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Daith an Whit Comes Niest

A Wee Yairn o Discwarld
bi Terry Pratchett

Copyright © Terry Pratchett 2002


Whan Daith met the philosopher, the philosopher said, raither hytely, "At this point, d'ye see, A'm baith deid an no deid."

There wis a sich frae Daith. Oh dearie, ane o those, he thoct. This is gaen tae be aboot quantum agin. He lathed dealin wi philosophers. They aye tried tae feeze oot o it.

"Ye see," said the philosopher, while Daith, unmuivin, watched at the saunds o his life dreepin throu the oorgless, "awthing is makkit o tottie particles, whit hae the strynge property o bein in mony places at ane time. But, for ordinar, things whit are makkit o tottie particles stay in ane place, which disna seem richt by quantum theory. Mey A continue?"

AYE, BUT NO FORIVVER, said Daith, AW THINGS HAES AN END. He didna tak his gove frae the tummelin saund.

"Weel, then, gin we're gree'd as there is an infineet coont o universes, then the problem is solved! Gin there are mairchless universes, this bed can be in millions o them, aw at the same time!"

DIS IT MOVE?

"Whit?"

Daith noddit tae the bed. CAN YE FEEL IT MOVIN? he said.

"Nae, akis there's a million versions o me, an aw. An... yon's the guid bit... in some o them A'm no aboot tae pass awa! Onything is possible!"

Daith tappit the haundle o his scythe an conseedert this.

AN YER PYNT WAD BE...?

"Weel, A'm no exactly deein, richt? Ye arna sic a certainty nou."

There wis a sich frae Daith. Space, he thocht. Yon wis the mischief. It nivver wis like this on warlds whaur it wis aye lourie. But ance fowk saw all yon space, their harns hoved tae try an fill it up.

"Nae answer, e?" said the deein philosopher. "Feelin a bit auld-fashioned, are we?"

THIS IS A KITTLE, CERTIES, said Daith. Ance they'd prayet, he thocht. O coorse, he'd nivver been shuir prayer workit, aither. He thocht a whiles. AN A SHALL ANSWER IT IN THIS WEY, he addit, YE LOUE YUIR WIFE?

"Whit?"

THE LEDDY WHA'S BEEN CARIN FOR YE. YE LOUE HER?

"Aye. O coorse."

CAN YE THINK O ONY CIRCUMSTANCES WHAUR, ATHOOT YUIR PERSONAL HISTORY CHYNGIN IN ONY WE YE WAD AT THIS MOMENT TAK UP A KNIFE AN STAB HER? said Daith, FOR EXAMPLE?

"Nae, for certies!"

BUT YUIR THEORY SAYS THAT YE MAUN. IT IS EITHLY POSSIBLE WITHIN THE PHYSICKAL LAWS O THE UNIVERSE, AN FORBY IT MAUN HAPPEN, AN HAPPEN MONY TIMES. ILKA MOMENT IS A BILLION, BILLION MOMENTS AN IN THOSE MOMENTS AW THINGS THAT ARE POSSIBLE ARE INEVITABLE. SUIN OR SYNE, AW TIME BYLES DOUN TAE A MOMENT.

"But o coorse we can mak wales atween-"

ARE THERE WALES? ATHING THAT CAN HAPPEN, MUST HAPPEN. YUIR THEORY SAYS THAT FOR ILKA UNIVERSE WHIT'S MAKKIT TAE HAULD YUIR "NAE", THERE MAUN BE ANE TAE HAULD YUIR "AYE", BUT YE SAID YE WAD NIVVER COMMIT MURTHER. THE FABRIC O THE COSMOS TREMMLES AFORE YUIR TERRIBLE CERTAINTY. YUIR MORALITY BECOMES A POUST AS STRANG AS GRAVITY. An, thocht Daith, space haes a lot tae answer for, certies.

"Wis that sarcasm?"

ACTUALLY, NAE. A'M IMPRESST AN INTRIGUED, said Daith. THE CONCEPT YE'RE PUTTIN AFORE ME PRUIVES THE EXISTENCE O TWA PLACES TIL NOU THOCHT MYTHIC. SOMEWEYS THERE IS A WARLD WHERE ABODY MAKKIT THE RICHT WALE, THE MORAL WALE, THE WALE WHIT MAXIMISED THE SEIL O THEIR FELLOW BEINS. O COORSE, THAT ALSO MEANS THAT SOMEWHERE ELSE IS THE REEKIN REMNANT O THE WARLD WHAUR THEY DIDNA...

"Och, awa! A ken whit ye're implyin, an A've nivver trowed in aw that bletheration o hieven an hell!"

The room wis gettin mirker. The blae glent aboot the edge o the reaper's scythe wis becomin mair obvious.

ASTONISHIN, said Daith, REAL ASTONISHIN. LET ME PROPONE ANITHER SUGGESTION: THAT YE ARE NAETHING MAIR THAN A CHANCIE SPECIES O APE WHIT IS TRYIN TAE UNNERSTAUND THE QUIRKINESSES O CREATION WI A LEID WHIT EVOLVED FOR TAE TELL ILK ITHER WHAUR THE RIPE FRUIT WIS?

Fechtin for braith, the philosopher managed tae say: "Dinna be daft."

THE REMERK WISNA MEANT TAE BE ABUISIVE, said Daith. GIEN THE SEETIATION, IT'S A MUCKLE AMOONT YE'VE ACHIEVED.

"Certies we've escaped frae ootmoded friets."

WEEL DONE, said Daith. "YON'S THE SPIRIT. A JUIST WANTIT TAE MAK SICCAR.

He leant forrit.

AN ARE YE AWAUR O THE THEORY WHIT SAYS THE STATE O SOME TOTTIE PARTICLES IS INDETERMINATE TIL THE MOMENT THEY ARE OBSERVED? A CAT IN A BOX IS AFT MENTIONT.

"Och, aye," said the philospher.

GUID, said Daith. He got tae his feet as the last o the licht wis deein, an smielt.

A SEE YE...


"Deith an Whit Comes Niest" wis scrieven firstly for, an appeart on Timehunt (http://www.timehunt.com/timehunt.html) a gemm wabsite wi a ongaein series o kittles.

The L-Space Wab haes kyndlie been gien permission tae publish this yairn, but Terry Pratchett is keepin aw reproduction an ither richts tae the yairn.

Translatin bi Daibhid Ceannaideach


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