I’ve just finished Terry Pratchett’s latest Unseen Academicals. Not his best, but rather engaging and very funny in places. A welcome return to Discworld after the slight distraction that was Nation.
This isn’t a post about wizards and football (the “subject” of the book) though. Among the moments of humour, telling comment on modern times, the human condition and some downright hilarity a single paragraph punched me squarely between the eyes. I thought I’d share it with you:
“The Patrician took a sip of his beer. ‘I have told this to few people, gentlemen, and I suspect I never will again, but one day when I was a young boy on holiday in Uberwald I was walking along the banks of a stream when I saw a mother otter with her cubs. A very endearing sight, I’m sure you will agree, and even as I watched, the mother otter dived into the water and came up with a plump salmon, which she subdued and dragged onto a half-submerged log. As she ate it, while of course it was still alive, the body split and I remember to this day the sweet pinkness of its roes as they spilled out, much to the delight of the baby otters who scrambled over themselves to feed on the delicacy. One of nature’s wonders, gentlemen: mother and children dining on mother and children. And that’s when I first learned about evil. It is built into the nature of the universe. Every world spins in pain. If there is any kind of supreme being, I told myself, it is up to all of us to become his moral superior.’”