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Goldsmith, Ruth M. – “Yankee Exodus” (1953)

06/18/2013

Another nod toward the importance of socialization; nurture over nature, as it were. An alien visitor, who is mostly undescribed physically but has at least three hands so at least we know it isn’t just a space-human, thank God, happened to set down his ship in the farm of a backwoods Yankee, and so he has taken on the personality of a backwoods Yankee.

Joshua Perkins is our human, and Adam is the name he’s given to his visitor, and they converse in backwoods-Yankeeisms (learned by means of Adam’s ““immediate telepathic comprehension””) like “Plumb forgot” and “A rolling stone gathers no moss” or, when the rest of Adam’s shipmates come to visit, “Reckon you don’t know these folks.”

Adam’s initial visit ends with him building a fence for Joshua out of boulders in return for being allowed to remove and keep the other boulders in Joshua’s posture – shades of Huck Finn. On a later visit, something falls from his ship and damages Joshua’s house, and in return he and the other aliens build the farm a new, technologically advanced henhouse.

Joshua, annoyed with the meddling insurance company (which won’t pay for damage done by a UFO), and tourists (flocking to see his henhouse, despite his PRIVATE PROPERTY sign), and the federal government (“for his opposition to meddling by that body was as deep-rooted as his thrift”), sells his property to the insurance agent for a tidy profit, and leaves aboard Adam’s ship, which “accidentally” destroys the henhouse on its way out. He takes with him chickens and johnnycakes for his own sustenance, and a large supply of conch shells for currency, Adam having been amazed by the listening-to-the-ocean trick.

Convincingly sets a mood and effectively portrays a character in a way that very few of the other stories do. This appears to be one of two stories Goldsmith published.

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