In Wyrd Sisters, by Terry Pratchett, there is a footnote that could be just a throwaway comment, or could refer to something. As it is Pratchett, I am inclined to think it is the latter. Can anyone tell me what this passage refers to?

"Sometime afterwards Magrat asked Hwel if he believed in long engagements. The dwarf paused in the task of loading up the latty. (25)"

"(25) At least, of supervising the loading. Actual physical assistance was a little difficult because he had, the day before, slipped on something and broken his leg."

Now, I can't find any reference to anything Hwel could have slipped on. I can't find anything he has done that would cause anyone to attack him.

Why is it worthy of a footnote that he has broken his leg?


1 Answer 1


Yes! The broken leg is significant. When the witches are participating in the play because Hwel has mistaken them for his own actors, Hwel gives them a pep talk that concludes with, "Break a leg." After he leaves, Nanny mutters, "Break your own leg."

Hwel slapped Magrat on the bottom. "Good complexion you've got there, Wilph," he said encouragingly. "But for goodness' sake use a bit more padding, you're still the wrong shape. Fine warts there, Billem. I must say," he added, standing back, "you look as nasty a bunch of hags as a body might hope to clap eyes on. Well done. Shame about the wigs. Now run along. Curtain up on one minute. Break a leg."


Nanny squinted sullenly after Hwel. "Break your own leg," she muttered.

  • 3
    Great! Thank you very much. My son said, "Marry, 'twas a note about the foot!". I have confiscated his figgin, which I think is a fitting punishment.
    – NiceOrc
    Commented Jan 20, 2013 at 21:35
  • 1
    I think you should give him his figgin back, that was a pretty good pun
    – user11295
    Commented Jan 21, 2013 at 14:14

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