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Serving The Discworld Community Since 1997

Discworld Monthly - Issue 83: March 2004

Table of Contents:

1. Editorial
2. News
3. Readers' Letters
4. DiscTrivia
5. Review: The Last Hero - ISIS Audio Book
6. Competitions
7. Review: A Hat Full Of Sky
8. Librarian's Corner - with Bookworm Baz.
9. The End

1. Editorial

Welcome to issue 83. One of the most common letters we receive at the moment concerns the lack of a 2004 diary. I can confirm that there will not be a 2004 diary and it is unlikely that there will be any more.

On Saturday 21st February 2004 A small number of dedicated Discworld fans travelled to the real Broken Drum - a small pub in Baldock, Hertfordshire. The pub obviously has had some Discworld influence with a wooden chest in the corner and a number of Discworld prints on one of the walls.

Being a pub copious amounts of alcohol was consumed and a great time was had by all. Dave "The Real Hodgesarrgghhh" Hodges is planning to organize another event in a few months time, and hopes to get a few more people to turn up.

Some pictures of the meeting can be found at members.lycos.co.uk/deathonabike/

Jason Anthony (Editor)
William Barnett (Deputy Editor)
Richard Massey (Lesser Sub Deputy Assistant Editor)

2. News

RATS will be performing Wyrd Sisters in Packwood's New Theatre in Ruyton-X1-Towns, Shropshire on Thursday - Saturday, 25, 26, 27th MARCH at 7.30p.m.

Tickets cost 4 GBP (3 GBP concessions) and are available from box office: 01939 260695 or e-mail

If you can answer the following question, email the answer to by 20th March and the first 3 correct answers will win a pair of free tickets for the play.

In which novel does the Death of Rats first appear?

Terry will be speaking at this year's Bath Literature Festival. Details at the festival web site: http://www.bathlitfest.org.uk/event.php?show=95

* News From BursarVixen Enterprises *

We are delighted to announce the release of our latest range of mugs featuring the artwork of Josh Kirby.

This exclusive range of mugs features the cover artwork from seven of the most popular Discworld novels, reproduced in stunning clarity using the latest dye sublimation techniques.

Please visit www.bursarvixen.com/ to see the range and start your collection. The mugs have been launched with a special introductory price for one month only, so be sure to take advantage of this exclusive special offer.

In addition, our 7th Paul Kidby mug is now available for purchase. Limited to a production run of 100 and only available to those who purchase the full set of 6 Paul Kidby mugs (see our site for details), this is an investment for the future as there is going to be heavy demand once all 100 are sold.

You can still purchase all 6 Kidby designs as a group or separately and, if you are interested in purchasing the 7th but cannot afford to get the whole set now, mail us and we will look at reserving your limited edition mug for the future. You will be able to purchase 1 or 2 mugs each month until the set is complete.

Those who have already purchased the 6 mugs have already been contacted and given details of how to purchase the 7th Kidby mug.

Sutton in Ashfield Dramatic Society will be performing The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents on April 21-24th 2004 at the Sutton Centre Theatre, Sutton in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire.

Tickets cost 4.80 GBP (4.30 GBP concessions)

Box Office Tel 01623 457700 or 457666

The Altogether Theatre Company will be staging "Wyrd Sisters" at the Gilmorehill G12 theatre in Glasgow on the 4th, 5th and 6th March 2004. Booking information can be obtained from www.gilmorehillg12.co.uk, by emailing or calling 0141 330 5522

Tickets are priced 5.50 GBP/3.50 GBP concessions

Due to the success of last year's open-air version of "Eric", and umpteen requests from Pratchett fans to tour the production, the Dreaming Theatre Production Company have decided to do so.

From the beginning of April, for four weeks, they are going to be touring "Eric" plus Robert Rankin's "The Antipope" to eight cities throughout the UK. Two plays, one cast. People who buy tickets for both shows in Brentford, Brighton, Bridlington and York will get reduced-price tickets.

They are also happy to offer Discworld Monthly subscribers the opportunity to buy tickets for "Eric" in York, Bridlington, Brighton and Brentford at concession-rate prices, if purchased directly from The Dreaming (details from www.thedreaming.co.uk/tickets.html).

News of more translations rights from Colin Smythe:

Dutch rights: De Boekerij are to publish Night Watch and The Wee Free Men

Finnish: Karisto are to publish Small Gods and are also going to publish paperback editions of The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic. The had published The Wee Free Men and have contracted A Hat Full of Sky

Slovenia: Vale-Novak are to publish The Colour of Magic

Brazil: Conrad are buying Pyramids and Guards! Guards!

Slovak language: Talpress are to publish Slovak edition of The Light Fantastic and Equal Rights

Japanese: Choeisha are buying Reaper Man

Spanish rights: Random House Mondadori are buying trade rights in Interesting Times and in an unillustrated edition of Eric

Poland: Terry has received the "AS EMPIKU" award (Empik being the major chain of bookstores in Poland) for the best book in the Foreign Fantastic Fiction 2003 category for "Interesting Times". The book won it as a result of voting by Polish readers.

The Wee Free Men is also to be published in Chinese [Taiwan] by Commonwealth; Czech by Talpress; Danish by Borgens and in Greek by Psichogios.

American Audie Award Finalists

The Audio Publishers Association has announced the finalists for its 9th Annual Audie Awards, honoring excellence in audio publishing. A total of 125 finalists in 27 categories made the cut. A panel of 100 judges culled this list of contending titles from over 500 initial entries. Audio titles eligible for the award were released between November 1, 2002 and October 31, 2003.

Winners will be announced during the Audie Awards black-tie gala, which will be held Friday, June 4, at the Winter Garden Room in the Harold Washington Public Library Center in Chicago. APA members and their guests, including a varied roster of authors and narrators, will be on hand for the festivities.

Audiobook listeners can feel like part of the Audie process, too, by entering an interactive contest on the APA Web site (www.audiopub.org/). Beginning April 1, visitors to the site can listen to sound clips of the finalists and vote for their favorites in each category. Everyone who enters the contest will also be entered in a drawing for a Grand Prize of an audiobook collection.

Here's the section of particular interest to Pratchett fans:

Fiction, Unabridged

* All Over Creation by Ruth Ozeki, read by Anna Fields (Blackstone

* The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom, read by Erik
Singer (Hyperion Audiobooks)

* The Last Detective by Robert Crais, read by James Daniels
(Brilliance Audio)

* Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett, read by Stephen Briggs
(Harper Audio)

* The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, read by Sarita Choudhury (Random

Small Ads....

Please note, DWM has no way of checking the veracity or validity of any of the items in our small ads section. As always, exercise caution when giving out your details over the Internet. We *strongly* recommend parental supervision for younger readers who
follow up any of these contacts.

"Emma Cook" writes: Just Discworld - the community for all followers of the Discworld! Just Discworld has games / discussions / pics and all sorts of things of interest to those who love Terry and the Discworld. Please pop along too groups.msn.com/JustDiscworld and if you like what you see then join! Looking forward to meeting you all at Just Discworld!

Raymond Daley writes: Wyrd Sisters on DVD, Rated PG. Regions 2 and 4, made by Cosgrove Hall (the lovely people who brought you Dangermouse and Count Duckula) This DVD is still sealed in its original cellophane, never opened, never played.

This is an excellent item as I already own a copy myself anyway, someone bought me a copy not knowing and it's still sealed.

Reasonable offers please, as this is still sealed - as new. Overseas buyers are welcome but ensure this will play in your player, postage will be calculated according to postal distance. Thank you, and good luck.

Ridgway David writes: I have a copy of John Lymington's 'new science fiction thriller' (1963) for sale. I mention this because there is a slight Discworld connection. The cover is by Josh Kirby, the spine is broken in several places and there are some minor creases on the back cover. Anyone who is interested please e-mail me to suggest a price.

"Maggie Wilde" writes: I have a pristine, signed, hardback copy of 'The Last Hero'. Terry has just signed it, not 'to' anyone so one sign fits all as it were. Any offers? Postage will have to be on top, I'm afraid, as I know it costs over 4GBP to send it anywhere in Britain.

3. Readers' Letters

If you have any letters or comments, please email them to

We assume any correspondence is eligible for use in the newsletter unless otherwise stated, including the sender's email address. We may also edit your letters and send Bill round to teach you the correct use of the semicolon.

It is vitally important that you don't pass off other people's work as your own. If you use information from other resources please let us know so we can give proper credit.

The best letter of the month will receive a Kiss the Cook print supplied by Bonsai Trading. Bonsai Trading is the Discworld store that brings you Clarecraft figurines, diaries & calendars, Thud and much more. bonsai.discworldmonthly.org

*From: "Peter McElwee"
In response to Mary Becker's question in the last issue of Discworld Monthly; there are just three small Discworld books (Mort, Guards! Guards! and Night Watch) and they along with Good Omens were produced as part of the BBC Big Read competition. They cost 1 GBP each and contain just the first chapter of each book. Their purpose is to get people interested in the books of the Big Read. They are very handy and I used Mort to get my wife reading Pratchett.

RM replies: Eh? Discworld books don't have chapters! There were however four mini-books. These are Colour of Magic (ISBN: 0575061650 ), Light Fantastic (ISBN: 0575061642), Equal Rites (ISBN: 0575061669) and MORT (ISBN: 0575061677).

* From: "Andrea Proffitt"
Recently I got stuck watching the film Scorpion King with my partner :(

What really struck me was the aged inventor locked away, but apparently with all of the tools and things he wanted as he was surrounded by strange skeletal looking contraptions etc. He then goes on to say how some of his inventions could be used as weapons of mass destruction and this worried him.

I can't really remember his name, but I assume he's called Leonard de Quirm.

* From: "Rach"
This is for Juliette Harrisson who wrote the article "The Seven Ages of Discworld" in issue 82 of DWM. Sorry to be a pain but I just had to write this - my editing nature coming out in me!!!! In the second last sentence of the article you say that Borogravia is "...so tiny and unimportant that in twenty-seven novels we've never heard of them before...". Well, in Carpe Jugulum they are mentioned by Verence to Nanny -

"...We're part of a big world. We have to play that part. For example, what about the Muntab question?" Nanny Ogg asked the Muntab question. "Where the hell's Muntab?" she said. "Several thousand miles away, Mrs Ogg. But it has ambitions hubwards, and if there's war with Borogravia we will certainly have to adopt a position."

And there you have it. It's towards the start of the novel - on page 60 of my copy. Thought you'd like to know. Other than that, well done.

DWM replies: We received several letters pointing this out and many letters of congratulation. We would like to add our appreciation to Juliette for her well written and entertaining article.

* From: "Neal Buccino"
I loved the "Seven Ages of Discworld" essay ... and I always did notice, reading the books in piecemeal order, that "Hogfather," for example, seemed set in a modern world while "Lords and Ladies" felt Elizabethan. Now all we need to do is figure out what history was like before the first Glass Clock caused the great time catastrophe ...

* From: "Judith Field"
Us old 'uns will remember that Greebo was an abbreviation for the term "grease bovver" and it described a kind-of skinhead biker very much in existence in the nineteen seventies. I smiled when I first read about Greebo the cat. I think that he is named after the human type of greebo and so is any other character so named.

* From: "Caroline Smith"
I'm not sure if Terry has ever visited Malawi, but I thought he, and the rest of your readers, might be interested to know that mice on sticks are a common delicacy in Malawi, and are sold on the side of the road. They are seasonal, and are only available after harvest, when the farmers are able to catch them in the fields. Next time I go, they will hopefully be available and I will send a picture, although I will probably draw the line at sampling the goods!

* From: "Ann Walland-Moore"
Treacle Mines: Back in the early eighties or thereabouts a small Essex village ran a hoax in order to inveigle passing traffic on the A12 to visit them on August bank holiday. They put up signs "To the Treacle Mines". It being August this was very widely reported and even got on the telly. At that time I thought it was a reference to Alice in Wonderland, but checking my copy I find that the Mad Hatter was talking about treacle wells. It is obvious that your previous correspondent in Essex and the village (might have been Crouch End, I can't remember) got this from the same source, but I wonder if the wide publicity it received might have lodged somewhere in TP's mind (one of those ideas that are always sleeting through the cosmos) and stuck somewhere in his subconsciousness.

* From: "Jennifer Mayo"
Does anyone know how many of the Discworld novels have been translated into Spanish? Is there a way to get them over the Internet? I have read every single novel and my husband has become very interested in the series, but he would rather read it in his native tongue. I have found about 5 of the books in Spanish, but I can't seem to find any more of them... Any help would be greatly appreciated.

* From: "Sue Burling"
I'm a relative latecomer to all things Discworld. I was introduced to the books in 1998, the year my mother died, and as such I will forever be indebted to Mr P for providing me with a means to escape reality and giving me something to laugh about during an otherwise horrendous time.

Having become profoundly addicted to all things Discworld I have taken it upon myself to spread the word. Whilst many friends have enthusiastically taken up the call, I have been far from successful with enrolling my husband into the 'fellowship of the Disc.' He isn't a great reader admittedly and I'm sure has been slightly put off by endless nights of my disappearing off into a world, not containing him, giving rise to comments of their being "3 people in our marriage" and the nickname "Mrs Pratchett."

In a last ditch attempt to convince him that the road to Ankh-Morpork is a road worth travelling I decided to buy an audio book so that he could listen to it whilst driving around on business. On one journey I sat in and listened to Guards Guards. I was SO disappointed. So many of the little humourous asides didn't seem to be there - yet they are what make the books SO funny. Yes, the accents were clever but I wanted the humour and to my mind it just wasn't there. I have a little figurine of Errol and had been whittering on about all the stuff that he devoured in the watch house (all part of his appeal) - most of it didn't even get a mention.

So my quest to convince 'im indoors that Mr P is brilliant, hilarious, satirical, fascinating etc etc goes on .........

JA replies: I assume you purchased one of the Corgi audio books that come on two cassettes. These have been heavily abridged to fit them into such a short running time. You shouldn't give up on audio books altogether though, because ISIS do a fabulous range of unabridged audio books. These usually come on around 8 - 10 cassettes so you can imagine how much is missing from the Corgi books. The later books are read by Stephen Briggs and are a lot of fun.

* From: "Aaron Dick"
In regards to Linda's comment about PTerry reusing place names, I think he just manages to find a name that works/sounds good and then uses it when he needs to. I am currently rereading his very funny sci-fi parody The Dark Side of the Sun (first published 1976) and am pleasantly surprised by the references to Soul Cake Tuesday (I think it's Tuesday), Festival of the Small Gods and Hogswatchnight. There are even references to Klatch but in this book they are a religous grouping not a continent. Then you have his book Strata (published approximately the same time?) in which he parodies the sci-fi classic Ringworld by Larry Niven with a large, flat, manufactured world. He then decided that the idea worked and used it in further works.

Just a man who knows that if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

* From:
Terry Pratchett is now official Trivia!

Yesterday (Monday 23 Feb) on The Weakest Link I heard the question "Which writer wrote 'The wee free men'?" Unfortunately, the contestant did not know the answer. Philistine!

* From: "Debashish Goswami"
I am a fan of Terry Pratchett from India. I was introduced to his blithe satire series by my cousins in the UK when I was visiting and I have become an addict. That was about 8-9 years ago. Due to the paucity of TP's books available in India, my collection was based mainly on what my cousins could send or bring over on their periodic visits or when I got there myself.

Over the years, a few questions have been formulating in my mind and I would like to take this opportunity to ask them in this forum.

1. This is a question that has been festering in my mind ever since I read the 5th Elephant and hence am only asking it now, and hoping that no one will take me for a weirdo for thinking so obliquely or whatever. I have often been accused to going too deep into the books and hence apologies if any required.

What I want to know is, if Carrot, who does know that he is the last heir to the throne, becomes the king in a weird twist of fate, would Vimes take up arms against his son-like protege as his ancestor had. Would that be a finale to the vimes series if such a thing occurred and worse to follow, does TP have any comments on such a Greek-tragedy-like situation ever occurring ?

Sorry for the trouble, if any and thanks for being such a wonderful forum. Only wish I was in the UK to meet up with the other members and watch some of the plays.

* From: "Mads Levi Haslund" <Email address witheld>
What is the meaning of the webpage www.turtlesalltheway.com?? Nothing has happened there for years. What's the hold-up? Will it ever come out of its "Under Construction" phase? Somebody must know something about this...

* From: "David Woodall"
I don't know if anyone has mentioned this before, but I have recently come across something which might, perhaps, have been the inspiration for the Guild of Thieves. The real life organisation run by one Jonathan Wild (1682-25).

Whilst in prison for debt, Wild struck up friendships with a number of criminals. Upon his release he set up as a 'Recovery Agent', returning recovered stolen goods to their owners for a sum. In reality the thieves were bringing the stolen property straight to Wild, who then passed on part of his 'finder's fee' to the criminal. This was so successful that he soon developed considerable control over the London criminal fraternity; those who didn't play ball were handed over to the authorities - not unlike Ankh-Morpork's system of licensed thieves. It worked so well that the authorities actually tolerated Wild's own criminal activities to ensure thievery was kept under control, just as the Guild were left to police their own on Discworld. Ultimately it was believed that Wild was responsible for sending to the gallows 35 highwaymen, 22 burglars and ten escaped convicts.

DWM replies: David gets Letter of the Month.

* From: "Gordon Basford"
I've only read a few of the Discworld novels and am unsure which ones to get. I know their all good, but which ones are the best?

* From:
First of all, as I mentioned, I'm French so please forgive my English, I'll do my best.

Here's the point of this mail. As you know (maybe) Pratchett went in France during The S-F meeting called "Utopiales" in Nantes in November 2003. So I saw him for real, and I noticed in the auditory some ... (er) video recorders? Many were quite simple, but one of them was quite professional-looking. I searched all over the web, but I found nothing. No trace of any record of this event. Do you know anything about it? Have you heard anybody concerned about possessing a copy of this record ?

* From: "Jonathan Sutton"
I was given a copy of Peter Ackroyd's "London - the biography" for Christmas, and lo and behold on page 401 in a paragraph dealing with the development of the 'News' business in the Fleet Street area: "In 1500 Wynkyn de Worde set up his printing press opposite Shoe Lane...." If this isn't a coincidence how does Terry come across little snippets like this? It suggests prodigious research so how does this leave him time to write?

* From: "Martin Walker"
I am writing in to tell all Discworld fans to get a copy of Nanny Oggs Cookbook as soon as possible. I found this to be one of the funniest Discworld books I have ever read. All the meals that have ever been mentioned have REAL recipes to follow. Nearly every major characture has submitted a recipe! If you have ever wanted to know how to cook:

Nanny Oggs Special Chocolate Sauce Nobbys Mums Distrested Pudding Clooty Dumplings Slumpie Dwarf Bread Rat Suprise Genooin Klatchian Curry (with soggy sultanas) and many more.

With forward by Nanny Oggs publisher and many humerous footnotes, you would be a Fool (custard, of course) to miss it.

Highlights include Lord Vetinaris bread and water (serves 2), The Librarians Banananana Suprise (serves 4), and Bloody Stupid Johnsons Individual Fruit Pie (serves you right)

With the final chapter on etiquette Nanny Ogg style ( see "how a man should press his suit), I can not recomend this book enough. You will laugh, cry, and have to sit quietly in a dark room for a while.

4. DiscTrivia

For the next few months we thought we would concentrate each trivia section on a certain subject. This month we have decided to ask questions about the Discworld calendar / directions. If the answers are wrong this month you will have to blame Jason .

How long is a Discworld year?

What direction is opposite of widdershins?

What is the eighth day called?
a) Sunday 2
b) Octeday
c) Funday
d) Tuesday

When does Crueltide occur?
a) middle of year
b) Hogswatch
c) 25th Grune
d) Second Autumnal equinox

How many months are there in a Discworld year?

The results, as always, appear at the end of this issue.

5. Review: The Last Hero - ISIS Audio Book

by Jason Anthony

ISIS have finally released The Last Hero on audio book. The long delay appears to be mostly down to the logistics of how to record all the details in the numerous amazing illustrations that adorned the book. ISIS have resolved this issue by judicial use of 'from the notes of Leonard De Quirm' and similar devices. This allows much of the detail to be described without excessively slowing down the story.

The Last Hero tells the fable of Cohen the Barbarian and his Silver Hoard on their quest to return fire to the gods. It also tells the tale of how Captain Carrot, Rincewind and Leonard de Quirm try to prevent the hoard from completing its quest.

Once again Stephen Briggs is in the reading chair and lends his usual charisma and considerable skill to the recording. If often amazes me how he manages to perform so many different voices. Stephen makes it easy to know which character is talking even before the text has had chance to explain.

ISIS recording of The Last Hero is a lot of fun. It is great to hear the Silver Hoard's constant moaning, Rincewind's pessimism and Leonard's light-hearted optimism.

The Last Hero fits on four audio cassettes and has a running time of just over 4 hours. This makes it about roughly half the size of a normal Discworld novel. This is another great recording that deserves a place in your collection.

You can purchase The Last Hero from the ISIS web site www.isis-publishing.co.uk or by calling 0800 731 5637. The cassette version cost 15.99 GBP and the CD version 20.99 GBP.

6. Competitions

Please note that unless stated otherwise our competitions are open to all readers, regardless of where you live.

* Josh Kirby Print Competition *

Last month Bonsai Trading gave you a chance to win a Josh Kirby print. The winner had to tell us what was the cheapest Clarecraft piece that was being retired in February.

The correct answer was DW73 Death of Rats holding Death of Fleas

The randomly selected winner is Barry Beck of Tyne & Wear. Your details will be passed onto Bonsai Trading who will contact you with a list of available Josh Kirby prints.

* BursarVixen Enterprises: Discworld Mugs Competition *

To celebrate the release of their new Josh Kirby Discworld Mug, BursarVixen are giving you the opportunity to win your own set of six mugs. All you need to do is send the answer to the following question to by 22nd March 2004.

How much does a set of six Discworld mugs cost from BursarVixen?

Details of the Discworld mugs and all BursarVixen's other products can be found at www.bursarvixen.com

7. Review: A Hat Full Of Sky

by William Barnett

A Hat Full Of Sky is the sequel to The Wee Free Men, Terry's first book about Tiffany Aching and the Nac Mac Feegle. These stories are set on the Discworld but, like The Amazing Maurice And His Educated Rodents, are aimed at a younger market than the other Discworld novels.

A Hat Full of Sky picks up pretty much exactly where The Wee Free Men left off. Tiffany, still watched over by the anarchic Nac Mac Feegle, is due to go and learn more about witchcraft from another witch, Miss Level. Miss Level proves to have a unique peculiarity about her, as well as a disembodied anti-poltergeist who helps keep her cottage clean.

There are two main thrusts to the story: the Witch Trials - a rather neat play on words because they're an opportunity for witches to compete to see who's best, not to try and avoid being drowned or something - and a sinister presence which stalks Tiffany. Oddly, I found there were quite a lot of distractions in the story, though, such as Miss Level's oddity, Tiffany's experiences with the local youth witch coven and the Nac Mac Feegle's exploits.

To a certain extent, I felt the book lacked focus. Generally, I interrupt whatever else I'm reading to consume the new Pratchett; in this case I left A Hat Full Of Sky about half way through to read another Patrick O'Brian novel, although O'Brian does write exceptionally good books, it has to be said.

A Hat Full of Sky is still, of course, highly recommended for Discworld fans. It provides an unusual angle on one of the characters from the 'main' Discworld series and will be of interest for that reason alone. Like all of Terry's work it's also a very readable, diverting story.

It bothers me a bit, though, that Tiffany is very similar indeed to some other Pratchett heroines: Eskarina Smith from Equal Rites, Death's granddaughter Susan and, of course, the hoyden of witches, Granny Weatherwax herself. A Hat Full of Sky is never less than a good read, it's just that I enjoyed it less than I usually enjoy one of the adult Discworld books.

8. Librarian's Corner - with Bookworm Baz.


As promised, here we have Folklore - Part 2. This time I'll take a little stroll away from the myths and legends as such, perhaps what most people think of when the word "folklore" is mentioned. There's a lot more to it than that, in fact - folklore is a living thing, it's not just something that belongs to the past, it's being created right now. It lurks in little nooks and crannies of our culture and society, or someone else's culture and society, slipping over here unnoticed. It changes and adapts to the world we live in, yet it can survive for centuries virtually unchanged. Let me show you...

A Dictionary of Superstition, Iona Opie and Moira Tatem, 1989, Oxford University Press. No ISBN given.

Superstition, cousin to tradition, little sister to religion. A whole pile of everyday rituals that we know full damn well are nonsense, but we do anyway "just in case". Here Tatem and Opie (we'll hear that name again) have collected more than you could imagine existed, with details of what they mean, when they were used and who used them. Did you know, for example, that if your knee itches you will soon kneel at a strange altar. Or that having a dog with straw in its tail come into the house means you'll have a visitor (or you've left the back door open). Or that parsley can be used for... Ew! Best not to say. Good thing I'm not superstitious. Touch wood.

The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes, Iona and Peter Opie (told you), 1969, Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198600887 (present edition).

I don't know how much nursery rhymes are used nowadays, certainly I remember my mother singing a few of these to me when I was small, but it's only when I read this book that I found out where they actually came from. Most are approaching two hundred years old, many are older. A few may be truly ancient, and behind the childish rhyme are the hints of something... darker. "London Bridge is falling down" being the classic example. Some are inspired by politics, historical events or figures, counting rhymes and riddles, while others have wandered out of folk songs and mummer's plays. All of them fragments of a strange and sometimes eerie history.

The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren, Iona and Peter Opie (again), 2001, New York Review Books. ISBN 0940322692.

Continuing our theme (and our authors), we now turn to one of the few places where the oral tradition seems to have survived in modern society, the schoolyard. The Opies have done an amazing job of gathering material from the length of the country and open the window onto a strange tribal society, one that we all used to belong to, that's the creepy part. I sang some of these rhymes, hurled some of these insults, swore some of these oaths. And I'd forgotten. Reading this book is like regression therapy back to some primitive era, hardly surprising when you realise how long some of this stuff has been handed down, virtually unchanged through the generations.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Urban Legends, Brandon Toropov, 2001, Alpha Books. ISBN- 0028640071.

We'll finish with the modern face of folklore, and you don't get more modern than the orange, white and blue "Idiot's Guide" series, in this case to the innumerable stories you might have heard from a "friend of a friend". For example, I didn't know Paul McCartney died years ago, or that KFC don't actually use chicken. Of course I did know that we never actually landed on the moon. The book lists these along with hundreds of others but, more interestingly, analyses the structure of these legends, their history, their evolution, even the underlying psychology. This then is the lore of today's folk, and this book is an excellent introduction. Good luck Mr. Gorsky!

9. The End

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* Disc Trivia Results *

How long is a Discworld year?
About 800 days.

What direction is opposite of widdershins?

What is the eighth day called?

When does Crueltide occur?
In the "middle of the year"

How many months are there in a Discworld year?

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