Those of you who've read the earlier Quill Hedgehog stories will recognize certain Humanfolk features in some of the Animalfolk. It's bound to happen when we share the same world. We pick up the good and the bad from each other and only each one of us can decide what's good and what's bad, what to keep and what to drop. Poor, old Mungo Brown always seemed to keep the bad and drop the good.
Grozzies had done much the same thing. They'd once been
very bright people. But they'd become so superior, so
full of themselves, they saw little of what was good
outside their own ideas of the world. If we, too, look
only at our own ideas and nobody else's, there's a danger
the good in us will die and the bad grow. We feed on the
worst parts of ourselves ... just as fungus grows on dead
As it happened, the Grozzy commanders, men of rank in their world, had very high-sounding names; but they were names of an unpleasant sort of fungus . . . woodrot! Daedalia Quercina, Poria Monticola, Coniophora Cerebella and Merulius Lacrymans are all names for woodrot, which the four Grozzies had grown very like. Indeed, but for the effort of the Animalfolk, they'd have turned completely into fungus.
Perhaps there's a lesson there for all of us, if we don't listen to others and if we cease to see anything wonderful in the world. It doesn't usually happen to young folk, but neither does woodrot appear in healthy, young wood. It's when you start growing up that you pick up bad ideas, so beware!