The Wit And Wisdom Of Discworld

The Wit And Wisdom Of Discworld by Stephen Briggs Terry Pratchett

Book: The Wit And Wisdom Of Discworld by Stephen Briggs Terry Pratchett Read Free Book Online
Authors: Stephen Briggs Terry Pratchett
the University stood on magical ground and was therefore exempt from taxation and anyway you couldn’t put a tax on knowledge.
    The Patrician said you could. It was two hundred dollars per capita; if per capita was a problem, decapita could be arranged.
    The wizards said that the University had never paid taxes to the civil authority.
    The Patrician said he was not proposing to remain civil for long.
    The wizards said, what about easy terms?
    The Patrician said he was talking about easy terms. They wouldn’t want to know about the hard terms.
    The wizards said that there was a ruler back in, oh, it would be the Century of the Dragonfly, who had tried to tell the University what to do. The Patrician could come and have a look at him if he liked.
    The Patrician said that he would. He truly would.
    In the end it was agreed that while the wizards of course paid no taxes, they would nevertheless make an entirely voluntary donation of, oh, let’s say two hundred dollars per head, without prejudice, mutatis mutandis, no strings attached, to be used strictly for non-militaristic and environmentally acceptable purposes.

    Thin, pale, and clad all in dusty black,
    the Patrician always put Ridcully in mind of a predatory flamingo, if you could find a flamingo that was black and had the patience of a rock.

    People get exactly the wrong idea about belief. They think it works back to front. They think the sequence is, first object, then belief. In fact, it works the other way.
    Belief sloshes around in the firmament like lumps of clay spiralling into a potter’s wheel. That’s how gods get created, for example. They clearly must be created by their own believers, because a brief resume of the lives of most gods suggests that their origins certainly couldn’t be divine. They tend to do exactly the things people would do if only they could, especially when it comes to nymphs, golden showers, and the smiting of your enemies.
    *
    ‘And you’re a vampire too, Countess Notfaroutoe?’ Windle Poons enquired politely.
    The Countess smiled. ‘My vord, yes,’ she said.
    ‘By marriage,’ said Arthur.
    ‘Can you do that? I thought you had to be bitten,’ said Windle.
    ‘I don’t see why I should have to go around biting my wife after thirty years of marriage, and that’s flat,’ said the Count.
    *
    ‘This vampiring’s not all it’s cracked up to be, you know. Can’t go out in daylight, can’t eat garlic, can’t have a decent shave—’
    ‘Why can’t you have a—’ Windle began.
    ‘Can’t use a mirror,’ said Arthur.
    *
    ‘By the way, Sister Drull is a ghoul. If she offers you any of her meat patties, don’t accept.’
    ‘Oh, dear,’ Windle said. ‘You mean she makes them out of human flesh?’
    ‘What? Oh. No. She just can’t cook very well.’
    *
    S OMETIMES PEOPLE CHALLENGE ME TO A GAME. F OR THEIR LIVES, YOU KNOW , [said Death.]
    ‘Do they ever win?’
    N O . L AST YEAR SOMEONE GOT THREE STREETS AND ALL THE UTILITIES .
    ‘What? What sort of game is that?’
    I DON’T RECALL . ‘E XCLUSIVE POSSESSION ’, I THINK . I WAS THE BOOT .
    *
    A compost heap comes to life and threatens a group of wizards:
    The heap swivelled and lunged towards the Bursar.
    The wizards backed away.
    ‘It can’t be intelligent, can it?’ said the Bursar.
    ‘All it’s doing is moving around slowly and eating things,’ said the Dean.
    ‘Put a pointy hat on it and it’d be a faculty member,’ said the Archchancellor.
    *
    Miss Flitworth had said that before they could start a graveyard in these parts they’d had to hit someone over the head with the shovel.
    *
    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.
    *
    The ability of skinny old ladies to carry huge loads is phenomenal. Studies have shown that an ant can carry one hundred times its own weight, but there is no known

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