It turns out that some species’ mythical creatures are almost identical to real creatures found on the home planet of another species.
K’karik almost forgot to breathe. There, sitting in the enclosure of the Terran zoo, was clearly Skybear. It was grey like a storm cloud, and sitting up against a tree. Its ears were the white puffs of high stratus clouds.
Just like in the stories.
Legend said the song of the Skybear was a marvel to behold.
Legend didn’t say anything about them eating noxiously pungent leaves. And their gaze didn’t instantly bring down the lightning. If anything, it regarded K’karik with an almost insolent apathy.
“Are they tame?” she asked a human guide. She asked it in a reverential whisper.
“Yeah. Well, tame enough. Sort of. You can’t really tame a Koala.” Her nametag declared her to be Sandy. “Would you like a photo with one?”
A picture? With a Skybear? “They allow people to hold them?”
“They’re noncogniscent mammals,” soothed Sandy. “And they’re socialised, so they won’t kick up. Too much.”
Of course, the Terran version of ‘kick up’ was many other cogniscents’ version of ‘fatally maim’. Therefore, K’karik followed the Terran Guide’s instructions to the letter.
The Skybear clung to her as it had clung to the tree. Its fur was soft. And it had two thumbs.
“Peace of the land for peace of the air,” K’karik whispered in awed reverence.
Sandy managed to take the photograph mere seconds before the Koala urinated. All. Over. K’karik.
Legends were not meant to become reality.