Feghoot’s Bride (Feghoot XXVII)

This is by Reginald Bretnor writing under the pseudonym of Grendel Briarton.

In 2263, Ferdinand Feghoot and his beautiful wife landed on Blaupunkt, a backwoods planet where thousands of construction hands, crewmen, and scientists had been marooned for six years. They at once fell madly in love with her. Luckily, one of their scientists had perfected a matter duplicator which could duplicate living beings as easily as ten-credit bills. The duplicates were shy on intelligence, but the Feghoots’ hosts didn’t care in the least. Very politely, they asked Mrs. Feghoot to act as their model, and amiably she agreed.

Because the duplicator could turn out only a few dozen women a day, they had to resort to polyandry. Each new woman was married to a gang of ten men. The gangs prized their wives highly, and treated them well; and the good-natured duplicates enjoyed the arrangement tremendously.

Soon, however, Mrs. Feghoot began to lose weight and feel tired and irritable. “Every time they marry one of those girls, it takes something out of me,” she complained. “Ferdinand, take me away! ”

Feghoot watched for his chance. Slamming the air-lock of his spaceship when all the men were outside, he prepared to take off.

The men pleaded and wept. “Please don’t go yet,” they begged.

“I’m sorry,” Ferdinand Feghoot said sadly, “but . . . those wedding gangs are breaking up that old belle of mine.”

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

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