PodCastle Miniature 013: The Fable of the Ostrich

By Peter S. Beagle
Read by Stephen Eley (of Escape Pod)

Once upon a time, in a remote corner of Africa, there was a young ostrich who refused to put his head in the sand at the slightest sign of danger.  He strolled around unafraid, even when lions were near, cheerfully mocking his parents, his relations, and all his friends, every one of whom believed absolutely that their only safety lay in blind immobility.  “It makes you invisible, foolish boy!” his father was forever shouting at him in vain.  “You can’t see the lion — the lion can’t see you!  What part of Q.E.D. don’t you understand?”

Rated G. Hakuna matata.  (Except for ostriches.)

Please visit the thread on this story in our forums.

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11 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Blaine Boy said,

    September 28, 2008 @ 10:08 pm

    I think the moral of this story should be “It’s not stupid if it works.” I’m loving this little Fable series by Mr. Beagle you’ve got going here. I absolutely love it. Keep up the good work guys; you’re getting better with every story.

  2. 2

    WriterDan said,

    September 29, 2008 @ 5:28 pm

    That one was funny. Oh, that was good. Listen to this one, peoples.

  3. 3

    Hyperion said,

    September 30, 2008 @ 4:02 am

    The Fable of the Ostrich was (in my opinion) the best of the fables so far. By far. It was the little things, too. “Naked legs.” “Considerate lunch.” Very subtle, which is hard to pull off in broadly aimed farcical tale.

    Which makes me wonder…..

    I assume Mr. Beagle knows that Ostriches do not actually bury their heads in the sand, a myth that reaches as far back as Pliny the Elder, and perpetuated by the fact that ostrich nests are in holes (that are dug).

    I assume Mr. Beagle is merely riffing on the common euphemism, without regard to natural world truth, along the same lines as suicidal lemmings or squallorish pigs.

    But what if he is not? What if the fact that ostriches DO NOT bury their heads in the sand is a second, additional level of metaphor, a level of meta-commentary and satire that most readers would not see coming.

    Now I really have something to think about.

  4. 4

    Old Man Parker said,

    September 30, 2008 @ 4:01 pm

    Sweet. Had a nice Kipling flavor. Stephen is a good story teller. Love the voice of the old lion.

  5. 5

    The Great Geek Manual » Blog Archive » Geek Media Round-Up: September 30, 2008 said,

    September 30, 2008 @ 5:18 pm

    […] Fiction: Listen to “The Fable of the Ostrich” by Peter S. Beagle at […]

  6. 6

    scatterbrain said,

    October 1, 2008 @ 4:50 pm

    The idea is a myth, a joke played on tourists and adventurers–zoologists conclude that if an ostrich did bury their head in sand, the poor bastard would suffucate!

    Good moral though.

  7. 7

    phignewton said,

    October 2, 2008 @ 7:48 pm

    according to the internet ostriches hide by laying flat on the ground, their large lumpy bodies resembling rocks and their heads hard to spot even in the best of times…

  8. 8

    Alina said,

    October 6, 2008 @ 1:08 am

    I don’t care if it’s a myth. This is fantasy you guys! It’s ALL MYTH!. Anyways, I LOVED IT. I even stopped doing my homework and did a little dance when it was over because I loved it so much. 😀

  9. 9

    LaShawn said,

    October 6, 2008 @ 12:48 pm

    Oh, fun! This one had me laughing out loud. I’m having a lot of fun with the Fall Shorts. Thanks for putting it in!

  10. 10

    Archie said,

    October 23, 2008 @ 12:29 pm

    Oh dear; this was terrible. I listen to it all in the hope that it would pick up at the end.

    Well read but just a stupid plot and charactisation. Sorry, I didn’t like it!

  11. 11

    Divya said,

    October 26, 2008 @ 7:10 am

    Am completely enjoying these “Fable of …” shorts by Mr. Beagle. Though, I must admit, “The Fable of the Tyrannosaurus” was definitely the one I enjoyed the most. Keep them coming 🙂

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