William Shakespeare’s Dune, Act III, Scene ix.

The Cave Of Ridges

Enter STILGAR and JAMIS, arguing

STIL: These people have my countenance, I swore.

JAMIS: Being leader, thou dost know the rule.

STIL: Who knows it better? This is not the way ā€“

JAMIS: The way is mine, if I do choose it thus:
I choose the combat under Fremen law.


JESS: What is this talk of blades concerning us?

STIL: It is the amtal rule: the test of death
That Jamis claims the right to administer,
If ye be of the legend, or a fraud.

JAMIS: She must be championed, and it is said
She’ll need no Fremen man to champion her:
Her own she’ll have, to answer for her words.

JESS: Or I shall fight myself. That’s what is meant.

JAMIS: You’ll tell us not our ways, not till it’s proved.
And you with Stilgar so familiar
At yestermorn, he could have filled your mouth
With coddle fit to turn our heads with cant
That you like any raven might have croaked
To us that you might claim a sanctum false
Among us as a priestess of the wind:
Full of sand and signifying naught.

STIL: Jamis holds a grudge because thy son
Did best him at Tuono in the night.

JAMIS: It was an accident, and I enspelled
By witching force, and I shall prove that now!

STIL: And I have mastered Jamism thus he seeks
In this tahaddi challenge some revenge
On me to take as well, some small despite
To do me though he’ll never have my place
As leader, for the violence in his heart
Distracts him as a plaything doth a child.
And like a gaming child, prates of rules
While he doth seek to bend them to his will.
So long I’ve kept him living, for he fights
As well as any, yet this carving hate
Doth make of him a danger to us all.

JAMIS: Stilgar, you’ll not swerve me from my course!

STIL: He is a boy, and must you conquer him?

JAMIS: You named him man. His mother names him man
And says he’s tested with the gom jabbar.
He carries lakes of water in his flesh
And more within their pack! The ones who bore
It for them like their servants say they heard
The slosh of literjons within its depths,
And we reduced to sucking up the dew
As fast our suits be filled with sweat reclaimed!

STIL: Have ye water in your pack withal
And literjons, as Jamis now doth claim?

JESS: Two literjons we have.

STIL: What did you mean
With such great wealth to do among our folk?

JESS: Where I was born, I thought not in such wise
Nor needed to, for water weekly fell
Out from the skies, and o’er the land it ran
In rivers wide, that filled such oceans as
No man could see the farther shore, nor could
They think of water as a rich man’s coin.

FREMEN: Water fell from the sky. It ran over the land.

STIL: And did you know that there among us be
Those who have suffered mischance with their suits
And water lost, so that they burn with thirst
And may fall on the way to Tabr Sietch?

JESS: How could I know this? Give them from our pack.

STIL: Is that what you intended with this wealth?

JESS: I did intend that wealth be used to live.

STIL: Then, Sayyadina, we accept thy blessing.

JAMIS: You’ll not with water buy our worship, witch.
Nor wilt thou, Stilgar, make me call thee out
Before I’ve proved my words in deed of blood.

STIL: And you will press this fight against a child?

JAMIS: She must be championed, and not by us.

STIL: Though she do have my countenance, thou fool?

JAMIS: I do invoke the amtal rule, by right!

STIL: Then if the boy doth fail to carve thee down
Thoul’t answer to my knife when thou art done.
And I’ll not hold it back as I’ve ‘ere this.

JESS: Alack the day! You cannot do this thing!

STIL: You must not, Sayyadina, intervene
Though you can any one of us defeat
You cannot take us all unitedly.
This thing must be: it is the amtal rule.

JESS: Harm my son and you shall meet his dam
And your damnation: I do call thee out.
And I shall carve thee to a joint of meat.

PAUL: Mother, if to Jamis I explain…

JAMIS: Explain? Thou, boy shalt not escape with words
The judgment of a Fremen’s trusty blade.

STIL: Sayyadina, you must leave the field.

JAMIS: Call her not Sayyadina till it’s proved!
She knoweth what, the prayer? Each child of us
Doth know it, and ye bleat at her command
Like sheep and do disgrace our Fremen pride!

JESS: Thou wilt answer unto me when thou
Art done and I shall teach thee agony
Such as will make the gom jabbar a joy
With burning, rotting flesh shalt thou convulse.
Remember this, thou worm, as thou dost fight.

JAMIS: She tries a spell on me! I do invoke
The silence on her. Let her tongue be bound.

STIL: So be it then. If, Sayyadina, you do speak again,
Your life is forfeit as a proven witch.

CHANI: Jamis turneth dexter when he meets
A knife with knife, and that we’ve seen in him.
He’ll strike at th’eyes to slash you in a blink
And fights on either hand. He’ll shift his knife.

She gives him a crysknife, and PAUL removes his shoes.

JAMIS: May thy knife chip and shatter.

(They fight)

JAMIS: I’ll sheathe my knife in scabbard of thy blood.

PAUL: First must thou find my blood.

JESS (aside): He hath no shield, and neither hath his foe,
But he is trained to strike the subtle blow
Of slow attack, the shield to penetrate.
O son, let not thy reflex thee betray.

(The duel continues)

STIL (to JESS): Doth thy son play a game with that poor fool?
Nay, I speak out of turn, you must not speak.

(PAUL wounds JAMIS in the right hand)

PAUL: Do you yield?


STIL: Hold! The lad knows not
That in tahaddi-challenge no man yields.
For death is in the test of it. Fight on.

(They fight)

STIL: End it, lad. There is no sport in this.

(JAMIS screams and leaps. PAUL strikes. JAMIS dies)

FREMEN: He Jamis fought and came away unmarked.

JESS (aside): He hath killed a man to public praise
He must grow to such a fame enjoy.
(to PAUL) How now, my son the killer, dost thou feel?

STIL: When time doth pass, and thou dost call me out
Think not to play with me in such a wise.

PAUL (to JESS): Thou knowest what it was, and not the shield.

JESS: Paul hath never killed a man before
In heat of combat with a naked blade.

PAUL: I played no game with him, but would have spared
His life if I with honor could have done.

STIL: And so thou gavest him the chance to yield.
‘Tis well. I’d not have liked to think we had
A scorpion admitted in our midst
Who joyed in drawing out men’s suffering.
Our ways are different, but you’ll see their sense
As you do come to live with us, and I
Shall none the more be styling you the boy.

FREMEN: He needs of us a name, Stil. That he does.

STIL: I see the strength in thee, as that which rests
Beneath a pillar. Thou shalt Usul be:
The pillar’s base. It is your secret name
Among our troop, and we of Tabr Sietch
May use it, but none else may so presume.

(FREMEN mutter agreement)

STIL: But you must choose a manhood-name besides
That we may call you openly and name
You unto others when we speak of you.

PAUL: How do you call the little mouse that jumps?

STIL: We call that one ‘muad’dib.’ Is that your name?

PAUL (aside): I see fanatic legions following
A banner green and black, Atreides’ flag
And in the name of Muad’Dib their voice
Of God, they burn across the galaxy.
It must not come to pass, it must not be.

STIL: Is that the name you wish, to be Muad’Dib?

PAUL: I am Atreides, and I do no right
To put aside entirely the name
My father gave me, with a father’s love.
May I be known as Paul-Muad’Dib to you?

STIL: Your name is Paul-Muad’Dib among us all.

PAUL (aside): I did a different thing. A thing unseen
In any dream or vision of the morrow.

FREMEN: The legend of Lisan al-Gaib, it is
Of wisdom mixed with strength, who asks for more?

STIL: Your choice of name doth please us, this is why:
Muad’Dib is desert-wise, and walks at night.
He maketh water of his own and hides
From burning sun. He multiplies and fills
The desert, and we call him sage to boys.
That is a mighty base to build a life
Among us, Paul Muad’Dib, who Usul art,
To th’Ichwan Bedwine welcome. Greet Usul.

(The tribe embraces Usul one by one, saying his name.)

FAROK: What of the water, Stil? The literjons?

STIL: I know your need, Farok. Broach one of them
For those in danger. Watermaster, ho!
Shimoom see to necessities, no more.
It is the Sayyadina’s dower and
Shall be repaid in sietch at field rates
Less fees for portering: that’s ten for one.
A custom wise, as you will come to see.
As to Jamis, we shall mark his death
In dreadful ceremony, for he was
The brother of us all. I do invoke
The rite at sunset when the shadows fall
For that he in tahaddi-challenge proved
Our fortune he hath earned of us respect.