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Quotes / Digger

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—Her stock reaction to seeing anything strange, no matter how bizarre or horrifying.

"Other than the time I was a small stone named Edward for some time, I got off lightly."

"That...rock...looks nothing like a bunny. Neither does that one! What're the odds?"

"Dip me in chalk and call me a limestone conglomerate!"

"And anyways, 'Can't carve a tunnel with tears,' as my grandmother used to say."

"This isn't bad. Nice forest. Good soil. Quality glacial remnant boulders."

"I'm a wombat, not a lungfish."

"Well... I suppose no one was ever killed by a cave painting. Except great-aunt Ruby that time and everyone said that was a fluke."

"We swing pickaxes for twelve hours a day. We're like biceps with feet."

"What in the name of the dirt under the claws of the mother of all wombats."

"Just one question for you first: What the heck do you eat? And as a friendly advice, don't say 'wombats'."

"The thing is, I'm a wombat. And no self-respecting wombat has anything to do with magic. It's dangerous, but mostly it's just bad taste."


"I'm being attacked — or possibly being romanced — by an angry squash."

"Wombat ethics are pretty straightforward, and were not meant for situations this complicated unless geology is involved."

"Okay. Morality in a nutshell. Don't hurt people if you can avoid it. Don't steal stuff unless you're starving or it's really, really important. Work hard. Pay your bills. Try to help others. Always double check your math if there are explosives involved. If you screwed up, you need to see it gets fixed. And don't eat anything that talks. If it doesn't fall under one of those categories, just do the best you can."

"I'm not a philosopher, I don't think about ethics that much. They're sort of involuntary functions, like breathing. If you have to stop and think about it, you're probably already doing something wrong."

(To Murai) "Now, at this point, I should probably tell you about some buried trauma of mine so that you'll be willing to open up to me and tell me whatever. But frankly, I don't have any buried traumas or dark secrets or anything. Well, I'm scared of ducks, but it's really not the same thing."

Murai: [Jhalm]'s not an evil man. Not really.
Digger: There really aren't that many evil men out there. It's mostly good men working at cross-purposes.

Digger: Do humans ever have baby humans that get... lost? Go missing? And then they're raised by moles?
Murai: Wolves are more traditional with us.

Digger: I've mentioned that I'm herbivore, right?
Grim Eyes: This is no time for weird Earth-Rat hang-ups.
Digger: It's not a hang-up! My digestion is just hooked up differently!

"See? You're not as screwed up as you thought. Sometimes the craziness genuinely is outside your head."

"Indeed? I ride a troll back until my backside's been tenderised, and narrowly escape death through cunning use of undead vegetables and I get an 'Indeed'?"

"What good is a god that does not fossilise!"

The problem was, of course, that Herne was right. It was a lousy time to cross a deep snowfield, and all I could hope was that there wouldn't be very much of it. I had to hope that the pass was hikeable, because we didn't have the equipment for climbing. I had crampons for one person — me. We didn't even have enough rope to go roped together if the going got bad.
An experienced climber would have refused to do it.
I should have refused to do it.
Still, what choice did I have? We had to get to the stupid monastery; we couldn't turn back. and... and...
And that's me rationalizing a bad decision.
We should have backtracked to the nearest city and gotten the equipment we needed. Hell, given a crude forge and a week or two, I could have
made the equipment. We should not have continued on. No senior engineer would have allowed it.
The reason I didn't do any of those things was simple. It had taken us a little over two weeks to get there, and I still had some insane hope that if we hurried — if we pushed really hard on the way back — I might make it to the village in time to meet the trader on his way back through.
So we cut poles and we rigged up crude rag boots, and we set out.

Digger: Yep. That's a broken arm, all right.
Murai: ...Sorry...
Digger: Blood and shale, Murai, you do not need to apologize for having a broken arm! I ought to apologize to you. I shouldn't have let us go up the mountain without the right equipment.
Murai: Slows us... up... need... speed to... get you home... trader...
Digger: Damnit, Murai, it doesn't matter! If I have to stay in this god-riddled land of lunatics until I drop dead of—of—sheer frustration, then that's just life! I'll get over it! Not everybody gets to go home!

We had to go back, of course. I won't say I didn't feel a twinge, but I'd made one stupid decision and it cost Murai. Bugger if I was making another one. We'd go back, and get her to a real healer, not a hyena's field medicine, we'd get decent ropes and climbing equipment, and we'd do this right.
The way we should have done it the first time.

Digger: Can you carry [Murai] until she wakes up?
Grim Eyes: Skinny little thing like her? To Hell and back, if you like.
Digger: That'll probably be next.

Sweetgrass Voice: Kill me? Not even a god could kill me, dirt rat. Twelve thousand years I've been down here with him, and he's never found a way to destroy me. Twelve thousand years, dirt rat! And when his sanity began to fail and I finally drove him blundering up to the surface, what did he do but find dwarves and men and one of your filthy-clawed kind to bind him! Do you have any idea how long twelve thousand years is?

Statue of Ganesh

"In the seven hundred years that I have been a temple statue, I have never heard someone utter the words 'a god' in the same tone that one might describe, oh...foot fungus."

Digger: You're a lifesaver.
Statue: On occasion, yes.

Digger: And if I catch them, I'm gonna shove my pickaxe so far up their—
Statue: Compassion, burrower!

Statue: I assure you, I am not hallucinatory.
Digger: Says the talking elephant statue.

Statue: I am not so much a god as part of one — I am Lord Ganesh's hand, if you will, and Jhalm and the Veiled are his dogs.
Digger: Dogs have this legendary tendency to bite their master's hands, you know.
Statue: Indeed, Burrower, I am quite aware of that. But it is not the way of compassion, nor of prudence, to punish a faithful dog simply because you fear it may bite.

Digger: Wait, are you saying that the slug can do things you can't?
Statue: Since I am capable of neither hermaphroditic reproduction, nor moving myself about by means of a slime trail, I dare-say that slugs can do many things I cannot do. I confess, however, that I do not feel any particular grief over the lack.

"I'm half a god, Burrower, not half a geologist."

"My point, Burrower, is not horticultural."

"Neither Jhalm nor I wish to have a conversation that ends with 'Because I'm a god and I say so.' Such things are awkward, and degrade us both."

Statue: Do you know how old the Earth is, Burrower?
Digger: 4.5 billon years, give or take.
Statue: Ah yes, I forget that it is difficult to by mystical and cryptic to a species with a highly developed science of geology. Regardless, the Earth is old, Burrower, old beyond telling, and many ages have passed of which you or I am ignorant. Strange things have walked the Earth in ages past, and vanished, and left little to mark their passing.

(To Murai) "Hold for as long as you can, but the gods do not doubt your courage and they do not require your death."


"It has no name. Its name was eaten."

"Of course It remembers! It remembers the rabbit It ate yesterday too, but rabbit still gone. Memory not life."

Ed: Yes. Liver is where feelings come from. Mousie not know this?
Digger: I guess I thought feelings came from the heart.
Ed: No. If Mousie is ever starving, Mousie will know. Prey's liver is what hunter craves first. Kill prey, eat liver, get strong. Full of feelings. Life. Heart just muscle.
Digger: But you'd die without your heart!
Ed: Not be getting far without liver, either.

Ed: Demon is big thing, all thing, like wind, but is person, like Digger-mousie. Like is being storm demon, sick demon, fire demon, yes? Is person, but is also all thing, fire person, storm person. You know?
Digger: Okay, I sort of understand. Are they bad?
Ed: Some, yes, very much badness, very smart, bad person. Some not, just...big thing, scary thing. Fire burn, but not being bad, just being fire.

"But Sweetgrass voice lies. Sweetgrass voice is demon. Big demon, is all lies and hate and smoke underground."

"Gods is being like demons — is big thing, not safe."

"It was told to die, leave no name, no memory, no bones where real people might eat them. But It did not die. It has no name. But It will paint. After It is bones. After all real people are bones, after all names are eaten, someone will find pictures, maybe will not matter then that It doesn't have a name. Someone will remember pictures."

Ed: Evil is having reason, always, many and many. If hunter beats mate, has reason, always. Mate is lazy, burning food, is stupid, is speaking on and on. Is always being a reason.
Digger: But Ed, those aren't good reasons!
Ed: No, but evil is still being — is having reason — being reasonable! Mousie understands? Is always being reason. Is punishing world for not in head. Is always reason. World should be different, is reason. Is only good is not having reason. Little one hugs, not reason. Digger-mousie is giving name to nameless, say 'Ed', no reason. Skin-painter paints skin of child, no reason. Just is.

"Skin-painter is fool."

"Has a name. Name - Is - ED!!"


Digger: Didn't your parents tell you what you are?
Shadowchild: I don't think I had any. Well, there was the dead bird I hatched from. I thought maybe that meant I was a bird, but the other birds said I wasn't. They were very definite on that point.
Digger: Dead. Bird.
Shadowchild: It had white feathers. I was sad to leave it, but it had gotten too small to fit in. And the blowflies had gotten awfully loud.
Digger: There are so many things wrong with that statement, I am hard-pressed to pick just one.

Shadowchild: What's a pervert?
Digger: Tell you later.
Shadowchild: Am I a—?
Digger: NO!

Digger: That was YOU, wasn't it?
Shadowchild: What was me?
Digger: That fifty-foot tall shadow-demon-thingy was you!
Shadowchild: Oh yeah. That was me. Why? Can't you do that?

Digger: So. Why didn't you come to the temple?
Shadowchild: I can't get close to it. The god throws too much light. It makes the shadows sharp and dark, like holes in the air. I can't eat them all. If I went in there, it would be like trying to drink the ocean — you drink and drink and you drown anyway, and the ocean isn't any smaller afterwards.
Digger: Wait... there are shadows in the temple?
Shadowchild: Oh, yes. The god is old, and nothing gets that old without shadows on it. And he throws such a bright light that you can pick out all the shadows, little spiderweb flaws crazing the light.
Digger: Well, that's certainly disturbing.
Shadowchild: Sorry. Oak shadows always make me giddy and talkative. *burp*

Digger: Well, that was an experience.
Shadowchild: Really?
Digger: Yeah.
Shadowchild: Am I an experience?
Digger: You have no idea.

Shadowchild: How are you doing?
Digger: Fine, Fine. Other than the GREAT BLOODY HUNK OF WOOD IN MY SHOULDER. Never better.
Shadowchild: Can't you just thin out around it?
Digger: Uh... No. Wombat density is sort of — OW! — constant.
Shadowchild: That must be inconvenient.
Digger: Yes. Yes it is.

Shadowchild: So are they evil?
Digger: Nah, I think they're just weird. You gotta understand, good and evil's kinda...squishy at the edges.

"But what is an evil? Is it like water or like hedgehog or night or lumpy? What does it look like? How do I know?"

Murai: I thought you were in my head!
Shadowchild: No... I could get in your head if you want, but it looks kind of crowded. I'm amazed there's room for you in there.

Shadowchild: Am I a hallucination?
Digger: It'd make life easier, but no.

"I ate a sock!"

"She said that evil doesn't look like anything, or that it looks like lots of things. But I think it looks like you."

Grim Eyes

"The eaten? ...You spoke to the eaten?! You were its guest?! ...You... you...PERVERT!"

Grim Eyes: You brroke my mother's spearrr!
Digger: Look, if you're expecting me to apologize for damaging a family heirloom, let me just point out that you were trying to skewer me with it.

"A friend might put a spear in your heart, but only an enemy will tell you it's for your own good."

Digger: I am unclean! I practically wallow in my own filth. Dung beetles wouldn't touch me. I'm depraved and unclean and I smell funny! I'd hate to think what would happen to any creature that tried to eat me. I'd imagine it'd be quite the defiling experience!
Grim Eyes: Nice try, Earrth-Rat, but we generally find that death is the ultimate purifier. Enough stalling, kill them!

Grim-Eyes: If the Elders say I may hunt you again, I will warn you first.
Digger: Errm... Thanks?

(Regarding the hyenas' cannibalistic funeral rites)
Grim Eyes: Oh, don't worry. I know you've got wimpy little prey teeth, but the bones are ground up, mixed with meal, and fried — that's dessert — so even you ought to be able to get 'em down.
Digger: You have got to be kidding me...
Grim Eyes: We loved her. She was our sister. She made us strong. You'd rather we just let her rot like some unwanted scraps?

Digger: You can set broken bones?
Grim Eyes: I'm a hunt leader. It's not all sticking animals with sharp objects, you know. I realize you have this strange notion that you are the only competent individual in the world, earth rat—
Digger: Fine, fine, just set the bone, already!
Grim Eyes: I'm working on it. (Hold that, will you, demon?) I can yell at you at the same time. It doesn't affect my concentration at all.

Oracular Slug

"The leaves are prophetic, not an encyclopaedia."

"One minute we're oozing along, not a care in the world, and the next, every time you cross a leaf, it's telling you the future. It's hard when you've got a brain the size of a pin head, believe me."

Digger: I don't think I need this level of detail.
Oracular Slug: Too bad.

Oracular Slug: Lady, if I was gonna make up a story about how I became an oracle, it would be a lot more glamorous.
Digger: Well, I suppose there's no arguing with that logic.

"Look buddy, they don't say 'Continued on the next leaf!' The leaf said 'Bones of the sea,' and that's what I told you. Don't salt the messenger."


"The Veiled serve the gods, Honored Digger. Comparative mythology and hand-to-hand combat are our specialities."

"I looked upon the face of a goddess. And it broke me. And now some things take me back there. Children screaming, or the darkness shining, or the smell—I really can't describe the smell."

"It may sound strange, Honored Digger, but I do not believe they are malicious. I do not doubt they would skin us, but they do not mean any harm by it."

Murai: We are gazing upon what may be one of the most horrific divine tragedies of our age, and all you can say is "weird"?
Digger: Really weird?


Digger: I can't watch.
Surka: I can!

Boneclaw Mother

"Only the very wise or the very foolish speak willingly with the divine."

"Go on. They won't eat you unless you do something stupid."

Boneclaw mother: Shadebones here has this one nephew, and Hare's Ghost, if I were thirty years younger...
Shadebones: You're blind. You can't even see him.
Boneclaw mother: He smells adorable.
Shadebones: You're a vile old woman.

"I'm not senile. I just talk to myself because the rest of you don't provide adequate conversation."

"May the Mother of Earthquakes walk with you, but not too closely."

"Quiet back there or so-help-me I'll turn this funeral around!"

"Get out of my sight. Even your sins are petty."

Jhalm: I am Captain Jhalm, but I fear you have the advantage of me, madam.
Boneclaw Mother: I am Boneclaw Mother. I am the eldest. I speak for the tribe.
Jhalm: Then I am honored to meet you.
Boneclaw Mother: Yes. You are.

Boneclaw Mother: Were I a crude old woman, I might point out that I've got my teeth about eight inches from your throat, son — and while I might not manage to take you out, killing me would make Grim Eyes mad enough to take your other eye, and then piss in the socket for good measure.
Jhalm: How fortunate for both of us that you are not so crude, madam.

Murai: Honored Digger!
Grim Eyes: Earth Rat!
Boneclaw Mother: Freaky Adopted Daughter!


Jhalm: Honoured Burrower. Skulking though the woods, I see?
Digger: Is there a law against it?
Jhalm: Several. But as you are unlikely to be either poaching or soliciting the sale of unnatural acts, I doubt we could make the charges stick.

Jhalm: If you attempt to harm one of my Veiled, it will go badly for you.
The Cold Ones: [...] A—soldier—of—too many—gods. We—do not—fear—you.
Jhalm: I need no gods to deal with you.

The Skin Lizards

"We will write the lefthand names of God on the inside of its skin."
"In purple ink."
"We like purple. Yes."

Murai: Wait — the men whose skins you were — when they died, did their shadows become deer?
Lizard 1: Yes! Yes, it knows! The little digger's friend knows! Bones became tapirs, shadow became deer, yes, breath became butterflies.
Lizard 2: Heart became kingfisher, soul became owl, yes, yes...


"Hmph. Wombats."
—Last line of the series

About the comic

A wombat. A dead god. A very peculiar epic.

"You know that quirky side character that’s really interesting and entertaining but ultimately overshadowed by the boring lead that’s got no real personality or motives? Digger’s like a comic that’s all about that quirky side character."
—A commenter here

"I am very proud of Digger. I am proud of the fact that the majority of the characters wound up being female, and nobody ever felt the need to discuss this or stop for a round of shopping—they were mostly just people doing the next thing that needed to be done. There are probably fancy terms for this, but I never had any head for academia.

I am also proud of what I think is the consistent theme of Digger, which is that if you are reasonably polite and reasonably intelligent and work very hard, you should win in the end. I am told that this is not the normal message of fantasy, which usually seems to involve being prenatally chosen or the seventh son of a seventh son or of royal/divine/fairy blood. As I am none of these things, but I am reasonably polite and hard-working, I prefer my version, because hell, if it's NOT enough to be those things, then what's the point?

It's a humanist sort of moral, I grant you, which is probably odd in a story with so few humans in it, but there you are."
Ursula Vernon, Digger Volume 6

Example of: