That Thing With The Bulls

From Discworld & Terry Pratchett Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Somewhere on a direct line towards the Rim out of Lancre and passing through Überwald to where the River Vieux becomes fast and wide enough to sustain a riverboat trade all the way to Genua, where spoken language shades into a tongue related to Quirmian (in which the rhythms and cadences of the old Latatian language may still be heard), there is an un-named sleepy village, nestling in the shade of hot hills where vines and olives are grown. For most of the year it sleeps and life passes at a lazy agrarian pace, and strange foreign meats such as cojones may be ordered off the menu in the quiet of an inn's pavement tables. Absinthe may be safely ordered, and consumed in carefully small and measured quantities.

But on one day of the year, in summer, the tables and chairs are brought indoors to discourage the unwary from stepping into the street. For, as innkeeper Lagro te Kabona would tell you, the Thing with the Bulls happens, where quite a substantial tonnage of taurine is allowed to run down the streets, pursued by the young men of the village. The objective of the Game is to capture the big red rosette hung between the horns of the biggest and most ferocious bull. This earns the winner a place of honour at the feast held that night, plus a certain enhanced status in the eyes of young unmarried women in the area.

Or did. The Thing with the Bulls has been discontinued since the three crazy foreign women - and their cat - sat there all morning drinking absinthe as if it were water, refused to come safely indoors, and made a mockery of the whole thing by just standing there. For some reason the bulls refused to go anywhere near the oldest one, who just glared at them. The little fat one just sat there laughing, and the youngest one took the rosette! Meanwhile their cat was menacing the bulls and in some indefinite way, they were scared of it...

Nobody does the Thing with the Bulls any more. The magic has gone: the men don't want to talk about it, and the women make sure that no men are listening when they do.


A sleepy place in Spain called Pamplona...