I read this short story about 2015. I think it was old at the time.

The planet was settled by humans long ago. The indigenous aliens later beat them in a war. Humans are kept as livestock on farms, naked in fields.

In cities humans are more like slaves and are allowed to use tools. The alien civilisation they live in has only medieval technology.

The protagonist grows up on a farm. He doesn't believe the old stories about how humans used to have technology. He thinks it is ridiculous that humans could make things like that. All the humans know an old song or nursery rhyme it has something about a (red possibly) tape.

The protagonist escapes the farm goes to a city and pretends to belong to an alien in the city. He finds the long abandoned human spaceship. The song or nursery rhyme has the information he needs to put the control tape in the computer and launch off.


1 Answer 1


As per Short story about humans as beasts of burden for another race, read about 30 years ago, The Silk and the Song (1956) by Charles L. Fontenay.

The song is to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star":

Twinkle, twinkle, golden star,

I can reach you, though you’re far.

Shut my mouth and find my head,

find a worm that’s striped with red,

feed it to the turtle shell,

then go to sleep for all is well.

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