PodCastle Miniature 014: The Fable of the Octopus

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

Once, deep down under the sea, down with the starfish and the sting rays and the conger eels, there lived an octopus who wanted to see God.

Octopi are among the most intelligent creatures in the sea, and shyly thoughtful as well, and this particular octopus spent a great deal of time in profound pondering and wondering. Often, curled on the deck of the sunken ship where he laired, he would allow perfectly edible prey to swim or scuttle by, while he silently questioned the here and the now, the if and the then, and — most especially — the may and the mightwhy.  Even among his family and friends, such rumination was considered somewhat excessive, but it was his way, and it suited him. He planned eventually to write a book of some sort, employing his own ink for the purpose.  It was to be called Concerns of a Cephalopod, or possibly Mollusc Meditations.

Rated G. Contains philosophical meanderings.

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11 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    phignewton said,

    October 6, 2008 @ 9:20 pm

    i am left to ponder a deep abiding question… why does the old fisherman sound so much like Stephen Eley?!

  2. 2

    Old Man Parker said,

    October 7, 2008 @ 12:00 am

    Well, it was darned cute. Untill… it became a story about a writer. I never like it when rock stars sing about being rock stars, and writers write about being writers. I don’t wanna hear you prattel on about yourself, I want universal truths in my fables. Other than thye it was cute. Darned cute.

  3. 3

    Blaine Boy said,

    October 7, 2008 @ 2:21 am

    How many times have you ever been that octopus pondering the great mysteries of life when someone comes along and makes it seem so clear, so simple, and so true? How often have you wondered the same questions that he has? How many people are there in your life like the fisherman and how often do you see God? (Or what is probably the better question), can you see God? Alternative moral: the best answer (or more often the right answer) is usually something so obvious you never notice it. It’s like telling someone to look in a forest for their answer when the answer is the air around them. They can search for a life-time and see it every day but at the same time never really see it. Still loving the fable series. Keep up the good work. It’s funny really…I can get all the questions that I will ever need…from a computer. Hm…moral? The other question is…should I be posing this last question to the Escape Pod people?

    Yours faithfully,
    the Blaine Boy

  4. 4

    Tyson of the NW said,

    October 7, 2008 @ 3:46 pm

    I am hoping that at some point all these fables, parables, myths, etc. by Peter S. Beagle will be compiled into an audio CD. When this happens, I’ll take 5.

  5. 5

    scatterbrain said,

    October 7, 2008 @ 4:14 pm

    I’m waiting for the one about the sperm whale that apes Richard Dawkins.

  6. 6

    The Great Geek Manual » Geek Media Round-Up: October 7, 2008 said,

    October 7, 2008 @ 5:55 pm

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

  7. 7

    Audita Sum said,

    October 12, 2008 @ 9:13 am

    I don’t much like this series. I find the tone of condescending, cheesy, and pretentious. Especially when this one started talking about writing.

  8. 8

    Bingorage said,

    October 15, 2008 @ 3:58 pm

    “What’s in the sack?”


  9. 9

    The Fix | From the Podosphere: October 2008 said,

    November 16, 2008 @ 9:17 am

    […] for October begins with the last of Peter S. Beagle’s quirky flash fables, “The Fable of the Octopus” read by Stephen Eley. In this enjoyable Miniature, an octopus ponders the great […]

  10. 10

    More links for your enjoyment (or I’m actually doing some writing for once so I’ll just cut and paste here…) « The Cafe in the Woods said,

    November 18, 2008 @ 5:14 pm

    […] shorts from Peter S. Beagle. These bite-sized stories are fun to listen to. My particular favorite: The Fable of the Ostrich. It was a very nice African folktale-flavored read after Anansi Boys. For some more culture […]

  11. 11

    The Fable of the Octopus « Writing Every Day said,

    May 26, 2009 @ 11:32 pm

    […] a series of four fables by Peter S. Beagle that were podcast last fall.  My favorite was “The Fable of the Octopus,” about an octopus who wanted to see god. His ideas about god are about as good as your […]

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