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But there are somethings we shouldnt forget and mostly they add up to where we came from and how we got here and the stories we told ourselves on the way. But folklore isn't only about the past. It grows, flowers and seeds every day, because of our innate desire to control our world by means of satisfying narratives.

from The Folklore of Discworld By Terry Pratchett and Jaqueline Simpson
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Because stories are important.

People think that stories are shaped by people. In fact, it's the other way around.

Stories exist independently of their players. If you know that, the knowledge is power.

Stories, great flapping ribbons of shaped space-time, have been blowing and uncoiling around the universe since the beginning of time. And they have evolved. The weakest have died and the strongest have survived and they have grown fat on the retelling . . . stories, twisting and blowing through the darkness.

And their very existence overlays a faint but insistent pattern on the chaos that is history. Stories etch grooves deep enough for people to follow in the same way that water follows certain paths down a mountainside. And every time fresh actors tread the path of the story, the groove runs deeper.

This is called the theory of narrative causality and it means that a story, once started, takes a shape. It picks up all the vibrations of all the other workings of that story that have ever been.

This is why history keeps on repeating all the time.

So a thousand heroes have stolen fire from the gods.A thousand wolves have eaten grandmother, a thousand princesses have been kissed. A million unknowing actors have moved, unknowing, through the pathways of story.

It is now impossible for the third and youngest son of any king, if he should embark on a quest which has so far claimed his older brothers, not to succeed.

Stories don't care who takes part in them. All that matters is that the story gets told.

Witches Abroad
by Terry Pratchett


Dec. 2nd, 2009 10:18 am
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'Tell me,' said Magrat, 'you said your mummy knows about the big bad wolf in the woods, didn't you?'

'That's right.'

'But nevertheless she sent you out by yourself to take those goodies to your granny?'

"That's right. Why?'

'Nothing. Just thinking.

Magrat Garlick To LRRH

'Woodcutters!' said Nanny. 'It's all right if there's woodcutters! One of them rushes in - '

'That's only what children get told,' said Granny, as they sped onwards. 'Anyway, that's no good to the grandmother, is it? She's already been et!'

'I always hated that story,' said Nanny. 'No-one ever cares what happens to poor defenceless old women.'

Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchet
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I was told it was the finest thing to die for a god,’ he mumbled.
‘Vorbis said that. And he was… stupid. You can die for your country or your people or your family, but for a god you should live fully and busily, every day for a long life.’

Terry Pratchett, ‘Small Gods’, pp.350-351


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October 2010

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