So how long have you been mad? No, not a good start, really … It was quite hard to know how to open the conversation.
'So … I didn't expect dwarfs here,' Rincewind said.
'Oh, the family blew in from NoThingfjord when I was a kid,' said Mad. 'Meant to go down the coast a bit, storm got up, next thing we're shipwrecked and up to our knees in parrots. Best thing that could've happened. Back there I'd be down some freezing cold mine picking bits of rock out of the walls but, over here, a dwarf can stand tall.'
'Really,' said Rincewind, his face carefully blank.
'But not too bloody tall!' Mad went on.
'So we settled down, and now my dad's got a chain of bakeries in Bugarup.'
'Dwarf bread?' said Rincewind.
'Too right! That's what kept us going across thousands of miles of shark-infested ocean,' said Mad. 'If we hadn't had that sack of dwarf bread we'd—'
'—never have been able to club the sharks to death?' said Rincewind.
'Ah, you're a man who knows your breads.'
'Big place, Bugarup? Has it got a harbour?'
'People say so. Never been back there. I like the outdoor life.'
The ground trembled. The trees by the track shook, even though there was no wind.
'Sounds like a storm,' said Rincewind.
'What's one of them?'
'You know,' said Rincewind. 'Rain.'
'Aw, strain the flaming cows, you don't believe all that stuff, do you? My granddad used to go on about that when he'd been at the beer. It's just an old story. Water falling out of the sky? Do me a favour!'
'It never does that here?'
'Happens quite a lot where I come from,' said Rincewind.
'Yeah? How's it get up into the sky, then? Water's heavy.'
'Oh, it … it … I think the sun sucks it up. Or something.'
'I don't know. It just happens.'
'And then it drops out of the sky?'
'Haven't you ever seen rain?'
'Look, everyone knows all the water's deep underground. That's only sense. It's heavy stuff, it leaks down. I never seen it floating around in the air, mate.'
'Well, how do you think it got on the ground in the first place?'
Mad looked astonished. 'How do mountains get on the ground?' he said.
'What? They're just there!'
'Oh, so they don't drop out of the sky?'
'Of course not! They're much heavier than air!'
'And water isn't? I've got a coupla drums of it under the cart and you'd sweat to lift 'em.'
'Aren't there any rivers here?'
'Course we've got rivers! This country's got everything, mate!'
'Well, how do you think the water gets into them?'
Mad looked genuinely puzzled. 'What'd we want water in the rivers for? What'd it do?'
'Flow out to sea—'
'Bloody waste! That's what you let it do where you come from, is it?'
'You don't let it, it … happens … it's what rivers do!'
Mad gave Rincewind a long hard look. 'Yep. And they call me mad,' he said.
Rincewind gave up. There wasn't a cloud in the sky. But the ground shook again.