Short story or possibly book where humans on a planet are work animals for a different race. It turns out that it was a human colony that was overrun by this race a long time ago. I believe it is the song "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" that has importance in this story. A man and woman end up entering tower that turns out to be human space ship and launching it. They are on their way back to Earth with a message "colony {colony name} needs assistance."

  • 2
    what kind of species is this other race, are they humanoid, ect.
    – Himarm
    Jan 23, 2015 at 20:27
  • They are definitely not humanoid, but I can't remember for sure how they are described. It is possible they were some kind of big insect, but I'm not sure. Jan 23, 2015 at 20:45

1 Answer 1


This is The Silk and the Song (1956) by Charles L. Fontenay.

A preview may be found here.

It was released in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, July 1956

It's about a group of humans who are enslaved by aliens, generations after a disastrous landing on their planet. They teach their kids a song to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" which turns out to contain instructions for operating the dormant rocket.

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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