The young priest has given Nora a bundle which contains a plain stocking of a man who was drowned in Donegal. The two sisters Nora and Cathleen are to find out whether they belong to Michael their brother who has not returned from the Sea. When Nora reports that Maurya their bereaved mother is moving about in her bed Cathleen uses the ladder to hide the bundle in the turf loft.
This enactment of hiding the bundle immediately sets up the tragic tone of the play. The sisters are to examine a bundle to verify whether their brother is dead. They cannot break this news to maurya their mother who has already lost so many of her sons and her husband to the all devouring sea. The line 'the two of us crying' also suggests that if they find out that the clothes belong to Michael and they start crying then Maurya would be further grieved.
The hiding of the bundle also suggests Cathleen's sensitivity and natural empathy towards her mother.