“I want to be instructed; begin by telling me how many senses the men in your world possess.”
“We have 72,” said the Saturnian; “and we are always complaining that they are so few. Our imagination soars beyond our needs; we find that with our 72 senses, our ring, and our five moons, that our range is too restricted, and, in spite of all our curiosity and the tolerably large number of passions which spring out of our 72 senses, we often feel bored.”
“How long do you people live?” asked the traveler.
“Ah! a very short time,” replied the little man of Saturn.
“So too with us,” said the Sirian. “We are always complaining of the shortness of life. This must be a universal law of nature.”
“Alas!” quoth the Saturnian, “none of us live more than 500 annual revolutions of the Sun.” (That amounts to about 15,000 years, according to our manner of counting.) “You see how it is our fate to die almost as soon as we are born; our existence is a point, our duration an instant, our globe an atom. Scarcely have we begun to acquire a little information when death arrives before we can put it to use. I myself do not venture to lay any schemes; I feel like a drop of water in a boundless ocean. I am ashamed, especially before you, of the absurd figure I make in this universe.”
Because of the age of this short story, it is available in it’s entirety here and elsewhere.