The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth

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There is his imagination to be fed. That, after all, is the crown of every education
The reef of science that these little "scientists" built and are yet building is so wonderful, so portentous, so full of mysterious half-shapen promises for the mighty future of man! They do not seem to realise the things they are doing.

The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth (1904) by H. G. Wells is a scientific romance novel, most famous for having inspired various B-movie adaptations which failed to incorporate most of its plot and many of its themes, including some satirical elements as well as metaphoric social and spiritual allusions.

Book I : The Dawn Of The Food[edit]

How many big wasps came out that day it is impossible to guess…
  • In the middle years of the nineteenth century there first became abundant in this strange world of ours a class of men, men tending for the most part to become elderly, who are called, and who, though they dislike it extremely, are very properly called "Scientists."
    • Ch. I : The Discovery of the Food.
  • There is no doubt about what is not great, no race of men have such obvious littlenesses. They live so far as their human intercourse goes; in a narrow world; their researches involve infinite attention and an almost monastic seclusion; and what is left over is not very much. To witness some queer, shy, misshapen, grey-headed, self-important little discoverer of great discoveries, ridiculously adorned with the wide ribbon of an order of chivalry and holding a reception of his fellow men, or to read the anguish of Nature at the "neglect of science" when the angel of the birthday honours passes the Royal Society by, or to listen to one indefatigable lichenologist commenting on the work of another indefatigable lichenologist, such things force one to realise the unfaltering littleness of men.
    And withal the reef of science that these little "scientists" built and are yet building is so wonderful, so portentous, so full of mysterious half-shapen promises for the mighty future of man! They do not seem to realise the things they are doing.
    • Ch. I : The Discovery of the Food.
  • The Food of the Gods I call it, this substance that Mr. Bensington and Professor Redwood made between them; and having regard now to what it has already done and all that it is certainly going to do, there is surely no exaggeration in the name. But Mr. Bensington would no more have called it by that name in cold blood than he would have gone out from his flat in Sloane Street clad in regal scarlet and a wreath of laurel. The phrase was a mere first cry of astonishment from him. He called it the Food of the Gods in his enthusiasm, and for an hour or so at the most altogether. After that he decided he was being absurd.
    • Ch. I : The Discovery of the Food.
  • How many big wasps came out that day it is impossible to guess. There are at least fifty accounts of their apparition. There was one victim, a grocer, who discovered one of these monsters in a sugarcask and very rashly attacked it with a spade as it rose. He struck it to the ground for a moment, and it stung him through the boot as he struck at it again and cut its body in halves. He was first dead of the two...
    • Ch. II : The Experimental Farm.
  • And presently little Redwood, pioneer of the new race, first child of all who ate the food, was crawling about his nursery, smashing furniture, biting like a horse, pinching like a vice; and bawling gigantic baby talk at his "Nanny" and "Mammy" and the rather scared and awe-stricken "Daddy," who had set this mischief going.
    The child was born with good intentions. "Padda be good, be good," he used to say as the breakables flew before him. "Padda" was his rendering of Pantagruel, the nickname Redwood imposed upon him.
    • Ch. IV : The Giant Children.
  • I shall have to look out a lot of books to put in his way, and they'll have to be big type. Now what sort of books will he need? There is his imagination to be fed. That, after all, is the crown of every education. The crown — as sound habits of mind and conduct are the throne. No imagination at all is brutality; a base imagination is lust and cowardice; but a noble imagination is God walking the earth again. He must dream, too, of a dainty fairy-land and of all the quaint little things of life, in due time. But he must feed chiefly on the splendid real; he shall have stories of travel through all the world, travels and adventures and how the world was won; he shall have stories of beasts, great books splendidly and clearly done of animals and birds and plants and creeping things, great books about the deeps of the sky and the mystery of the sea; he shall have histories and maps of all the empires the world has seen, pictures and stories of all the tribes and habits and customs of men. And he must have books and pictures to quicken his sense of beauty, subtle Japanese pictures to make him love the subtler beauties of bird and tendril and failing flower; and western pictures too, pictures of gracious men and women, sweet groupings, and broad views of land and sea.
    • Ch. IV : The Giant Children.

Book II : The Food In The Village[edit]

  • Henceforth our whole story is one of dissemination. To follow the Food of the Gods further is to trace the ramifications of a perpetually branching tree; in a little while, in the quarter of a lifetime, the Food had trickled and increased from its first spring in the little farm near Hickleybrow until it had spread, it and the report and shadow of its power, throughout the world. It spread beyond England very speedily. Soon in America, all over the continent of Europe, in Japan, in Australia, at last all over the world; the thing was working towards its appointed end. Always it worked slowly, by indirect courses and against resistance. It was bigness insurgent. In spite of prejudice, in spite of law and regulation, in spite of all that obstinate conservatism that lies at the base of the formal order of mankind, the Food of the Gods, once it had been set going, pursued its subtle and invincible progress.
    • Ch. I : The Coming of the Food.
  • The Children of the Food grew steadily through all these years; that was the cardinal fact of the time. But it is the leakages make history. The children who had eaten grew, and soon there were other children growing; and all the best intentions in the world could not stop further leakages and still further leakages. The Food insisted on escaping with the pertinacity of a thing alive. Flour treated with the stuff crumbled in dry weather almost as if by intention into an impalpable powder, and would lift and travel before the lightest breeze.
    • Ch. I : The Coming of the Food.
  • Meanwhile, quietly, taking their time as children must, the Children of the Food, growing into a world that changed to receive them, gathered strength and stature and knowledge, became individual and purposeful, rose slowly towards the dimensions of their destiny. Presently they seemed a natural part of the world; all these stirrings of bigness seemed a natural part of the world, and men wondered how things had been before their time. There came to men's ears stories of things the giant boys could do, and they said "Wonderful!" — without a spark of wonder. … They were said to be digging a well, deeper than any well or mine that man had ever made, seeking, it was said, for treasures hidden in the earth since ever the earth began.
    • Ch. I : The Coming of the Food.
  • These Children, said the popular magazines, will level mountains, bridge seas, tunnel your earth to a honeycomb. "Wonderful!" said the little folks, "isn't it? What a lot of conveniences we shall have!" and went about their business as though there was no such thing as the Food of the Gods on earth. And indeed these things were no more than the first hints and promises of the powers of the Children of the Food. It was still no more than child's play with them, no more than the first use of a strength in which no purpose had arisen. They did not know themselves for what they were. They were children, slow-growing children of a new race. The giant strength grew day by day-the giant will had still to grow into purpose and an aim.
    • Ch. I : The Coming of the Food.
  • Looking at it in a shortened perspective of time, those years of transition have the quality of a single consecutive occurrence; but indeed no one saw the coming of Bigness in the world, as no one in all the world till centuries had passed saw, as one happening, the Decline and Fall of Rome. They who lived in those days were too much among these developments to see them together as a single thing. It seemed even to wise men that the Food was giving the world nothing but a crop of unmanageable, disconnected irrelevancies, that might shake and trouble indeed, but could do no more to the established order and fabric of mankind.
    • Ch. I : The Coming of the Food.
  • To one observer at least the most wonderful thing throughout that period of accumulating stress is the invincible inertia of the great mass of people, their quiet persistence in all that ignored the enormous presences, the promises of still more enormous things, that grew among them. Just as many a stream will be at its smoothest, will look most tranquil, running deep and strong, at the very verge of a cataract, so all that is most conservative in man seemed settling quietly into a serene ascendency during these latter days.
    • Ch. I : The Coming of the Food.
  • The fussy pointless Revolutions of the old time, a vast crowd of silly little people chasing some silly little monarch and the like, had indeed died out and passed away; but Change had not died out. It was only Change that had changed. The New was coming in its own fashion and beyond the common understanding of the world.
    To tell fully of its coming would be to write a great history, but everywhere there was a parallel chain of happenings. To tell therefore of the manner of its coming in one place is to tell something of the whole.
    • Ch. I : The Coming of the Food.

Book III : The Harvest Of The Food[edit]

Change played in its new fashion with the world for twenty years. To most men the new things came little by little and day by day, remarkably enough, but not so abruptly as to overwhelm.
Great and little cannot understand one another. But in every child born of man, Father Redwood, lurks some seed of greatness — waiting for the Food.
Through us and through the little folk the Spirit looks and learns. From us by word and birth and act it must pass — to still greater lives.
We fight not for ourselves but for growth, growth that goes on for ever. To-morrow, whether we live or die, growth will conquer through us. That is the law of the spirit for evermore.
To grow and again-to grow. To grow at last into the fellowship and understanding of God. Growing. . . . Till the earth is no more than a footstool. … Till the spirit shall have driven fear into nothingness, and spread. … " He swung his arms heavenward — "There!"
  • Change played in its new fashion with the world for twenty years. To most men the new things came little by little and day by day, remarkably enough, but not so abruptly as to overwhelm.
    • Ch. I : The Altered World.
  • "We have heard, gentlemen," cried Caterham, "of nettles that become giant nettles. At first they are no more than other nettles, little plants that a firm hand may grasp and wrench away; but if you leave them — if you leave them, they grow with such a power of poisonous expansion that at last you must needs have axe and rope, you must needs have danger to life and limb, you must needs have toil and distress — men may be killed in their felling, man may be killed in their felling — "
    • Ch. I : The Altered World.
  • One morning about dawn the young giant and his brothers had set to work to make a road about the world. They seem to have had an inkling of opposition impending, and they had worked with remarkable vigor. The world had discovered them soon enough, driving that road as straight as a flight of a bullet towards the English Channel, already some miles of it leveled and made and stamped hard. They had been stopped before midday by a vast crowd of excited people, owners of land, land agents, local authorities, lawyers, policemen, soldiers even.
    "We're making a road," the biggest boy had explained.
    "Make a road by all means," said the leading lawyer on the ground, "but please respect the rights of other people. You have already infringed the private rights of twenty-seven private proprietors; let alone the special privileges and property of an urban district board, nine parish councils, a county council, two gas works, and a railway company...."
    "Goodney!" said the elder boy Cossar.
    "You will have to stop it."
    "But don't you want a nice straight road in the place of all these rotten rutty little lanes?"
    "I won't say it wouldn't be advantageous, but — "
    "It isn't to be done," said the eldest Cossar boy, picking up his tools.
    "Not in this way," said the lawyer, "certainly."
    "How is it to be done?"
    The leading lawyer's answer had been complicated and vague.
    • Ch. I : The Altered World.
  • "I don't always want just to play about and plan. I want to do something real, you know. We didn't come into this world so strong as we are, just to play about in this messy little bit of ground, you know, and take little walks and keep out of the towns" — for by that time they were forbidden all boroughs and urban districts. "Doing nothing's just wicked. Can't we find out something the little people want done and do it for them — just for the fun of doing it?"
    • Ch. I : The Altered World.
  • "They seem to spend their silly little lives getting in each other's way," said the eldest boy. "Rights and laws and regulations and rascalities: it's like a game of spellicans…."
    • Ch. I : The Altered World.
  • That had been in the boyhood of the Sons, but now they were nearly men And the chains had been tightening upon them and tightening with every year of growth. Each year they grew and the Food spread and great things multiplied, each year the stress and tension rose. The Food had been at first for the great mass of mankind a distant marvel, and now it was coming home to every threshold and threatening, pressing against and distorting the whole order of life. It blocked this, it overturned that, it changed natural products, and by changing natural products it stopped employments and threw men out of work by the hundred thousand; it swept over boundaries and turned the world of trade into a world of cataclysms; no wonder mankind hated it.
    And since it is easier to hate animate than inanimate things, animals more than plants, and one's fellow men more completely than any animals, the fear and trouble engendered by giant nettles and six-foot grass blades, awful sects and tiger-like vermin, grew all into one great power of detestation that aimed itself with a simple directness at that scattered band of great human beings, the Children of the Food. That hatred had become the central force in political affairs. The old party lines had been traversed and effaced altogether under the insistence of these newer issues…
    • Ch. I : The Altered World.
  • Now it may seem a strange thing, but it is a fact that the giant Princess, when she came to England, knew of no other giants whatever. She had lived in a world where tact is almost a passion and reservations the air of one's life. They had kept the thing from her; they had hedged her about from sight or suspicion of any gigantic form, until her appointed coming to England was due. Until she met young Redwood she had no inkling that there was such a thing as another giant in the world.
    • Ch. II : The Giant Lovers.
  • She moved among the chestnut trees, with the destined lover drawing near to her, unanticipated, unsuspected. She thrust her hands in among the branches, breaking them and gathering them. She was alone in the world. Then —
    She looked up and in that moment she was mated.
    We must needs put our imaginations to his stature to see the beauty he saw. That unapproachable greatness that prevents our immediate sympathy with her did not exist for him. There she stood, a gracious girl; the first created being that had ever seemed a mate for him, light and slender, lightly clad, the fresh breeze of the dawn moulding the subtly folding robe upon her against the soft strong lines of her form, and with a great mass of blossoming chestnut branches in her hands. The collar of her robe opened to show the whiteness of her neck and a soft shadowed roundness that passed out of sight towards her shoulders. The breeze had stolen a strand or so of her hair, too, and strained its red-tipped brown across her cheek. Her eyes were open blue, and her lips rested always in the promise of a smile as she reached among the branches.
    • Ch. II : The Giant Lovers.
  • She turned upon him with a start, saw him and for a space they regarded one another. For her, the sight of him was so amazing, so incredible, as to be, for some moments at least, terrible. He came to her with the shock of a supernatural apparition; he broke all the established law of her world. He was a youth of one and twenty then, slenderly built, with his father's darkness and his father's gravity. He was clad in a sober soft brown leather, close-fitting easy garments, and in brown hose that shaped him bravely. His head went uncovered in all weathers. They stood regarding one another — she incredulously amazed, and he with his heart beating fast. It was a moment without a prelude, the cardinal meeting of their lives.
    For him there was less surprise. He had been seeking her, and yet his heart beat fast. He came towards her, slowly, with his eyes upon her face.
    "You are the Princess," he said. "My father has told me. You are the Princess who was given the Food of the Gods."
    "I am the Princess — yes," she said, with eyes of wonder. "But — what are you?"
    "I am the son of the man who made the Food of the Gods."
    • Ch. II : The Giant Lovers.
  • She found herself trembling violently. The colour left her face. "I did not know," she said. "Do you mean — "
    He waited for her.
    "Do you mean there are other — giants?"
    He repeated. "Did you not know?"
    • Ch. II : The Giant Lovers.
  • The whole world and all the meaning of the world was changing for her. A branch of chestnut slipped from her hand. "Do you mean to say," she repeated stupidly, "that there are other giants in the world? That some food ?"
    He caught her amazement.
    "You know nothing?" he cried. "You have never heard of us? You, whom the Food has made akin to us!"
    There was terror still in the eyes that stared at him. Her hand rose towards her throat and fell again. She whispered " No!"
    • Ch. II : The Giant Lovers.
  • It seemed to her that she must weep or faint. Then in moment she had rule over herself and she was speaking and thinking clearly. "All this has been kept from me," she said "It is like a dream. I have dreamt — I have dreamt such things. But waking — No. Tell me! Tell me! What are you? What is this Food of the Gods? Tell me slowly — and clearly. Why have they kept it from me, that I am not alone?"
    • Ch. II : The Giant Lovers.
  • You must figure them both, flushed and startled in their bearing, getting at one another's meaning through endless half-heard, half-spoken phrases, repeating, making perplexing breaks and new departures — a wonderful talk, in which she awakened from the ignorance of all her life. And very slowly it became clear to her that she was no exception to the order of mankind, but one of a scattered brotherhood, who had all eaten the Food and grown for ever out of the little limits of the folk beneath their feet.
    • Ch. II : The Giant Lovers.
  • "We are in the beginning of a beginning," he said; "this world of theirs is only the prelude to the world the Food will make."
    • Ch. II : The Giant Lovers.
  • "My father believes — and I also believe — that a time will come when littleness will have passed altogether out of the world of man. When giants shall go freely about this earth — their earth-doing continually greater and more splendid things. But that — that is to come. We are not even the first generation of that — we are the first experiments."
    • Ch. II : The Giant Lovers.
  • "There are times when it seems to me almost as if we had come too soon. Someone, I suppose, had to come first. But the world was unprepared for our coming and for the coming of all the lesser great things that drew their greatness from the Food. There have been blunders; there have been conflicts. The little people hate our kind…
    "They are hard towards us because they are so little… And because our feet are heavy on the things that make their lives. But at any rate they hate us now; they will have none of us — only if we could shrink back to the common size of them would they begin to forgive…'
    • Ch. II : The Giant Lovers.
  • "They are happy in houses that are prison cells to us; their cities are too small for us; we go in misery along their narrow ways; we cannot worship in their churches…
    "We see over their walls and over their protections; we look inadvertently into their upper windows; we look over their customs; their laws are no more than a net about our feet."
    • Ch. II : The Giant Lovers.
  • "Every time we stumble we hear them shouting; every time we blunder against their limits or stretch out to any spacious act… Our easy paces are wild flights to them, and all they deem great and wonderful no more than doll's pyramids to us. Their pettiness of method and appliance and imagination hampers and defeats our powers. There are no machines to the power of our hands, no helps to fit our needs. They hold our greatness in servitude by a thousand invisible hands. We are stronger, man for man, a hundred times, but we are disarmed; our very greatness makes us debtors; they claim the land we stand upon; they tax our ampler need of food and shelter, and for all these things we must toil with the tools these dwarfs can make us — and to satisfy their dwarfish fancies.
    "They pen us in, in every way. Even to live one must cross their boundaries. Even to meet you here to-day I have passed a limit. All that is reasonable and desirable in life they make out of bounds for us.
    • Ch. II : The Giant Lovers.
  • "Though I thought I was alone in the world," she said, after a pause, "I have thought of these things. They have taught me always that strength was almost a sin, that it was better to be little than great, that all true religion was to shelter the weak and little, encourage the weak and little, help them to multiply and multiply until at last they crawled over one another, to sacrifice all our strength in their cause. But... always I have doubted the things they taught."
    • Ch. II : The Giant Lovers.
  • All the means of death are in their hands, and made for their hands. For hundreds of thousands of years, these little people, whose world we invade, have been learning how to kill one another. They are very able at that. They are able in many ways. And besides, they can deceive and change suddenly… I do not know… There comes a conflict. You — you perhaps are different from us. For us, assuredly, the conflict comes.
    The thing they call War. We know it. In a way we prepare for it. But you know — those little people! — we do not know how to kill, at least we do not want to kill.
    • Ch. II : The Giant Lovers.
  • Until you came upon me, I had lived in a world where I was great — alone. I had made myself a life — for that. I had thought I was the victim of some strange freak of nature. And now my world has crumbled down, in half an hour, and I see another world, other conditions, wider possibilities — fellowship —
    • Ch. II : The Giant Lovers.
  • I want now to think alone; and think out this change in things, think away the old solitude, and think you and those others into my world. . . . I shall go. I shall go back to-day to my place in the castle, and tomorrow, as the dawn comes, I shall come again — here.
    • Ch. II : The Giant Lovers.
  • All day I shall dream and dream of this new world you have given me. Even now, I can scarcely believe —
    • Ch. II : The Giant Lovers.
  • These two met altogether fourteen times before the beginning of the end.
    • Ch. II : The Giant Lovers.
  • Very soon they had passed from the realisation that in them and through them a new world of giantry shaped itself in the earth, from the contemplation of the great struggle between big and little, in which they were clearly destined to participate, to interests at once more personal and more spacious. Each time they met and talked and looked on one another, it crept a little more out of their subconscious being towards recognition, that something more dear and wonderful than friendship was between them, and walked between them and drew their hands together. And in a little while they came to the word itself and found themselves lovers, the Adam and Eve of a new race in the world.
    • Ch. II : The Giant Lovers.
  • They ceased to be beings of flesh and blood to one another and themselves; they passed into a bodily texture of tenderness and desire. They gave it first whispers and then silence, and drew close and looked into one another's moonlit and shadowy faces under the infinite arch of the sky. And the still black pine trees stood about them like sentinels.
    The beating steps of time were hushed into silence, and it seemed to them the universe hung still. Only their hearts were audible, beating. They seemed to be living together in a world where there is no death, and indeed so it was with them then. It seemed to them that they sounded, and indeed they sounded, such hidden splendours in the very heart of things as none have ever reached before. Even for mean and little souls, love is the revelation of splendours. And these were giant lovers who had eaten the Food of the Gods.
    • Ch. II : The Giant Lovers.
  • You may imagine the spreading consternation in this ordered world when it became known that the Princess who was affianced to the Prince, the Princess, Her Serene Highness! with royal blood in her veins! met — frequently met — the hypertrophied offspring of a common professor of chemistry, a creature of no rank, no position, no wealth, and talked to him as though there were no Kings and Princes, no order, no reverence — nothing but Giants and Pigmies in the world, talked to him and, it was only too certain, held him, as her lover.
    • Ch. II : The Giant Lovers.
  • "They say that we must part," the Princess said to her lover.
    "But why?" he cried. "What new folly have these people got into their heads?"
    "Do you know," she asked, "that to love me — is high treason?"
    • Ch. II : The Giant Lovers.
  • I mean that without knowing it we have been trampling on the most sacred conceptions of the little folks. We who are royal are a class apart. We are worshipped prisoners, processional toys. We pay for worship by losing our elementary freedom. And I was to have married that Prince — You know nothing of him though. Well, a pigmy Prince, He doesn't matter… It seems it would have strengthened the bonds between my country and another. And this country also was to profit. Imagine it! — strengthening the bonds!
    • Ch. II : The Giant Lovers.
  • He said, it would be better for you, better for all the giants, if we, two — abstained from conversation. That was how he put it.
    • Ch. II : The Giant Lovers.
  • What business is it of these little wretches, where we love, how we love? What have they and their world to do with us?
    • Ch. II : The Giant Lovers.
  • That their laws should fetter us! That we, at the first spring of life, should be tripped by their old engagements, their aimless institutions!
    • Ch. II : The Giant Lovers.
  • Who cares what they can do, or what they will do? I am yours and you are mine. What is there more than that? I am yours and you are mine — for ever. Do you think I will stop for their little rules, for their little prohibitions, their scarlet boards indeed! — and keep from you?
    • Ch. II : The Giant Lovers.
  • What place is there for us among these multitudes? They who are little can hide from one another, but where are we to hide? There is no place where we could eat, no place where we could sleep. If we fled — night and day they would pursue our footsteps.
    • Ch. II : The Giant Lovers.
  • All unaware of the trend of events, unaware of the laws that were closing in upon all the Brethren, unaware indeed that there lived a Brother for him on the earth, young Caddles chose this time to come out of his chalk pit and see the world. His brooding came at last to that. There was no answer to all his questions in Cheasing Eyebright; the new Vicar was less luminous even than the old, and the riddle of his pointless labour grew at last to the dimensions of exasperation. "Why should I work in this pit day after day?" he asked. "Why should I walk within bounds and be refused all the wonders of the world beyond there? What have I done, to be condemned to this?"
    And one day he stood up, straightened his back, and said in a loud voice, "No!"
    "I won't," he said, and then with great vigour cursed the pit.
    • Chapter III : Young Caddles in London.
  • "Work in that old pit, until I die and rot and stink!
    What worm did they think was living in my giant body? Dig chalk for God knows what foolish purpose! Not I!
    • Chapter III : Young Caddles in London.
  • What was he seeking? He wanted something the pigmy world did not give, some end which the pigmy world prevented his attaining, prevented even his seeing clearly, which he was never to see clearly. It was the gigantic social side of this lonely dumb monster crying out for his race, for the things akin to him, for something he might love and something he might serve, for a purpose he might comprehend and a command he could obey.
    • Chapter III : Young Caddles in London.
  • He came back to Piccadilly Circus between eleven and twelve at night and found a new sort of multitude. Clearly they were very intent: full of things they, for inconceivable reasons, might do, and of others they might not do. They stared at him and jeered at him and went their way. The cabmen, vulture-eyed, followed one another continually along the edge of the swanning pavement. People emerged from the restaurants or entered them, grave, intent, dignified, or gently and agreeably excited, or keen and vigilant, beyond the cheating of the sharpest waiter born. The great giant, standing at his corner, peered at them all. "What is it all for?" he murmured in a mournful vast undertone, "What is it all for? They are all so earnest. What is it I do not understand?"
    And none of them seemed to see, as he could do, the drink-sodden wretchedness of the painted women at the corner, the ragged misery that sneaked along the gutters, the infinite futility of all this employment. The infinite futility! None of them seemed to feel the shadow of that giant's need, that shadow of the future, that lay athwart their paths.
    • Chapter III : Young Caddles in London.
  • "You lea' me alone. I got to live as well as you. I got to think. I got to eat. You lea' me alone."
    "It's the Law," said the little policeman, coming no further. "We never made the Law."
    "Nor me," said young Caddles. "Your little people made all that before I was born. You and your law! What I must and what I mustn't. No food for me to eat unless I work a slave, no rest, no shelter, nothin', and you tell me —"
    "I ain't got no business with that," said the policeman. "I'm not one to argue. All I got to do is to carry out the law."
    • Chapter III : Young Caddles in London.
  • Mankind was surely not so mad as that — surely not! It was impossible, it was incredible, it could not be. What good would it do, to kill the giant human when the gigantic in all the lower things had now inevitably come? They could not be so mad as that!
    • Chapter IV : Redwood's Two Days.
  • "We are not beaten. No, Sir. You cannot say we are beaten. But your sons have broken the rules of war. Once last night, and now again. After our attack had been withdrawn. This afternoon they began to bombard London —"
    "That's legitimate!"
    "They have been firing shells filled with poison."
    "Poison?"
    "Yes. Poison. The Food — "
    "Herakleophorbia?"
    "Yes, Sir. Mr. Caterham, Sir — "
    "You are beaten! Of course that beats you. It's Cossar! What can you hope to do now? What good is it to do anything now? You will breathe it in the dust of every street. What is there to fight for more? Rules of War, indeed! And now Caterham wants to humbug me to help him bargain. Good heavens, man! Why should I come to your exploded windbag? He has played his game... murdered and muddied. Why should I?"
    • Chapter IV : Redwood's Two Days.
  • They cannot help but take the Food now. Suppose we were to resign our heritage and do this folly that Caterham suggests! Suppose we could! Suppose we give up this great thing that stirs within us, repudiate this thing our fathers did for us, that you, Father, did for us, and pass, when our time has come, into decay and nothingness! What then? Will this little world of theirs be as it was before? They may fight against greatness in us who are the children of men, but can they conquer? Even if they should destroy us every one, what then? Would it save them? No! For greatness is abroad, not only in us, not only in the Food, but in the purpose of all things! It is in the nature of all things, it is part of space and time. To grow and still to grow, from first to last that is Being, that is the law of life. What other law can there be?
    "To help others?"
    "To grow. It is still, to grow. Unless we help them to fail."
    • Chapter V : The Giant Leaguer.
  • "For the next generation there must be great and little —" said Redwood, with his eyes on his son's face.
    "For many generations. And the little will hamper the great and the great press upon the little. So it must needs be, Father."
    "There will be conflict."
    "Endless conflict. Endless misunderstanding. All life is that. Great and little cannot understand one another. But in every child born of man, Father Redwood, lurks some seed of greatness — waiting for the Food."
    • Chapter V : The Giant Leaguer.
  • "They will fight," said young Redwood. "If we refuse these terms, I doubt not they will fight. Indeed I hope they will be open and fight. If after all they offer peace, it will be only the better to catch us unawares. Make no mistake, Brothers; in some way or other they will fight. The war has begun, and we must fight to the end. Unless we are wise, we may find presently we have lived only to make them better weapons against our children and our kind. This, so far, has been but the dawn of battle. All our lives will be a battle. Some of us will be killed in battle, some of us will be waylaid. There is no easy victory, no victory whatever that is not more than half defeat for us. Be sure of that. What of that? If only we keep a foothold, if only we leave behind us a growing host to fight when we are gone!"
    "And to-morrow?"
    "We will scatter the Food; we will saturate the world with the Food."
    • Chapter V : The Giant Leaguer.
  • About him were the young giants, huge and beautiful, glittering in their mail, amidst the preparations for the morrow. The sight of them lifted his heart. They were so easily powerful! They were so tail and gracious! They were so steadfast in their movements! There was his son amongst them, and the first of all giant women, the Princess.
    • Chapter V : The Giant Leaguer.
  • Then suddenly a strange doubt took hold of him, that this place and present greatness were but the texture of a dream; that he was dreaming and would in an instant wake to find himself in his study again, the giants slaughtered, the Food suppressed, and himself a prisoner locked in. What else indeed was life but that — always to be a prisoner locked in! This was the culmination and end of his dream. He would wake through bloodshed and battle, to find his Food the most foolish of fancies, and his hopes and faith of a greater world to come no more than the coloured film upon a pool of bottomless decay. Littleness invincible!
    So strong and deep was this wave of despondency, this suggestion of impending disillusionment, that he started to his feet. He stood and pressed his clenched fists into his eyes, and so for a moment remained, fearing to open them again and see, lest the dream should already have passed away…
    The voice of the giant children spoke to one another, an undertone to that clangorous melody of the smiths. His tide of doubt ebbed. He heard the giant voices; he heard their movements about him still. It was real, surely it was real — as real as spiteful acts! More real, for these great things, it may be, are coming things, and the littleness, bestiality, and infirmity of men are the things that go. He opened his eyes.
    • Chapter V : The Giant Leaguer.
  • "It is not that we would oust the little people from the world," he said, "in order that we, who are no more than one step upwards from their littleness, may hold their world for ever. It is the step we fight for and not ourselves. … We are here, Brothers, to what end? To serve the spirit and the purpose that has been breathed into our lives. We fight not for ourselves — for we are but the momentary hands and eyes of the Life of the World. So you, Father Redwood, taught us. Through us and through the little folk the Spirit looks and learns. From us by word and birth and act it must pass — to still greater lives. This earth is no resting place; this earth is no playing place, else indeed we might put our throats to the little people's knife, having no greater right to live than they. And they in turn might yield to the ants and vermin. We fight not for ourselves but for growth, growth that goes on for ever. To-morrow, whether we live or die, growth will conquer through us. That is the law of the spirit for evermore. To grow according to the will of God! To grow out of these cracks and crannies, out of these shadows and darknesses, into greatness and the light! Greater," he said, speaking with slow deliberation, "greater, my Brothers! And then-still greater. To grow and again-to grow. To grow at last into the fellowship and understanding of God. Growing. . . . Till the earth is no more than a footstool. … Till the spirit shall have driven fear into nothingness, and spread. … " He swung his arms heavenward — "There!"
    His voice ceased. The white glare of one of the searchlights wheeled about, and for a moment fell upon him, standing out gigantic with hand upraised against the sky.
    For one instant he shone, looking up fearlessly into the starry deeps, mail-clad, young and strong, resolute and still.
    Then the light had passed and he was no more than a great black outline against the starry sky, a great black outline that threatened with one mighty gesture the firmament of heaven and all its multitude of stars.
    • Chapter V : The Giant Leaguer.

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