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  • (To make sense of the following, please read 'Curiosity' - the link's at the bottom of this page, if you're not used to Cowbird - by Alex first. Thanks, Alex, from one Ray Bradbury fan to another),

    “There was a silly damn bird called a phoenix back before Christ, every few hundred years he built a pyre and burnt himself up. He must have been the first cousin to Man. But every time he burnt himself up he sprang out of the ashes, he got himself born all over again. And it looks like we're doing the same thing, over and over, but we're got one damn thing the phoenix never had. We know the damn silly thing we just did. We know all the damn silly things we've done for a thousand years and as long as we know that and always have it around where we can see it, someday we'll stop making the goddamn funeral pyres and jumping in the middle of them. We pick up a few more people that remember every generation.”
    ― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

    Ceantropli finished reading the paragraph, carefully teleported the book back into the specially-made safe in his sleeping cell and sighed.

    'What it is, dear?' Arnimavli asked softly.

    'That ancient author, Ray Bradbury. The man was a genius. Thank Perspionvli that he was right, that the human race woke up before we exterminated ourselves. Arnimavli, do you ever wish it was like old times and you could die?'

    His wife snorted through her left nose-tubule. 'I swear, Ceantropli, you are getting sillier as you become more ancient! What a question! Wish I could die? Of course not! Just think of all the wonderful advancements, all the amazing things we have seen and will continue to see now we don't transform.'

    She stroked Ceantropli's median nose-tubule with affection. 'Tell me again about the Purple Hippos.'

    Her husband brightened considerably. 'Oh yes', he chortled, 'we were lucky the Gyantropvlis decided to reveal themselves to us in a different form, way back when the...what was it called, the Curiosity?... was put on Mars. I think I was about ten Earth years old when that happened.'

    Ceantropli continued as his young wife listened with interest. 'That was the beginning of mankind's salvation, I suppose. I hate to think what would have happened otherwise. As for the Purple Hippos', he chuckled, 'it took our ancestors a considerable amount of time to realise they were being poked fun at, and even longer to discover who was doing the poking. You can't say those Gyantropvlis don't have a sense of humour!'
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