The origin of Podrick Ptolemy Platypus remains a sordid tale of questionable origin and reliability. This website serves to document a fictional retelling as imagined by Mel Barat Bours for "Websites Beyond The Page" taught by Meghna Dholakia and Ilona Brand at Type Electives.

"A sordid tale of questionable origin and reliability"

The earliest depiction of Podrick has been attributed by various concerned parties to the adolescent daughter of a Welsh sea captain on an unsanctioned voyage to the prison colonies of Australia.

And so our story begins...

As legend my have it,
the Captain’s daughter, whose name remains unknown, was able to conceal herself in a small trunk. Once the trunk was stowed upon the vessel, she waited as long as she humanly could before opening it. She feared there may be other persons also hiding or toiling away nearby.

She slowly pushed open the heavy wooden lid before peering out at her new reality - a storage pantry with no exit in sight. She gingerly climbed out of the trunk with feline ease and changed into the captain’s clothes that she was sitting on for what felt like weeks. All that was there by way of food were limes. Oodles and oodles of limes. She ate the limes. They were so sour, she turned green! She spotted a small porthole behind the 10th mound of limes at the back of the boat. Using skills she had learned from a contortionist boarder staying at her Great Aunt Gertie’s last November during the Grand Circus Strike of ’87, she was able to shimmy herself out of the window.

She landed with a flop and a sploosh in very shallow water on the banks of a particularly muddy marsh. She scurried away as fast as she could and tripped on the wreckage of a small, ancient dingy.

She caught her reflection in the water and saw she had turned green. Her skin was green, her eyes were green, her hair was green! Her pinky nails and two front teeth, green and green! She knew the limes were sour, but had no idea they were so sour that she’d begin to turn into a fruit.

Eventually she found a small wooded area. She sat beneath a tree on the side of a small body of water that had fragrant flowers around it. With her new verdant hue she looked like one of the plants herself. As the sky was getting darker, the air got warmer, and she removed her jacket. As she slept, the natural world around her began to hum with activity.

A curious platypus found itself puttering next to the strange green thing. It was breathing. It smelled sour. He waddled towards the thing and saw that it had a piece of some kind of blanket that looked like it would be particularly cozy in his platyhollow, which is what he named his den. He wondered for a moment if this creature would be mad if he “borrowed” its blanket for a while. After some period of deliberation, he decided that no it would not.

So, he took the jacket. The green being didn’t move. It was too tired and somehow was being replenished by sleeping under this great tree in the marshy wooded area. The platypus struggled. He pulled the jacket behind him; stumbling a few times and caused the jacket to tear. He pulled it into the platyhollow and noticed that one of the tears revealed a thin sheet of metal between the lining of the coat and its outer fabric. He thought it looked nice so he pulled it out and decided the best possible course of action was to sleep directly on top of it.

He slept contently and albeit a bit more cosily in his hollow.

He awoke with a great thud to the head.
He had outgrown his hollow.

He had arms!

He had legs!

He had hands!

He had teeth!

He put his hands close to his face and they grazed something. He did not have a face like the green creature under the tree. He still had his bill. Like a platypus. Like a duck. Like a swan. It was not a mouth. But the rest of him was like the green creature, except his entire body was covered in rolls of grey feathers and fur. With rolls and rolls and rolls and rolls of this strange feathered skin hanging down like a Shar Pei, or like an elegant ballgown covering any visible body shape. He noticed that he didn’t have flippers any more, but had what felt like webbed talons.

A supposed depiction of Podrick Ptolemy Platypus and his coat.

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. "The captain was a duck, with a jacket on his back." The New York Public Library Digital Collections.

He found his way back to the green creature and tried to speak. He didn’t speak English or any other language for that matter as platypuses don’t speak like like humans. He made a bunch of strange noises that sounded like when water gets stuck in a drain when you’re trying to empty the tub. The green creature, the human girl who looked like a plant and smelled strongly of lime, was somehow not terrified by whatever this other strange duck thing was, and tried to make sense of its gurgles.

The platypus looked down and noticed while it was upright and no longer on its stomach as it had been during the duration of this whole series of events. He also noticed that the shiny piece of metal from inside of the jacket had fused into its breastbone. The green creature, the girl that now was becoming a fruit, saw it and gasped!


The platy-person-thing looked at the girl with a somewhat-alarmed-but-open glare and gurgled for more.


“Great Aunt Gertie told tales of this cursed thing during the Great Circus Strike of ’87. It was such a time that fantastic, morbid, and fanciful tales were prevalent and used to refocus the overall glum of the performing persons while they were out of work.

As Gertie told it, this bit of metal is cursed.

It came off the carcass of a carriage horse carrying a fancy grocer and his wears about the area to share unbelievably savory treats from the lands south of the north hills. The horse had an incredible sense of smell and thus became bewitched by the intoxicating perfume of the wondrous wares in the carriage. So much so that when the driver tried to rein him in, he bit the driver's ankle straight through to the bone, and flung him from the carriage. The driver expired immediately.

The horse, still in a trance from the scent of the delectable foreign savories within the carriage from which he was still attached, began to run in circles; trying to open the back door of the carriage with this teeth. The faster he ran, the more crazed he bacame with each oscillation. Circles and circles and circles and circles. The ground beneath its feet turned to mud, eventually the carriage lost control barreling down into the ravine on the side of the path. The horse was thrown into the air and landed directly on top of the carriage, breaking all of the wood, and unlocking all of its locks. When the horse finally hit the ground, he was surrounded by all sorts of fine edibles, the best carrots and gourds and tomatoes the lands south of the north hills had to offer, but he could not enjoy them.

The local folk tried to salvage what they could from the wreckage, and noticed strange things happening to all who took part. There were rumors that if you had any metal from the carriage, it would bring wealth beyond your wildest dreams, with access to the best offerings any voyage could supply. I suppose my father had a piece of that wreckage sewn into his jacket. I wore it when I became a fruit. You "borrowed" it and brought to your hollow. Now you are a strange, large, platypus-person-thing.”

The days went on, the girl and the platy-person-being coexisted in their little plot of forest. She was slowly becoming more fruit like. Her skin began to grow tough, and pucker. As she slept at night, new layers of wax covered her body. She became somewhat slippery and couldn't sit on a round surface without falling right off.

She would watch as the other cursed creature would go about its business. She noticed something unusual. It liked to gather and count.

The creature would waddle and paddle across vernal pools to gather bits and bobs of organic matter and bring them back to its platyhollow. It would categorize its findings - things that were green in one pile, things that were hard in another, things that were edible started to become categorized by flavor.

While she didn't turly develop a friendship with the creature, she liked knowing that there was someone, or something, in this new place that she had something in common with. Even if what they had in common was a curse. She decided to name the creature Podrick Ptolemy Platypus. Podrick, after a childhood friend who moved to the colonies and never wrote (she was still a bit sour about that) and Ptolemy, after the mathematician, astronomer and geographer that felt this strange being shared something kindred with.

When she'd encounter Podrick in the brush she'd say "Hello Podrick!" and ask him things like, "How are you today?" and "What did you find near the large Bottlebrush tree? Isn't it pretty this time of year!" It felt like he understood her inquires, but maybe it was her wistful imagination coming to grips with her new life as a fruit, isolated in a new country, with a platyperson.

Days turned into months. She realized she should probably be documenting this somehow, as she could on some clear days see other ships approaching the closest coast but never making it all the way to the shore. She found a way to make ink from the gelatinous blue grubs that lived near the small lavender colored flowers that grew in the particularly damp areas of their camp and began to write things down on the hides of squirrels she'd eaten for dinner.

One night, when Podrick was particularly tired and laying with his large belly up in the air, she slipped her story into his platypus pouch, hoping that someday he'd be able to share her tale. The next morning, her skin had morphed into an immaliable, solid, lime rind. In a matter of hours she could no longer move her limbs, nor wink, nor smile. She was still a girl, just a girl that happened to be completely and utterly a lime.

The lime was stuck in the direct path of the bright, pounding sun. She could not move, she could not roll, she couldn't cry for help. She became petrified, and by the end of the day was nothing but a dried fragrant rock, that used to be a lime, that once was a girl.

When Podrick found her, he felt something. He wasn't sad that she'd turned into a lime, nor that the lime was hard and solid and fragrant. Somehow, he felt motivated. What if he found a way to find where the girl was from? She was somehow part of his world, how could he be part of hers?

What happens next remains a mystery, but in a strange twist of fate, this story has been passed on from generation to generation. So perhaps, Podrick was able to leave his camp, find a ship, communicate with humans, and share this tale of questionable origin and reliability.

The End.