Despus vieron que no llevaba banderas ni arboladura, y pensaron que fuera una ballena. Pero cuando qued varado en la playa le quitaron los matorrales de sargazos, los filamentos de medusas y los restos de cardmenes y naufragios que llevaba encima, y slo entonces descubrieron que era un ahogado. Haban jugado con l toda la tarde, enterrndolo y desenterrndolo en la arena, cuando alguien los vio por casualidad y dio la voz de alarma en el pueblo. Los hombres que lo cargaron hasta la casa ms prxima notaron que pesaba ms que todos los muertos conocidos, casi tanto como un caballo, y se dijeron que tal vez haba estado demasiado tiempo a la deriva y el agua se le haba metido dentro de los huesos.

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The children play by burying him in the sand until the adults discover the corpse and decide that it must be given a small funeral and thrown off the cliff on which their village rests. This is done because there is so little land in the village that they cannot have traditional burials. In order to do so, however, they must prepare him for burial at sea and look in neighboring villages for any surviving relatives. The men carry the body up to the village so that the women can prepare him for the funeral while they go to neighboring villages to ask if anyone can identify the drowned man.

The man is too tall to fit easily into any house and, upon removing the seaweed and mud, the women observe his handsome face. The women of the village become attached to him and dream of the wonderful man he must have been. Eventually, an old woman declares that his name must have been Esteban, and after a short period of resistance from some of the younger women, they all agree. After dreaming of how powerful Esteban must have been they decide to make him clothes because no one owns anything large enough to fit him.

The pants they make are too small and the buttons on the shirt burst. The women then think about how he must have had to stoop to enter doorways and how he must have felt uncomfortable in the small homes. The women feel pity and sympathy for the man, who they silently compare to their own husbands, and they begin to weep for him. The men are unable to find any relatives of the drowned man and they return home, where the village continues the funeral preparation as a group.

The women, now attached to Esteban, place "altar decorations" on him, including a compass, holy water , and nails. The men grow annoyed and chide their wives for taking such elaborate measures for "a stranger". Women go to get flowers in neighboring villages, since none grow in their own, and women from those villages come back to see Esteban.

This continues until the village grows so crowded that it is "hard to walk about. Instead of burying him with an anchor they let him go without one so that he can return one day. This is when the village realizes how desolate and small their town appears.


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