from the
Tiffany Aching
series of “Stories of Discworld®”

Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett

This page:

The Wee Free Men
A Hat Full of Sky


Children’s Fantasy

index pages:

The Wee Free Men

Copyright © 2003 by Terry and Lyn Pratchett

Chapter 1
A Clang Well Done
They weren’t particularly funny after about the third time, but she’d miss it if he didn’t say at least one of them every week. They didn’t have to be funny—they were father jokes.
Other shepherds would walk miles to get her to come and cure their beasts of ailments. They said she had the Touch, although she just said that the best medicine for sheep or man was a dose of turpentine, a good cussin’, and a kick.



And finally there was The Goode Childe’s Booke of Faerie Tales, so old that it belonged to an age when there were far more e’s around.

Chapter 2
Miss Tick

“Once you learn about magic, I mean really learn about magic, learn everything you can learn about magic, then you’ve got the most important lesson still to learn,” said Miss Tick.

“What’s that?”

“Not to use it.”



“Now . . . if you trust in yourself . . .”


“. . . and believe in your dreams . . .”


“. . . and follow your star . . .” Miss Tick went on.


“. . . you’ll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren’t so lazy.”



Chapter 3
Hunt the Hag

Tiffany knew it was gibbous because she’d read in the Almanack that gibbous meant what the moon looked like when it was just a bit fatter than half full, and so she made a point of paying attention to it around those times just so that she could say to herself: “Ah, I see the moon’s very gibbous tonight . . .”

It’s possible that this tells you more about Tiffany than she would want you to know.

Tiffany was on the whole quite a truthful person, but it seemed to her that there were times when things didn’t divide easily into “true” and “false,” but instead could be things that people needed to know at the moment and things that they didn’t need to know at the moment.



Chapter 4
The Wee Free Men
“They think all writing is magic. Words worry them. See their swords? They glow blue in the presence of lawyers.”



Chapter 5
The Green Sea

“As soon as we see somethin’, we’ll attack it. Right?”

This caused a cheer.

“Ach, ’tis a good plan,” said Daft Wullie.

Chapter 6
The Shepherdess

“On your honor as a drunken rowdy thief?” said Tiffany.

Rob Anybody beamed. “Aye!” he said. “An’ I got a lot of good big reputation to protect there!”

And I want her back so much, because she didn’t know how to talk to me and I was too scared to talk to her, and so we never talked and we turned silence into something to share.
Chapter 7
First Sight and Second Thoughts

“Onomatopoeic,” she’d discovered in the dictionary, meant words that sounded like the noise of the thing they were describing, like cuckoo. But she thought there should be a word meaning a word that sounds like the noise a thing would make if that thing made a noise even though, actually, it doesn’t, but would if it did.

Glint, for example. If light made a noise as it reflected off a distant window, it’d go glint!

“Ye got that little bitty bit inside o’ you that holds on, right? The bitty bit that watches the rest o’ ye. ’Tis the First Sight and Second Thoughts ye have, and ’tis a wee gift an’ a big curse to ye. You see and hear what others canna, the world opens up its secrets to ye, but ye’re always like the person at the party with the wee drink in the corner who canna join in. There’s a little bitty bit inside ye that willna melt and flow.”
Chapter 8
Land of Winter

“Them as can do has to do for them as can’t. And someone has to speak up for them as has no voices.”

Chapter 10
Master Stroke
People who say things like “May all your dreams come true” should try living in one for five minutes.



Chapter 11

“There’s nothing we canna get in or oot of.”

“Except maybe pubs,” said Big Yan.

“Oh, aye,” said Rob Anybody cheerfully. “Gettin’ oot o’ pubs sometimes causes us a cerrrtain amount o’ difficulty, I’ll grant ye that.”

Chapter 12
Jolly Sailor

“I told yez the wee skull on it meant we shouldna touch it!”

“Big Yan said that showed it wuz strong stuff! An’ things ha’ come to a pretty pass, ye ken, if people are going to leave stuff like that aroound where innocent people could accidentally smash the door doon and lever the bars aside and take the big chain off ’f the cupboard and pick the lock and drink it!”



Chapter 13
Land Under Wave

I’ll never again feel as tall as the sky and as old as the hills and as strong as the sea. I’ve been given something for a while, and the price of it is that I have to give it back.

And the reward is giving it back, too. No human could live like this. You could spend a day lookin’ at a flower to see how wonderful it is, and that wouldn’t get the milking done. No wonder we dream our way through our lives. To be awake, and see it all as it really is . . . no one could stand that for long.

Chapter 14
Small, Like Oak Trees

“You can’t give lessons on witchcraft. Not properly. It’s all about how you are . . . you, I suppose.”

“Nicely said,” said Mistress Weatherwax. “You’re sharp. But there’s magic, too. You’ll pick that up. It don’t take much intelligence, otherwise wizards wouldn’t be able to do it.”

“There’s a lot of edges, more than people know. Between life and death, this world and the next, night and day, right and wrong . . . an’ they need watchin’. We watch ’em, we guard the sum of things.”

text checked (see note) Mar 2005

top of page
A Hat Full of Sky

Copyright © 2004 by Terry and Lyn Pratchett

Chapter 1

Witches didn’t fear much, Miss Tick had said, but what the powerful ones were afraid of, even if they didn’t talk about it, was what they called “going to the bad.” It was too easy to slip into careless little cruelties because you had power and other people hadn’t, too easy to think other people didn’t matter much, too easy to think that ideas like right and wrong didn’t apply to you.



It’s quite easy to accidentally overhear people talking downstairs if you hold an upturned glass to the floorboards and accidentally put your ear to it.

He had mastered the first two rules of writing, as he understood them.

1. Steal some paper.
2. Steal a pencil.

Unfortunately there was more to it than that.



He hadn’t been a husband for very long, but upon marriage men get a whole load of extra senses bolted into their brain, and one is there to tell a man that he’s suddenly neck deep in real trouble.



Chapter 4
A Feegle liked to face enormous odds all by himself, because it meant you didn’t have to look where you were hitting.

“What do you do with all that food?”

“Store it,” said Miss Level.

“But you—”

“I store it in other people. It’s amazing what you can store in other people.” Miss Level laughed at Tiffany’s expression. “I mean, I take what I don’t need around to those who don’t have a pig, or who’re going through a bad patch, or who don’t have anyone to remember them.”

“But that means they’ll owe you a favor!”

“Right! And so it just keeps on going around. It all works out.”

Chapter 5
The Circle

“Really, you might make an effort. Honestly, I don’t know what’s the matter with all of you!”

I do, Tiffany thought. You’re like a dog worrying sheep all the time. You don’t give them time to obey you, and you don’t let them know when they’ve done things right. You just keep barking.

Chapter 9
Soul and Center
Mrs. Earwig tells her girls it’s about cosmic balances and stars and circles and colors and wands and . . . and toys, nothing but toys!” She sniffed. “Oh, I daresay they’re all very well as decoration, somethin’ nice to look at while you’re workin’, somethin’ for show, but the start and finish, the start and finish, is helpin’ people when life is on the edge. Even people you don’t like. Stars is easy, people is hard.”
Chapter 11

“It was the owl that actually ate them.”

“Technic’ly, yes,” Mistress Weatherwax admitted. “But if you think you’ve been eating voles all night, you’d be amazed how much you don’t want to eat anything the next morning. Or ever again.”

The teacher had been a little bit crazy, even for a teacher, but what he’d said had seemed to make absolute sense. One of the most amazing things about the universe, he had said, was that, sooner or later, everything is made of everything else, although it’ll probably take millions and millions of years for this to happen. The other children had giggled or argued, but Tiffany knew that what had once been tiny living creatures was now the chalk of the hills. Everything went around, even stars.
Chapter 13
The Witch Trials
“Oh, there are judges, but they don’t count, not for the big prize. There is—there was a little old lady who was always at the front of the crowd, leaning on the hurdles with her pipe in her mouth with the two finest sheepdogs ever pupped sitting at her feet. Their names were Thunder and Lightning, and they moved so fast, they set the air on fire and their coats outshone the sun, but she never, ever put them in the Trials. She knew more about sheep than even sheep know. And what every young shepherd wanted, really wanted, wasn’t some silly cup or belt but to see her take her pipe out of her mouth as he left the arena and quietly say, ‘That’ll do,’ because that meant he was a real shepherd and all the other shepherds would know it, too. And if you’d told him he had to challenge her, he’d cuss at you and stamp his foot and tell you he’d sooner spit the sun dark. How could he ever win? She was shepherding. It was the whole of her life. What you took away from her you’d take away from yourself.”
Chapter 14
Queen of the Bees

“Thank you,” said Tiffany as she got up, because it always pays to mind your manners around invisible people.



“Rain don’t fall on a witch if she doesn’t want it to, although personally I prefer to get wet and be thankful.”

“Thankful for what?” said Tiffany.

“That I’ll get dry later.”

You test people all the time, test, test, test, but you really want them to be clever enough to beat you. Because it must be hard, being the best. You’re not allowed to stop. You can only be beaten, and you’re too proud ever to lose. Pride! You’ve turned it into terrible strength, but it eats away at you.
Chapter 15
A Hat Full of Sky
Joy is to fun what the deep sea is to a puddle. It’s a feeling inside that can hardly be contained.

text checked (see note) Mar 2005

top of page

Copyright © 2006 by Terry and Lyn Pratchett

Chapter Two
Miss Treason
She didn’t laugh with scorn at finery because she’d never seen any.

First Sight and Second Thoughts, that’s what a witch had to rely on: First Sight to see what’s really there, and Second Thoughts to watch the First Thoughts to check that they were thinking right. Then there were the Third Thoughts, which Tiffany had never heard discussed and therefore kept quiet about; they were odd, seemed to think for themselves, and didn’t turn up very often.

Really, the people of the village of Dogbend were getting very stupid indeed. Of course, that’s what happened when you got rid of your witches. A witch was just someone who knew a bit more than you did. That’s what the name meant. And some people didn’t like anyone who knew more than they did, so these days the wandering teachers and the traveling librarians steered clear of the place. The way things were going, if the people of Dogbend wanted to throw stones at anyone who knew more than them, they’d soon have to throw them at the pigs.
Chapter Three
The Secret of Boffo
You had to deal every day with people who were foolish and lazy and untruthful and downright unpleasant, and you could certainly end up thinking that the world would be considerably improved if you gave them a slap. But you didn’t because, as Miss Tick had once explained: a) it would make the world a better place for only a very short time; b) it would then make the world a slightly worse place; and c) you’re not supposed to be as stupid as they are.
Chapter Four

Some people think that “coven” is a word for a group of witches, and it’s true that’s what the dictionary says. But the real word for a group of witches is an “argument.”

Witches preferred to cut enemies dead with a look. There was no sense in killing your enemy. How would she know you’d won?
Chapter Five
Miss Treason’s Big Day
“Living this long’s not as wonderful as people think. I mean, you get the same amount of youth as everyone else, but a great big extra helping of being very old and deaf and creaky.”



Chapter Six
Feet and Sprouts

Tiffany had looked up “strumpet” in the Unexpurgated Dictionary, and found it meant “a woman who is no better than she should be” and “a lady of easy virtue.” This, she decided after some working out, meant that Mrs. Gytha Ogg, known as Nanny, was a very respectable person. She found virtue easy, for one thing. And if she was no better than she should be, then she was just as good as she ought to be.

She had a feeling that Miss Treason hadn’t meant this, but you couldn’t argue with logic.


Logic (examples)

“Romancin’ is verra important, ye ken. Basically it’s a way the boy can get close to the girl wi’oot her attackin’ him and scratchin’ his eyes oot.”



Chapter Seven
On with the Dance

Winter never dies. Not as people die. It hangs on in late frost and the smell of autumn in a summer evening, and in the heat it flees to the mountains.

Summer never dies. It sinks into the ground; in the depths, winter buds form in sheltered places and white shoots creep under dead leaves. Some of it flees into the deepest, hottest deserts, where there is a summer that never ends. To animals they were just the weather, just part of everything.

But humans arose and gave them names, just as people filled the starry sky with heroes and monsters, because this turned them into stories. And humans loved stories, because once you’d turned things into stories, you could change the stories. And there was the problem, right there.




“That’s justice. No excuses. You made a choice. You get what you chose.”



Chapter Eight
The Horn of Plenty

People wanted the world to be a story, because stories had to sound right and they had to make sense. People wanted the world to make sense.



Chapter Twelve
The Pike

“But can’t you just wave your hand and make all the dirt fly away, then?”

“The trouble is getting the magic to understand what dirt is,” said Tiffany, scrubbing hard at a stain. “I heard of a witch over in Escrow who got it wrong and ended up losing the entire floor and her sandals and nearly a toe.”

Mrs. Aching backed away. “I thought you just had to wave your hands about,” she mumbled nervously.

“That works,” said Tiffany, “but only if you wave them about on the floor with a scrubbing brush.”




As Granny Weatherwax once said, if you wanted to walk around with your head in the air, then you needed to have both feet on the ground. Scrubbing floors, cutting wood, washing clothes, making cheese—these things grounded you, taught you what was real. You could set a small part of your mind to them, giving your thoughts time to line up and settle down.

text checked (see note) May 2007

top of page