The Folklore of Discworld

The Folklore of Discworld by Terry Pratchett and Jacqueline Simpson Read Free Book Online

Book: The Folklore of Discworld by Terry Pratchett and Jacqueline Simpson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Terry Pratchett and Jacqueline Simpson
In agonies of outrage and boredom, the lesser demons conferred on him the title of Supreme Life President of Hell and gave him a luxurious but remote office to himself, where he is still happily busy compiling an in-depth analysis of the role, function, priorities and goals of the demon race. After which, the old familiar flames flickered once again. It was for the best (or, technically, for this is Hell, for the worst). It is only a matter of time before he invents the first-ever mission statement, causing his world to end in self-defence.
    It is a curious fact that demons, powerful though they are in their own dimension, can nevertheless be summoned into the human world and told to make themselves useful. In theory, this requires elaborate magic circles, runes, pentacles (on Earth) or octograms (on the Discworld), plus special robes, wands, knives, swords, candles, talismans, and incense, all of which come expensive. Then there are the chants and invocations, which go on and on and on. Part of a conjuration composed in the 1640s by the learned Elias Ashmole (antiquary, alchemist, astrologer, and founder of Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum) runs as follows:
    I, Elias Ashmole, adjure thee Elaby Gathen, straightly charge and command thee by Tetragrammaton, Emmanuel, messias, sether, panton, cratons, Alpha and Omega, and by all other high and reverend names of Almighty God both effable and ineffable … that thou appear meekly and mildly in this glasse, without doinge hurt or daunger unto me or any other living creature … and truly, without fraud, dissymulation or deceite, resolve and satisfye me in and of all manner of such questions and commands and demandes as I shall either aske, require, desire or demande of thee …
    Demons love this kind of language. They think it shows proper respect. And so long as you are ceremonially robed and equipped, and chantingjargon by the bucket-load, they manage to forget that what’s actually going on is that they are being ordered about by a human.
    They are less happy if someone cuts out the frills, as the three witches of Lancre did in an emergency. Being in Nanny Ogg’s washroom at the time, they used a sharp and terrible copper-stick, scattered some rather old washing soda and extremely hard soap flakes, and bound the demon by the names of the bald scrubbing brush of Art and the washboard of Protection. And if the Summoning was unorthodox, the Dismissal was frankly insulting:
    ‘ May I go now? ’
    ‘ Please? ’
    Granny jerked upright again.
    ‘Oh. Yes. Run along,’ she said distractedly. ‘Thank you.’
    The head didn’t move …
    ‘ You wouldn’t mind banishing me, would you? ’ said the demon, when no one seemed to be taking the hint.
    ‘What?’ said Granny, who was thinking again.
    ‘ Only I’d feel better for being properly banished. “Run along” lacks that certain something ,’ said the head …
    ‘Certainly,’ said Magrat. ‘Right. Okay. Um. Begone, foul fiend, unto the blackest pit—’
    The head smiled contentedly as the words rolled over it. This was more like it.
    It melted back into the waters of the copper like candlewax under a flame. Its last contemptuous comment, almost lost in the swirl, was, ‘ Run aaaalonggg …’ [ Wyrd Sisters ]
    Finally it has to be said that on the Disc there are certain low-grade demons who stay permanently in the human world, working inside pocket watches, picture-making devices, personal disorganizers, and similar contraptions. Some are eager to please, others distinctly surly. The great lords of Hell never, ever, mention this.
    It is well known on the Discworld that Things from the shadowy, chaotic wastelands outside space and time which some call the Dungeon Dimensions are always trying to break through into the little circle of candlelight loosely called ‘the real world’. They prowl round its flimsy stockades, searching for places where the fabric of reality has worn

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