Feghoot XXXV: Ferdinand Feghoot on the Planet Madama Butterfry

This version of a lovely old Feghoot was sent to me by Warren Cory. The original version was by Reginald Bretnor.

It was because of Ferdinand Feghoot that the great composer Richard Wagner found himself under arrest on the planet Madama Butterfry in the year 5735. Feghoot had told him of the planet whose inhabitants claimed that every opera theme had been stolen from them. “Vhat!” cried Wagner. “Only Teutonic ideas are good for grand opera! Vhere is this planet? Come, ve take your space-time machine. I vill show you!”

Upon their arrival, they went through customs, where they were ordered to declare any arias, operas, etc. Wagner sneeringly gave them a list. Immediately he was arrested and charged with grand theft. “This is an outrage! Vhat themes could I possibly have stolen from you?” demanded Wagner, and the officer offered to give them a tour.

First, they came upon a vendor camped beneath a tree. His sign announced, “Root Bottom Stanley! Best deals in the galaxy! Absolutely no being in the universe undersells me! Garfinkels, $2 each.” Nearby was a modest stand manned by a mole-like person. His sign said simply, “Garfinkels, 6 for a dollar.”

“Vhat does this have to do with me?” said Wagner. Ferdinand Feghoot replied, “Tree Stan Undersold.”

Next, they moved on to a storage shed filled with jars of fruits, preserves, and so on. A thin rubbery organism grasped the opening of one jar, crying out in a thin plaintive voice, “Please, can’t I have some jam? Please, just a taste? Oh, how I long for it!”

“Doubtless,” said Feghoot before anyone could speak, “This is the Nibble-Longing Lid.”

Finally, the travelers were taken to a dock where a frog-like creature sat trapping shellfish. His topknot glowed fitfully, barely visible in the evening twilight. Mournfully, he kept to his task.

Wagner flew into a rage. “Vhat rubbish! Vhat could this possibly have to do with me!”

“Dim Oyster Sinker,” said Ferdinand Feghoot.

(Copyright © 1961 by Mercury Press. First published in The Magazine or Fantasy & Science Fiction, January 1961.)

Previous Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *