A short story from an unremembered anthology, UK read about 50 years ago. Some guy is stranded on an alien planet and meeting with other humans, a smaller group who've been stranded a while longer. They give him some kind of stew.

He is horrified when they later (at night) take him up to a plateau to hunt, their prey is what appears to be people who are frantically dashing about in shallow trenches trying to avoid the axes of the hunters. These things silently scream and throw their arms up in desperation as they're trapped between two hunters. On return to camp he refuses to eat.

As the next day drags on (I think but I'm not sure that the days and nights are two or three Earth days long) he gets very hungry and finally marches uphill with an axe. The "plant people" are now just clumps of leaves so he hacks a couple down and treks back down. The scornful colonists inform him that what he has is no good, all nutrients and juices are sent down through the roots during the day, all he has is some useless dried leaves. The next time he joins in during the night hunt.

The story is told like journal entries and finishes with one of the plant people reading it in the long died off colony around the rusted starship, the plant person gazes at the starship technology and ominously adds "This is what we found when we grew down to there, one day we'll grow to everywhere"

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    I remember the story. IIRC the only man who could stand to hunt without vomiting was an individual coincidentally named Hunter. Oct 3, 2023 at 7:28

1 Answer 1


I think this is The Watchers in the Glade by Richard Wilson. It was originally published in the Galaxy August 1964 edition, but I read it in the compilation The Ninth Galaxy Reader.

The group are stranded on the planet when mutineers took over their spaceship. The protagonist is Ralph Nevins. As a comment says the person who does most of the hunting of the plant people is Ramsey Hunter.

You have misremembered the ending slightly. It's written as a comment from one of the plant people reading the diaries that Nevins kept, and says:

And thus Ralph Nevins began the chronicle which we found when we grew over to the glade and which, together with other scattered documents from the worlds that they had attempted to colonize, provided us with an invaluable insight to the mores of those who knew themselves as human beings.

Oh, yes. To answer Ralph’s question, it might just be noted that we’re in charge, here and everywhere

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    Yeah. I didn't fully remember the end. But hey it was like 50 years at least since I read it! Thanks for your help
    – Danny Mc G
    Oct 3, 2023 at 10:44

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