Discworld Wiki
Advertisement

Rhumusphut is a Djelibeybian farmer whose only appearance in the Disworld opus is in the novel Pyramids. He is involved in an intractable battle with neighbouring farmer Ktoffle concerning ownership of an ox, which was resolved by the wisdom and judgement of Pteppic in his magisterial role of king, and reinterpreted according to long-standing custom, precedent and tradition by the high priest Dios. While Pteppic favoured slaughtering the beast and giving each farmer half, Dios read this as a salutary lesson to both of them re. the clause about coveting thy neighbours's ox, and duly confiscated it to be burnt as an offering on the Concourse of Gods. As a courtesy detail, both farmers were ordered to work three days in the fields of the King as payment and thanks that Pteppic had deigned to glance upon them. Pteppic displays his displeasure with Dios interfering in what Pteppic believe was a truly just decision by suggesting that the high priest will be enjoying beef that night. The scene resonates with the judgement of Solomon from the Bible (1 Kings 3:16-28 NKJV) and also with the Biblical prohibition of "coveting thy neighbour's ox" but it also has roots in the British manorial system where the local lord of the manor (in this case the king) was the magistrate. However the scene perverts Teppic's attempt to dispense wisdom and real justice by dividing the ox equally when Dios 'reinterprets' Teppic's words to give the whole cow to the priests and none to the claimants - Pratchett's sly comment on established religion.

Rhumusphut's name may be taken from the French for "rum" (Rhum) or from the character "Rhumus" from World of Warcraft combined with "Phut" which is an exclamation used to describe the sound of a muffled explosion in both French and English. If Pratchett's choice of Rhumusphut's name is based on the French it is probably not a coincidence that his adversary is Ktoffle whose name is clearly from 'Katoffel', the German word for 'potato' - Germany and France having been adveraries throughout much of their histories.

Advertisement