A Piece Of String Summary

What is a summary for the story "A Piece of String"?

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M. Hauchecome is on the road to the market one day and picks up a piece of string from the dirt.  As he bends down he notices that his arch enemy M. Malandain is watching him from his shop window, so Hauchecome pretends to be looking for something valuable on the...

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M. Hauchecome is on the road to the market one day and picks up a piece of string from the dirt.  As he bends down he notices that his arch enemy M. Malandain is watching him from his shop window, so Hauchecome pretends to be looking for something valuable on the ground to cover up his shame at being seen picking up the piece of string.

When he goes to the local tavern for lunch, everyone is talking about a purse that was lost on the road with 500 francs inside.  Malandain tells the authorities that he saw Hauchecome picking up something from the road at the same time, so he is accused of taking the purse.  Hauchecome pleads with the authorities that he did not find the purse, and he only picked up a piece of string.  No one believes him, even though he does not have the purse.

Shortly after, the purse is returned, and Hauchecome is accused by the townspeople of having had an accomplice who returned the purse to clear his name.

Hauchecome thinks that once the purse is returned that his name will be cleared, however, the townspeople still suspect that he stole the purse and no matter what he says they don't believe him.  This process exhausts him and makes him ill.  To his dying breath, which comes shortly after his ordeal, he utters, it was only a piece of string.

At the end of the story, Hauchecome dies a broken man, exiled by the town because of assumed guilt, even though he is innocent.    

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