Debut: "The Feathered Pigs" Destinies (vol.1 no.5), October - December 1979.

 

 

When Bridik was four hundred and twenty-two years old and expecting to moult the next season , she decided to edit an old riddle for her companions. Birdik and her companions were long-lived and feathered pigs playing out an idyll among the oak groves of post-anicent Terra.

“It is recorded in our history,” Birdik said, “that our ancestors served Man and as reward, Man gave us these lovely black and beige feathers. Who can tell me why Man chose these colors?”

“Awww, Mom, Nobody likes to play that old game anymore,” cried Kirid, her eleventh son. “We’d rather twang the lute and bamboozie.”

“Come, come,” said Birdik. “I am about to moult and it is my right to edit the old riddle.”

“Ohhh, all right,” said Kirid (who was really a dutiful son and not like some we could mention). “Who goes first.”

“That is the place of Lobrok, you father,” she said, “but I don’t want to hear him say the colors represent the oak tree alive and the oak tree burned.”

“The kid’s right,” said Lobrok. “It’s a bore.” Then noting Bridik’s angry glare and her exposed tusks, he said: “But I’ll play because it pleases you.”

“Okay, Pop,” Kirid said. “What’s the beedeebeedeep answer?”

“Man chose the colors because they represent day and night, the grass of autumn and the ashes of the past.”

“Verrry poetic, Pop!” said Kirid.

“May I go next? Me next?” cried Inishbeby, a fair young thing of hardly one hundred who was making a big play for Kirid.

“Very well,” said Bridik. “You may play in the guest spot.”

“Now, don’t tell me,” said Inishbeby. “Let me guess.” She wangled a bamboozly glance at Kirid, then: “Black is for charcoal and beige is for the parchment upon which Man drew with his charcoal.”

“That’s worse than stupid,” growled Lobrok. “A lot of us believe Man made parchment form pigskins!”

“I didn’t know!” cried Insihbeby. “it doesn’t say that at the museum of Man.”

“You’ve spoiled the riddle,” wailed Bridik. “Now I won’t be able to edit it before I moult.”

“Come on, Beby,” said Kirid. “I think we better blow until things cool off here.”

“Ohhh, where are you going to take me?” asked Inishbeby, nuzzling up against Kirid.

“Well . . . let’s go snoot out some truffles and have a picnic.”