Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Woods Dwarfs

Poul Anderson, Three Hearts And Three Lions (London, 1977), Chapter Three.

This cover shows the scene that I am rereading at present.

In the Carolingian universe, woods dwarfs:

live in the enormous forest;
eat mushrooms, nuts, rabbits and squirrels;
have no magical powers;
do not fear iron, silver or holy symbols;
unlike Narnian or Middle Earth dwarfs, do not take sides in wars between other beings -

"'We'll ha' naught to do wi' the wars in this uneasy land,' said Hugi. 'We'll bide our ain lives and let Heaven, Hell, Earth, and the Middle World fight it oot as they will. And when yon proud lairds ha' laid each the other oot, stiff and stark, we'll still be here. A pox on 'em all.'" (p. 26)

In one of Aesop's Fables, a donkey carrying military supplies is advised to flee in order to avoid capture by the advancing enemy. However, when he is told that the enemy will probably not try to make him carry any more than he is now because he is already at his limit, he replies, "I'll stay where I am!" In an sf novel by Fred and Geoffrey Hoyle, factory workers asked how they feel about the prospect of aliens conquering Earth, reply that they will still have to work in the factories. (That shocked me when I read it. Then I saw their point.)

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Your last paragraph here reminded me of how we see similar ideas in WE CLAIM THESE STARS. The Ardazirho had occupied Vixen, a planet belonging to the Terran Empire, and most people continued with their ordinary lives and jobs, even including those making militarily useful products for the enemy. What else could they do? Whatever they thought of the Ardazirho they still had to live, to support themselves and their families.