(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

An unnamed farmer is working in his banana plantation as usual, clearing space with his machete. Satisfied with his progress, he decides to rest before finishing. As he usually does, he plans to cross a barbed wire fence and stretch out on the nearby grass. This time, however, things go terribly wrong. He accidentally trips and falls, landing on the ground. He is in the position he intended but notices that his machete is in a strange position: half of it protrudes from his shirt, under his waist. Trying to look around, he realizes that the other half of the machete has pierced his abdomen.

Incredibly but inexorably, he calmly assesses the situation and concludes that his life has come to an end. He sees that he is so badly wounded that he is now dying; to all intents and purposes he is really already a dead man, as there can be no remedy. He thinks about his life, as he drifts in and out of consciousness. Nevertheless, it is hard for him to accept such a sudden and senseless end. He knows that death is inevitable, but he thought that he would have a normal lifespan, that he would have time to prepare for death. He had expected a full life, with its share of hopes, dreams and problems. Instead, he is suddenly dying—simply because of an accident, a moment of petty carelessness. He realizes that nothing around him has changed, that his surroundings have not reacted to what for him is a cataclysmic event. He resists the horrible thought. Nothing has changed—his own banana plantation is the same. He knows it well, after working on it for so many years.

The midday calm approaches. He sees the distant red roof of his house and the nearby woods. Although he cannot turn to look, he knows that in other directions lie the road to the new port and the Paraná Valley. Everything is the same as always—the sun, the air, the trees. He thinks that he will change the fence. It cannot be possible that he will be dead. It is supposed to be a...

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