From Discworld & Terry Pratchett Wiki
|Occupation||stealing, fighting, drinking|
|Physical appearance||small but very strong|
|Residence||Ramtops, hubward Sto Plains|
|Books||Carpe Jugulum, The Wee Free Men, Feet of Clay, A Hat Full of Sky, Wintersmith, I Shall Wear Midnight, Snuff|
|Cameos||Monstrous Regiment, The Celebrated Discworld Almanak|
Pictsies or Nac Mac Feegle are six inches tall, red-haired, and blue-tattooed. Some of their number have taken to wearing skulls of small animals as helmets. In size they resemble gnomes, but pictsies often protest, (violently), if they are called such.
Nac Mac Feegle once lived in Fairyland in service of the Fairy Queen. They would steal and plunder from other worlds for the Queen's pleasure. While they didn't mind and largely enjoyed the adventure and theft, the pictsies were less enthusiastic about fighting the weak and stealing from the poor. The Queen did not have the same sense of what was right, and she was never satisfied.
Some time after the falling out between the Fairy Queen and the King of the Elves, the Queen somehow tricked the Nac Mac Feegle. They rebelled, broke away from the rule of the Queen, and took up residence in Diskworld as free agents. They remember vehemently with the battle cry: "Nae king! Nae quin! Nae laird! Nae master! We willna be fooled again!"
Pictsies live and operate as members of huge warrior clans. They have a social structure similar to bees, with one queen called a Kelda and hundreds of males (but without female "workers".) Pictsie clans live in rural areas, and make their living through stealing cows, sheep, eggs, and other things from farmers and some hunting and gathering when necessary. Pictsies are secretive, disguising their underground tunnels as rabbit holes or in burial mounds. We have encountered only a few clans so far:
- The Chalk Hill Clan. This is the clan for which Tiffany Aching was temporarily Kelda. It is home to the most well known pictsies, such as Rob Anybody, Daft Wullie and Big Yan.
- The Long Lake Clan. The Kelda is Big Aggie, and her daughter, Jeannie, came to marry Rob Anybody.
- Although it is not specifically mentioned, there is a clan up in the mountains, presumably the Ramtops, from which William the Gonnagle comes.
No pictsie clans have been reported to operate in cities. However, some members of other species do know about the existence of pictsies: the Lancre witches Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, for example. Pictsies occasionally do business with other people; once, Corporal Buggy Swires, the gnome Ankh-Morpork Watchman paid a pictsie clan a crate of whiskey in exchange for Morag, a highly trained buzzard (in Monstrous Regiment).
Personality and habits
All pictsies share one unusual belief. They believe that they are all already dead, and are in a sort of paradise world, where they are free to do whatever they please. By their own cheerful admission, the favorite activities of the feegles are: fighting, drinking, and stealing. They are fierce fighters, but somewhat lacking in intellect, as it is well known to the Feegles that one female has the brains of 100 males. They will fight anyone and anything, and one of the ways to select a group for a mission is simply to set them all fighting, and taking the last 50 or so still standing. They distrust the written word, believing that if your name is written down you can go to prison. In at least one clan, the pictsies' swords glow blue in the presence of lawyers. However, some clans, such as the Long Lake, have taken to writing, using their tiny scripts to "legally" get what can't be achieved by fighting or stealing. The Keldas of a clan also have unusual powers, called the "Hiddlins". It is partially because of this that they are given so much respect. Each clan also has a gonnagle, a sort of battle poet who may also play the mousepipes, which produce such a piercing screech that it causes enemies pain.
Being little people with antedilivian habits and their own language, they may have been inspired by the Lilliputians in Mistress Masham's Repose, which was read by Terry when younger.
Dialect and language
Feegles talk with a strong mountain brogue. Some of the more unusual words, and their equivalent meanings are:
- Big Wee Hag - Tiffany Aching
- Bigjobs - human beings.
- Big Man - chief of the clan (usually the husband of the Kelda).
- Blathers/blethers - rubbish, nonsense.
- Boggin - to be desperate, as in 'I'm boggin for a cup of tea.(you would be gaggin for a cup of tea) REAL MEANING(this food is boggin = this food tastes really bad)
- Bunty - a weak person.
- Carlin - an old woman, witch or not.
- Cludgie - the privy
- Coo - Cow
- Crivens! - A general exclamation, ranging in seriousness and severity. Used in place of swear words.
- Dinnae/didnae - do not/did not.
- Dree your/my/his/her weird - Face the fate that is in store for you/me/him/her.
- Eldritch - weird, strange. Sometimes means oblong, too, for some reason
- Geas - An oath of sorts, an obligation. Not a bird. REAL MEANING ->(give me that)
- Hag - Witch
- Hag o' Hags - A head witch or great witch
- Haggins/hagglins - What a witch does.
- Hiddlins - secrets
- Ken - Know.
- Midden - combination of dump, cesspit, dunnikin.
- Mudlin - Useless person.
- Offski - To leave or depart quickly. (Run away.)
- Pished - Tired....or so we are told. Pished = really drunk (we all got pished - we all got really drunk).
- Scunner - A generally unpleasant person.
- Scuggan - A really unpleasant person.
- Ships - Wooly things that eat grass and go 'baa'. Not to be confused with sailing or boats.
- Spavie - See Mudlin.
- Waily - general cry of despair.
- Special Sheep Liniment - Probably moonshine whiskey
In the Long Lake clan, the dialect is much stronger and harder to understand.
List of known pictsies
This list does not include honorary members of clans, for example Horace the Cheese, but only "true" feegles.
Chalk Hill Clan
- Rob Anybody - big man of the clan.
- Big Yan - biggest feegle.
- Daft Wullie - second in command.
- Fion - The old Kelda's daughter
- Hamish the Aviator - scout and messenger.
- No-As-Big-As-Medium-Sized-Jock-But-Bigger-Than-Wee-Jock-Jock - younger, apprentice Gonnagle.
- Old Kelda - Mother of Rob Anybody, Wullie and Fion, among others. Died after 70 years in charge.
- William the Gonnagle - old Gonnagle.
- Wee Dangerous Spike - a younger, inexperienced Feegle.
- Wee Bobby
- Medium Size Jock
- Wee Jock
- Not-Totally-Wee Georgie
- Slightly Mad Angus
Long Lake Clan
- Awf'ly Wee Billy Bigchin - very small gonnagle.
- Big Aggie - Kelda.
- Jeannie - New Kelda of Chalk Hill, married to Rob Anybody.
- Wee Mad Arthur - Carried off by a hawk as an infant, he was raised by peaceful gnomish shoemakers. His inherent Feegleness prevented him from fitting in, however. He is currently a member of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch.
A similarity occurs between Nac Mac Feegle of the Discworld and the Brownies seen in the sword and sorcery fantasy film, Willow; that is to say frequently drunk, and flying on the backs of birds for easy transport.
- Calling a Nac Mac Feegle 'a fairy' is considered to be a fairly quick method of committing Suicide.