I had this story in an anthology collection many years ago - the basic premise was that a company - Genetics Inc. (or something along those lines, which may be the title of the tale) were able to genetically modify/create an organism to fit a customers specification.

One obnoxious female customer demanded they made her a Pegasus, that really flew - however, due to the difficulties they had adding wings to a horse, they reverse engineered a flying dinosaur (from DNA extract) to have extra legs, and working wings.

The punchline of the story is that when it is unveiled, and the woman sits astride the beast - it flies off with her, and devours her atop a nearby mountain.

Can't for the life of me remember the collection, title or author - but this one stuck with me for a while - It was an interesting premise - and would be good to see if there is any more tails about the same company from the same author!

2 Answers 2


After googling just a little bit harder, I managed to find it.

The story in question is The Triumph of Pegasus by Frank A. Javor from the anthology 'Mythical Beasts: Isaac Asimov's Magical Worlds of Fantasy, Vol. 6'

Lady asks for (nay, demands) a flying horse

"I want a horse," the sitting woman said matter-of-factly, "with wings."
"A horse," Colin started to say and then did a mental double-take. "A what?"
"A great idea, isn't it?" A horse that can fly. Nobody, but nobody in the association, in the world, will be able to top that."

They discuss how large dinosaurs flew before settling on making the pegasus out a 'back-bred' bird embryo.

"Weight," Bullitt said. "Don't prattle about weight. Only last night on TriV we saw a ... some kind of a flying dinosaur. Weight." He snorted.
"A reptile," Colin said, and it was quicksand he felt the suction. "A pterodactyl. But even the largest of those had only a twenty-foot wing span."

It then eats the unfortunate Mrs Bullitt.

Somewhere, greedily, slaveringly, the Bullitt beast was at long last feeding.
Hunched, wrapped in blankets, holding steaming mugs, Colin and Ed, in the cockpit of the patrol boat that had pulled them out of the river. Ed still shaking his head.
"It went for us. Did you see how it went for us?"
Colin didn't answer him, knowing that Ed wasn't looking for him to. Remembering the two of them in the police copter, with the pilot and the man with the heavy carbine. Tracking their animal, homing in on the emitting signals of its data transmitters until, on the rocky face of the cliffs, halfway up, they caught the glint of the sun on its gold-green skin.
"There!" Ed shouted, pointing, and the copter hovered close.
Crouched it was, on the jutting shelf. The great wings half unfurled, opening, closing, twitching.
"Do you think she's still alive?" the man with the carbine said, then, "Forget it."


Could this be "Jerry Was a Man" by Robert Heinlein? It has some of the elements you've described, notably an extensive discussion around the problems of making a genetically engineered pegasus that actually flies.

“So? Well, our facilities are at your disposal. What would you like, sir?”
“I want you to make me a Pegasus.”
“A Pegasus? A flying horse?”
Blakesly pursed his lips. “You seriously want a horse that will fly? An animal like the mythical Pegasus?”
“Yes, yes—that’s what I said.”
“You embarrass me, Mr. van Vogel. I assume you want a unique gift for your lady. How about a midget elephant, twenty inches high, perfectly housebroken, and able to read and write? He holds the stylus in his trunk—very cunning.”

The bit at the end (eaten by pegasus) is notably missing.

  • I wonder if a different story in the anthology the OP read ended with someone getting eaten.
    – Molag Bal
    May 23, 2016 at 16:18
  • 1
    @anaranjada - The more I read the description, the more I'm thinking that this isn't the story.
    – Valorum
    May 23, 2016 at 16:32
  • The plot thickens.
    – Molag Bal
    May 23, 2016 at 16:34
  • I immediately thought of the Heinlein story when I read about the Pegasus, but the bit about using dinosaur DNA definitely rules it out.
    – user45485
    May 23, 2016 at 16:38

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