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Before Ford Prefect was born, his father lived on Betelgeuse Seven - until the Great Collapsing Hrung Disaster. He was the only survivor on the planet. After that, he moved to Betelgeuse Five, where he fathered Ford. The kids on B5 nicknamed him Ix, which means 'Boy who cannot satisfactorily explain what a Hrung is, nor why it should choose to collapse on B7‘. But what is the Hrung? Is it mentioned in one of the other books in the series?

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up vote 35 down vote accepted

No idea.

It wasn't just Ford who was unable to explain what a Hrung is; nobody really knew.

The only place the word Hrung appears in the entire series is in the first footnote in Chapter 5 of the novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, part of which says (emphasis mine):

Ford's father was the only man on the entire planet to survive the Great Collapsing Hrung Disaster, by an extraordinary coincidence that he was never able satisfactorily to explain. The whole episode is shrouded in deep mystery: in fact no one ever knew what a Hrung was, nor why it had chosen to collapse on Betelgeuse Seven particularly.

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OTOH, if nobody knows, then why does there exist a name for boys who aren't “able to satisfactorily explain what a Hrung is, nor why it should choose to collapse on Betelgeuse Seven”? – leftaroundabout Feb 15 at 19:16
@leftaroundabout: That's the joke. – Nate Eldredge Feb 15 at 19:54
I've always suspected that Ford's father was not entirely unconnected with the cause of the Great Collapsing Hrung Disaster. – TheMathemagician May 20 at 12:18
@TheMathemagician- What if he was the Hrung? – PointlessSpike May 20 at 12:53

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