Sometime between seventh and eighth grade I stumbled upon a story which stuck with me, even though I forgot the title and the author.

As far as I can remember, the story went that this astronaut/colonist lives on an asteroid (maybe he was stranded there) along with a robot to assist him. The astronaut dies knowing of his solitude and the robot sort of takes him in his arms, consoling him either by singing or by putting out punched paper.

My guess is, this story was written in the 50's/60's by a prominent author (since it appeared in my Italian middle-school anthology).

  • 2
    It was the late nineties, say 1998-99.
    – phil zou
    Commented Jul 26, 2014 at 0:08

1 Answer 1


The short story "Beside Still Waters" by Robert Sheckley matches your description.

Mark Rogers was a prospector, and he went to the asteroid belt looking for radioactives and rare metals. He searched for years, never finding much, hopping from fragment to fragment. After a time he settled on a slab of rock half a mile thick.

And the end (Charles is the name of the robot).

Charles stood beside the body of his friend. He felt for a pulse once, and allowed the withered hand to fall. He walked to a corner of the shack and turned off the tired air pump.

You can find the story here.

And here is a cover enter image description here.


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