Excerpt from A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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A Hat Full of Sky

by Terry Pratchett

A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett
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  • First Published:
    May 2004, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2005, 448 pages

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Often she’ll travel to a clan that has no kelda. Very, very rarely, if there is no clan without a kelda, she’ll meet with Feegles from several clans and form a completely new clan, with a new name and a mound of its own. She will also choose her husband. And from then on, while her word is absolute law among her clan and must be obeyed, she’ll seldom go more than a little distance from the mound. She is both its queen and its prisoner.

But once, for a few days, there was a kelda who was a human girl . . .



 

 

Chapter 1
Leaving

It came crackling over the hills, like an invisible fog. Movement without a body tired it, and it drifted very slowly. It wasn’t thinking now. It had been months since it had last thought, because the brain that was doing the thinking for it had died. They always died. So now it was naked again, and frightened.

It could hide in one of the blobby white creatures that baa’d nervously as it crawled over the turf. But they had useless brains, capable of thinking only about grass and making other things that went baa. No. They would not do. It needed, needed something better, a strong mind, a mind with power, a mind that could keep it safe.

It searched. . . .


The new boots were all wrong. They were stiff and shiny. Shiny boots! That was disgraceful. Clean boots, that was different. There was nothing wrong with putting a bit of a polish on boots to keep the wet out. But boots had to work for a living. They shouldn’t shine.

Tiffany Aching, standing on the rug in her bedroom, shook her head. She’d have to scuff the things as soon as possible.

Then there was the new straw hat, with a ribbon on it. She had some doubts about that, too.

She tried to look at herself in the mirror, which wasn’t easy because the mirror was not much bigger than her hand, and cracked and blotchy. She had to move it around to try and see as much of herself as possible and remember how the bits fitted together.

But today . . . well, she didn’t usually do this sort of thing in the house, but it was important to look smart today, and since no one was around . . .

She put the mirror down on the rickety table by the bed, stood in the middle of the threadbare rug, shut her eyes, and said:

"See me."

And away on the hills something, a thing with no body and no mind but a terrible hunger and a bottomless fear, felt the power.

It would have sniffed the air if it had a nose.

It searched.

It found.

Such a strange mind, like a lot of minds inside one another, getting smaller and smaller! So strong! So close!

It changed direction slightly and went a little faster. As it moved, it made a noise like a swarm of flies.

The sheep, nervous for a moment about something they couldn’t see or smell, baa’d . . .

. . . and went back to chewing grass.


Tiffany opened her eyes. There she was, a few feet away from herself. She could see the back of her own head.

Carefully, she moved around the room, not looking down at the "her" that was moving, because she found that if she did that, then the trick was over.

It was quite difficult, moving like that, but at last she was in front of herself and looking herself up and down.

Brown hair to match brown eyes . . . well, there was nothing she could do about that. At least her hair was clean and she’d washed her face.

She had a new dress on, which improved things a bit. It was so unusual to buy new clothes in the Aching family that, of course, it was bought big so that she’d "grow into it." But at least it was pale green, and it didn’t actually touch the floor. With the shiny new boots and the straw hat she looked . . . like a farmer’s daughter, quite respectable, going off to her first job. It’d have to do.

From A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett.  Copyright © 2004 by Terry and Lyn Pratchett.  All rights reserved.  Reproduced by permission of Harper Collins Publishers.

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