This is an older SF short story.

Aging court astronomer or astrologer sees the stars dimming and going out.

He predicts the end of the world. Instead his vision is failing and he is going blind.

I can't remember the title or the author.

  • 1
    Interesting, but can you give any more details? Approximate dates, more of the plot, character details?
    – Möoz
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 2:34
  • 1
    What was SF about it? Was it set on another planet, or what?
    – user14111
    Commented Jun 20, 2015 at 14:47

1 Answer 1


I believe that this is from The White Deer by James Thurber. It is a fairly known book, but the part with the Royal Astronomer seems to be a minor subplot at best.

Here is a citation from the book, page 25:.

"Why is Tocko no longer the Royal Astronomer?" she asked. "He got so old he could not see the planets very well, or even the moon or even the sun," said the Recorder. "His constant reports that everything was going out alarmed King Clode, who must have light to hunt by"

I have also been able to find a reference that supports my claim:

A quote by the author Kurt Vonnegut:

The late humorist James Thurber wrote a fable set in a medieval court, and he has the Royal Astronomer report that all the stars are going out! It turns out that he is simply going blind. I am probably making the same mistake.


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