beginning of the story happened tens of thousands of years ago, on
a wild and stormy night, when a speck of flame came down the
mountain at the center of the world. It moved in dodges and jerks,
as if the unseen person carrying it was sliding and falling from
rock to rock.
At one point the line became a streak of sparks, ending in a
snowdrift at the bottom of a crevasse. But a hand thrust up thru
the snow held the smoking embers if the torch, and the wind, driven
by the anger of the gods, and with a sense of humor of its own,
whipped the flame back into life…
And, after that, it never died.
The end of the story began high above the world, but got lower as
it circled down towards the ancient ad modern city al Ankh-Morpork,
where it was said anything could be bought and sold - and if they
didn't have what you wanted they could steal it for you.
Some of them could even dream it…
The creature mow seeking out a particular building below was a
trained Pointless Albatross and, by the standards of the world, was
not particularly unusual.* It was, though, pointless. Its spent its
entire life in a series of lazy journeys between the Rim and Hub,
and where was the point in that?
This one was more or less tame. Its beady mad eye spotted where,
for reasons entirely beyond it comprehension, anchovies could be
found. And someone would remove this uncomfortable cylinder from it
leg. It seemed a pretty good deal to the albatross and from this it
can be deduced that these albatrosses are, if not completely
pointless, at least rather dumb.
Not at all like humans, therefore.
*Compared to, say. The Republican bees, who committed rather than
swarmed and ended to stay in the hive a lot, voting for more
Excerpted from THE LAST HERO © Copyright 2001 by Terry
Pratchett. Reprinted with permission from HarperCollins. All rights