I'm searching for a book I once read where the main character (fairly sure it's a man but could be a boy) is stuck in an inhospitable environment, a desert I think. He is days away from civilization which is also the nearest water source. Luckily, he finds a creature that appears to be made of water, it's translucent and starts off around the same size as the main character. The creature offers the man assistance, allowing him to drink from it and staying with him on his journey (guiding him to the town?). As he drinks the creature gets smaller and smaller.

Eventually he can see the town in sight but the creature has only a few mouthfuls of water left in it's body which it gives to the man so that he will survive. I think the man promises to come back for the creature with water when he gets to the town, and drinks, yet when he comes back the creature is either dead or missing. I remember it being very sad!

  • It seems to me that even a little boy who is old enough to get stuck in a desert would weigh more than 50 pounds. So assume that the creature only has 50 pounds of water in it. So how much water would a fifty pound human have to drink to stay hydrated and walk to safety for several days in the desert? So I think that the writer exaggerated how much water someone would need in such a situation just to make the story more dramatic. Commented Jun 25, 2018 at 16:20
  • I remember this story! Read it several time as a child/teen (around 20 years ago). I think it was a short story in a collection, though I can't recall if it was a collection of stories from one author or many.
    – AerusDar
    Commented Jun 25, 2018 at 23:39

2 Answers 2


This is the short story "You be the Judge" by Paul Jennings, an Australian author, and part of his "Un" series written in the 1980's and 90's. This story is from Undone! 1993. The creature is called the "Wobby Gurgle"

There isn't a lot of specific information available online, but this is from Google Books:

..clearest, coolest, freshest water in the world. I sucked like a calf at a teat. The Wobby Gurgle was feeding me. With himself.


The day wore on and the Wobby Gurgle grew smaller and smaller with every drink.

The story has a slightly happier ending then the original poster recalled. The boy and nearly dead Wobby Gurlge found a female Wobby Gurgle, who saved the first by giving her water to him:

Water flowed from her lips into his. She was filling him up. From herself. It was like watching a tyre being inflated. He grew larger and she grew smaller.

  • Looking back, these stories were weird as hell. Commented Jun 26, 2018 at 4:57
  • Thanks for this! No idea why I remember it being sad - I will have read this in a school library so it could be that I never finished it and the creature's fate was unknown to me :)
    – Korthalion
    Commented Jun 26, 2018 at 8:13

It could be Planet of the Damned by Harry Harrison.

  • 4
    Could you edit in some information for why you believe this is the answer?
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Jun 25, 2018 at 18:18
  • 2
    The only detail that matches is "drinking from a creature", but the OP has given much more that doesn't fit Planet of the Damned. Commented Jun 25, 2018 at 18:18

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