Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

The Carpet People

by Terry Pratchett



An epic tale—set in a minuscule world—written and illustrated by the incomparable award-winning, best-selling author Terry Pratchett.

Format: Hardcover
ISBN-13/ EAN: 9780544212473
ISBN-10: 0544212479
Pages: 304
Publication Date: 11/05/2013
Carton Quantity: 24
Grade Level: 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12
Age Range: 8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16

$14.39

$17.99

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In the beginning, there was nothing but endless flatness. Then came the Carpet . . .

That’s the old story everyone knows and loves. But now the Carpet is home to many different tribes and peoples, and there’s a new story in the making. The story of Fray, sweeping a trail of destruction across the Carpet. The story of power-hungry mouls—and of two brothers who set out on an adventure to end all adventures when their village is flattened.

It’s a story that will come to a terrible end—if someone doesn't do something about it. If everyone doesn’t do something about it . . .

First published in 1971, this hilarious and wise novel marked the debut of the phenomenal Sir Terry Pratchett. Years later, Sir Terry revised the work, and this special collectable edition includes the updated text, his original color and black-and-white illustrations, and an exclusive story—a forerunner to The Carpet People created by the seventeen-year-old nascent writer who would become one of the world's most beloved storytellers.

Terry Pratchett

Sir Terry Pratchett, the author of more than three dozen novels, is one of the world's best-selling and best-loved novelists writing in the English language. He wrote his first published story when he was 13 and his first novel, THE CARPET PEOPLE, when he was 17--the same year he quit school to become a full-time journalist. His books have sold more than 80 million copies worldwide. In addition to his phenomenal--and phenomenally popular--Discworld series for adults, Terry is the multi-award-winning author several children's books. These include the books of the BROMELIAD TRILOGY (HarperCollins, 2003), as well as THE WEE FREE MEN (HarperCollins, 2003), A HAT FULL OF SKY (HarperCollins, 2004), WINTERSMITH (HarperCollins, 2006), I SHALL WEAR MIDNIGHT (HarperCollins, 2010), NATION (HarperCollins,2008)--a Michael L. Printz Honor Book, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winner, and LA Times Book Prize for YA Literature winner--and DODGER (HarperCollins, 2012), for which he won his second Michael L. Printz Honor. He was awarded Britain's highest honor for a children's novel, the Carnegie Medal, for THE AMAZING MAURICE AND HIS EDUCATED RODENTS (HarperCollins, 2001). The recipient of several honorary doctorates, Sir Terry was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2008 for his services to literature. And in 2011, he received the Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lasting Contributions to Young Adult Literature from the American Library Association. In 2008, Terry Pratchett was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's Disease. He has become an outspoken advocate for Alzheimer causes, and you can read the speech he made on donating $1 million to aid Alzheimer's research here: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1986843/posts. He talks frankly about his experiences and expectations in the award-winning 2009 documentary "Living with Alzheimer's." In 2011, Sir Terry’s public profile increased even further as he drew international attention and support for his second BBC documentary "Choosing to Die" about assisted suicide. The many honors it received include an International Emmy. Sir Terry lives in England, about 20 miles from Stonehenge. He and his wife, Lyn, have one grown daughter and many cats. Anyone can find out more about Terry at terrypratchettbooks.com and the Facebook page https//www.facebook.com/pratchett (610K fans). Or follow him on Twitter (@terryandrob, 85K followers). Read More


Prologue

They called themselves the Munrungs. It meant The People, or The True Human Beings.

   It’s what most people call themselves, to begin with. And then one day the tribe meets some other people, and gives them a name like The Other People or, if it’s not been a good day, The Enemy. If only they’d think up a name like Some More True Human Beings, it’d save a lot of trouble later on.

   Not that the Munrungs were in any way primitive. Pismire said they had a rich native cultural inheritance. He meant stories.

   Pismire knew all the old stories and many new ones and used to tell them while the whole tribe listened, enthralled, and the nighttime fires crumbled to ashes.

   Sometimes it seemed that even the mighty hairs that grew outside the village stockade listened, too. They seemed to crowd in closer.

   The oldest story was the shortest. He did not tell it often, but the tribe knew it by heart. It was a story told in many languages, all over the Carpet.

   “In the beginning,” said Pismire, “there was nothing but endless flatness. Then came the Carpet, which covered the flatness. It was young in those days. There was no dust among the hairs. They were slim and straight, not bent and crusty like they are today. And the Carpet was empty.

   “Then came the dust, which fell upon the Carpet, drifting among the hairs, taking root in the deep shadows. More came, tumbling slowly and with silence among the waiting hairs, until the dust was thick in the Carpet.

   “From the dust the Carpet wove us all. First came the little crawling creatures that make their dwellings in burrows and high in the hairs. Then came the soraths, and the weft borers, tromps, goats, and gromepipers, and the snargs.

   “Now the Carpet had life and noise. Yes, and death and silence. But there was a thread missing from the weave on the loom of life.

   “The Carpet was full of life, but it did not know it was alive. It could be, but it could not think. It did not even know what it was.

   “And so from the dust came us, the Carpet People. We gave the Carpet its name, and named the creatures, and the weaving was complete. We were the first to give the Carpet a name. Now it knew about itself.

   “Though Fray, who hates life in the Carpet, may tread upon us, though shadows grow over us, we are the soul of the Carpet, and that is a mighty thing. We are the fruit of the loom.

   “Of course, this is all metaphorical, but I think it’s important, don’t you?”

Chapter 1

It was the Law that every tenth year the people of all the tribes in the Dumii Empire should come and be Counted.

   They did not go all the way to the great capital city of Ware, but went instead to the little walled town of Tregon Marus.

   The Counting was always a great occasion. Tregon Marus would double in size and importance overnight as tribal tents were pitched outside its walls. There was a horse market and a five-day fair, old friends to be met, and a flood of news to be exchanged.

   And there was the Counting itself. New names were added to the crackling scrolls, which, the people liked to believe, were taken to Ware, even to the Great Palace of the Emperor himself. The Dumii clerks laboriously wrote down how many pigs and goats and tromps everybody had, and one by one the people shuffled on to the next table and paid their taxes in furs and skins. That was the unpopular part. So the queue wound round Tregon Marus, in at the East Gate, through the postern and stables, across the market square, and through the countinghouse. Even the youngest babies were carried past the clerks, for the quill pens to wobble and scratch their names on the parchment. Many a tribesman got a funny name because a clerk didn’t know how to spell, and there’s more of that sort of thing in History than you might expect.

   On the fifth day the governor of the town called all the tribal chieftains to an audience in the market square, to hear their grievances. He didn’t always do anything about them, but at least they got heard, and he nodded a lot; and everyone felt better about it, at least until they got home. This is politics.

   That was how it had always happened, time out of mind.

   And on the sixth day the people went back to their homes, along the roads the Dumii had built. They went east. Behind them the road went west, until it came to the city of Ware. There it was just one of the many roads that entered the city. Beyond Ware it became the West Road, becoming narrower and more winding until it reached the farthermost western outpost of the Rug.

   Such was the Dumii Empire. It covered almost all of the Carpet from the Woodwall to the wasteland near Varnisholme in the north.

   In the west it bordered Wildland and the uttermost fringes of the Carpet, and southward the roads ran as far as the Hearthlands. The painted people of the Wainscot, the warlike Hibbolgs, even the fire-worshippers of the Rug, all paid their tribute to the Emperor.

   Some of them didn’t like the Dumii much, usually because the Empire discouraged the small wars and cattle raids that, in the outlying regions, were by way of being a recreational activity. The Empire liked peace. It meant that people had enough time to earn money to pay their taxes. On the whole, peace seemed to work.

   So the Munrung tribe went east, and passed out of the chronicles of the Empire for another ten years. Sometimes they quarreled among themselves, but on the whole they lived peacefully and avoided having much to do with history, which tends to get people killed.

   Then, one year, no more was heard from Tregon Marus. . . .

Old Grimm Orkson, chieftain of the Munrungs, had two sons. The eldest, Glurk, succeeded his father as chieftain when old Orkson died.

   To the Munrung way of thinking, which was a slow and deliberate way, there couldn’t have been a better choice. Glurk looked just like a second edition of his father, from his broad shoulders to his great, thick neck, the battering center of his strength. Glurk could throw a spear farther than anyone. He could wrestle with a snarg, and wore a necklace of their long yellow teeth to prove it. He could lift a horse with one hand, run all day without tiring, and creep up so close to a grazing animal that sometimes it would die of shock before he had time to raise his spear. Admittedly he moved his lips when he was thinking, and the thoughts could be seen bumping against one another like dumplings in a stew, but he was not stupid. Not what you’d call stupid. His brain got there in the end. It just went the long way round.

   “He’s a man of few words, and he doesn’t know what either of them means,” people said, but not when he was within hearing.

   One day, toward evening, he was tramping homeward through the dusty glades, carrying a bone-tipped hunting spear under one arm. The other arm steadied the long pole that rested on his shoulder.

   In the middle of the pole, its legs tied together, dangled a snarg. At the other end of the pole was Snibril, Glurk’s younger brother.

   Old Orkson had married early and lived long, so a wide gap filled by a string of daughters, who the chieftain had carefully marr...


"The perfect starting place for young readers; seasoned Pratchett fans will just revel in his wit, his subversion of tropes and his sense of humanity. . . . Small in scale but large in pleasure."
Kirkus

"This story is inventive in its carefully worked-out central conceit, often vey funny, and dotted with some genuinely scary bits, as well as Pratchett's wiry 1971 spot illustrations."
Publishers Weekly

"All of the big political ideas of mid-century epic fantasy are here writ literally small and carried along by Pratchett's signature wit and flawless pacing."
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Sure to be sought after by Pratchett's fans, young and old, this adventure will also amuse children who have never heard his name."
Booklist

"Fantasy with comedic flair is the Pratchett trademark . . . [This] book will entice young readers into a world with enough adventure, terror, and comic relief to keep them intrigued."
VOYA, 5Q 4P M J

"The brisk narrative mixes sly wit and occasional puns with lively battle scenes and mysterious revelations. . . an excellent entree to Pratchett's work."
School Library Journal