I’ve read the book as well and I don’t remember it answered there. Clearly, the Fremen would greatly appreciate one of them to cry tears if someone died because they are used to economize water but they know that Paul is an outworlder so they have to know he has different customs. Or are they ignorant about the abundance of water on other planets?

  • 3
    They'd be equally astonished if anyone cried, given the importance of water, it's not related to cultural differences in this case. I don't understand what do you want to know.
    – Luciano
    Commented Nov 18, 2021 at 9:50
  • It just doesn't make sense to me that they would be surprised given that they know that he doesn't value water as much as they do. Commented Nov 18, 2021 at 10:51

1 Answer 1


There is certainly a built-in aversion to ANY wastage of water amongst the Fremen.

Jes­sica, hear­ing the voices, felt the depth of the ex­pe­ri­ence, re­al­ized what ter­ri­ble in­hi­bi­tions there must be against shed­ding tears. She fo­cused on the words: ‘He gives mois­ture to the dead.’ It was a gift to the shadow world – tears. They would be sa­cred be­yond a doubt.

Dune - Frank Herbert

As for the Fremen being ignorant of water on other worlds, some of them may be more aware than others, particularly those who interact with otherworlders and even there it's unlikely they would have seen an offworlder crying.

However, the vast majority of Fremen, and there are many more than anyone had previously been aware, are desert-dwellers and have had no interaction with anyone not of Arrakis previously and so would not be aware of norms outside of their experience.

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    You don't have to be ignorant of a strange custom to be shocked by it. I know that corporal punishment was pretty common in the 19th century. But if I had a time machine and could see a schoolmaster beating a child, I would probably be horrified.
    – Juhasz
    Commented Nov 19, 2021 at 21:30

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