Feghoot XXVIII

This is by M.T. Cicero McIntyre whose submission was part of a Feghoot contest in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science fiction in the late 1960s. The original Feghoots were by Reginald Bretnor writing under the pseudonymn of Grendel Briarton. The are many derivative tales on this pun. It is remarkable how well this particular story holds up.

Dr. Gropius Volkswagen, the philologist, was the one man who disliked Ferdinand Feghoot’s ravishing cousin, Isabeau Feghoot. “Isabeau indeed!” he would grumble. “What does it matter if her mother was time-traveling, and so she was born long ago when Henry VIII or Harry the Trueman ruled Missouri and England? She should be Isabelle. Isabeau is archaic!”

Isabeau paid no attention. When Ferdinand warned her that the old man was dangerously brooding, she just giggled.

Then one evening they found Dr. Volkswagen lying in wait for them with a blunderbuss. “Ha-ha!” he cried wildly. “Now I show you! To use obsolete names is a very bad habit. Take paper, a pencil! You must write, first archaic one thousand times-then, one thousand times, It is a bad habit. Write!”

They wrote, wrote, and wrote. When they had finished, with Isabeau nearly in tears, he ordered them to wad up the papers. “Now I, Gropius Volkswagen, will make you eat up your words. Begin!”

He waited until they had finished. “Well,” he crowed, “will that teach you not to use Isabeau? Does it not prove you wrong?”

“Not at all,” replied Ferdinand Feghoot. “It just shows that we’re a remarkable family. . . . We can eat archaic and habit too.”

(Copyright © 1960 by Mercury Press. First published in THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION, July 1960.)

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