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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About The Mithril Guardian

I like stories.  Whether they’re on film, in song, or in print, I always remember a good story.  They remind me of paintings.  People cannot see them without learning something.  So it’s a good idea to look at a story from as many angles as possible.  I can watch the same movie a million times and still I will learn something that I did not know before.  Thoughts on the Edge of Forever is where I get to focus on what I learned from stories; what was not obvious the first time, the second time, or the umpteenth time. Earlier posts are written in the form of letters, usually to specific characters, to point out what I saw in a particular story or heard in a piece of music. Some of those letters, though, are like letters to the editor. Why did someone write a story this way and not another? Would the story have turned out better if the writer had done something different? These ‘letters to the editor’ will probably never be answered by the writers - the characters certainly will not answer anything - but their contents are still up for debate. After all, unless you ask a question, you will never get an answer. Still, civil ground rules apply. Any foul language or other form of abuse will not be tolerated in Thoughts on the Edge of Forever. I mean, who wants to be around the guest at the dinner party who is being nasty? Practically nobody, since people go to a party to have fun, not to hang around a grouch. So let’s have fun! The Mithril Guardian
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