The Shepherd's Crown
A Discworld NovelBook - 2015
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“Why do you help these strangers?" she asked Tiffany now. "They are not of your clan. You owe them nothing."
"Well," said Tiffany, "although they are strangers, I simply think of them as people. All of them. And you help other people--that's how we do it."
"Does every person do it?" said Nightshade.
"No," said Tiffany. "Sadly, that is true. But many people will help other people, just because, well, because they are other people. That's how it goes.”
So many people never seemed to think about the consequences of their everyday actions. And then a witch on her broom would have to set out from her bed in the rain in the dead of night because of "I only" and its little friends "I didn't know" and "It's not my fault."
"I only wanted to see if the copper was hot . . . "
"I didn't know a boiling pot was dangerous . . . "
"It's not my fault--no one told me dogs that bark might also bite."
And her favorite, "I didn't know it would go off bang"--when it said "goes bang" on the box it came in. That had been when little Ted Cooper had put an explosive banger (another tiny clue) into the carcass of a chicken after his mum's birthday party and nearly killed everybody around the table.
Number two was Hugh, who had suggested to his father that he would like to go into the church. His father had said, "Only if it's the Church of Om, but none of the others. I'm not having no son of mine fooling around with cultic activities!" Om was handily silent, thereby enabling his priests to interpret his wishes how they chose. Amazingly, Om's wishes rarely translated into instructions like "Feed the poor" or "Help the elderly" but more along the lines of "You need a splendid residence" or "Why not have seven courses for dinner?" So Lord Swivel felt that a clergyman in the family could in fact be useful.
And Tiffany knew that if a witch started thinking of anyone as "just" anything, that would be the first step on a well-worn path that could lead to, oh, to poisoned apples, spinning wheels, and a too-small stove . . . and to pain, and terror, and horror and the darkness.
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