Tiffany didn’t often have nightmares, but sometimes, when she couldn’t sleep, she found herself worrying about who she was and why she was and where she was and how she had got there. The tinkling and occasional twang answered the last question, and all the others amounted to whom would you have been by now if you hadn’t been who you are?
Supposing on that spring day young Tiffany Aching hadn’t gone down to the stream with a frying pan because a monster had scared her brother. They could have gone for a walk in an entirely different direction! Would the Tiffany who didn’t take her brother down to the stream on that day have ended up as a witch? What would she be doing now? Would she have become a witch anyway, bouncing through life until she landed in the slot marked witch? Supposing one of the other girls had gone down to the river that day?Would she be the witch today, watching Tiffany Aching being prodded by that stupid old woman with the stick, and dreaming and hoping that she would meet a village boy who would make a decent enough husband with enough manners to get out of the tin tub when he wanted a wee.
It was a suddenly intriguing question because one answer meant that you could never change anybody, and that was horrible.
Somehow everybody knew that witches were bad and witches were trouble and witches were a problem.
Everybody knows, everybody knows, who knows what everybody knows? What is something that everybody knows? Is it something you’ve heard more than once? Who has made up all the things that everybody knows? Where did they come from, all these things that everybody knows? Who has been hanged for what everybody knows? Who has thrown stones for what everybody knows? And where does it all break down, when all everybody knows is what everybody says?
On naming a baby Tiffany
…There were the days when a potion really worked, or because of you a man could use his hand again, or a woman could walk again. Sometimes, when she had delivered a baby the delighted mother would ask her, if the baby was a girl, whether she could be named after Tiffany. She always said yes, but when the time came, it never happened. The child got a different name, one that ran in the family, perhaps, or one the mother really liked. Or maybe someone had wondered whether it was a good thing to name a baby after a witch. You didn’t mind, or at least you didn’t mind where anyone could see.
On Granny Weatherwax
She wondered if Granny Weatherwax ever truly slept. She knew that the old woman lay down on a bed quite often, with a square of cardboard affixed to a string around her neck, and it read ‘I Ate’nt Dead’. In fact it meant that granny was letting her mind ride unnoticed in the mind of a bird or of an animal, to keep an eye on what was happening in the world, and on the other hand perhaps it was there to reassure her if she woke up.
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