31: Barrel - Part 5

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Jump to: navigation, search
Barrel - Part 5
Original title: Barrel - Part 5
Too good not to happen.Original caption: The ferret got to fly, in the end!
Title text: Too good not to happen.

Original caption: The ferret got to fly, in the end!


This was the thirty-third comic originally posted to LiveJournal. The previous one was 28: Elefino, and the next one was 32: Pillar.

This gives a happy ending to the The Boy and his Barrel series, with the flying ferret from 20: Ferret. The humor is derived from the juxtaposition of two unlike elements - in this case, the contemplative and even dark nature of the series being resolved through the timely intervention of a comical flying animal. The ferret could also be interpreted as a symbol of hope and following one's dreams, since in its original appearance, its powers of flight were just a dream. However, the dream becomes reality to save a child from an endless sea of hopelessness.

This is the last in a six-part series of comics whose parts were randomly published during the first several dozen strips. The series features Barrel Boy, a character that is different from what would quickly become the xkcd stick figure style. The full series can be found here. After Randall released the full The Boy and his Barrel story on the site, it became clear that the original comic 20: Ferret was also part of the series. The comics are listed in the order chosen by Randall:

The original caption included a link to 20: Ferret the second comic in the series. The link is now defunct, but there's an archived version.


[A boy is grasping on to a piece of driftwood in an ocean.]
[A zoomed out view of the boy still grasping on to a piece of driftwood in the ocean.]
[A ferret with some airplane wings and an airplane tail flies above the ocean.]
[A shot of the ocean, now empty.]
[The flying ferret is carrying the boy to safety.]
[The ferret carrying the boy is now in the distance with the sun on the horizon.]


This is the last comic that kept its original title after being transferred to xkcd.com.

comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!


this series feels like a homage to "The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry". the sketches have the same - quality ( for want of a better word) Arjunsharma (talk) 07:52, 25 March 2013 (UTC)jun

This was also my first thought today when I did look at this comic again. Maybe the Barrel is just the Meteor from "The Little Prince".--Dgbrt (talk) 21:50, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

I have to 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? -- 21:56, 28 October 2013 (UTC)

Should the last trivium be put in the explanation section? 0100011101100001011011010110010101011010011011110110111001100101 (talk page) 04:38, 3 July 2014 (UTC)

Last panel reminiscent of http://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/4 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)