The Sailors 

It was morning when the sailors found him on the beach, warming himself by a campfire, twirling a lotos blossom and staring into its soft radiance. None of his tools—rope, harpoon, or knife—were anywhere to be found. They wept quietly. One brought him a blanket, and wrapped it around him. Another tried to give him medicine and something to drink, but nothing stirred the lost soul from his trance. A captain suggested they wait before performing the ritual. When they returned at noon after mending their nets, he was examining a white, long, almost conical shell in the dark sand, and murmuring hexameters. The captain wept once more as the other sailors formed a circle around him and sang the funerary song. In the evening, when they came to bring him a farewell gift of a begging bowl, the lost soul had waded into the surf to speak to the moon and stars as he held up a large, broken fish skeleton to the sky. A shore bird glided over the dark waters.