Generation of Eggs (Feghoot XVII)

By Reginald Bretnor, this was published on the groaners listserv.

To the despair of his crew, Ferdinand Feghoot remained on the planet Chroma from 3357 to 3361.

“Please, sir,” they begged. “We know how fine it must be to see all those Chromatid ladies come marching in with their cute little egg-sacs for the Communal Batch every five years. We know that each generation is all of one color, fuchsia or mauve or dark green, or whatever, and that bright, solid colors are especially esteemed; and we’d like to be in on the betting. But all of it’s only biology, sir. What’ll become of us when we go back to Earth without having made any cultural discoveries?”

It was futile. When the great Batch took place, Feghoot shouted his joy as loudly as any Chromatid in the stadium as an unprecedentedly lovely new generation burst out of its shells.

He collected his winnings, returned directly to Earth, and was straightway summoned before the Gardener-General.

“Feghoot!” roared the ruler, whetting his pruning-hook. “How can my garden grow without art, without culture? In five years, you have seen no new painting, no new sculpture, not even any new taxidermy! I must prune you!”

“You are misinformed, Verdant Majesty,” said Ferdinand Feghoot. . . . “I was present at the Birth of the Blues.”

(Copyright © 1959 by Mercury Press. First published in THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION, August 1959.)

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