History

Witch World

“Look here.” Simon was bitterly disappointed, the more so because he had almost dared to hope again. Petronius was cracked, there was no escape after all. “Arthur and the Round Table – that’s a fairy tale for kids.  You’re talking as if –”

“As if it were true history?” Petronius caught him up. “Ah, but who is to say what is history and what is not?  Every word of the past which comes to us is colored and influenced by the learning, the prejudices, even the physical condition of the historian who has recorded it for later generations.  Tradition fathers history and what is tradition but word of mouth?  How distorted may such accounts become in a single generation? You, yourself, had your entire life changed by perjured testimony.  Yet that testimony has been inserted in records, has now become history, untrue as it is.  How can anyone say that this story is legend but that one fact, and know that he is correct?  History is made, is recorded by human beings, and it is larded with all the errors our species is subject to. There are scraps of truth in legend and many lies in history.  I know – for the Siege Perilous does exist!”

Exchange (more or less) between Simon Tregarth and Doctor Jorge Petronius in Witch World by Andre Norton

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