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A very minor anthropomorphic personification who on one occasion had to stand in for Death during an exceptionally busy time. Death was busy with an outbreak of the White Plague in Pseudopolis, and this allowed Scrofula his big break in attempting to claim the soul of Rincewind. Alas, like Mort, Scrofula is too inexperienced to cope and Rincewind, a seasoned practitioner at avoiding death, runs rings around him with a series of logical objections. Scrofula has never again been asked to cover the Duty, to the best of our knowledge.


Scrofula on Roundworld is any of a variety of skin diseases; in particular, a form of tuberculosis, affecting the lymph nodes of the neck. In adults it is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis and the word comes from the Latin scrofula, meaning brood sow.

In an episode of the BBC radio comedy show The Burkiss Way, called Avoid like the Plague..., broadcast in 1979, there is an extended parody of the film Masque of the Red Death (based on the Edgar Allen Poe novella of the same name). In the film, Prince Prospero is hounded by the Red Death, who plays a sadistic game with the evil Prince, toying with his life before finally claiming his soul. In the radio parody, however, Prospero is claimed by a nasally-challenged entity called Snifflynose, who in a bunged-up sort of way passes on Death's apology for not being able to attend to the matter personally, but what with this Red Death business it's a busy time right now. ("I normally deal with slight nasal congestion and hiding the box of paper hankies when you need it")