In Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett, the witches meet a dwarf named Casanunda who claims to be the "greatest lover in the world":

''Allo, foxy lady,' said a voice behind her. She looked around. There was no-one there.
'Down here.'
She looked down.
A very small body wearing the uniform of a captain in the palace guard, a powdered wig and an ingratiating smile beamed up at her.
'My name's Casanunda,' he said. 'I'm reputed to be the world's greatest lover. What do you think?'
Nanny Ogg looked him up and down or, at least, down and further down.
'You're a dwarf,' she said.
'Size isn't important.'
Nanny Ogg considered her position. [...]
'Can you dance as well?' she said wearily.
'Oh, yes. How about a date?'
'How old do you think I am?' said Nanny.
Casanunda considered. 'All right. How about a prune?'
Nanny sighed, and reached down for his hand. 'Come on.'
Witches Abroad

Witches Abroad is stuffed chock-full of references. There are references to fairy tales sprinkled all over, such as the fact that the Duc (the prince) is a frog, "Emberella", the sleeping castle, the gingerbread house reference... The house falling on Nanny Ogg with the dwarves wanting her boots is a clear reference to The Wizard of Oz, complete with "I don't think we're in Lancre anymore, Greebo" (and yellow brick road later on). I'm sure there are lots of other references I'm missing, but I get the feeling that Casanunda is a reference that's going over my head.

Is Casanunda a reference to something? If not, then what purpose does he serve in this book with references spilling out of its ears?

  • Is there anything you'd like me to add to my answer? Commented Oct 27, 2021 at 15:44

1 Answer 1


Casanunda is a pun on Casanova, changing "over" to "under" (because he's short):

[Casanova] has become so famous for his often complicated and elaborate affairs with women that his name is now synonymous with "womanizer". He associated with European royalty, popes, and cardinals, along with artistic figures Voltaire, Goethe, and Mozart. He spent his last years in the Dux Chateau (Bohemia) as a librarian in Count Waldstein's household, where he also wrote the story of his life.

This is also mentioned in the LSpace entry:

[p. 201] Casanunda, "the world's greatest lover", refers to our world's Casanova. Notice that Casanova is often roughly pronounced as 'Casanover' (emphasis on the 'over'), and that Casanunda (emphasis on the 'unda') is a dwarf...

Actually, Casanunda is lying, because we later find out he's only the world's second greatest lover. But this should not surprise us, since yet even later (in Lords and Ladies) we also find out that he is an Outrageous Liar.

  • 10
    In a non-rhotic (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhoticity_in_English) accent like most British accents, the ova/over and unda/under similarity is stronger.
    – dbmag9
    Commented Jul 18, 2021 at 21:08
  • 1
    @dbmag9 Like most English accents. Scottish accents tend to be very rhotic.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Jul 20, 2021 at 12:50
  • 1
    @Randal'Thor mea[r] culpa[r]
    – dbmag9
    Commented Jul 20, 2021 at 13:48

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