Looking for a short story I read in the 1960s, about spacemen/astronauts who land on a living planet. Upon exiting the ship they find beautiful foliage, grasslands, water. A perfect unspoiled ecology. They find that the planet allows them to fly and supplies all their needs. However, when the astronauts begin to dig, collect minerals and otherwise damage the ecology, the planet begins to transform itself. The astronauts blast off leaving a lone astronaut on the surface.

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A short story I read in the 1960s.

"Here There Be Tygers", a short story by Ray Bradbury . First published in the 1951 original stories anthology New Tales of Space and Time edited by Raymond J. Healy, it was reprinted in Amazing Stories, April-May 1953, available at the Internet Archive. The story has its own Wikipedia page. It was dramatized as episode 4.12 (November 30, 1990) of The Ray Bradbury Theater; you can watch it on YouTube.

About spacemen/astronauts who land on a living planet.

The rocket ship sank down toward planet 7 of star system 84. They had traveled millions upon millions of miles; Earth was far away, her system and her sun forgotten, her system settled and investigated and profited on, and other systems rummaged through and milked and tidied up, and now the rockets of these tiny men from an impossibly remote planet were probing out to far universes. In a few months, a few years, they could travel anywhere, for the speed of their rocket was the speed of a god, and now for the ten thousandth time one of the rockets of the far-circling hunt was feathering down toward an alien world.

Upon exiting the ship they find beautiful foliage, grasslands, water. A perfect unspoiled ecology.

It was the freshest green color they had seen since childhood.

Lakes lay like clear blue water droplets through the soft hills; there were no loud highways, signboards or cities. It's a sea of green golf links, thought Forester, which goes on forever. Putting greens, driving greens, you could walk ten thousand miles in any direction and never finish your game. A Sunday planet, a croquet-lawn world, where you could lie on your back, clover in your lips, eyes half shut, smiling at the sky, smelling the grass, drowse through an eternal Sabbath, rousing only on occasion to turn the Sunday paper or crack the red-striped wooden ball through the wicket.

"If ever a planet was a woman, this one is."

They find that the planet allows them to fly

Driscoll gave a little run. "Feel it, by God, the wind. You know, we never have really flown by ourselves. We have to sit inside tons of metal, away from flying, really. We've never flown like birds fly, to themselves. Wouldn't it be nice to put your arms out like this—" He extended his arms. "And run." He ran ahead of them, laughing at his idiocy. "And fly!" he cried.

He flew.

Time passed on the silent gold wrist watches of the men standing below. They stared up. And from the sky came a high sound of almost unbelievable laughter.

"Tell him to come down now," whispered Chatterton. "He'll be killed."

Nobody heard. Their faces were raised away from Chatterton; they were stunned and smiling.

At last Driscoll landed at their feet. "Did you see me? My God, I flew!"

The rest of the men take to the air. Afterwards, this exchange:

"It's impossible." Chatterton shut his eyes, tight, tight. "It can't do it. There's only one way for it to do it; it's alive. The air's alive. Like a fist, it picked me up. Any minute now, it can kill us all. It's alive."

"All right," said Koestler, "say it's alive. And a living thing must have purpose. Suppose the purpose of this world is to make us happy."

and supplies all their needs.

They found a small stream which poured into a boiling water pool. Fish, swimming in the cold creek above, fell glittering into the hot spring and floated, minutes later, cooked, to the surface.

However, When the astronauts begin to dig, collect minerals and otherwise damage the ecology, the planet begins to transform itself.

"Now!" cried Chatterton.

The Drill plunged its long screw-bore into the green grass.

Chatterton waved up at the other men. "I'll show it!"

The sky trembled.

The Drill stood in the center of a little sea of grass. For a moment it plunged away, bringing up moist corks of sod which it spat unceremoniously into a shaking analysis bin.

Now the Drill gave a wrenched, metallic squeal like a monster interrupted at its feed. From the soil beneath it slow bluish liquids bubbled up.

Chatterton shouted, "Get back, you fool!"

The Drill lumbered in a prehistoric dance. It shrieked like a mighty train turning on a sharp curve, throwing out red sparks. It was sinking. The black slime gave under it in a dark pool.

With a coughing sigh, a series of pants and churnings, the Drill sank into a black scum like an elephant shot and dying, trumpeting, like a mammoth at the end of an Age, vanishing limb by ponderous limb into the pit.

The astronauts blast off leaving a lone astronaut on the surface.

The rocket rose into the sky. Looking back, Forester saw every valley and every tiny lake.

[. . .]

The face of the world was changed. Tigers, dinosaurs, mammoths appeared. Volcanoes erupted, cyclones and hurricanes tore over the hills in a welter and fury of weather.

"Yes, she was a woman all right," said Forester. "Waiting for visitors for millions of years, preparing herself, making herself beautiful. She put on her best face for us. When Chatterton treated her badly, she warned him a few times, and then, when he tried to ruin her beauty, she eliminated him. She wanted to be loved, like every woman, for herself, not for her wealth. So now, after she had offered us everything, we turn out backs. She's the woman scorned. She let us go, yes, but we can never come back. She'll be waiting for us with those . . ." He nodded to the tigers and the cyclones and the boiling seas.

"Captain," said Koestler.


"It's a little late to tell you this. But just before we took off, I was in charge of the air lock. I let Driscoll slip away from the ship. He wanted to go. I couldn't refuse him. I'm responsible. He's back there now, on that planet."

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