words “fire insurance”)
The world is made up of four elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. This is a fact well known even to Corporal Nobbs. It’s also wrong. There’s a fifth element, and generally it’s called Surprise.
The dwarfs found out how to turn lead into gold by doing it the hard way. The difference between that and the easy way is that the hard way works.
The job of looking after the large vivarium where they happily passed their days was given to first-year students, on the basis that if they got things wrong there wouldn’t be too much education wasted.
There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who, when presented with a glass that is exactly half full, say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty.
The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What’s up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don’t think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass! Who’s been pinching my beer?
The staff at Hugglestones prized keenness, believing that in sufficient quantities it could take the place of lesser attributes like intelligence, foresight, and training.
"Kings and lords come and go and leave nothing but statues in a desert, while a couple of young men tinkering in a workshop change the way the world works.”
Your Brain on Drugs is a terrible sight, but Mr. Tulip was living proof of the fact that so was Your Brain on a cocktail of horse liniment, sherbet, and powdered water-retention pills.
He knew about concerned citizens. Wherever they were, they all spoke the same private language, where “traditional values” meant “hang someone.”
She wasn’t just respectable, she was Respectable; it was a lifestyle, religion, and hobby combined.
—Mrs. Arcanum, proprietress of Mrs. Eucrasia Arcanum’s Lodging House for Respectable Working Men
Words resemble fish in that some specialized ones can survive only in a kind of reef, where their curious shapes and usages are protected from the hurly-burly of the open sea. “Rumpus” and “fracas” are found only in certain newspapers (in much the same way that “beverages” are only found in certain menus). They are never used in normal conversation.
"... you indicate your acceptance of this agreement or any other agreement that may be substituted at any time by coming within five miles of the product or observing it through large telescopes or by any other means because you are such an easily cowed moron who will happily accept arrogant and unilateral conditions on a piece of highly priced garbage that you would not dream of accepting on a bag of dog biscuits...”
— Dis-organizer Mk II
Otto: "Another term for an iconographer would be ‘photographer’? From the old word ‘photus’ in Latation, vhich means-”
William: “‘To prance around like an idiot ordering everyone about as if you owned the place.’”
Otto: “Ah, you know it!”
William’s family and everyone they knew also had a mental map of the city that was divided into parts where you found upstanding citizens, and other parts where you found criminals. It had come as a shock to them…no, he corrected himself, it had come as an affront to learn that Vimes operated on a different map. Apparently he’d instructed his men to use the front door when calling on any building, even in broad daylight, when sheer common sense said that they should use the back, just like any other servant. **
Just inside the door was a chalk outline. In colored chalk. It must have been done by Corporal Nobbs, because he was the only person who would add a pipe and draw in some flowers and clouds.
“Hold on, hold on, there must be a law against killing lawyers.”
“Are you sure?”
“There’re still some around, aren’t there?"
It is amazing how people will obey a man pointing a lens at them. They’ll come to their senses in a fraction of a second, but that’s all he needs.
The press waited. It looked now like a great big beast. Soon he’d throw a lot of words into it. And in a few hours it would be hungry again, as if those words had never happened. You could feed it, but you could never fill it up.
He’d sent Altogether Andrews to sell the papers near Pseudopolis Yard, reckoning him to be the most consistently sane of the fraternity. At least five of his personalities could hold a coherent conversation.
‘The Truth Shall Make Ye Fret’
Instead, they looked like a pair of lepidopterists who’d stumbled across an entirely new kind of butterfly, and found it trying to wave a tiny little net.
"In the history of this city, gentlemen, we have put on trial at various times seven pigs, a tribe of rats, four horses, one flea, and a swarm of bees. Last year a parrot was allowed as a prosecution witness in a serious murder case, and I had to arrange a witness protection scheme for it. I believe it is now pretending to be a very large budgerigar a long way away."
William felt the distinct unease of a well-educated man who has to confront the fact that the illiterate man watching him could probably outthink him three times over.
For the vampires (those, that is, that weren’t gathered around a harmonium at the Temperance Mission nervously singing songs about how much they liked cocoa) it was a place to hang up. For the werewolves, it was where you let your hair down. For the bogeymen, it was a place to come out of the closet. For the ghouls, it did a decent meat pasty and chips.
“Twenty-six people are mentioned by name.”
“Won’t they complain?”
“They didn’t have to play the accordion."
Character assassination. What a wonderful idea. Ordinary assassination only works once, but this one works every day.
And something that distinguishes the Mr. Windlings of the universe is the term “in my humble opinion,” which they think adds weight to their statements rather than indicating, in reality, “these are the mean little views of someone with the social grace of duckweed.”
One side was a pickaxe, for the extraction of interesting minerals, and the other side was a war axe, because the people who own the land with the valuable minerals in it can be so unreasonable sometimes.
Sacharissa looked a little disappointed. She’d been a respectable young woman for some time. In certain people, that means there’s a lot of dammed-up disreputability just waiting to burst out.
Classically, very few people have considered that cleanliness was next to godliness, apart from in a very sternly abridged dictionary. A rank loincloth and hair in an advanced state of matted entanglement have generally been the badges of office of prophets whose injunction to disdain earthly things starts with soap.
“Is this the bit where my whole life passes in front of my eyes?”
no, that was the bit just now.
the bit between you being born and you dying. no, this. . . mr. tulip, this is your whole life as it passed before other people's eyes. . .
“A killer with a personal Dis-organizer?”
“The Things to Do Today section is going to be interesting, then.”
“We’ve always been privileged, you see. Privilege just means ‘private law.’ That’s exactly what it means. He just doesn’t believe the ordinary laws apply to him. He really believes they can’t touch him, and that if they do he can just shout until they go away."
Mr. Pin was feeling quite calm now. The mountains of madness have many little plateaus of sanity.
who knows what evil lurks in the heart of men?
well, yes, obviously me. i just wondered if there was anyone else.
The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents
One day, when he was naughty, Mr. Bunnsy looked over the hedge into Farmer Fred’s field and saw it was full of fresh green lettuces. Mr. Bunnsy, however, was not full of lettuces. This did not seem fair.
Part of his amazing new brain had told him you couldn’t eat someone who could talk. At least, not until you’d heard what it’d got to say.
Maurice had lived on the streets for four years and barely had any ears left and had scars all over his nose, and he was smart. He swaggered so much when he walked that if he didn’t slow down, he flipped himself over.
But cats are good at steering people. A miaow here, a purr there, a little gentle pressure with a claw…and Maurice had never had to think about it before. Cats didn’t have to think. They just had to know what they wanted. Humans had to do the thinking. That’s what they were for.
A good motto in life, he’d reckoned, was: Don’t eat anything that glows.
She had the same nail-you-to-the-wall expression that he associated with Peaches. She looked like the kind of person who asked questions. And her hair was too red and her nose was too long. And she wore a long black dress with black lace fringing. No good comes of that sort of thing.
People listened to Hamnpork because he was the leader, but they listened to Darktan because he was often telling you things that you really, really needed to know if you wanted to go on living.
People could tolerate rats in the cream, and rats in the roof, and rats in the teapot, but they drew the line at tap dancing. If you saw tap-dancing rats, you were in big trouble.
Malicia: "They’ll tell my father I’ve been telling stories, and I’ll get locked out of my room again.”
Maurice: “You get locked out of your room as a punishment?”
Malicia: “Yes. It means I can’t get at my books."
He could still hear the dreadful voice in his head, but it was muffled. It was trying to give him orders. Trying to give a cat orders? It was easier to nail jelly to a wall. What did it think he was, a dog?
“The most interesting thing that happens at all is when Doris the Duck loses a shoe — a duck losing a shoe, right? — and it turns up under the bed after they’ve spent the entire story looking for it. Do you call that narrative tension? Because I don’t. If people are going to make up stupid stories about animals pretending to be human, at least there could be a bit of interesting violence—”
Humans, eh? Think they’re lords of creation. Not like us cats. We know we are. Ever see a cat feed a human? Case proven.
He’s a trap hunter, just like me. He goes ahead of us and finds the dangerous ideas and thinks about them and traps them in words and makes them safe, and then he shows us the way through.
— Darktan, about Dangerous Beans
He wasn’t exactly lost, because cats never get lost. He merely didn’t know where everything else was.
"Nor are you, for all that you say, the Big Rat. Every word you utter is a lie. If there is a Big Rat, and I hope there is, it would not talk of war and death. It would be made of the best we could be, not the worst that we are. No, I will not join you, liar in the dark. I prefer our way. We are silly and weak sometimes. But together we are strong. You have plans for rats? Well, I have dreams for them."
I'm surprised at you, Maurice. Of course there are no cat gods. That would be too much like... work.
Maurice nodded. One good thing about being a cat, apart from the extra lives, was that the theology was a lot simpler.
“…ain’t no trap can stop the rats!”
“Got no plague and got no fleas…”
“…we drink poison, we steal cheese!”
“Mess with us and you will see…”
“…we’ll put poison in your tea!”
“Here we’ll fight and here we’ll stay…”
“…WE WILL NEVER GO AWAY!”
Mayor Grim: "Malicia hasn’t been home all night.”
Sergeant Doppelpunkt: "You think something might have happened to her, sir?"
Mayor Grim: "No, I think she might have happened to someone, man!"
“I don’t know about intelligent species. We’re dealing with humans here.”
And once a day the town’s rat piper, who is rather young, plays his pipes, and the rats dance to the music, usually in a conga line. It’s very popular (on special days a little tap-dancing rat organizes vast dancing spectaculars, with hundreds of rats in sequins, and water ballet in the fountains, and elaborate sets).
Let’s see, now . . . arms out from the body as though holding a couple of bags of flour . . . check. Shoulders swaying as though she was elbowing her way through a crowd . . . check. Hands slightly bunched and making rhythmical circling motions as though turning two independent handles attached to the waist . . . check. Legs moving forward loosely and apelike . . . check . . .
It worked fine for a few yards until she got something wrong and the resultant muscular confusion somersaulted her into a holly bush.
The place was one of those nowhere villages that existed only in order to avoid the embarrassment of having large empty spaces on the map.
Vimes: "Do you think it’s possible for an entire nation to be insane? Not the people, the nation. ... Look, you know what I mean. You take a bunch of people who don’t seem any different from you and me, but when you add them all together you get this sort of huge raving maniac with national borders and an anthem."
Vimes: "What’s abominable about the colour blue? It’s just a colour! The sky is blue!"
Chinny: "Yes, sir. Devout Nugganites try not to look at it these days."
Vimes: "So what we have here is a country that tries to run itself on the commandments of a god who, the people feel, may be wearing his underpants on his head. Has he Abominated underpants?"
Chinny: 'No, sir. But it’s probably only a matter of time."
"Whoms" were likely to be far more trouble than your common everyday "who".
Mal: “And one more thought for you, if you’ve got room. I’ve only taken a pledge not to drink human blood. It doesn’t mean I can’t kick you in the fork so hard you suddenly go deaf.”
It was very patriotic. That is, it talked about killing foreigners.
The four lesser apocalyptical horsemen of Panic, Bewilderment, Ignorance, and Shouting took control of the room.
"Look after your mates. And keep out of the way of officers, ’cos they ain’t healthy. That’s what you learn in the army. The enemy dun’t really want to fight you, ’cos the enemy is mostly blokes like you who want to go home with all their bits still on. But officers’ll get you killed.”
Polly had been soldiering for only a couple of days, but already an instinct had developed. In summary, it was this: lie to officers.
Mal: “Please pay attention. I am a reformed vampire, which is to say, I am a bundle of suppressed instincts held together with spit and coffee. It would be wrong to say that violent, tearing carnage does not come easily to me. It’s not tearing your throats out that doesn’t come easily to me. Please don’t make it any harder.”
It took a special kind of man, she reflected, to cut his sword hand with his own sword.
If you couldn’t trust the government, who could you trust?
Very nearly everyone, come to think of it…
The little lesson that life sometimes rams home with a stick: you are not the only one watching the world, other people are also people, while you watch them they watch you, and they think about you while you think about them. The world isn’t just about you.
A woman always has half an onion left over, no matter what the size of the onion, the dish, or the woman.
There was this about vampires; they could never look scruffy. Instead, they were…what was the word… dishabille. It meant untidy, but with bags and bags of style.
Blouse: “You can’t torture an unarmed man!”
Jackrum: “Well, I’m not waiting for him to arm himself, sir! "
It’s hard to be an ornithologist and walk through a wood when all around you the world is shouting: “Bugger off, this is my bush! Aargh, the nest thief! Have sex with me, I can make my chest big and red!”
“How many fingers am I holding up?”
“You know, that’s something an Igor should never say."
The presence of those seeking the truth is infinitely to be preferred to the presence of those who think they’ve found it.
“Plogviehze!” It meant “The Sun Has Risen! Let’s Make War!” You needed a special kind of history to get all that in one word.
Igor: “But…our countrywomen? Washing clothes for the enemy?”
Polly: “If it’s that or starve, yes. I saw a woman come out carrying a basket of loaves. They say the Keep is full of granaries. Anyway, you sewed up an enemy officer, didn’t you?”
Igor: “That’s different. We are duty bound to thave our fellow ma-person. Nothing has ever been said about his-their underwear.”
Now that she had got over the surprise, there was something offensive about this lack of reaction. It was like someone opening a door just before your battering ram hit it; suddenly you were running through the building and not certain how to stop.
"He went to a school for young gentlemen, so prison will be just like old times.”
"Wheresoever men are gathered together, someone will find something to ferment in a rubber boot, distill in an old kettle, and flog to his mates. Made from rats, by the smell of it. Ferments well, does your average rat. Fancy a taste?”
Jackrum: “There’s a song. "Twas on a Monday morning, all in the month of May-"
Polly: “Then it is about sex. It’s a folk song, it starts with "twas," it takes place in May, QED, it’s about sex. Is a milkmaid involved? I bet she is.”
Jackrum: “There could be.”
Polly: “Going for to market? For to sell her wares?”
Jackrum: “Very likely.”
Polly: “O-kay. That gives us the cheese. And she meets, let’s see, a soldier, a sailor, a jolly ploughboy, or just possibly a man clothéd all in leather, I expect? No, since it’s about us, it’s a soldier, right? And since it’s one of the Ins-and-Outs…oh dear, I feel a humorous double-entendre coming on. Just one question: what item of her clothing fell down or came untied?”
Jackrum: “Her garter. You’ve heard it before, Perks!”
Polly: “No, but I just know how folk songs go. We had folk singers in the lower bar for six months back hom-where I worked. In the end we had to get a man in with a ferret. But you remember stuff…oh, no…”
“No, he stole the cheese, didn’t he? As the poor girl was lying there, waiting for her garter to be tied, hem hem, he damn well made off with her cheese, right?" "Fill yer hat with bread, fill yer boots with soup! And steal the cheese, eh, Sarge?”
Jackrum: “That’s right. We’ve always been a very practical regiment.”
Blouse: “You took a terrible risk. A battlefield is no place for women.”
Polly: “This war isn’t staying on battlefields. At a time like this, a pair of trousers is a girl’s best friend, sir.”
Polly: “The last man out stuck his thumb up and winked. Did you notice him? He wasn’t even wearing an officer’s uniform.”
Blouse: “In Ankh-Morpork that means ‘jolly good. In Klatch, I think, it means ‘I hope your donkey explodes.’ ”
Polly: “Why’d he want to say jolly good to us?”
Shufti: “Or hate our donkey so much?”
It is always upsetting to find that the enemy is as bright as you.
"And right now I dont want to put any trousers on because then I’d be a woman dressed up as a man dressed up as a woman dressed up as a man, and then I’d be so confused I won’t know how to swear. And I want to swear right now, sir, very much."
Jackrum: “How many did you spot, Mildred?”
General Froc: “That will be ‘General,’ Sergeant. I’m still a general, Sergeant. Or ‘sir’ will do. And your answer is: one or two. One or two.”
Jackrum: “And you promoted them, did you, if they was as good as men?”
Froc: “Indeed not, Sergeant. What do you take me for? I promoted them if they were better than men.”
Stopping a battle is much harder that starting it. Starting it only requires you to shout “Attack!,” but when you want to stop it, everyone is busy.
Vimes: “Sam Vimes. Special envoy, which is kind of like an ambassador but without the little gold chocolates.”
Mal: "Vimes the Butcher?"
Vimes: "Oh, yes. I’ve heard that one. Your people haven’t really mastered the fine art of propaganda."
Right now, Polly could forgive Ankh-Morpork anything. Someone had found Paul a box of colored chalks.
The pen might not be mightier than the sword, but maybe the printing press was heavier that the siege weapon. Just a few words can change everything…
Anyway, it was the stuff of legends, where accuracy is not required as a major ingredient.
Polly: “Let’s try again, shall we? I said, are you trying to be smart?”
Guard: “No, Sergeant!”
Polly: " Why not? "
Polly: "If you are not trying to be smart, mister, you’re happy to be stupid! And I’m up to here with stupid, understand?"
The Last Hero
Leonard of Quirm had never committed a crime. He regarded his fellow man with benign interest. He was an artist and he was also the cleverest man alive, if you used the word 'clever' in a specialised and technical sense. But Lord Vetinari felt the world was not ready for a man who designed unthinkable weapons of war as a hobby. The man was, in his heart and soul, and in everything he did, an artist.
Morituri Nolumus Mori note
"Well, these scrolls all tell you how to get to the mountain, a perilous trek that no one has ever survived?"
"So...um...who wrote the scrolls?"
The minstril and Cohen on Undead Author
"There is a...monkey god?"
"No, no, that's fine, fine. Not one of our local ones, is he?"
"Oh, the Counterweight Continent. Well, they'll believe just about anything over..." He glanced out of the window and shuddered. "Down there."
Rincewind and the Librarian discuss religion while preparing to leave the moon
"As far as leaders go, the only reason I'd follow him into battle, is out of curiosity."
"A swamp dragon if i'm not mistaken. I though these things were filled with explosive gas, (the carcass explodes) oh right!
Rincewind Excuse me sir. Could you get me a tome called 'featherwinkle's concise compedium of dragons' lairs'?
Librarian ook ook eek ook.
(both engage in a conversation of ape talk)
Rincewind Well nevermind I'll come back later.
Librarian ook eek ook?
Rincewind Yes I've gibbon up. no monkey, ape ... oh damn! The librarian hits him over the head)
"Ugh It's horrible... hang on, it's me! rather chap ain't he?
"Hands off my pixels
Word of God:
memorable quotes by Terry Pratchett himself, about the Discworld, or just in general
- The Assasins' Guild School was created by taking a typical British boarding school and turning all the knobs up way past eleven, especially the one labelled "violence".
- I don't mind fanfic, as long as people don't go out of their way to put it where I can see it. Everything works so long as people are sensible.
- The "embuggerance" of having Alzheimers.
Memorable quotes from the 10% that isn't crap The very best imitation-Terry, pseudo-Terry, ersatz-Pratchett and quasi-Pterry, please!
- "Where do you get that sort of money from, Sandra Battye?" demanded Rosie."Well, you for one. I have a contract with the Seamstresses' Guild for ongoing repairs of clothing which sometimes gets damaged in the course of normal business. You do get over-enthusiastic clients who find buttons and hooks and eyes hard to manage? Seams are split occasionally in the haste to undress and be undressed? So you seamstresses send the clothing items to we prostitutes for repair and fine adjustment? And in any case we've been preparing for this moment for a year or two now. My Lord, there are relatively few of us, and demand for our services always exceeds supply. It hasn't been terribly difficult to build a surplus fund in a bank account, especially now Mr von Lipwig is offering interest on business accounts."