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By Kit Cox
Name Nac Mac Feegle, Pictsies, The Wee Free Men
Race Pictsie
Occupation stealing, fighting, drinking
Physical appearance small but very strong
Residence Ramtops, hubward Sto Plains
Marital Status
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.


The 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 on the Discworld 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:

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, Nanny Ogg and Miss Treason, 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: that they are all already dead, and are in a sort of paradise world, where they are free to do whatever they please. When they seem to die, they go back to the world of the living.

By their own cheerful admission, the favourite 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.

Many Feegles 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", which includes prophetic dreams. 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.

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.)
  • 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.
  • Hag - Witch
  • Hag o' Hags - A head witch or great witch (e.g. Granny Weatherwax)
  • 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

Long Lake Clan

Clan unknown


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.

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.


  • Calling a Nac Mac Feegle a 'fairy' is considered to be a sure method of Suicide, though not for the usual Roundworld reasons: they have good reason to hate actual fairies.