Caste of Peasants
Here are relevant references from the Books where the Caste of Peasants is mentioned.
I make no pronouncements on these matters, but report them as I find them.
Arrive at your own conclusions.
I wish you well,
"In peasant villages on this world," he continued, "each hut was originally built around a flat stone which was placed in the center of the circular dwelling. It was carved with the family sign and was called the Home Stone. It was, so to speak, a symbol of sovereignty, or territory, and each peasant, in his own sovereign."
Tarnsman of Gor Book 1 Page 26
Economically, the base of the Gorean life was the free peasant, which was perhaps the lowest but undoubtedly the most fundamental caste, and the staple crop was a yellow grain called Sa-Tarna, or Life-Daughter.
Tarnsman of Gor Book 1 Page 43
The weight the man was carrying was prodigious, and would have staggered men of most castes, even that of the Warriors. The bundle reared itself at least a man's height above his bent back, and extended perhaps some four feet in width. I knew the support of that weight depended partly on the skillful use of the cords and back, but sheer strength was only too obviously necessary, and this man, and his caste brothers, over the generations, had been shaped to their task. Lesser men had turned outlaw or died. In rare cases, one might have been permitted by the Council of High Castes to raise caste. None of course would accept a lower caste, and there were lower castes, the Caste of Peasants, for example, the most basic caste of all Gor.
Outlaw of Gor Book 2 Page 27
Indeed, frequent enough were the stories where even a warrior was overcome by an angry peasant into whose hut he had intruded himself, for in the vicinity of their Home Stones men fight with all the courage, savagery and resourcefulness of the mountain larl. More than one are the peasant fields of Gor which have been freshened with the blood of foolish warriors.
Outlaw of Gor Book 2 Page 29
Once I brought the carcass of a tabuk, one of Gor's single-horned, yellow antelopes, which I had felled in a Ka-la-na thicket, to the hut of a peasant and his wife. Asking no questions, as was suitable given the absence of insignia on my garments, they feasted me on my own kill, and gave me fiber, and flints and a skin of wine.
The peasant on Gor does not fear the outlaw, for he seldom has anything worth stealing, unless it be a daughter. Indeed, the peasant and outlaw on Gor live in an almost unspoken agreement, the peasant tending to protect the outlaw and the outlaw sharing in return some of his plunder and booty with the peasant. The peasant does not regard this as dishonest on his part, or as grasping. It is simply a way of life to which he is accustomed.
Outlaw of Gor Book 2 Page 48
Even the Caste of Peasants regarded itself as the "Ox on which the Home Stone Rests" and could seldom be encouraged to leave their narrow strips of land, which they and their fathers before them had owned and made fruitful.
Outlaw of Gor Book 2 Page 66
The Whip Slave watched while we filed up the long incline to the shafts, his whip arm limp. Wondering, he watched us, for one of the men, of the Caste of Peasants, had begun to hum a plowing song, and, one by one, the others joined him.
Outlaw of Gor Book 2 Pages 152 - 153
"Yes!" I cried, and such words had never before been spoken on Gor. "In this cause," I said, "whether you are of the Caste of peasants, or Poets, or Metal Workers, or Saddle Makers, you must be warriors!"
Outlaw of Gor Book 2 Page 170
The voices of these haggard but transformed men began to sing. I recognized the tune. It was the plowing song I had first heard from the peasant in the mines.
Outlaw of Gor Book 2 Page 221
Perhaps a peasant would buy her to help with the plowing. I wondered, if this happened, if she would bitterly recall the Amusements of Tharna. If this miserable fate were to be hers, the imperious Dorna the Proud, stripped and sweating, her back exposed to the ox whip, would learn in harness that a peasant is a hard master.
Outlaw of Gor Book 2 Page 244
On market day I saw a peasant, his sack of Sa-Tarna meal on his back, whose sandals were tied with silver straps.
Outlaw of Gor Book 2 Page 248
The first girl was a short, sturdy wench with thick ankles and wide, exciting shoulders, probably of peasant stock.
Priest-Kings of Gor Book 3 Page 51
To the Goreans it is always, simply, The Language, as though there were no others, and those who do not speak it are regarded immediately as barbarians. This sweet, fierce, liquid speech is the common bond that tends to hold together the Gorean world. It is the common property of the Administrator of Ar, a herdsman beside the Vosk, a peasant from Tor, a scribe from Thentis a metalworker from Tharna, a physician from Cos, a pirate from Port Kar, a warrior from Ko-ro-ba.
Priest-Kings of Gor Book 3 Page 52
I was pleased to see that the men of other castes, unlike the Initiates, did not grovel. There were men in that crowd from Ar, from Thentis, from Tharna, recognized by the two yellow cords in their belt; from Port Kar; from Tor, Cos, Tyros; perhaps from Treve, Vika's home city; perhaps even from fallen, vanished Ko-ro-ba; and the men in that crowd were of all castes, and even of castes as low as the Peasants, the Saddle Makers, the Weavers, the Goat Keepers, the Poets and Merchants, but none of them groveled as did the Initiates; how strange, I thought - the Initiates claimed to be most like Priest-Kings, even to be formed in their image, and yet I knew that a Priest-King would never grovel; it seemed the Initiates, in their efforts to be like gods, behaved like slaves.
Priest-Kings of Gor Book 3 Pages 294 - 295
The Initiates had their way of life, their ancient traditions, their given livelihood, the prestige of their caste, which they claimed to be the highest on the planet, their teachings, their holy books, their services, their role to play in the culture. Suppose that even now if they knew the truth - what would change? Would I really expect them - at least on the whole - to burn their robes, to surrender their claims to secret knowledge and powers, to pick up the hoes of Peasants, the needles of the Cloth Workers, to bend their energies to the humble tasks of honest work?
Priest-Kings of Gor Book 3 Page 298
She was peasant, barefoot, her garment little more than coarse sacking. She had been carrying a wicker basket containing vulos, domesticated pigeons raised for eggs and meat.
Her man, carrying a mattock, was not far behind. Over his left shoulder hung a bulging sack filled with what must have been the paraphernalia of his hut.
He circled me, widely. "Beware," he said, "I carry a Home Stone."
I stood back and made no move to draw my weapon. Though I was of the caste of warriors and he of peasants, and I armed and he carrying naught but a crude tool, I would not dispute his passage. One does not lightly dispute the passage of one who carries his Home Stone.
Nomads of Gor Book 4 Page 1
I then noted that each of the four chief haruspexes carried, about his shoulder, a white linen sack, somewhat like a peasant's rep-cloth seed bag.
Nomads of Gor Book 4 Page 172
Indeed, even the Gorean woman, outside her city, without a defender, should she escape the dangers of the wild, is not likely long to elude the iron, the chain and collar. Even peasants pick up such women, using them in the fields, until they can be sold to the first passing slaver.
Nomads of Gor Book 4 Page 287
A peasant moved away that the shadow of the Assassin might not fall across his own.
Assassin of Gor Book 5 Page 7
Facing me, clean-shaven, but with a massive, regal face concealed in the hood of a peasant, his gigantic body broad and powerful in the coarse rep-cloth garment of what is thought to be Gor's lowest caste,
Assassin of Gor Book 5 Page 157
It was true that the long bow is a weapon of peasants, who make and use them, sometimes with great efficiency. That fact, in itself, that the long bow is a peasant weapon, would make many Goreans, particularly those not familiar with the bow, look down upon it. Gorean warriors, generally drawn from the cities, are warriors by blood, by caste; moreover, they are High Caste; the peasants, isolated in their narrow fields and villages, are Low Caste; indeed, the Peasant is regarded, by those of the cities, as being little more than an ignoble brute, ignorant and superstitious, venal and vicious, a grubber in the dirt, a plodding animal, an ill-tempered beast, something at best cunning and treacherous; and yet I knew that in each dirt-floored cone of straw that served as the dwelling of a peasant and his family, there was, by the fire hole, a Home Stone; the peasants themselves, though regarded as the lowest caste on all Gor by most Goreans, call themselves proudly the ox on which the Home Stone rests, and I think their saying is true.
Peasants, incidentally, are seldom, except in emergencies, utilized in the armed forces of a city; this is a further reason why their weapon, the long bow, is less known in the cities, and among warriors, than it deserves to be.
The Gorean, to my mind, is often, though not always, bound by historical accidents and cultural traditions, which are then often rationalized into a semblance of plausibility. For example, I had even heard arguments to the effect that peasants used the long bow only because they lacked the manufacturing capability to produce crossbows, as though they could not have traded their goods or sold animals to obtain crossbows, if they wished. Further, the heavy, bronze-headed spear and the short, double-edged steel sword are traditionally regarded as the worthy, and prime, weapons of the Gorean fighting man, he at least who is a true fighting man; and, similarly traditionally, archers, who slay from a distance, not coming to grips with their enemy, with their almost invisible, swiftly moving shafts of wood, those mere splinters, are regarded as being rather contemptible, almost on the periphery of warriorhood; villains in Gorean epics, incidentally, when not of small and despised castes, are likely to be archers; I had heard warriors say that they would rather be poisoned by a woman than slain by an arrow.
Raiders of Gor Book 6 Pages 3 - 4
Ho-Hak unstrung the bow. "It is with this," he said, "that peasants defend their holdings."
. . .
"Are you of the peasants?" asked Ho-Hak of me. "No," I said. "I am of the Warriors."
"This bow, though," said one of the men holding my neck ropes, "is of the peasants."
Raiders of Gor Book 6 Pages 20 - 21
"There are peasants who live along the edges of the delta, particularly to the east."
Raiders of Gor Book 6 Page 21
The Bosk is a large, homed, shambling ruminant of the Gorean plains. It is herded below the Gorean equator by the Wagon Peoples, but there are Bosk herds on ranches in the north as well, and peasants often keep some of the animals.
Raiders of Gor Book 6 Page 26
"What is your caste?" I asked.
"I am of the peasants," he said proudly.
Raiders of Gor Book 6 Page 84
"Ha!" cried Thurnock. And then he seized up a length of binding fiber. "Submit!" he boomed at the large, blond girl and, terrified, almost leaping, she lowered her head thrusting forward her hands, wrists crossed. In an instant, with peasant knots, Thurnock had lashed them together.
Raiders of Gor Book 6 Page 93
"The Peasants," cried out Thurnock, his voice thundering over the marsh, "are the ox on which the Home Stone rests!"
"But I am of the Rencers!" she wailed.
The Rencers are often thought to be a higher caste than the Peasants.
Raiders of Gor Book 6 Page 94
He was a large man in the rough rain robes of the peasant. Near him, leaning against the wall behind him, wrapped in leather to protect it from the dampness, was a yellow bow, the long bow of the peasants.
Raiders of Gor Book 6 Page 181
I felt the one-strap of the tarn harness jerk tight across my body, and, suddenly, taking my breath away, the great bird screamed and began to beat its wings, and the saddle pressed up against my back, and I, upside down, saw the conical huts of the peasants drop away below us, and the bird, stroke by violent, majestic stroke, its head forward, was climbing toward the clouds.
Captive of Gor Book 7 Page 254
I remembered the peasants, with their switches and sticks. I trembled. I knew, too, that such men often used girls, with the bosk, to pull plows, under whips. At night, unclothed, when not being used, they were commonly chained in a straw kennel with a dirt floor.
Captive of Gor Book 7 Page 265
How hard to me, and cruel, seemed the face of the High Initiate. How rich they were, the initiates, and how little they did. The peasant tilled his fields, the fisherman went out in his boat, the merchant risked his capital. But the initiate did none of these things. Rather he lived by exploiting the superstitions and fears of simpler men.
Marauders of Gor Book 9 Page 35
The Gorean peasant is a resolute, strong fellow, upright and stubborn, who prides himself on his land and his sovereignty. Also, he is usually the master of the Gorean longbow, in the wake of which liberty is often to be found. He who can bend the longbow, a peasant saying has it, cannot be slave. Women, of course, it might be noted, lack the strength to bend this bow. I suppose if they could bend the bow, the saying would not exist or would be altered. That is the way men are.
Slave Girl of Gor Book 11 Page 112
Thurnus was a shaggy haired fellow, with yellow hair, big, broad-shouldered, large-handed, clearly in his bones and body of the peasants. He was caste leader in Tabuk's Ford.
Slave Girl of Gor Book 11 Page 135
On the wall of the hut, behind Thurnus, hung the great bow, of supple Ka-la-na. It was tipped with notched bosk horn. It was now unstrung, but the string, of hemp, whipped with silk, lay ready, looped loose upon the broad, curved yellow wood. Near the bow hung a mighty quiver, in which nestled flight and sheaf arrows, and many of each thereof. Such a weapon I could not even bend. It required, too, not simply the strength of a man, but of a man who was unusually strong. Most men, no more than a woman, could use such a fearsome device. It was a common weapon among peasants. It is often called the peasant bow. The other common peasant weapon is the great staff, some six feet in length, some two inches in width.
Slave Girl of Gor Book 11 Page 139
The sun was high overhead. It was hot. There was a peasant's kerchief on my head.
I worked in my master's fields. I was alone. I wore a peasant's tunic. It was white and sleeveless, of the wool of the Hurt. It came high on my thighs.
Slave Girl of Gor Book 11 Pages 190 - 191
I had well learned toil, and misery. It is not easy to be a peasant's girl.
It is a hard slavery.
Slave Girl of Gor Book 11 Page 194
The peasant hoe has a staff some six feet in length. Its head is iron, and heavy, some six inches at the cutting edge, tapering to four inches where it joins the staff. It is fastened to the staff by the staff's fitting through a hollow, ringlike socket at its termination. A wedge is driven into the head of the staff to expand and tighten the wood in the socket.
Slave Girl of Gor Book 11 Page 201
In the middle of the morning we return to the hut of Thurnus, where pans of slave gruel have been put out for us, beneath the hut. This gruel must be eaten, and the pans licked clean. In the manner of peasant slave girls we kneel or lie upon our bellies and may not use our hands.
Slave Girl of Gor Book 11 Page 202
Ten days ago Thurnus had used me for plowing. He did not own bosk. Girls are cheaper than bosk.
Slave Girl of Gor Book 11 Page 202
"My master is Thurnus," I said, "caste leader in Tabuk's Ford, of the caste of peasants, one who makes fields fruitful and is, too, a trainer of sleen." I was proud of Thurnus, who owned me. A peasant who is actively engaged in agricultural pursuits is spoken of as one who makes fields fruitful. Sometimes this expression is applied, too, to peasants who are not actively engaged in such pursuits, as an honorific appellation.
Slave Girl of Gor Book 11 Page 212
Some masters enjoy having their girls raped occasionally; it serves to remind them that they are slaves. This sort of rape is not uncommon in a peasant village. It is usually taken for granted and ignored, save perhaps by the abused girls, but they are only slaves. Indeed, it is sometimes encouraged, to pacify young men whose natural aggressions otherwise might turn aside into destructive channels. It is also regarded, at times, as an aid in helping young males attain their manhood. "If she pleases you, run her down, and take her, son," is a not uncommon piece of paternal advice in a peasant village.
Slave Girl of Gor Book 11 Page 227
I sensed that the codes were to be invoked. What Bran Loort and his fellows had done exceeded the normal rights of custom, the leniencies and tacit permissions of a peasant community; commonly the codes are invisible; they exist not to control human life, but to make it possible. The rapes of Verr Tail and Radish, interestingly, had not counted as code breaches, though in neither case had explicit permission for their conquest been granted by Thurnus; such permission, in such cases, was implicit in the customs of the community; it did not constitute a "taking from" but a brief use of, an "enjoyment of," without the intent to do injury to the honor of the master; "taking from," in the sense of the code is not, strictly, theft, though theft would be "taking from." "Taking from," in the sense of the codes, implies the feature of being done against the presumed will of the master, of infringing his rights, more significantly, of offending his honor. In what Bran Loort had done, insult had been intended. The Gorean peasant, like Goreans in general, has a fierce sense of honor.
Slave Girl of Gor Book 11 Page 228
"Only the caste leader may call the council," said Bran Loort. "And I do not choose to summon it into session."
Slave Girl of Gor Book 11 Page 228
In this the villagers, with the exception of the two contestants, leave the village and the gate is closed. Each contestant carries in the village his bow, the great bow, the peasant bow, and five arrows. He who opens the gate to re-admit the villagers is caste leader.
"No," said Bran Loort, uneasily. He did not care to face the bow of Thurnus. The skill of Thurnus with the great bow was legendary, even among peasants.
"Then," asked Thurnus, "it will be the test of knives?"
In this the two men leave the village and enter, from opposite sides, a darkened wood. He who returns to the village is caste leader.
Slave Girl of Gor Book 11 Page 229
Few men, I thought, would care to meet Thurnus in the darkness of the woods armed with steel. The peasant is a part of the land. He can be like a rock or a tree. Or lightning that can strike without warning from the dark sky.
Slave Girl of Gor Book 11 Page 229
"I am sufficient onto the task of putting a slack, fat fellow such as you under caste discipline," grinned Bran Loort.
Slave Girl of Gor Book 11 Page 231
"The caste leader must know many things," said Thurnus. "It takes many years to learn them, the weather, the crops, animals, men. It is not easy to be caste leader."
Thurnus turned away, his head down, to tie his sandal. Bran Loort hesitated only an instant, and then he struck down, the staff stopped, striking across Thurnus's turned shoulder. It had been like striking a rock. Bran Loort stepped back.
"Too, to earn the respect of peasants," said Thurnus, straightening up, retrieving his staff, his sandal tied, "the caste leader should be strong."
Slave Girl of Gor Book 11 Page 233
Bran Loort turned away from the rack and bent down to pick up his tunic. He went to the gate and it was opened for him. He left the village of Tabuk's Ford.
"Follow him, who will," said Thurnus to the young men who had been his cohorts.
But none made to follow their former leader.
"Of what village are you?" asked Thurnus.
"Tabuk's Ford." they said, sullenly.
"And who is caste leader in Tabuk's Ford?" asked Thurnus, sweating, grinning.
"Thurnus," they said.
"Go to your huts," he said. "You are under caste discipline." They withdrew from the circle of the fire. I expected that they would tend his fields for a season.
Slave Girl of Gor Book 11 Page 234
We are brothers by the rite of the claws of sleen." Thurnus lifted his forearm where one might see a jagged scar. Ladletender, too, raised his arm, his sleeve falling back. On his forearm, too, there was such a scar. It had been torn by the claw of a sleen, in the hand of Thurnus; the same claw, in the hand of Ladletender, had marked the arm of Thurnus, their bloods had mingled, though they were of the peasants and merchants.
Slave Girl of Gor Book 11 Page 236
One of the penalties which may in a peasant village be inflicted upon a lying slave girl is to throw her alive to hungry sleen.
Slave Girl of Gor Book 11 Page 242
Sul paga, as anyone knew, is seldom available outside of a peasant village, where it is brewed. Sul paga would slow a tharlarion. To stay on your feet after a mouthful of Sul paga it is said one must be of the peasants, and then for several generations. And even then, it is said, it is difficult to manage. There is a joke about the baby of a peasant father being born drank nine months later.
Slave Girl of Gor Book 11 Page 414
Then we saw Bran Loort backed against the wall, with what must have been twenty angry men of Ar encircling him. He looked wildly about himself. He saw Thurnus. "There are only twenty!" called Thurnus. "And you are of the peasants!" He flung his staff to Bran Loort, who caught it.
Slave Girl of Gor Book 11 Page 415
Joyfully he seized my ankles and dragged me to him, and then, with a peasant's roughness, thrust them widely apart.
Slave Girl of Gor Book 11 Page 418
Two peasants walked by, in their rough tunics, knee-length, of the white wool of the Hurt. They carried staves and grain sacks. Behind them came another of their caste, leading two milk verr which he had purchased.
I returned my attention to the puppet show. Now upon its tiny stage was being enacted the story of the Ubar and the Peasant. Each, wearied by his labors, decides to change his place with the other. Naturally this does not prove fruitful for either individual. The Ubar discovers he cannot tax the bosk and the Peasant discovers his grain cannot grow on the stones of the city streets. Each cannot stop being himself, each cannot be the other. In the end, of course, the Ubar returns gratefully to his throne and the peasant, to his relief, manages to return to the fields in time for the spring planting. The fields sing, rejoicing, upon his return. Goreans are fond of such stories. Their castes are precious to them.
Beasts of Gor Book 12 Pages 47 - 48
To be sure, certain skills tend to be associated traditionally with certain castes, a fact which is clearly indicated in caste titles, such as the Leatherworkers, the Metalworkers, the Singers, and the Peasants.
Fighting Slave of Gor Book 14 Pages 209 - 210
It was a blond-haired peasant girl, thick-ankled and sturdy, from south of the Vosk. She was being sold from a rough platform on the wharves of Victoria. She wore a chain collar.
"Two tarsk bits," came a call from the crowd.
Rogue of Gor Book 15 Page 67
"When, fleeing from the brigands, I advised seeking refuge in the peasant village," said one, "I did not realize they would take us."
"Peasants are not too fond, generally, of free persons from the high cities," said one of them.
"We were not of their village," said another.
"Doubtless they will use the proceeds from our sale to supplement their income," said one of them.
"If they do not drink it up in the paga taverns first," said the second girl, bitterly.
Rogue of Gor Book 15 Page 69
Five days ago I had been returning to the camp of Boots Tarsk-Bit, coming back from a nearby village where I had gone to fetch Sa-Tarna grain, from which the girls, back at the camp, using stones and flat rocks, sifters and pans, would produce flour. This was somewhat cheaper than buying the flour directly, for then one must pay the cost of the peasant women's work or that of its millage.
Players of Gor Book 20 Page 258
It stood like most Gorean villages at the hub of its wheel of fields, the fields, striplike, spanning out from it like spokes. Most Gorean peasants live in such villages, many of them palisaded, which they leave in the morning to tend their fields, to which they return at night after their day's labors.
Mercenaries of Gor Book 21 Page 15
In Samnium she had been a rich woman, of a family well known on its Street of Coins. Doubtless many times she would have held herself a thousand times superior to the poor peasant women, coming in from the villages, in their bleached woolen robes, bringing their sacks and baskets of grain and produce to the city's markets.
Mercenaries of Gor Book 21 Pages 19 - 20
Secondly, it is not unusual either for many peasants to keep animals in the house, usually verr or bosk, sometimes tarsk, at least in the winter. The family lives in one section of the dwelling, and the animals are quartered in the other.
Mercenaries of Gor Book 21 Page 22
I recalled the free woman I had met last night in her hut. She had not come down to the wagons as far as I knew. We had left her before she had awakened. I had left some more food with her, and had tied a golden tarn disk of Port Kar, from my wallet, in the corner of the child's blanket. With that she might buy much. Too, with it, or its residue, she might be able to make her way to a distant village, far from the trekking of armies, where she could use it as a bride price, using it, in effect, to purchase herself a companion, a good fellow who could care for herself and her child. Peasants, unlike women of the cities, tend to be very practical about such matters. She had shown me hospitality.
Mercenaries of Gor Book 21 Page 40
The wagons often move. There must be new grazing for the bosk. There must be fresh rooting and browse for the tarsk and verr. The needs of these animals, on which the Alars depend for their existence, are taken to justify movements, and sometimes even migrations, of the Alars and kindred peoples. Needless to say, these movements, particularly when they intrude into more settled areas, often bring the folk of the laagers into conflict with others peasants and, of course, shortly thereafter, townsfolk and city dwellers who depend on the peasants for their foodstuffs.
Mercenaries of Gor Book 21 Pages 43 - 44
"Would you like to be a naked slave of peasants, a community slave, in a peasant village," I asked, "and wear a rope collar, and be taught to hoe weeds and pull a plow, and spend your nights in a sunken cage?"
Mercenaries of Gor Book 21 Page 213
The tenth Ahn was the Gorean noon. The square would be crowded at that time. To be sure, it is crowded in different ways at different times, during the day. In the morning the peasants come in from the countryside and spread out their blankets, and arrange their baskets of produce.
Dancer of Gor Book 22 Page 278
Accordingly, for various reasons, such as lack of citizenship, an inability to properly exercise it, resulting in effective disenfranchisement, or, most often, a fierce independence, repudiating allegiance to anything save one's own village, the farmers, or peasantry, are more likely to suffer from the results of cheap competition than their urban brethren. In the last several years, the institution of the "great farm," with its projected contracts, its organization and planning, its agricultural expertise, and its imbonded labor force has become more common on Gor. Some Gorean farmers own their own land, and some share in land owned by a village. It is not unknown for both sorts to receive offers from agents of the "Great Farms," sometimes owned by individuals, and sometimes by companies, whose capital has been generated by the investments of individuals who are, in effect, stockholders. Many times these offers, which are usually generous, are accepted, with the result that the amount of area under cultivation by the great farms tends to increase. Sometimes, it is said, that cruel and unfair pressure is applied to farmers, or villages, such as threats, or the burning of crops, and such, but I would think that this would surely be the exception rather than the rule. When the great farms can usually achieve their aims, statistically, by legitimate business measures there would be little point in having recourse to irregular inducements. Too, the Gorean peasant tends to be a master of the "peasant bow," a weapon of unusual accuracy, rapidity of fire, and striking force. Usually, as it is their caste policy, the farmers or villagers seek new land, usually farther away, to start again. They seldom attempt to enter the cities, where they might eventually contribute to the formation of a discontented urban proletariat. Their caste codes discourage it. Also, of course, they would generally not be citizens of the city and in the city there would be little opportunity for them to practice their caste crafts. Also, many cities, save those interested, for one reason or another, in increasing their population, for better or for worse, tend not be enthusiastic about accepting influxes of the indigent. Such have contributed, through economic hardship, or treachery, to the diminishment, and even fail, of more than one city. I think that the cities, on the whole, have mixed feelings about the great farms. Whereas they welcome currently lower prices on produce and greater assurances of its variety and quantifies, they also tend to regret the withdrawal or loss of the local peasantry, which provided them not only with a plethora of individual suppliers, tending to generate a free market, complex and competitive, but also with a sphere of intelligence and even defense about the city. An organization of great farms, acting in concert, of course, could reduce competition, and eventually regulate prices rather as they pleased, particularly with regard to staples such as Sa-Tarna and Suls. Accordingly some cities have been willing to offer inducements to farmers to remain in their vicinity, such as a liberalization of the requirements for citizenship, the performance of rural sacrifices, the holding of games in rural areas, subsidizing the touring of theatrical and musical troupes in the countryside, special holidays honoring the agricultural caste, which may be celebrated in the city, and so on. In many cases, these inducements appear to have been effective. The farmer likes to be appreciated, and to have the importance and value of his work recognized. He thinks of his caste as "the ox on which the Home Stone rests." Too, of course, he generally prefers to stay where he is. He is fond of the land he knows.
Dancer of Gor Book 22 Pages 303 - 304
Most Goreans, incidentally, do not attribute lightning and thunder to the grinding of the flour of Priest-Kings. They regard such things as charming myths, which they have now outgrown. Some of the lower castes, however, particularly that of the peasants, and particularly those in outlying villages, do entertain the possibility that such phenomena may be the signs of disunion among Priest-Kings and their conflicts, the striking of weapons, the rumbling of their chariots, the trampling of their tharlarion, and such.
Renegades of Gor Book 23 Page 18
It was within the cot, tearing at a piece of meat, a haunch of tarsk, hung from a rope. The rope was some two inches thick. The suspension of the meat reminded me of the way peasant women sometimes cook roasts, tying them on a cord and dangling them before the fire, then spinning the meat from time to time. In this way, given the twisting and untwisting of the cord, the meat will cook rather evenly, for the most part untended, and without spit turning.
Renegades of Gor Book 23 Page 120
"Of what caste were you?" I asked.
"Of the Peasants," she said. "We had too many daughters, too few sons. Two of my older sisters had already been sold into slavery before I was fifteen. One autumn my father's fields again failed. We were starving. I begged him to sell me. He then beat me, and bound me, and sold me."
Renegades of Gor Book 23 Page 438
I would have settled even for a peasant's slave, usually large, coarse girls, in rope collars, but the gates to their pens hung open.
Vagabonds of Gor Book 24 Page 70
"Surely you know the hunting of larls, the beating of game," I said.
"Surely," said a man.
"The ring can be pasangs in width," said a man.
"So, too, it is here!" I said.
In such drives, the ring growing smaller and smaller, hundreds of animals can be brought together at a given point. Peasants from different villages sometimes combine forces to engage in this form of hunting. Sometimes, too, animals desired for the arena are hunted in this fashion, usually to be driven, at last, by fire and spears into nets or cages.
Vagabonds of Gor Book 24 Page 143
"At least someone in the neighborhood seems cheerful," I said.
"Probably peasants," said Marcus.
I thought this might be true. There were many about, having fled before the march of Cos. Driven from their lands, their stock muchly lost, or driven before them, they had come to the shelter of Ar's walls. Still they were ready to sing, to drink and dance. I admired peasants. They were hardy, sturdy, irrepressible.
Magicians of Gor Book 25 Page 28
I saw some fellows gathered about a filled, greased wineskin. There was much laughter. I went over to watch. He who manages to balance on it for a given time, usually an Ehn, wins both the skin and its contents. One pays a tarsk bit for the chance to compete. It is extremely difficult, incidentally, to balance on such an object, not only because of the slickness of the skin, heavily coated with grease, but even more so because of its rotundity and unpredictable movements, the wine surging within it. "Aiii!" cried a fellow flailing about and then spilling from its surface. There was much laughter. "Who is next?" called the owner of the skin. This sort of thing is a sport common at peasant festivals, incidentally, though there, of course, usually far from a city, within the circle of the palisade, the competition is free, the skin and wine being donated by one fellow or another, usually as his gift to the festival to which all in one way or another contribute, for example, by the donation of produce, meat or firewood. At such festivals there are often various games, and contests and prizes. Archery is popular with the peasants and combats with the great staff. Sometimes there is a choice of donated prizes for the victors. For example, a bolt of red doth, a tethered verr or a slave. More than one urban girl, formerly a perfumed slave, sold into the countryside, who held herself above peasants, despising them for their supposed filth and stink, has found herself, kneeling and muchly roped, among such a set of prizes. And, to her chagrin, she is likely to find that she is not the first chosen.
Magicians of Gor Book 25 Pages 36 - 37
"How disgusting," said a free woman, nearby. I had not noticed her standing there until now.
"Be gone, slut!" said a peasant.
The free woman gasped, and hurried away. Peasants are not always tolerant of gentlewomen. To be sure, they do not always object to them when they come into their possession, as, say, they might after the fall of a city, or if one, say, has been captured and deliberately sold to them, perhaps by some male acquaintance, for one reason or another. Indeed, I suspect the hardy fellows upon occasion rather enjoy owning such elegant women, women who are likely in their loftiness to have hitherto disparaged or despised their caste. It is pleasant to have them in ropes, naked at their feet. Sometimes they are asked if they rejoice to now be owned by peasants. If they respond negatively they are beaten. If they respond affirmatively they are also beaten, for lying. Quickly then will the women be taught the varied labors and services of the farm. Interestingly these women, under the domination of their powerful masters, often become excellent farm slaves. Sometimes they are even permitted to sleep in the hut, at their masters' feet.
Magicians of Gor Book 25 Page 49
Did he think that the color of a fellow's garments was what made him a warrior? Surely he must realize that one not of the warriors might affect the scarlet, and that one who wore the grimed gray of a peasant, one barefoot, and armed only with the great staff, might be of the scarlet caste. It is not the uniform which makes the warrior, the soldier.
Magicians of Gor Book 25 Page 129
The truly dangerous peasant weapon is the peasant bow, or great bow. It is in virtue of that weapon that thousands of villages on Gor have their own Home Stones.
Magicians of Gor Book 25 Page 245
"Do not insult the caste of peasants," I said. "It is the ox on which the Home Stone rests."
Magicians of Gor Book 25 Page 272
The Peasants were generally regarded as the lowest of the castes, though why that should be I have never been able to determine. The caste is sometimes referred to as "the ox on which the Home Stone rests." I am not clear as to what a Home Stone is, but I have gathered that it, whatever it might be, is regarded as being of great importance on this world. So, if that is the case, and the Peasants is indeed the caste upon which the Home Stone rests, then it would seem, at least in my understanding, to be a very important caste. In any event, it would seem to me that the Peasants is surely one of, if not the, most significant of the castes of this world. So much depends upon them! Too, I am sure they do not regard themselves as being the lowest of the castes. In fact, I doubt that any caste regards itself as being the lowest of the castes. It would seem somewhat unlikely that any caste would be likely to accept that distinction. Perhaps many castes regard themselves as equivalent, or at least, as each being the best in diverse ways. For example, the Leather Workers would presumably be better at working leather than the Metal Workers, and the Metal Workers would presumably be better at working metal than the Leather Workers, and so on. One needs, or wants, it seems, all castes.
Witness of Gor Book 26 Pages 244 - 245
I trusted she would not fall into the clutches of peasants. I understand that they are not always tolerant of the laziness and insolence of arrogant, urban free women. They enjoy using them, when they obtain them as slaves, in the fields. I wondered how the women in the darkness would feel, sweating, harnessed naked to a plow, subject to a whip, or crawling, perhaps hastened by the jabbing of a pointed stick, into a dark, low log kennel at night. But perhaps she would be permitted to sleep chained at her master's feet, within reach, at his discretion. But I feared it might be dangerous to speak to this person. To be sure, we were both in the darkness. But she was free. I was not free.
"Do not be sensitive that you are only of the Peasants," said the woman. "There is much to be said for the caste."
"Yes," I said. "Those who eat are often thought to owe it a debt of gratitude."
Witness of Gor Book 26 Page 245
How that would have pleased me, your anger, your hatred, your misery, your frustration, your suffering, until, of course, eventually, perhaps years from now, in the arms of some master, a leather worker, a peasant, a sleen-breeder, your last psychological defenses would shatter and your womanhood, released, would cry out and claim you, reducing you to the welcomed, surrendered abject glory that is the right of your sex.
Prize of Gor Book 27 Page 200
"Sometimes by great encirclements," said Lydia, "but as the sleen is commonly nocturnal in the wild and can burrow quickly that is seldom effective. The usual method is to stake out a verr or slave girl, at night, and then, when the sleen comes to feed, concealed hunters attempt to kill it, usually with the quarrels of crossbows, sometimes with long arrows, the arrows of the great bow, the peasant bow. If the hunters are successful, they regard themselves as fortunate."
Prize of Gor Book 27 Page 267
It occurred to her that she had perhaps been fortunate, given her unimportance and her lack of value here, to have been purchased by a tarnkeeper. She might have been purchased by a peasant, slept chained in a hovel, and, harnessed, struggled to plow his fields.
Prize of Gor Book 27 Page 307
"See him, the peasant, there, he, the fourth in the line, those men carrying suls!"
Ellen did indeed see the figure referred to by her companion, but noted little of interest, or little out of the ordinary. To be sure, the man who was fourth in the line, a line of some ten or eleven men, was a very large man, an unusually large man, but many of those of the Peasants are well built, even massive. His hair was long and unkempt, his tunic ragged. He was bearded. He was partly bent over, as were the others, carrying, tied on a frame, in a large, open, netlike sack, large and bulging, a considerable quantity of suls, these golden-skinned, suls, a common, tuberous Gorean vegetable. They were doubtless on their way, coming from one of the nearby villages, to one of the wholesale sul markets in the city.
Prize of Gor Book 27 Page 322
The fellow who had halted the auctioneer was plainly clad, in a simple brown tunic, and was surely of low caste, perhaps of the peasants, or a drayman of sorts.
Prize of Gor Book 27 Page 491
Earrings, on Gor, interestingly, are placed on only the lowest of slaves. Nose rings, incidentally, for whatever reason, do not carry the same connotation of degradation, and such. Indeed, Ellen has been informed that in the southern hemisphere such rings are worn by even free women amongst certain nomadic tribes. Complex veiling and the Robes of Concealment are most common, of course, in urban areas, and particularly so amongst women of the higher castes. To be sure, even peasant women may veil themselves before strangers, and, one supposes, wisely.
Prize of Gor Book 27 Page 546
"See the arrow," said one of the soldiers.
Ellen had never seen such an arrow. It was quite different from the crossbow quarrels, of course, but, too, it seemed so much longer, and more slender, and lengthily feathered, than the arrows she had seen in the war quivers of Cosian archers.
"The peasant bow," said one of the soldiers.
"So it is peasants out there," said another soldier.
"I do not understand," said a soldier. "Peasants are commonly placid, even hospitable, until aroused."
"Surely we have done nothing to arouse them, not here," said a soldier. "We have purloined no stores, taken no women from the villages."
"There are no villages in the vicinity," said the officer. "The land here is dry most of the year. There is no river, no stream, no moving water."
"Then it is not peasants," said a soldier.
"The arrow has pierced the heart," said Fel Doron.
"An excellent shot, surely," said the officer.
"Consider the penetration," said Portus Canio.
"Flighted from more than a hundred paces?" speculated the officer.
"I think so," said Portus Canio.
"Perhaps the shot was a lucky hit?" said the officer.
"Perhaps," said Portus Canio.
"Or we might be dealing with a master of the peasant bow," said the officer.
"Perhaps," said Portus Canio.
Prize of Gor Book 27 Pages 615 - 616
From a gate at the level of the sand below and to their right, seven large Kurii, harnessed for war, entered the arena. Each carried a long, thick, metal bar, some ten feet in length, some three inches in diameter. Such an implement would have been difficult for many humans to lift, let alone wield. Kurii, however, might play with such a device as with a wand, or as a brawny peasant might with his stout, well-grasped defensive staff, a punishing implement which, well used, might overcome a blade.
Kur of Gor Book 28 Page 241
There would be no way for us to keep the Kurii from the arsenals."
"The great bow?"
"Certainly not," said Peisistratus. "We are not peasants."
"It is one of the most fearsome weapons on Gor," said Cabot. "How else do you suppose ten thousand small villages from Torvaldsland to Turia, from Thentis to Schendi, have retained the liberty of their Home Stones for centuries?"
"We are not peasants," said Peisistratus.
"Would that you had less prejudice against the bows of peasants," said Cabot, "for they can follow and pierce a jard in flight."
"There would be power weapons in the palace, of course," said Peisistratus. "Those alone might destroy your putative cohorts."
Kur of Gor Book 28 Pages 289 - 290
The bow is sometimes spoken of as the peasant's lyre.
"Ai!" exclaimed Cabot, muchly pleased, for the garland rested upon the long, quivering shaft, deep in the tree.
"It is a slight weapon, is it not?" asked Grendel.
"No," said Cabot. "It is, in its way, a power weapon."
It is spoken of sometimes on Gor as the Great Bow, or the Peasant Bow. As the power of such a weapon may not be clear to everyone, it is perhaps germane to what follows to speak of its nature. First, it is a weapon which requires considerable strength and skill to use effectively. A woman, for example, would be unlikely to be able to bend the bow, and many men could not. It requires great strength even to string the bow, let alone to draw it and fire the projectile. Too, even with the strength to bend the bow it requires additional strength to keep it bent, to steady it, and to train it on a target. Too, skill in its use does not come easily to all, for there are dozens of subtleties of judgment which will affect its accuracy, judgments such as those of distance, elevation, and wind. Too, in many situations, one must take account of the motion, and likely motion, of the target. In the hands of a typical peasant, however, this weapon is formidable. It has a remarkable rapidity of fire, far superior to its common Gorean competitor, the shoulder bow, or crossbow. In the time it takes to fire and reload the shoulder bow, even with a stirrup load, as opposed to a windlass load, it can fire several missiles. A sense of the range of the weapon is given by the fact that a peasant can fire a dozen missiles into the air before the first falls back to earth. It is accurate to two hundred yards and, at that range, can sink an iron-piled shaft four inches into a wooden stump.
Kur of Gor Book 28 Pages 375 - 376
"I think this twig is a coward's weapon," said Grendel.
"Peasants are not cowards," said Cabot.
"I do not like the bow," said Grendel.
"It is not a child's thing," said Cabot. "It is a powerful, effective weapon, and it requires skill to use it well. A mighty warrior confronted by two foes is often doomed, one foe engaging and the other striking. The archer might slay ten before the eleventh reaches him. Who, then, is the more redoubtable foe?"
"It seems not a noble weapon," said Grendel.
"The knife," said Cabot, "outreaches the hand, and the sword outreaches the knife, and the spear outreaches the sword. Is the knife then less noble than the hand, and the sword less noble than the knife, and the spear less noble than the sword?"
"No," said Grendel.
"Perhaps then," said Cabot, "the arrow is not less noble than the spear."
Kur of Gor Book 28 Pages 377 - 378
The winner of the archery contest was one of the men of Peisistratus, who had originally been of the peasants, of the village of Rarir.
Cabot, however, was not unskilled. He could, reportedly, draw a bow with most peasants. His preferred weapons, however, as was expected of his caste, were the sword and spear. His skill with the former tool was said to be deft, exquisite, and lethal.
Kur of Gor Book 28 Page 630
But, too, should not each caste concern itself with its own business, the metal worker with metals, the peasant with the soil, the mariner with the sea, and so on?
Swordsmen of Gor Book 29 Page 2
'Talena', it might be noted, was at one time a common name on Gor, much as dozens of other names. To be sure, it was a high-caste name, rare amongst the lower castes. But even so, it was not unknown in the lower castes, and I have encountered it even amongst the Peasants, the fundamental caste, the "Ox on which the Home Stone rests."
Mariners of Gor Book 30 Pages 10 - 11
Then I thought, "No, the Priest-Kings would not build such mortal frames, and, if so, not of wood. Stories had it that they rode within ships, but strange ships, round, flat ships, like disks, disks of metal, which moved like clouds, swift as thought, in silence. Some claimed to have seen them over the palisade of the Sardar. But such stories must be false, as they were denied by Initiates, the white caste, highest and worthiest of all the castes, as they were intermediaries between Priest-Kings and mortals. How wise they were, and how powerful they were, how sacrosanct and holy they were, to have the ear of Priest-Kings, to have at their disposal the prayers, the spells, the rituals, the devotions, and sacrifices by means of which Priest-Kings might be swayed, by means of which their favor might be garnered. It was no wonder that that they were consulted by Ubars bearing baskets of gold, and simple Peasants, with a handful of suls. They were celebrated by cities and villages. They were petitioned by Merchants embarking on bold, uncertain ventures, by gamblers with an interest in the summer tharlarion races. Assassins sought their blessing. Some of the loveliest buildings on Gor were their temples. They lived well. They were frauds, laden with corruption.
Mariners of Gor Book 30 Pages 29 - 30
Peasants, masters of the great bow
Mariners of Gor Book 30 Page 43
Whereas all natural societies are characterized by rank, distance, and hierarchy, acknowledged or not, I think there is no Gorean caste, from the highest to the lowest, which does not regard itself as the equal or superior, in one way or another, to that of every other. Where would society be without the Builders, the Merchants, the Metal Workers, the Cloth Workers, the Wood Workers, the Leather Workers, the Peasant, with the great bow, the ox on whom the Home Stone rests?
Mariners of Gor Book 30 Pages 365 - 366
As slaves they were poor stuff. I doubted that, stripped and exhibited, they would bring much off the block. To be sure, some men might like them. Perhaps some Peasants might buy them, to hoe suls, to pick beans, to swill tarsks, to draw the plow, to warm their feet in the winter.
Mariners of Gor Book 30 Page 376
I did note, however, the brown and black of the Bakers, the black and gray of the Metal Worker, the brown of the Peasants, and several others.
Mariners of Gor Book 30 Page 504
Many Goreans, particularly of the lower castes, and some of the Warriors, a high caste, cannot read. Literacy is accepted in the lower castes, but not encouraged. There are Peasants who have never seen a written word. Some Warriors take pride in their inability to read, regarding that skill as unworthy of them, as being more appropriate to record keepers, tradesmen, clerks, and such, and some who can read take pains to conceal the fact. Swords, not words, rule cities, it is said. And some Goreans feel that reading is appropriate only for the less successful, those too poor to have their reading done for them, their letters written for them, and such. Slaves, unless formerly of high caste, are often illiterate. And barbarian slaves are seldom taught to read. This produces the anomaly that many barbarian slaves, who are generally of high intelligence, will be literate in one or more of the barbarian languages, but illiterate in Gorean. Indeed, they are often kept so, deliberately, that they may be all the more helpless, as slaves, and know themselves all the better as mere slaves. Needless to say, all members of my caste, even from childhood, are taught to read.
Mariners of Gor Book 30 Page 516
My first master was Menon, of the Peasants. He did not have a holding, nor did he till the fields. If he had, he would have looked for a larger, sturdier girl than I, one who in harness, alone or with another, might drag a hoeing plow. Menon maintained a public eating house near the sun gate, so spoken of because it is opened at dawn and closed at dusk. Several girls worked in the large kitchen, behind the eating hall, amongst whom I was placed.
Conspirators of Gor Book 31 Page 150
Menon nodded. Although his establishment was within the walls of Ar, it was not likely he shared its Home Stone. As he was of the Peasants, I supposed his Home Stone, the community stone, so to speak, not that of his domicile would be that of some village in the environs of Ar.
Conspirators of Gor Book 31 Page 159
A Tarnster, come from the crowd, was passing. Near him, similarly withdrawing, was a fellow in the brown of the Peasants, a bundle of the leafy vangis over his shoulder.
Conspirators of Gor Book 31 Page 265
In another Ahn or so, some of the smaller gates would open, and many Peasants, with their baskets and sacks of fresh produce, would begin to make their way to the various markets in the city.
Conspirators of Gor Book 31 Page 295
"That is the sword of Trachinos, he of Turia," said a fearsome voice, that of a large, bearded fellow clad in the brown of the Peasantry.
But I feared this was no Peasant.
Certainly he carried no staff, no great bow no sheaf of long arrows, at his left hip.
Conspirators of Gor Book 31 Page 363
None of the men, I took it, knew the Peasant bow the great bow, else such a formidable weapon would have been carried, one of rapidity of fire, of remarkable penetration. Had Trachinos been truly of the Peasants, as his garb suggested, he would have known that weapon, and not been without it. Peasant boys, from childhood, are trained in the use of bows, preparing them for the day when they will have the strength to draw the great bow, on which day they are accounted men, suitable for mating with free women.
Conspirators of Gor Book 31 Page 416
The robe, I suspected, was of a single layer. It was brown, soiled, and ragged at the hem. It suggested the garment of a Peasant woman, who might work in the fields.
Conspirators of Gor Book 31 Pages 589 - 590
Attempting to withdraw, they found the building surrounded by a large number of armed men, many armed with crossbows, and some, Peasants, armed with the great bow, the Peasant bow.
Conspirators of Gor Book 31 Page 629
"I do not even know the caste of my Master," I said.
"It is what I wish it to be," he said, "a Metal Worker a Forester, a Poet, or Singer, a Cloth Worker, a Peasant, a Scribe, such things."
"I do not understand," I said.
"It is sometimes convenient to be of one caste, sometimes of another."
"It is a disguise," I said.
"Of course," he said. "In some ventures, in some pursuits, it is well to blend in, to attract less attention."
Conspirators of Gor Book 31 Page 660
I looked at the coin lying on the table. It was interesting how such small, inert objects could move men, and ships, cavalries, and armies.
"Some men have never seen such a coin," I said.
"Laborers, common laborers, peasants, verr tenders," he said.
Smugglers of Gor Book 32 Page 45
Among the peasants it is not unknown for us to struggle against our harness, dragging our master's plow.
Smugglers of Gor Book 32 Page 110
Where the sleen ranges, peasants, foresters, and such, commonly remain indoors at night, or, if venturing out, are likely to do so in armed groups.
Smugglers of Gor Book 32 Page 254
"I know something of such matters," I said. "One hunts women where there are women, where game is plentiful, in cities, towns, even peasant villages, on traversed roads, on caravan routes, on pilgrimages to the Sardar, and such, not in the wilderness of the northern forests, not on the scattered, rocky skerries of Torvaldsland, not in the frozen expanses of Ax Glacier, not in the scalding wastes of the Tahari, far from caravan routes and oases."
Smugglers of Gor Book 32 Page 326
Men see land differently, the merchant in terms of profitability, the sage in terms of quietude the poet in terms of mood, the painter in terms of beauty, the peasant in terms of home, in terms of soil, fertility, tillability, and yield. But I feared I saw it differently. I was of the scarlet caste. The military eye does not see land as others see it. It sees it in terms of what might be done, and not done, and how easily, sees it in terms of movement, columns, the marshaling of men, the arrangement of troops, the order of battle in terms of passage heights, time, concealment, attack, marches, and tactics. High grass, a wood, may conceal foes. If there is a marsh to the right, would the attack not be likely from the left? Has a frightened animal darted past? What has frightened it? Keep high ground on the shield side.
Rebels of Gor Book 33 Page 9
As mentioned, Tuchuks seldom close with their foe. It is not necessary. In this sense, in their way, they resemble the caste of peasants, masters of the great bow.
Rebels of Gor Book 33 Page 284
(speaking of the Pani sword)
Too, perhaps it is unwise to allow, say, a peasant, or merchant, to possess an object of such lethal beauty;
Rebels of Gor Book 33 Page 345
"On continental Gor," I said, "the Peasants is a proud caste. It is the ox on which the Home Stone rests."
"That is a saying?" said Haruki.
"A very old saying," I said.
"What is an ox?" asked Haruki.
"A large, strong animal, a mighty animal," I said.
"What is a Home Stone?" inquired Haruki.
"It is the meaning, the difference," I said , "that for which men will kill, that for which men will die."
"It is very important?" said Haruki.
"Very much so," I said.
"It is hard to understand," said Haruki.
"It is less to be defined than cherished," I said.
"It is as the garden?" said Haruki.
"Yes," I said "and as Thassa, as fields of Sa-Tarna, as the crags of the Voltai, the skerries of bleak Torvaldsland, the steaming flower-strewn basin of the Ua beyond Schendi, the gleaming stars of the sky."
"It is perhaps then not so lowly to be of the peasants," said Haruki.
"Not at all," I said.
"It is the ox on which the Home Stone rests," said Haruki.
"That is the saying," I said.
"And it is an old saying," said Haruki.
"A very old saying," I said.
Rebels of Gor Book 33 Pages 376 - 377
A fellow in a short, brown tunic, a sack upon his shoulder, made his way between the cages. "No," I thought. "He does not look prosperous. I shall not appeal to him." In those days I could not even read the caste colors of Gor, not that all members of a caste could be depended on to appear only in caste robes, which, in many cases, were most likely to appear on caste holidays and city holidays. The fellow in brown, I would learn, would most likely have been of the Peasantry.
Plunder of Gor Book 34 Page 103
For the most part, however, sa-tarna, harvested and threshed, was brought in by peasants, milled, and carried away by peasants. The fee for the milling was in tarsk-bits, but, most commonly, it was taken in kind, a portion of the flour going to the miller, who might then market it as his own.
Plunder of Gor Book 34 Page 140
We were apparently camisked because the gate of the mill yard was usually open in daylight hours, and free women might pass by. Too, sometimes peasant woman, accompanying their companions, brought grain to the mill.
Plunder of Gor Book 34 Page 141
Once, when I was laboring in a field, sickle in hand, with others, harvesting sa-tarna, a great shadow, as of a cloud, raced across the golden grain. I looked up. I heard girls scream, and I saw a sight that I would never forget, what had to be my first tarn, one of the enormous saddlebirds of Gor. Masters with us, peasants, who would bind the sheaves we cut and brought to them, looked up, shading their eyes. "Is it wild?" I asked the girl nearest me. "No," she said, trembling. "It has passed," said another girl. "No," said another. "It is turning!" said another. I saw two of the peasants seize up their bows, large things, at hand even in the field. Many men could not draw such a bow Arrows were put to the string. The tarn was now no more than fifty feet or so above the grain, approaching rapidly. "Down!" cried a master, "into the grain!" I and the others quickly crouched down, well concealed, for ripened sa-tarna, with its golden, nodding heads, can grow to the chest of a tall man.
Plunder of Gor Book 34 Page 152
"Remove your clothing, completely," he said.
"I am a free woman," she said, drawing back, against the wall.
"Completely," said Kurik.
"I have no serving slave at hand," she said. "How can you expect me to disrobe? I am no peasant. I am of the high merchants. Consider the intricacy of the fastenings."
Plunder of Gor Book 34 Page 462
"Besides, country slaves, the slaves of villas, of country houses, the slaves of peasants, are seldom restrained, except at night."
Plunder of Gor Book 34 Page 529
"Aktis," I said, "as is Thurnock, is of the peasants, the most fundamental of all castes, the ox on which the Home Stone rests."
"He is too small to be of the great caste," said Thurnock. "His voice may have changed, but I doubt he can yet grow a true beard."
"I do not wish to receive goods for which I have not labored," he said, "goods which I have not earned."
This view was typically Gorean.
On Gor existence was seldom seen as an entitlement to security, success, and good fortune.
The Peasants, in its way, might be the humblest of castes, but, in another way, it was amongst the proudest of castes.
"How proceeds Aktis in his lessons?" I asked Thurnock.
"Excellently, as would be expected," said Thurnock, "since he is of the Peasants."
The caste of Peasants, usually ensconced in remote, isolated settlements, tends to be wary and suspicious of other castes, commonly suspecting them of an impressive variety of ill doings, ranging from subtle deceit to outright chicanery, particularly in the spheres of fraudulent bookkeeping and dishonest weights. I always found this ironic as the average peasant, like the average Tuchuk, is commonly a bargainer whose sense of business shrewdness is not far removed from that of a practiced, marauding pirate. On the other hand, interestingly, a peasant is likely to trust another peasant, even from a remote village. That has something to do with the codes.
Peasants do their own slaughtering and think little of the spilling of blood. Too, they do not lightly regard insults to, or threats to, their Home Stones.
An inability to read is common amongst the Peasants, and not that uncommon in the lower castes.
"Men attend the fair from all the islands," she said. "And even headmen and high peasants may attend, from dozens of villages, mostly the larger, richer villages."
Whereas the main colors about were the peasant browns, in their variations, brightened with pins, ribbons and sashes, the colors of several other castes were visible, as well.
We knew that the bow had been prohibited to the Peasantry of the islands by Cosian law. Accordingly, Thurnock did not carry his bow at the fair. As far as I knew Aktis did not either. Certainly he was aware of the law, and doubtless more so than we.
"Peasants," I said, "have their codes, like other castes. Commonly they do not inform on one another."
"What right has he to speak?" called another.
"The Right of the Shared Hearth," said a man.
"We wait," called more than one man. "Speak, speak!"
"You think you are in no danger," said Aktis, "because you see no danger. You think there are no sleen because you have not yet felt their teeth. You think you are safe until the larl claws at your gate. Are we truly ignorant, naive, simple, thoughtless fools, just as the other castes think we are?"
"Beware!" cried several men.
Many castes do tend to look down upon the Peasantry, particularly in the larger cities. On the other hand, this was not a fault for which I could honestly blame myself. I had always entertained a high opinion of the Peasants, their wisdom, foresight, and astuteness, their understandings of seasons and weathers, their stalwart copings with winds and rains, droughts and floods, their somehow making fields rich and bountiful, their somehow bringing forth the harvests which enabled the high cities to touch the sky, which produced a world in which the glories of art and civilization were possible.
"I have a warrant for the arrest of Aktis of Nicosia," said the leader of the uniformed men, slapping his hand on his wallet.
"If so, display it, now," said Aktis. "There are many here who can read!"
I doubted that. Few of the brown caste can read.
"It is hard to move Peasants," said Clitus. "They are inert and unstirring, like mountains."
"But should a mountain choose to move," said Thurnock, "who will stand against it?"
"Word has spread," said Aktis. "Dozens of my caste brothers, from as many villages, recalling the fair at Mytilene, have come to Nicosia, for instruction in the making of bows. They no longer choose to put themselves, even if laws prescribe it, at the mercy of thieves and killers. They will now dare to protect themselves, their children, their companions, their possessions and lands."
"In the fields, outside their walls," said Thurnock, "the townsfolk might perish, starving and thirsting, dying of exposure and beasts, driven away from palisades, forced into the wilderness, by hostile peasants, jealous of their lands and resources, their crops, animals, and stores. Those of my caste look not benignly on crowds of dangerous, hungry refugees."
"One fled," said Thurnock, angrily. "One sought to save his skin, and may have been successful in doing so. One sought to flee, thus reducing defenders and imperiling his fellows the more, a Peasant, one of my own caste, Aktis of Nicosia."
"I cannot hate him," I said, "I cannot despise him. Do not do so either."
"He was my friend, I trusted him," said Thurnock. "We drank from the same bottle, we shared the same watch."
"Blame him not," I said. "His Home Stone is not ours. It is that of Nicosia. What hold have we on one whose Home Stone is not our own?"
"The hold of the sword brotherhood, the hold of fellowship," said Thurnock.
"Sometimes," I said, "it is not clear what honor prescribes."
"It can be hard to keep the codes," said Clitus.
"He will find no forgiveness in my heart," said Thurnock. "He has betrayed our caste."
"Be cheered," said Clitus. "Perhaps he will survive."
"But at a cost I would not pay," said Thurnock.
"It would be well to finish with a final, noble gesture," said Thrasymedes. "Such is not alone for the scarlet caste. What Merchant what Metal Worker, what Peasant, would have it otherwise?"
I reminded myself that Clitus was of the Fishermen and Thurnock of the Peasants. What do Fishermen and Peasants know of tospits?
"The women of the towns," said Thurnock, "are richly garmented, arrogant, proud, and spoiled. They look down on those of my caste. We are muchly pleased then when, in one way or another, they fall into our hands. Their soft, easy life is then done. We strip, brand, and collar them. We put them to work in the fields; they hoe and dig; they bear sacks and carry water; they weed and clear land; they scratch out stumps; we turn them into draft beasts, harnessing them to our carts, yoking them to our plows."
"Do you not use them for pleasure?" inquired a citizen.
"Certainly," said Thurnock, "in our blankets and furs, in their kennels, in the mud of tarsk pens, in the furrows of the field, and they will soon beg for our touch."
"My dear Thrasymedes," I said, "it seems Mytilene owes much to the simple, rude, benighted, ignorant Peasantry!"
"Let us drink with them," said Thrasymedes, "let us sing and feast together. The town needs the land and the land needs the town."
"You should now think twice," I said, "before you tell Peasant jokes."
"Only if they think at least once before telling town jokes," he said.
"Never," said Thurnock. "We should lose too many of our merriest jests."
Another cart filled with food trundled past.
"One cannot but respect one with the great bow," said Clitus.
"I suspect that even Cos will learn to do so," I said.
"It had better," growled Thurnock.
"It seems," I said, "that Aktis did not desert."
"Of course not," said Thurnock. "I knew he would not do so."
"Oh?" I said.
"Certainly," said Thurnock.
"How did you know?" I asked.
"He is of the land, the Peasantry," said Thurnock.
"We expected no succor from Peasants," said Thrasymedes. "They are tied to the cycles of the year and the seasons of custom. They are like the mighty Tur tree, rooted in place, slow to grow, and slow to change."
"Attend to the ancient myths, the stories told about the fire pits," said Thurnock. "Should the Tur tree anger and draw up its roots, it is much to be feared."
"An attack on one village is an attack on no single village alone," said Aktis. "It is an attack on the caste itself. To attack one Home Stone is to attack all Home Stones. To defend one Home Stone is to defend all Home Stones."
"Peasants have arisen from time to time," said Thurnock. "More than one town has awakened in terror to discover a wooden shoe nailed to its gate."
"None will see us leave," said Clitus.
"We cannot be sure of that," I said.
"True," said Clitus. "A spy might have been left behind, in the guise of a Peasant."
"No," said Thurnock. "Each must have a village, and each must be recognized by his fellow villagers."
"Mytilene?" asked Tab.
"Stressed and bloody," I said, "but whole and free."
"My caste," said Thurnock, "the mighty ox on which the Home Stone rests, strung its bows and arrows spoke."
"You would put wood against steel," I asked, "and not even the wood of the great staff of the Peasants?"
I drew back on the reins. "Hold," I called to the small tharlarion which drew our wagon. It grunted, and stopped, dust about its feet. The wagon was laden with bags of sa-tarna meal. By means of this pretense, and our guise as Peasants, we hoped to justify our presence in what might prove to be dangerous, protected terrain. What could be less suspicious and more harmless than some marketing Peasants with a field slave?
"You were watching the caravan," said Seremides. "I was watching behind us, for three puffs of smoke, a half pasang away."
"I took them for a Peasant's signal," I said, "indicating the presence of strangers, in this case, the presence of the caravan."
Iris's collar, which read "I belong to Geoffrey of Harfax" was explained in terms of the well-known stereotype imposed on the Peasants, namely, their unwillingness to part with so much as a tarsk-bit. Keeping a girl in her former collar constituted exactly the sort of saving for which Peasants, at least those of poor villages, were famed.
Peasants, I had learned, were not simple, and not stupid. They did tend to be shrewd and grasping. Each Peasant village, and each hut, had its own Home Stone.
Many Goreans, particularly of the lower castes, do not read. Also, interestingly, they do not see this as a handicap or deprivation. Reading, many say, is for Scribes. Also, if everyone could read and write their own letters, how would Scribes make a living? Some of the Scarlet Caste, the Warriors, who can read, pretend to lack that skill, perhaps lest they be looked down upon as Scribes, perhaps deeming such a skill incompatible with the profession of arms. On the other hand, aristocratic Pani warriors, at the World's End, pride themselves on their literacy, may compose poems on the eve of battles, and so on. In defense of many Goreans, if a defense might seem in order, they do listen to, relish, and often travel far, to see plays, attend song dramas, and hear stories, some of which may take several days to tell, particularly if they are from the lips of famed Singers. The name of this caste does not translate well into English, but it seems to me that "Singers" might be more apt than "bards, reciters, story tellers," "poets," and such. Some well-known singers are William of Harfax, Olaf of Kassau, Andreas of Tor, Hakeem of Turia, and Phaidon of Anango.
"Caste brothers!" said the man, gratefully.
Xenon and I, and Seremides, back in the wagon, and even Iris, were in the garb of the Peasants.
"I trust he was grateful," I said. "We risked much."
"He was very grateful," said Seremides. "He offered to give us half his load of suls for our help in his need."
"The shippers are merchants," he said. "If all goes well, they cheat the Peasantry, load fine, cheaply bought produce aboard, and sell it on the continent."
"Did all go well?" I asked.
"Less so than in the past," he said. "The Peasantry have acquired the great bow."
"On the continent," I said, "the Peasantry has had the great bow for a thousand years."
"They had not had to deal with Cos," he said.
The newcomers were four in number, two Peasants, a Wood Worker, and a Tarnkeeper.
"Ar thrives," said the Wood Worker.
"That is because, outside the walls," said the first Peasant, "we plant and harvest in peace."
"We are the ox on which the Home Stone rests," said the second Peasant.
"When we returned her to Rufus, if that be his name, the drover, he offered us half his load of suls in gratitude," I said. "That, in itself, should have made me suspicious. Peasants are narrow traders, eager to drive hard bargains. They are shrewd and thrifty. A Peasant might have offered half his load before his companion's return, but, the return assured, I think his gratitude would be less likely to extend so far."
"That was anticipated," said Grendel. "Accordingly, two servitors, known to you, came to Ar, to protect you, to assist you, and, if necessary, to die with you."
"Not servitors," I said, "but friends."
"A Peasant and a fisherman," said Grendel.
"Thurnock and Clitus," I said.
"See," he said, "some of the sa-tarna has been broken, trampled."
"By careless Peasants, working the field," said Seremides, from the second wagon, Xenon at his side, on the wagon bench.
"Some damage is inevitable," said Thurnock. "But not like this."
"What do you make of it?" I asked.
"Someone, a large man," said Thurnock, "clumsy, uncaring, surely not of the Peasants, came through the field and emerged here."
The distinction between a field road and a forest road is not always one simply of location, one of open country as opposed to wooded country, but also one of nature, upkeep, and responsibility. The field road is commonly maintained by local Peasantry and is usually little more than a wide, cleared path. If one encounters an obstacle on such a road, say, a washed-out ditch or deep mire, one simply leaves the road and returns to it as soon as it is practical.