302J: Alien had Answers, but Earthlings treated him like an animal…until he became one

The short story was in an 8th grade English reader (adopted by Uintah school district in the 1980s).  It was light blue and white.

The short story came from the section in the reader that was something like strangers in a strange land.

It was an excerpt from a science fiction writer (famous, I believe) so the short story might have come from a novel.  I have spent hours sifting through science fiction novels trying to come up with this story.  I found The Thing…but, I believe I’m going to have to find the reader itself.  Hence, I’m asking you.

The story line is:  An alien crash lands on earth.  Earthlings find him.  He is walking on two feet, but he looks different than them.  They struggle accepting him because of his looks.  *there is a painting picture in the book itself of an alien trying to talk with people and the people look mob-like angry*

The alien explains to them that his people have advanced technology and that he would share it with them.  At one point, he even tried to tell them that he had the answers to the universe and God.  The Earthlings laugh at him, shun him, and tell him he is an animal.

Eventually, the Earthlings put him in a cage.  They continually call him an animal.  He tries talking to them until he finally gives up and becomes quiet.  He sees the other animals in cages and watches the interaction between animals and humans.  Somewhere I remember them using the word creature.

In the end, the cage door is left open and the alien (like an animal) runs away into the forest …”running on all fours.”  I’m pretty sure I’m quoting this correctly as I remember it being a powerful key statement.

I remember this science fiction story being in a section with pioneer and moving west stories.  It seemed oddly placed until you read and realized it was placed there to take a next step in cognitive thinking and applying it to the future.

Thank you for helping me with this.  I want to use it to teach through the story the idea of intolerance vs. tolerance and what can happen if we don’t treat someone with respect.  It definitely a story that made one think.

One thought on “302J: Alien had Answers, but Earthlings treated him like an animal…until he became one

  1. I wonder if it might be one of Zenna Henderson’s works. Pilgramage: The Book of the People and The People: No Different Flesh might be two books to start with. She has other works, as well.

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