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by Terry Pratchett

Mau Timeline & Summary

  • Mau is returning from his coming-of-age ritual when he is interrupted by a giant tidal wave.
  • Luckily, he survives. Unluckily, it kills his entire people. Mau returns to his island home to find everyone dead.
  • He has to dispose of the bodies and start making a life for himself, by himself.
  • Around this time, he starts hearing loud voices in his head. They say they're the Grandfathers who guard the island.
  • Soon, he meets a ghost girl—a white (European) girl whose ship has crashed on the island during the tidal wave.
  • After some initial hilarious miscommunication (in which the girl almost shoots Mau) they become friends and learn each other's names. She says her name is Daphne. Oh, and he saves her from drowning.
  • Over time, more and more people arrive on the island.
  • One of the new residents, a priest named Ataba, antagonizes Mau, who no longer believes in the gods.
  • Mau constantly has to do things for the new arrivals, like milk a pig for a baby whose mother can't feed it.
  • Eventually Mau passes out from exhaustion and almost dies. Daphne really earns her keep by traveling into the realm between life and death to save him.
  • One day, Mau, Daphne, and Ataba rolls back the stone that guards the Grandfathers' cave and casually stroll inside like it's no big deal.
  • There, they find a giant stone statue hundreds of thousands years old, proving Mau's people were some of the earliest, most advanced people on Earth.
  • Trousermen—white explorers—arrive, bringing death and fear with them. Like they do.
  • Mau bests their leader, First Mate Cox, in a duel, sending him to sleep with the fishies. Well, the sharkies.
  • Daphne's father arrives, and Mau trades him a golden door for lots of scientific equipment.
  • Daphne sails away, Mau goes fishing, and we flash-forward to find that he lived many happy decades after that before dying. He now rests at the bottom of the sea next to Daphne.