Cabinet of Curiosity

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This is an artefact currently residing at Unseen University, and which is the only other thing, apart from golems, which is known to make Adora Belle Dearheart lose her usual spiky combativeness and come over all gooey and faraway. Apparently, when the University first acquired it, a wizard at the time had the rare wisdom and common sense to wonder what one of the best craftsmen and artisans in the City might make of it. Mr Dearheart brought his then-tiny daughter with him, and it's the sort of thing a girl remembers.

The cabinet, at rest, is demure and antique and slightly bow-legged. It has little clawed feet, a cabinet-makers' affectation or perhaps a universal law when making period furniture. Fully opened - or at least, as far as the wizards can get it to open - it resembles a monstrous many-branched tree in the shape of a venerable oak, which stretched the Tardis-like inner space of the university to the limits. Wizards on broomsticks were barely visible in the far-distant upper-branches.

Several hypotheses have been advanced to describe and attempt to explain the Cabinet's behaviour:

  • Ponder Stibbons:- "Technically, it appears to be a classic Bag of Holding but with n mouths, where n is the number of items in an eleven-dimensional universe which are not currently alive, not pink, and can fit in a cubical drawer 14.14 inches on a side, divided by P."
  • Adora Belle Dearheart:- "It's a sliding puzzle, but with lots more directions to slide" and "You know it wasn't built for or by a girl between the ages of four and, oh, eleven years old", or it would contain pink. Trust her on that. No girl of that age would leave out pink. And anyway, when she was a little girl, "it was just a magic box."
  • Moist von Lipwig:- "...Er, a drawer about a hundred yards long has just slid out of a box about fourteen inches square". And all along the sides of this hundred yard length are more drawers.And one of those has just slid out to a hundred yards' length at right angles to the first drawer. And guess what...

Apparently, that's what it does. Until Ponder Stibbons took an interest, it was up in the attic tucked away behind a long-deceased wizard's collection of stuffed frogs. Nothing stored in the Cabinet is bigger than fourteen inches square, but it appears to be able to contain an infinite number of things which are fourteen inches square. Such as an Umnian Golem's foot, a football or a bacon sandwich. It should also be noted that anything removed from the box must be returned within 14.14 hours. This includes the bacon sandwich, which in the case of Mr Floribunda had already been consumed by this time.

Mustrum Ridcully is rather wary of it, and never goes into the cabinet's room without first having armed himself some powerful spells. Quite apart from it's unknown nature, he fears that a great many dangerous items could be less than 14 inches square and lie concealed within one of its many drawers.

In The World of Poo we learn that the Cabinet of Curiosities is believed- as no scholar has plumbed its limitless depths- to contain samples from every living animal and insect in the multiverse, including more exotic animals such has the phoenix, unicorn and Quantum Weather Butterfly, and, presumably, the Counterweight Continent denizen, the Ting-Tang-Bang Cat, whose faeces is used for fireworks. It lacks, however, the scat of the rocking horse, which is thought to be rarer than anything known to humankind.

External Reference

Cabinet of Curiosities


In a very old episode of the future cop cartoon Judge Dredd, Dredd and fellow Judges Larson and Hershey briefly become very small (12")Curiosities in such a Cabinet, in this case toted by an intergalactic door-to-door salesman.

Note that 14.14 is (approximately) the square root of 200.