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Valerius: Back to barracks, General? Or to Rome?
Someone who is in the position that he could do something much more significant, but still chooses an agricultural job for sentimental reasons.
When done with Badass fighters, it is often used to symbolize that after seeing so much destruction and violence, they want to actually do something constructive, put down some roots, and see some new growth, maybe as a way of dealing with post traumatic stress. In brief, instead of destroying life, they now seek to create and maintain it. It might overlap with Real Men Wear Pink, especially when it is about flowers, or gardening, to show that this tough man always secretly wished for such a meek pastime.
When it is professional agriculture, like farming, it often happens with politically or socially important figures, to show that they wish to be mere workers of the land. They might make snarky comments informing us that in fact, this is the first really useful thing they've done. This sort of response is typical of the Cincinnatus, possibly an Ur Example.
Anime & Manga
- Gordon Rosewater in The Big O. The man responsible for the creation of Paradigm City, he grows tomatoes in a private dome.
- Kaji in Neon Genesis Evangelion inverts this trope—rather than gardening because of retirement, he does it because he's about to face the end of the world and wants to at least enjoy himself in his final moments. Later on he implies that this is what he would do if he had the chance to retire. He doesn't get the chance.
- Lord Jeremiah in Code Geass ends the series in, of all things, an orange grove. This is a Call Back to the start of the series, where after being disgraced by Zero he's given the choice between tending an orange grove or starting his military career over from Square One, and shows that he's become comfortable with his new life. Anya is seen working with him as well, which implies that he adopted her after returned her her memories with his Geass Canceller.
- Gan Fall in One Piece becomes a pumpkin farmer after he is replaced by Eneru as the ruler of Skypiea.
- Ooishi in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai mentioned his plans for having a vegetable garden after retirement, as a way of finally having a carefree life.
- At the epilogue of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Lagann-hen, Simon becomes a wandering well-digger, asking only that the villages he assists plant lots of flowers in return. This is to help fulfill the dream of his deceased wife, Nia.
- Taeko from Only Yesterday has a strong yearning for the agricultural lifestyle. She gets her wish in the end.
- Gunslinger Girl: After her handler dies, the Social Welfare Agency isn't sure what do with Claes. She ends up splitting her time between destructive testing and starting her own garden on Agency land.
- In Dragon Ball: Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!!, Goku is seen tending to a radish farm. In Dragon Ball Super he keeps doing this when not fighting at the urge of his Almighty Mom wife Chichi, and turns out to actually be a pretty decent farmer.
- When faced with Taki's deportation and the resurgence of war in Maiden Rose, Klaus, who has already lost many comrades in action, tries to convince Taki to come back to his estate with him to live an idyllic life farming roses. Being A Father to His Men, Taki refuses and the dream never comes to pass.
- Samurai X:
- In the OVA, a younger Kenshin pulls this via working as a mix of farmer and ointment maker with his companion Tomoe. "For many years I ended the lives of evil men but I've only realized inner peace by brining life to this land and sharing its harvest with you." Its more of a cover story than a choice, but he learns to love it and would've probably stayed as such if the plot didn't intervene.
- Fuji from the Juppongatana, as the corollary of his Heel-Face Turn, cuts a deal with the Meiji Goverment and becomes a Tondenhei farmer/soldier in Hokkaido. For him, one of the most sympathetic members of the Juppongatana, it's THE chance to earn a more or less peaceful life.
- Fleet Admiral Sidney Sithole in Legend of Galactic Heroes decided to take up beekeeping after he was forced to retire from his position as Chief of the Joint Operations Headquarters following the Imperial territories invasion debacle.
- After being defeated and relieved of the Infinity Gauntlet in What if...Newer Fantastic Four, the Watchers give Thanos a new life as a gardener, where he's said to find a simple peace.
- In the actual Infinity Gauntlet miniseries, Adam Warlock finds Thanos on a distant moon, living as a simple farmer, following the final battle. It doesn't last, of course.
- Vanth Dreadstar should be the ultimate example: the man destroys the entire MILKY WAY GALAXY, escapes to different galaxy, and then he becomes a farmer (Granted, it ended up simply being a 30-40 year 'break', before he became involved in an all-out war is his NEW galaxy...)
- In the beginning of Kingdom Come, Superman was trying to be a farmer again when he was visited by Wonder Woman. By the end he's expanded to single-handedly replanting Kansas. Fridge Brilliance there: at the conclusion of the crisis, Superman returns to the peaceful profession of his adoptive parents, the Kents, just like Bruce Wayne, who becomes a full-time doctor like his father Thomas Wayne.
- This is where manipulative supergenius Vril Dox ended up at the end of R.E.B.E.L.S. Given his suffering in that title it probably seemed like a nice vacation by then. It didn't stick, although one later story got good mileage out of it:
Vril: Do not worry, officer: I am a botanist!
- A couple of Punny Name-sporting Roman legionaries in Asterix retire. Egganlettus rejoins the army; Tremensdelirius trades a small Gaulish village near the coast of Armorica to pay a bar tab.
- Transmetropolitan ends with Spider Jerusalem, having fulfilled his contracts and taken down the bad guy, moving back up the mountain and growing vegetables.
- In Avengers: Endgame, after sucessfully wiping out half of all living beings in the universe with the Snap, Thanos becomes a farmer. However, the Avengers are not willing to let this slide, and they track down and kill him...after they learn that Thanos used the Gauntlet to destroy the Stones, making his death a Pyrrhic Victory for the Avengers.
- Maximus of Gladiator planned to do this after the war, though of course things went a little south for him.
- The Godfather: Don Corleone exits this life while playing hide and seek in his tomato garden.
- In Shrek The Third, Hook revealed his plan to grow daffodils.
- William Wallace of Braveheart wanted to do this, but events got in the way.
- Moses Hightower from Police Academy returns to his original profession of working with flowers.
- Ramius in The Hunt for Red October planned to spend his time fishing after defecting to the States. His first officer, Captain Borodin, planned to live in Montana, raising rabbits. Borodin didn't make it.
- Jason Statham's character in In the Name of The King: A Dungeon Siege Tale likes to be simply called Farmer (even though the credits list his name as Damon, it's never mentioned), even by his own wife, and spends most of his time tending to his fields. Of course, this being Jason Statham, he's also a martial arts expert and can fight with any weapon. How he gained those skills when he refuses to join the king's army is never explained. Then again, when was the last time any of Uwe Boll's movies made sense?
- In the animated Asterix feature film The Twelve Tasks of Asterix this is what eventually happens to Julius Caesar
"I know also," said Candide, "that we must cultivate our garden."
- King Arthur in Bernard Cornwell's The Warlord Chronicles describes his ideal life as settling down with a farm and a smithy. Circumstances never seem to allow him his dream (for long anyway).
- Amusingly, when Arthur does get a few years to retire and live his dream life, Arthur is an enthusiastic but singularly bad smith and mediocre farmer.
- So does Sharpe, and he is more successful at it.
- A police major in David Wingrove's Chung Kuo fits this trope.
- Manion Butler, a politician, did this in Dune: the Butlerian Jihad.
- In the Harry Potter series, Neville Longbottom might count: he always had a soft spot for herbology, and this is what he chose as a profession after getting bored with slaying snakes with swords while on fire.
- Gabrielle Zevin's Elsewhere is about a city in which people get to lead a second life after death. The heroine is frustrated to find that her rock star idol, Curtis Jest, has taken a job as a fisherman.
Curtis: Fishing is a fine, noble profession.
- The Odyssey: Odysseus, after returning from the Trojan War.
- ...at least until he takes off for a new kingdom and gets involved in another war in the sequel and one of the lost epics, the Telegony.
- Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot tried to do this in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.
- Detective Seargent Cuff from The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins retires to cultivate roses.
- In Romance of the Three Kingdoms, when Liu Bei had to share temporary lodging in the same city as Cao Cao, he deflected suspicion from himself by taking up gardening in his yard.
- Parodied in Interesting Times. One of Cohen's horde confronts him with the fact that one time he stole a farm and wanted to settle down. It lasted about three hours.
- Also parodied in Feet of Clay. Sergeant Colon's desire to have a rural house and raise chickens fades somewhat when he is (forcibly, brutally and messily) exposed to real livestock.
- In The Colour of Magic, the Talking Sword feels this.
"What I'd really like is to be a ploughshare. I don't know what that is, but it sounds like an existence with some point to it."
- In Reaper Man Death gets retired and spends this time as a farmhand helping to bring in the harvest; after all, he is a dab hand with a scythe
- Sherlock Holmes retired to Sussex to keep bees.
- Arsène Lupin however retired to Garden for the Kaiser. And be the Man Behind the Man of Germany.
- Coll from the Prydain Chronicles, a legendary hero who single handedly entered Annuvin to rescue an oracular pig, retired to a farm called Caer Dallben to take care of that pig and work the farm.
- Which is exactly what Taran wanted to do at the end of the series, having finally grasped the value of farming ... but as it turned out, fate had other plans.
- Most of the characters in the Finnish war epic Tuntematon Sotilas are farmers, including captain Koskela badass Antti Rokka.
- In the Twilight of the Clans series in the BattleTech novels, Victor Steiner-Davion considers doing this after learning his realm was taken over by his sister. He changes his mind, though.
- Sam ended The Lord of the Rings like this. True, gardening was his profession to begin with, but after all the adventures they went through, his final settlement in the Shire definitely had this feel.
- Eowyn and Faramir, though they technically end up ruling the province of Ithilien, talk like they're going to do this trope.
Eowyn: I will be a shieldmaiden no longer, nor vie with the great Riders, nor take joy only in the songs of slaying. I will be a healer, and love all things that grow and are not barren. No longer do I desire to be a queen.
- Jack Aubrey opens The Mauritius Command stuck in a tiny cottage, the great garden he dreamed of in previous books filled with puny wormy cabbages. As he's used to ship's food, the worms don't bother him so much. In general, Aubrey is a subversion of this trope: though he periodically makes plans for estates or agricultural projects, they're ill-fated, and he always goes back to sea (and to war) with relief.
- Ged/Sparrowhawk in Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea books retires to a farm on his home island of Gont after losing his powers saving the world in The Farthest Shore. Of course, this wasn't his plan and he spends most of Tehanu uncharacteristically depressed, snappy and hermetic. He seems to have accepted the situation and settled down by the time of The Other Wind several years later, but still refuses to leave the farm or have anything to do with governing Earthsea.
- In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero's Daughter trilogy's Backstory part of Prospero's retirement had been gardening.
- In Shadowkeep the former hero Shone Stelft gave up his heroic career and became a respectable blacksmith.
- In Star Wars Expanded Universe - specifically the Hand of Thrawn Duology - it is revealed that Baron Fel was chosen to be the template for clones specifically to invoke this trope, so they would fight to defend their homes.
- H'Ta, one of the elderly members of the Order of the Bat'leth in Star Trek: Klingon Empire. Now a farmer, he much prefers fertilizer to blood and has no desire to leave when he receives Captain Klag's summons to battle.
- In The Belgariad, after centuries of being the protector to the Heir of the Rivan Throne, Polgara finally settles down with her husband in a simple cottage in a quiet vale where hardly anybody else lives. She cultivates her own vegetables, makes her own soap ... and is probably the second richest person in the world as well as an all-powerful sorceress who can create things through power of her own Will.
- Beldin too, though he doesn't become a farmer. After several millenia of spying on the enemy, he and his partner become (presumably immortal) hawks and fly off, never to be seen again.
- Sword of The Annals of the Chosen spends a great deak of his adventures wishing he was back in Mad Oak growing barley and beans.
- Appears in the Into the Looking Glass series by John Ringo. At the beginning of the second book, Navy SEAL protagonist Command Master Chief Robert Miller had retired from active duty and was running a floral shop, doing flower arrangements. That was until he got recalled.
Live Action TV
- Star Trek the Next Generation: Picard was managing his family vineyard as part of the alternate future in the Grand Finale.
- In Star Trek: Generations, in the Nexus, Kirk was found chopping wood and frying eggs on a farm. This was a memory of his, right before he chose to return to Starfleet.
- Several of the former members of Kira's Resistance cell in DeepSpaceNine are also shown as farmers, seemingly for the reasons described in the trope descriptions.
- D'Argo planned to do this in Farscape. It was also considered that Crais might have not died, but been transported away at the last moment and gone off to live his life as a farmer.
- At the end of Battlestar Galactica Reimagined, Baltar and Six plan some cultivation on the new Earth. His father was a farmer you know.
- Xena had Ares become a farmer at her Grandmother's farm after he lost his powers. Of course, he quit being a farmer after regaining his powers.
- This is the premise behind the show Green Acres.
- Champions sourcebook "The Circle and M.E.T.E.". The Master is an extremely powerful sorcerer who once worked against the Allied forces during WW 2. After surviving the atomic destruction of Hiroshima, he retired and created the Garden, an underground area filled with plants where he lives.
- In Magic the Gathering, there is the White sorcery "Swords to Plowshares". It removes a creature from the game and gives its owner its power in life points. It is a reference to Isaiah 2:4 in The Bible.
- In the PC game Hero's Quest (later re-named Quest for Glory I), you come across a centaur raking his field. In fact, that's all you ever see him do. But his description states that he looks very strong and has had his fair share of battles. If you attempt to fight him, the game simply won't let you, implying that it's not a good idea.
- Agent 47 from Hitman became a gardener at a church following the events of the first game. Too bad the Mafia had to kidnap the local priest...
- Sergei hired them to do it to force 47 back into the profession and use him through the Agency so it's an example of The Call Knows Where You Live.
- Largo in Valkyria Chronicles. He always had a dream to have a vegetable garden, and eventually he did.
- Dietrich Kellerman, an enemy ace in Ace Combat Zero, returns to his farm after the Belkan War, where the reporter narrating the story interviews him.
- After the Kilrathi War ended in Wing Commander III, Christopher Blair retired to become a farmer. He wasn't much good at it, however, and couldn't turn down the call to return to active duty in the next game.
- Weber/Kross from Rune Factory Frontier.
- Fire Emblem:
- If you recruit General Wallace in Blazing Blade and keep him alive until the end, his epilogue with read that, after somehow winding up in Ilia, he spends the remainder of his days tilling the soil up there. Of course, he'd become a farmer after 30 years' worth of service as a knight to the Caelin house before he joins you, anyway, so it'd really be more correct to say that he went BACK to farming...
- In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, some of Alois Rangeld's endings state that he retired from the Knights of Seiros and became a farmer after the war.
- One of the endings of Brave Soul has the main character and his girlfriend getting stranded on an island with a crate of cursed agricultural tools that force anyone who touches them to work for a given amount of time. The final scene shows them like this.
- In Assassin's Creed: Embers, Ezio Auditore's retired to a villa in Tuscany, Italy over ten years after his last appearance in Assassin's Creed: Revelations and spends his days tending to a vineyard.
- In Checkerboard Nightmare, Vaporware gets ticked that the only narrative roles available to robots are to angst about his non-humanity or go on indiscriminate killing sprees. He and his robot brethren rebel against this by farming.
Vaporware: Strawberry farming provides me with total fulfillment. No failure to understand creation and what drives me here. No latent insecurities about being a soulless automaton here.
- According to the Backstory of The Phoenix Requiem, Robyn was a soldier who retired to become a farmer. As it is shown in the comic, he can still be Badass if needed.
- It's implied that WV of Homestuck was subject to this—presumably he did something to become the Warweary Villein. Unfortunately, it happened off-screen, and all we see is the burning remains of his farm.
- The eponymous protagonist of Cucumber Quest, a wizard-in-training with considerable talent, wants nothing more than to be "that nice old guy people go to for help with their crops or something" when he grows up. Too bad he's been volunteered to go save the world instead of getting a chance to go to magic school.
- Happened at the end of The Maxx.
- In The Simpsons episode "Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk", after selling the Power Plant, Mr. Burns starts up a bee farm.
- Subverted in Avatar: The Last Airbender. The man who killed Katara's mother has a garden and it is implied that he spends quite some time on it, but he is still the cold and heartless man he was when he committed murder. And he seems to be miserable as well, mostly thanks to his mother.
- Karl Rossum from Batman the Animated Series briefly takes up farming after the disaster of the HARDAC program. He eventually does return to the robotics business full-time.
- At the very end of Voltron: Legendary Defender, Lance is seen tending to farms and gardens while spreading his Star-Crossed Lover Allura's message of peace and love. As a bonus, the character in question comes from a family that already had farming and gardening businesses.
- Diocletian, the Emperor who ended the Crisis of the Third Century (i.e. the fifty-year period of successive Klingon Promotions for Roman Emperor) and invented serfdom in the West, setting the stage for the ultimate division of the Roman Empire, decided to retire to a big palace in Spalatum (now Split, Croatia) after 21 years on the throne. He spent most of the time gardening, and when asked to retake the throne, Diocletian replied: "If you could show the cabbage that I planted with my own hands to your emperor, he definitely wouldn't dare suggest that I replace the peace and happiness of this place with the storms of a never-satisfied greed."
- Cincinnatus, who returned from his farm to assume absolute power over Rome for six months while the city faced an invasion. Having repulsed and conquered the invaders in three months, he gave up his dictatorship and went back home.
- Hitler's architect Albert Speer helped design and plant the garden in the Spandau Prison. He then spent all his free time walking around it, counting his laps. He was trying to walk around the world, you see Nice "Pride Goeth Before A Fall"-story: for all his power and grandiose plans for "Germania," this garden is the only thing of his projects that wasn't bombed, never built because of the war or demolished after the war (in Berlin, that is).)
- According to Speer's journal, he also spent a couple of weeks drawing a modest house for one of his American guards as a farewell present (shades of season one of Prison Break there...).
- Inversion: Early Zionists thought this part of the way to make themselves into Badass Israelis, not as a way to retire.
- After two terms as President of the United States, George Washington retired to manage his plantation.
- Wittgenstein retired to become a monastery gardener after writing his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, reasoning that with its publication, all philosophy was now completed.
- Justified Trope: During the Three Kingdoms period in China, Cao Cao (as seen in Romance of the Three Kingdoms) mandated that the army re-cultivate the land ravaged by war.
- Quite a few famous philosophers and poets retired (or were forcibly exiled) to a life of gardening after trying out working for the Man and becoming disillusioned with the political system (or pissed off the wrong guy).
- After surviving a life-threatening brain aneurysm during their 1995-96 tour, REM drummer Bill Berry retired from rock to work a farm in Georgia about a half-hour's drive from Athens.
- Roman legionnaires who'd served a lifetime tour of duty (about 20–25 years) could be granted farmland in lands they'd served in or helped conquer.
- As World War Two drew to a close the Willys-Overland company began to envision potential civilian markets for the Jeep. One of the first was as a "4-in 1" farm vehicle, taking over the roles of light tractor and stationary engine as well as a transporter that was both off-road capable and street-legal. While the first two roles never came to pass, the Land Rover Series I was based loosely on the same design, going on to become an Iconic Item for British farmers, gamekeepers and many other rural occupations ever since. The trope ended up coming full-circle a few years later when the Land Rover was selected as the Boring but Practical option to replace the Jeep in British Army service, after the non-success of an Awesome but Impractical custom-built replacement, the Austin Champ.
- For that matter, tens of thousands of individual Jeeps and other light utility vehicles were sold off as surplus after the war, many of which found their way into the agricultural sector.
- Subverted by the aforementioned tondenhei from the Meiji Restoration, who in Real Life were a group of Japanese soldiers (many of them being ex-samurais) who settled down in the Hokkaido island not only to work the fields there, but to also defend the island from potential threats from foreigners - in particular, Russia.
- Caesar gave him the village instead of regular "retirement lands" because he drunkenly spoke ill of him
- He got to South America, via the Bering Sea.
- Actually, a street of lamp-posts also survived. Tourist guides like to point them out.