This is ultimately a rather dark story. It involves a solitary human explorer on an alien planet. The human has an alien as an assistant, or he is helping the alien to travel somewhere through tunnels. They encounter several dangers along the way. The story is told from the alien's point of view. He seems amazed at how easily each danger is overcome by the human. The story ends with the human leaving or being called away, possible to a war. The human makes several comments that indicate a philosophy of great power leading to great responsibility. The alien is left with the impression that humans are too strong to act. I read this sometime in the 1970's-late 1980's.

Clarification: The human takes small actions, but refuses to make mass cultural changes or act to improve the life of the aliens, a form of Star Trek's Prime Directive, but less codified. The alien is, as I recall, angered that the human will not act more broadly, or teach them to.

  • I'm not certain I follow... it seems like the story has the human's actions being held in great esteem by the aliens, but he feels that humans cannot take action due to their power? Or is if a particular action?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 20:23
  • Sounds similar to Victory Unintentional.
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 20:31
  • I remember this one. Let me find the title. The human teaches them to make rocket launchers to fight against intelligent dinosaurs.
    – zeta-band
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 20:55
  • 3
    Thanks for reminding me of Victory Unintentional by Asimov. No, that was about Robotic Ambassadors visiting Jupiter. They neglected to mention that they were Robots leaving the Jovians with the impression that all Humans were Super-Strong and Invulnerable.
    – Seldon2k
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 21:00
  • 1
    Thanks for the extra info. I have now marked the original answer as correct. I am now almost certain this is the correct story. I will attempt to obtain a copy.
    – Seldon2k
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 20:59

1 Answer 1


Found it! It was The Teacher by Colin Kapp and it was the cover story in the August 1969 issue of Analog.

(I vaguely remembered the cover and looked at a collection of Analog covers and boomdiada, there it was.)


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