Probably mid to late 20th century story. I believe the title is something like "Farewell Ilya" or "Goodbye..."

The alien tells the story. Actually, perhaps the astronauts are the aliens, since I think it takes place on another planet. I think the narrator is injured, or somehow gets "taken in" by the ship's crew. They treat him sort of like a pet.

Anyway, the alien/narrator describes all sorts of human behavior. He ends up falling in love with human laughter. The alien is vehemently vegetarian and is disgusted when he is offered meat by the crew of the spaceship (something about not eating plant matter either unless covered under some treaty). I think he moves by folding in appendages and rolling?? Despite all the bad things he observes, he is so taken with human laughter that he leaves with the crew.

The story may be in a letter format.

I read this years ago and cannot find it in any anthologies I own nor through internet searches.


I finally found it, thanks in large part to the New York Public Library site, which directed me to another resource which eventually brought me to the Index to Science Fiction Anthologies and Collections, Combined Edition, by William G. Contento (http://www.philsp.com/homeville/isfac/0start.htm).

The title of the story is "Goodbye, Ilha" and it was written by Laurence Manning. According to the above-referenced site, it was published in the following:

Good-Bye, Ilha!, (ss) Beyond Human Ken, ed. Judith Merril, Random 1952

Beyond Human Ken, ed. Judith Merril, Grayson 1953

Selections from Beyond Human Ken, ed. Judith Merril, Pennant 1954

Giants Unleashed, ed. Groff Conklin, Grosset & Dunlap 1965

As soon as I saw a picture of the cover of the last listing, I immediately recognized it! Now I have to dig through all my basement bookshelves to see if I still have the book!

BTW, thanks to User14111 for linking my question with that of another user -- it helped spark some other recollections that aided in the search!

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  • As it is over 48 hours since you asked the question, you can accept your own answer. :) Good work! – FuzzyBoots Feb 4 '18 at 19:04
  • Congratulations on finding the story you were looking for. It's a disgrace that we couldn't find it for you, even after you provided most of the title. Especially for me, since I've read it before. I've reread it now, in my own copy of Beyond Human Ken. It's a good story. – user14111 Feb 4 '18 at 20:56
  • Thanks. Great site, btw. Now I am inspired to help someone else with even just a comment! – Elizabeth McPhee McGee Feb 6 '18 at 0:03
  • Great that you found it. You can click the check mark next to your own answer to mark it correct. – SQB Nov 23 '18 at 16:07

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