“I am caste leader,” said Bran Loort.
“In what village is that?” asked Thurnus.
“In Tabuk’s Ford,” said Bran Loort, angrily.
“Have you conveyed this intelligence to Thurnus of Tabuk’s Ford?” inquired Thurnus.
“I do so now,” said Bran Loort. “I am first in Tabuk’s Ford.”
“I speak for Thurnus, caste leader in the village of Tabuk’s Ford,” said Thurnus. “He speaks it not so.”
“I am first here,” said Bran Loort.
“In the name of Thurnus, he of the peasants, caste leader of the village of Tabuk’s Ford,” said Thurnus, “I speak. He, Thurnus, is first”
“I am first!” cried Bran Loort.
“No,” said Thurnus.
Bran Loort turned white.
“Will it be the test of five arrows?” asked Thurnus.
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 readmit 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.
“No,” said Bran Loort. 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 the lightning that can strike without warning from the dark sky.
Bran Loort lifted his staff. “I am of the peasants,” he said.
“Very well,” said Thurnus. “We shall subject this matter to grim adjudication. The staff will speak. The wood of our land will decide.”
“Good!” said Bran Loort. Slave girl of Gor, page 228, 229
“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, page 234
Thurnus, at the feast, stood up. He lifted a goblet of paga. Tup Ladletender,” said he, “by the rite of the claws of sleen, is my brother.
I lift my cup to him. Let us drink!” The villagers drank. Tup Ladletender rose to his feet. “You have shared with me tonight your paga
and your kettle,” said he. “I drink to the hospitality of Tabuk´s Ford.” There was a cheer. The villagers, and Thurnus, and Ladletender,
drank. “And, too, this night,” said Ladletender, “I drink to one with whom I do not share caste but that which is stronger than caste,
the blood of brotherhood, Thurnus, he of Tabuk´s Ford.” There was another cheer. The villagers, all, drank. Thurnus stood up again.
“I ask this free woman,” said he, indicating Sandal Thong, “for whom I muchly care, to accept me in free companionship.” There was a
great cry of pleasure from the villagers. Slave girl of Gor, page 239
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, may 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 fall, 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
quantities, they also tend (304) 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 of 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, page 303, 304
and larls?" asked Thurnus.
"I do not know," said Bran Loort.
"It is the codes," said Thurnus.
"The codes are meaningless noises, taught to boys,"
said Bran Loort.
"The codes are the wall," said Thurnus.
"I do not understand," said Bran Loort.
"It is the codes which separate men from sleen and
larls," said Thurnus. "They are the difference. They are
the wall." Slave Girl of Gor, pg 226-227
“Why do you laugh, Bran Loort?” inquired Thurnus.
“Only the caste leader may call the council,” said Bran
Loort. “And I do not choose to summon it into session.”
“Are you caste leader in Tabuk’s Ford?” asked Thurnus.
“I am,” said Bran Loort.
“Who has said this?” inquired Thurnus.
“I have said it,” said Bran Loort. And he gestured to his
fellows. “We have said it,” he added.
There were nine of them, including Bran Loort. They
were large, strong young men. “Yes,” said more than
one of them.
“I am sorry,” said Thurnus. “I had thought that you had
in you the makings of a caste leader.”
|This research is done on the series of books written by John Norman, the comments in italics are mine and my point of view.
Woman of Gor