Excerpt from Neal Stephenson’s “Diamond Age” (1995), Dinosaur’s tale:
I waited in front of that cave for three days and three nights, which gave me plenty of time to scope the place out. At first I was rather cocky about this challenge, for it seemed the easiest of the three; while I had no idea who or what Dojo was, I knew that in all the world I had never met my equal when it came to single combat. But on the first day, sitting there on my tail waiting for Dojo, I noticed a sprinkling of small glittering objects on the ground, and examining them carefully I realized that they were, in fact, scales. To be precise, they were dinosaur scales, which I recognized as belonging to Pteranodon, Ankylosaurus, and Utahraptor, and they appeared to have been jarred loose from their bodies by powerful impacts.
On the second day I prowled around the vicinity and found tremendous gashes in tree trunks, which had undoubtedly been made by Utahraptor as he slashed wildly at Dojo; other trees that had been snapped off entirely by the club at the end of the tail of Ankylosaurus; and long scratches in the earth made by the talons of Pteranodon as she dove again and again at some elusive opponent. At this point, I became concerned. It was clear that all three of my opponents had fought Dojo and lost, so if I lost also (which was inconceivable), I would be even with the others; but the rules of the contest stated that in the event of a tie, all four dinosaurs would be eaten, and the Kingdom of Reptiles would be no more. I spent the night fretting about who or what the terrible Dojo was.
On the third day nothing happened, and I began wondering whether I should go into the cave and look for Dojo. So far the only living thing I had seen around here was a black mouse that occasionally darted out from the rocks at the cave’s entrance, foraging for a bit of food. The next time I saw that mouse, I said (speaking softly so as not to scare it),
“Say, mouse! Is there anything back inside that cave?”
The black mouse sat up on its haunches, holding a huckleberry between its little hands and nibbling on it.
“Nothing special,” he said, “just my little dwelling. A fireplace, some tiny pots and pans, a few dried berries, and the rest is full of skeletons.”
“Skeletons?” I said. “Of other mice?”
“There are a few mouse skeletons, but mostly they are dinosaurs of one kind or another, primarily meat-eaters.”
“Who have become extinct because of the comet,” I suggested.
“Oh, pardon me, sir, but I must respectfully inform you that the deaths of these dinosaurs are unrelated to the comet.”
“How did they die, then?” I asked.
“I regret to say that I killed them all in self-defense.”
“Ah,” I said, not quite believing it, “then you must be …
“Dojo the Mouse,” he said, “at your service.”
“I am terribly sorry to have bothered you, sir,” I said, using my best manners, for I could see that this Dojo was an unusually polite sort, “but your fame as a warrior has spread far and wide, and I have come here humbly to seek your advice on how I may become a better warrior myself; for it has not escaped my notice that in the postcomet environment, teeth like carving knives and six tons of muscle may be in some sense outmoded.”
What follows is a rather long story, for Dojo had much to teach me and he taught it slowly. Sometime, Nell, I will teach you everything I learned from Dojo; all you need do is ask.
But on the third day of my apprenticeship, when I still had not learned anythingexcept humility, good manners, and how to sweep out the cave, I asked Dojo if he would be interested in playing a game of tic-tac-toe. This was a common sport among dinosaurs. We would scratch it out in the mud. (Many paleontologists have been baffled to find tic-tac-toe games littering prehistoric excavations and have chalked it up to the local workers they hire to do their digging and hauling.)
In any case, I explained the rules of the game to Dojo, and he agreed to give it a try. We went down to the nearest mud flat, and there, in plain view of many shrews, I played a game of tic-tac-toe with Dojo and vanquished him, although I will confess it was touch-and-go for a while. It was done; I had defeated Dojo in single combat.
The next morning I excused myself from Dojo’s cave and went back down to the beach, where the other three dinosaurs had already gathered, looking much the worse for wear as you can imagine. The King of the Shrews, the King of the Birds, and the Queen of the Ants converged on us with all their armies and crowned me King of the Reptiles, or Tyrannosaurus Rex as we used to say. Then they ate the other three dinosaurs as agreed. Besides me, the only reptiles left were a few snakes, lizards, and turtles, who continue to be my obedient subjects.
I could have lived a luxurious life as King, but by now, Dojo had taught me humility, and so I went back to his cave immediately and spent the next few million years studying his ways. All you need do is ask, Nell, and I will pass his knowledge on to you.
Excerpt from the final transcript of “The Empire strikes back” (1980):
LUKE (sighs): Now all I have to do is find this Yoda … if he even exists.
Nervously, he looks around at the foreboding jungle.
LUKE: Still … there’s something familiar about this place. I feel like… I don’t know…
STRANGE VOICE: Feel like what?
Luke jumps out of his skin. […] The young warrior grabs for his lightsaber as he spins around, looking for the speaker. Mysteriously standing right in front of Luke is a strange, bluish creature, not more than two feet tall. The wizened little thing is dressed in rags. It motions toward Luke’s sword.
LUKE (looking at the creature): Like we’re being watched!
CREATURE: Away with your weapon! I mean you no harm.
After some hesitation, Luke puts away his weapon, although he really doesn’t understand why. […]
CREATURE: I am wondering, why are you here?
LUKE: I’m looking for someone.
CREATURE: Looking? Found someone, you have, I would say, hmmm?
The little creature laughs.
LUKE (Trying to keep from smiling): Right.
CREATURE: Help you I can. Yes, mmmm.
LUKE: I don’t think so. I’m looking for a great warrior.
CREATURE: Ahhh! A great warrior. (laughs and shakes his head) Wars not make one great. […]
LUKE (fed up): Now will you move along, little fella? We’re got a lot of work to do.
CREATURE: No! No, no! Stay and help you, I will. (laughs) Find your friend, hmm?
LUKE: I’m not looking for a friend. I’m looking for a Jedi Master.
CREATURE: Oohhh. Jedi Master. Yoda. You seek Yoda.
LUKE: You know him?
CREATURE: Mmm. Take you to him, I will. (laughs) Yes, yes. But now, we must eat. Come. Good food. Come.
With that, the creature scurries out of the clearing, laughing merrily. Luke stares after him. All he sees is the faint light from the small power lamp moving through the fog. Luke makes his decision and starts after the creature.
CREATURE (in the distance): Come, come. […]
LUKE: […] I just don’t understand why we can’t see Yoda now.
CREATURE: Patience! For the Jedi it is time to eat as well. […]
LUKE: How far away is Yoda? Will it take us long to get there?
CREATURE: Not far. Yoda not far. Patience. Soon you will be with him. […] Why you wish become Jedi? Hmm?
LUKE: Mostly because of my father, I guess.
CREATURE: Ah, your father. Powerful Jedi was he, powerful Jedi, mmm.
LUKE (a little angry): Oh, come on. How could you know my father? You don’t even know who I am. (fed up) Oh, I don’t know what I’m doing here. We’re wasting our time.
The creature turns away from Luke and speaks to a third party.
CREATURE (irritated): I cannot teach him. The boy has no patience.
Luke’s head spins in the direction the creature faces. But there is no one there. The boy is bewildered, but it gradually dawns on him that the little creature is Yoda, the Jedi Master, and that he is speaking with Ben. […]
LUKE: I won’t fail you—I’m not afraid.
YODA (turns slowly toward him): Oh, you will be. You will be.