20: Ferret

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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My brother had a ferret he loved which died since I drew this strip. RIP.
Title text: My brother had a ferret he loved which died since I drew this strip. RIP.


Here, the "friend" is a smasher of dreams, pulling Cueball (and his ferret) down to reality and away from their goal of flying ferrets.

Fear not, the ferret returns in 31: Barrel - Part 5.


[A ferret with airplane wings on it]
Friend: Why on earth did you make those wings? You don't seriously think they could let your ferret fly, right?
Guy: I... of course not.
Guy: That would be pretty dumb. It's just, uh... ...a Halloween costume.
Friend: oh, okay.
Friend: Besides, who would want a pet to fly anyway?
Guy: Yeah. Pretty lame, huh?
Friend: Anyway, let's go play video games.
[Friend leaves]
[Friend is gone, and Guy is looking at ferret]
[Guy imagines ferret flying over the ocean near the beach using his makeshift wings]


  • Randall's original comment: My brother has a ferret. He holds it like that and generally adores it. I have to concede that it's pretty cute, if smelly.
  • This is the nineteenth comic posted to livejournal. The previous was 19: George Clinton. The next was 21: Kepler.

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The wings are gonna have to be waay bigger if that plane is gonna fly. Davidy22[talk] 04:23, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

I wonder if the flying ferret has anything to do with Richard Bach, a noted aviation author who published a series of flying books called "The Ferret Chronicles" in 2002-2003? -- 21:58, 28 October 2013 (UTC)

This is the saddest strip of all! -- Saijm4444 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Jonathan Livingston Ferret. -- anonymous (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Could this comic be where the FlyingFerret IRC bot in #xkcd on foonetic.net was originally conceived? 23:55, 18 November 2014 (UTC)

Cueball could have let the matter drop with, "of course not." Instead, he deprecates both himself and his efforts while aligning himself with his friend's more pedestrian opinion. He makes a deliberate and public show of conformity. However, the last two panels show that, privately, he hasn't given up on the dream of wings for his ferret. Flight, especially in imagination or dreams, often represents freedom. Also, pets can sometimes be seen as extensions or representations of their owners. The dream of flight for the ferret could represent Cueball's desire for freedom from social strictures that he feels confine him. --DP9000 (talk) 09:23, 17 February 2016 (UTC)