Thief of Time (Discworld #26)

And, er, these stories about you..."

"Oh, all true. Most of them. A bit of exaggeration, but mostly true."

"The one about the Citadel in Muntab and the Pash and the fish bone?"

"Oh, yes."

"But how did you get in where half a dozen armed and trained men couldn't even - ?"

"I am a little man and I carry a broom," said Lu-Tze simply. "Everyone has some mess that needs clearing up. What harm is a man with a broom?"

"What? And that was it?"

"Well, the rest was a matter of cookery, really. The Pash was not a good man, but he was a glutton for his fish pie."

"No martial arts?" said Lobsang.

"Oh, always a last resort. History needs shepherds, not butchers."

"Do you know okidoki?"

"Just a lot of bunny-hops."

"Shittake?"

"If I wanted to thrust my hand into hot sand I would go to the seaside."

"Upsidazi?"

"A waste of good bricks."

"No kando?"

"You made that one up.

Don't you *ever* let go?"
"I haven't yet."
"Why?"
"I suppose... because in this world, after everyone panics, there's always got to be someone to tip the wee out of the shoe.

Even with nougat, you can have a perfect moment.

EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS, STAYS HAPPENED.
"What kind of philosophy is that?"
THE ONLY ONE THAT WORKS.

Genius is always allowed some leeway, once the hammer has been pried from its hands and the blood has been cleaned up.

He had never been interested in stories at any age, and had never quite understood the basic concept. He'd never read a work of fiction all the way through. He did remember, as a small boy, being really annoyed at the depiction of Hickory Dickory Dock in a rag book of nursery rhymes because the clock in the drawing was completely wrong for the period.

IN MY EXPERIENCE, SUSAN, WITHIN THEIR HEADS TOO MANY HUMANS SPEND A LOT OF TIME IN THE MIDDLE OF WARS THAT HAPPENED CENTURIES AGO.

In order to have a change of fortune at the last minute, you have to take your fortune to the last minute.

...'I thought the rule was that all monks were shaved.'

'Oh, Soto says he is bald under the hair,'said Lu Tze. 'He says the hair is a separate creature that just happens to live on him.

Jeremy tried to be an interesting person. The trouble was that he was the kind of person who, having decided to be an interesting person, would first of all try to find a book called How to Be An Interesting Person and then see whether there were any courses available.

Just a minute," said Lobsang. "Who are you? Time has stopped, the world is given over to...fairy tales and monsters, and there's a schoolteacher walking around?"

"Best kind of person to have," said Susan. "We don't like silliness. Anyway, I told you. I've inherited certain talents."

"Like living outside of time?"

"That's one of them."

"It's a weird talent for a schoolteacher!"

"Good for marking, though," said Susan calmly.

Look, that's why there's rules, understand? So that you think before you break 'em.

No other species anywhere in the world had invented boredom. Perhaps it was boredom, not intelligence, that had propelled them up to the evolutionary ladder.

Oh, where are my manners? Do sit down. Pull up a small child.

People like that don't need a reason apart from "because I can". They have a nightmare and try to make it happen.

Questions don't have to make sense, Vincent," said Miss Susan. "But answers do.

Seeing things a human shouldn't have to see makes us human.

Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible to do it. If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying 'End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH', the paint wouldn't even have time to dry.

Sometimes I really think people ought to have to pass a proper exam before they're allowed to be parents. Not just the practical, I mean.

Sometimes thinking is like talking to another person, but that person is also you.

That is because you don't yet know how to deal with time," said Wen. "But I will teach you to deal with time as you would deal with a coat, to be worn when necessary and discarded when not."
"Will I have to wash it?" said Clodpool.
Wen gave him a long, slow look.
"That was either a very complex piece of thinking on your part, Clodpool, or you were just trying to overextend a metaphor in a rather stupid way. Which, do you think, it was?"
Clodpool looked at his feet. Then he looked at the sky. Then he looked at Wen.
"I think I am stupid, master."
"Good," said Wen. "It is fortuitous that you are my apprentice at this time, because if I can teach you, Clodpool, I can teach anyone.

The first words that are read by seekers of enlightenment in the secret, gong-banging, yeti-haunted valleys near the hub of the world, are when they look into The Life of Wen the Eternally Surprised.

The first question they ask is: 'Why was he eternally surprised?'

And they are told: 'Wen considered the nature of time and understood that the universe is, instant by instant, recreated anew. Therefore, he understood, there is in truth no past, only a memory of the past. Blink your eyes, and the world you see next did not exist when you closed them. Therefore, he said, the only appropriate state of the mind is surprise. The only appropriate state of the heart is joy. The sky you see now, you have never seen before. The perfect moment is now. Be glad of it.'

The first words read by the young Lu-Tze when he sought perplexity in the dark, teeming, rain-soaked city of Ankh-Morpork were: 'Rooms For Rent, Very Reasonable.' And he was glad of it.

There is no doubt that being human is incredibly difficult and cannot be mastered in one lifetime.

There's no educating a smart boy.

The thing is, I mean, there’s times when you look at the universe and you think, “What about me?” and you can just hear the universe replying, “Well, what about you?”

Things are not as they seem. They are what they are.

Time was something that largely happened to other people; he viewed it in the same way that people on the shore viewed the sea. It was big and it was out there, and sometimes it was an invigorating thing to dip a toe into, but you couldn't live in it all the time. Besides, it always made his skin wrinkle.

Wen considered the nature of time and understood that the universe is, instant by instant, re-created anew. Therefore, he understood, there is, in truth, no Past, only a memory of the Past. Blink your eyes, and the world you see next did not exist when you closed them. Therefore, he said, the only appropriate state of the mind is surprise. The only appropriate state of the heart is joy. The sky you see now, you have never seen before. The perfect moment is now. Be glad of it.

When in doubt, choose to live.

When you look into the abyss, it’s not supposed to wave back.