Character: Granny Weatherwax (from several of Terry Pratchett's excellent Discworld books)
Title: The Problem With Pibroch
Dialog: "Just shut up and blow that thing. The natives are getting restless."
The Problem With Pibroch
"I… I don't know, Miss Weatherwax," Nigel said, eyeing the haphazard pipes and dusty bag of the elderly instrument. "Last time…" his voice trailed off. Granny Weatherwax followed his gaze to the choppy surface of the lake below. The disturbance of the surface was no longer wind and waves, but a myriad of dark, rubbery bodies thrashing toward shore. As they watched, the creatures clambered through the deep ooze, lidless eyes fixed on the two figures on the hill above. They were coming.
"Oh, no!" Nigel said. "We're going to die."
"Aye, looks it," Granny said. "Unless you get that museum reject working."
"But as I was telling you…"
"Nigel!" Granny snapped, turning him almost completely around with the force of her words. "Just shut up and blow that thing. The natives are getting restless."
Nigel puffed and the bag swelled slowly, yowling a few anxious tones like a bellicose cat uncertain whether to fight or flee. Turning away from Granny Weatherwax's gaze, he tucked his elbow in, praying for something, anything better than his previous attempt. At first, nothing. Then the drone caught, but not the normal drone of a bagpipe, it was the rising note of a husky-voiced angel welcoming the dawn. Nigel almost dropped the instrument, but he found the chanter and started to play.
The notes rose in a melody that made the heart ache at the sheer, throbbing beauty of it. Like a mythic voice without words, it sang of battles and dancing and rocky cliffs above a melancholy sea. It sang of young love lost and found again, and of legendary heroes, and the comfort of a warm hearth in a midwinter cottage. It sang of birth and death and grief and joy, and Nigel had no idea whether he was playing these notes, but he didn't care. Face red and pounding, he kept playing.
The beasts had paused when he began, but redoubled their effort up the slope. Despite their ungainly bodies, they moved with determined swiftness. Nigel's heart thudded in his chest, but Granny stood as if merely waiting for the kettle to get on with its business.
Under the clarion hymn of the pibroch Nigel heard a susurration, which grew to a mumble, then a mutter. Advancing toward them from across the ridge was a ripple in the grass like a tide that spread wide across the hillside. The sound rose to a roar as Nigel could see the tide was a mass of tiny blue men, running with incredible speed. The living wave rolled up to their feet, and stopped. A tiny figure with a vibrant mass of cloth strips and feathers braided into his red mop of hair stepped forward and nodded to Granny. She returned the greeting and looked pointedly at the approaching monsters. The leader of the Nac Mac Feegle waved his cudgel and shouted "Hove to, laddies! There's fightin' tae be doone!"