Martin Gardner

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; still——stating the matter roughly and in the language we know——the 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 mouth——red and gaping and watering around the edges——then the blackness closed over him with a slurp like a clap of thunder. 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.
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