I remember reading this story, vividly. It had some classic black and white pictures.

The story is about an ape-like (small & slight I think?) alien that lands what I remember as a forest. They get found by some people, and taken in as a curiosity. Eventually the information of this alien gets out, people laugh at it because it looks like some kind of animal and it's told to walk on four legs, even though it is bipedal. I remember it may have tried to convince some scientists of its intelligence by doing maths, only for the scientist(s?) to laugh it off as impossible.

It manages to escape this zoo (I think) and the part of the story I remember quite clearly: it describes that the last time this creature is seen this poor being, lost, unable to get home, crying and trying to walk on four legs in the forest.


I recently suggested this is "The Star Beast" (1963) by Nicholas Stuart Gray.

It appears that the entire story can be read in a Google Books preview.

The creature falls from the sky, and shows up, hurt, at a farmer's door. The authorities take it away but refuse to acknowledge its intelligence, so it gets sold to a circus. As it gives up trying to communicate it gets increasingly treated like a dumb animal until it is finally broken. The ending is indeed very sad:

The last glimpse that anyone saw of it was by a hunter in the deeps of the forest.

It was going slowly looking in terror at rabbits and squirrels. It was weeping aloud and trying desperately to walk on all fours.

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    This is exactly it! Looking through the set of publications of the link I distinctly remember the purple alien cover of the Young Oxford Book of Aliens! I have been searching for this story for years! Thank you so much! – Griffiana Nov 9 '20 at 13:57
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    Interestingly, that's the exact same title as a 1954 story by Heinlein, with similar themes. Though the morphology of the alien is completely different, in Heinlein's story the alien is similarly underestimated and treated as a non-sentient being (for generations, in the case of that story). – Peter Duniho Nov 10 '20 at 0:26
  • @PeterDuniho Except Heinlein's ending is completely opposite, with Lummox being acknowledged and repatriated, instead of being broken and living as an animal. – DavidW Nov 10 '20 at 1:21
  • Yes, that's true. I didn't say it was the same story. Just that it had similar themes. I just found it interesting that Gray chose an identical title for their take on the story. – Peter Duniho Nov 10 '20 at 1:42

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