elephant*

Cheery dropped down from the coach. Her leather skirt flapped in the wind.
As one dwarf, the column swiveled to stare at her. Their leader went pop-eyed.
B’dan? K’raa! D’kraga ‘ha’ak!”
Vimes saw the expression that appeared on Cheery’s small round face.
Above him there was a clunk as Detritus rested the loaded Piecemaker on the edge of the coach.
“I know dat word he said to her,” he announced to the world. “It is not a good word. I do not want to hear dat word again.”

– Detritus’s response to bigotry | Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant

Vimes looked out onto the night sky, underground. the stars were all around him… below him…
“I think we went down… too far,” he said. And then his brain made sense of what his eyes had seen. the moving room had brought them out somewhere on the side of a huge cave. He was looking at a thousand points of candlelight, spread out on the cavern floor and in other galleries. Now that he could grasp the scale of things, he realized that many of them were moving.
The air was full of one huge sound made up of thousands of voices, echoed and re-echoing. occasionally a shout or a laugh would stand out, but mostly it was just an endless sea of sound, beating on the shores of the eardrum.
“I thought you people lived in little mines,” said Vimes.
“Well, I thought humans lived in little cottages, sir,” said Cheery, taking a candle from a large rack beside the door and lighting it. “And then I saw Ankh-Morpork.”

– Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant

“Something wrong?” said Detritus.
Vimes sighed. What was the point? He’d spot it sooner or later.
“I’m sorry about this, Detritus,” he said, standing aside.
Detritus looked at the horrible trophy and nodded.
“Yeah, dere used to be a lot of dat sort of fing in der old days,” he said calmly, putting down the luggage. “Dey wouldn’t be de real diamond teef, o’course. Day’d take dem out and put bigger glass ones in.”
“You don’t mind?” said Lady Sybil. “It’s a troll’s head! Someone actually mounted a troll’s head and put it on the wall!”
“Ain’t mine,” said Detritus.
“But it’s so horrible!”
Detritus stood in thought for a moment, and then opened the stained wooden box that contained all he had felt it necessary to bring.
“Dis is de old country, after all,” he said. “So if it’d make you feel better…”
He pulled out a smaller box and rummaged among what appeared to be bits of rock and cloth until he found something yellowy-brown and round, like a shallow cup.
“Should’ve bunged it away,” he said, “but it’s all I got to remember my old granny by. She kept fings in it.”
“It’s a bit of human skull, isn’t it,” said Vimes, at last.
“Yep.”
“Whose?”
“Anyone ask dat troll dere his name?” said Detritus, and the glint in his eye had a brittle edge to it for a moment. Then he carefully put the bowl away. “Tings were diff’rent in dem days. Now you don’t chop our heads off an’ we don’t make drums outa your skin. Everyt’ing is hunky-dory. Dat’s all we have to know.”

– they tell us things are better now | Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant

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Sea ice swaying in waves, just off of Elephant Island, Antarctica

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Elephant Seal at San Simeon, California…scratching an itch.