HE Earth had completed another turn about the sun, whirling
slowly and silently as it always whirled. The East had experi-
enced a record breaking crop of yellow rice and yellow chil-
dren, larger stockpiles of weapons were accumulating in certain
strategic centers, and the sages of the University of Chicago were
uttering words of profound wisdom, when Thang reached down and
picked up the Earth between his thumb and finger.
Thang had been sleeping. When he finally awoke and blinked
his six opulent eyes at the blinding light (for the light of our stars
when viewed in their totality is no thing of dimness) he had become
uncomfortably aware of an empty feeling near the pit of his stomach.
How long he had been sleeping even he did not know exactly, for in
the mind of Thang time is a term of no significance. Although the
ways of Thang are beyond the ways of men, and the thoughts of
Thang are scarcely conceivable by our thoughts; stillstating the
matter roughly and in the language we knowthe ways of Thang
are this: When Thang is not asleep, Thang hungers.
After blinking his opulent eyes (in a specific consecutive order
which had long been his habit) and stretching forth a long arm to
sweep aside the closer suns, Thang squinted into the deep. The riper
planets were near the center and usually could be recognized by
surface texture; but frequently Thang had to thump them with his
middle finger. It was some time until he found a piece that suited
him. He picked it up with his right hand and shook off most of the
adhering salty moisture. Other fingers scaled away thin flakes of
bluish ice that had caked on opposite sides. Finally, he dried the ball
completely by rubbing it on his chest.
He bit into it. It was soft and juicy, neither unpleasantly hot nor
freezing to the tongue; and Thang, who always ate the entire planet,
core and all, lay back contentedly, chewing slowly and permitting his
thoughts to dwell idly on trivial matters, when suddenly he felt
himself picked up by the back of the neck.
He was jerked upward and backward by an arm of tremendous
bulk (an arm covered with greyish hair and exuding a foul smell).
Then he was lowered even more rapidly. He looked down in time to
see an enormous mouthred and gaping and watering around the
edgesthen the blackness closed over him with a slurp like a clap of
For there are other gods than Thang.
This is from The No-Sided Professor, a book of short stories by Martin Gardner. It can be found on page 9 of the hardback version.