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The Trousers of Time are a variation on a common theme within Pratchett's works - that there are many alternate realities flowing from the current state. Pratchett plays with multiple dimensions in this series as well as his Long Earth series. The Trousers are an image of a shape with one entrance and two exits. One might imagine entering time at the waistband and not knowing from which leg one may emerge. The concept is that history occurs as result of a myriad of often unconsidered, minor decisions.

The History Monks keep the Trousers pressed and mended (ie ensure that time and history is controlled properly. Occasionally they change the style to keep up with what the times should be; now and then one leg may be let out to extra-baggy or reduced to a stocking. Random chance is often good enough, but when it fails to provide the correct outcome Lu-Tze and the Monks of Oi Dong are there to help.

Referenced in[]

  • Guards! Guards!
  • Jingo - Vimes has a rare glimpse of the other trouser leg when he and and alternate timeline version of himself accidentally swap Disorganisers.
  • Thief of Time
  • Night Watch


The phrase "Trousers of Time" probably comes from the 1960's BBC radio comedy series "I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again" whose stars went on to be "Monty Python" and "The Goodies". One series included a Dr Who parody - "Professor Prune and The Electric Time Trousers" (said in a spooky voice with echo effects). The cast travelled the universe in the Time Trousers encountering dreadful jokes: "There's a library at the end of the left trouserleg", "Aha! A turnup for the book."