bash the dents out of a pot


Senior Member
Ukrainian & Russian
Into this came the dwarf’s caravan like a spirit of chaos—pushing aside tottering stalls, running over unguarded feet, impervious to abuse, drawing forth as it passed each brazier the ironic catcalls of idlers and the shrieks of fishwives (who required that the dwarf come behind a booth with them and there bash the dents out of a pot they would show him).
(Viriconium; M. John Harrison)

Would you be so kind as to explain to me what it is supposed to mean?


    Senior Member
    English - USA
    The dwarf had to make the pot's shape smooth.
    The pots had dents. I wouldn't have used the word 'bash' but I am not the author. 'Bash' seems to be a little too violent to smooth out a metal but perhaps not.


    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I think "hammer" (verb) would be more commonly used. I would note that Teddy's inference about sex would hold for "hammer" too.

    I don't know anything about the writer or the writings so I would read this on a literal plane and "bash" would mean to "hammer out the dents" in my opinion.


    Senior Member
    English - US
    Given the context of market stalls, I'm assuming that these are actually women who sell fish and they seem to have only one pot between them, so I'm favoring the literal interpretation. ;) Also, dwarves are known for their skill at working metal so if a dwarf is passing by, you might take the opportunity to have him fix a pot.


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I think it's almost certainly a metaphor, as teddy suggests in post #2. The literal meaning is that the ladies will show the dwarf a (metal cooking) pot and he is to hammer the metal to remove the dents in the surface of the pot.