Youth: A Science Fiction Classic
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Red and Slim found the two strange little animals the morning after they heard the thunder sounds. They knew that they could never show their new pets to their parents.
A science fiction classic by Grandmaster Isaac Asimov, originally published in Space Science Fiction (1950).
barn; its huge open door black. Too black. They had been heading there all the time. Slim stopped in his tracks. He tried to make his words casual. “Are they big?” “Would I fool with them if they were big? They can’t hurt you. They’re only about so long. I’ve got them in a cage.” They were in the barn now and Slim saw the large cage suspended from a hook in the roof. It was covered with stiff canvas. Red said, “We used to have some bird there or something. Anyway, they can’t get
annoyed. He let go the cage which swung back and forth pendulum-fashion. “You’re just trying to back out, aren’t you?” “No, I’m not. It’s just–” “They’re not too small, don’t worry. Right now, I’ve only got one worry.” “What’s that?” “Well, I’ve got to keep them till the circus comes, don’t I? I’ve got to figure out what to feed them meanwhile.” The cage swung and the little trapped creatures clung to its bars, gesturing at the youngsters with queer, quick motions–almost as
though they were intelligent. II The Astronomer entered the dining room with decorum. He felt very much the guest. He said, “Where are the youngsters? My son isn’t in his room.” The Industrialist smiled. “They’ve been out for hours. However, breakfast was forced into them among the women some time ago, so there is nothing to worry about. Youth, Doctor, youth!” “Youth!” The word seemed to depress the Astronomer. They ate breakfast in silence. The Industrialist said once,
interest for long.” He looked at the wall clock. “Your friends should have been here by now, shouldn’t they?” III The swaying had come to a halt and it was dark. The Explorer was not comfortable in the alien air. It felt as thick as soup and he had to breathe shallowly. Even so– He reached out in a sudden need for company. The Merchant was warm to the touch. His breathing was rough, he moved in an occasional spasm, and was obviously asleep. The Explorer hesitated and decided not
abnormally high and thick in the gravitational potential of this world whipped and burned about the ship, but to the very last it looked as though he might bring it under control despite that. He even maintained course, following the extrapolated line to the point on the northern continent toward which they were headed. Under other circumstances, with a shade more luck, the story would eventually have been told and retold as a heroic and masterly reversal of a lost situation. But within sight