An old woman and her twelve year old daughter, both in mourning clothes, are riding through banana plantations in the third class section of a train. It is extremely hot and the air is heavy. They get on the train at 11:00 a.m. and get off at 2:00 p.m. in a little town. While they are on the train, they eat their lunch. As they approach the town, they straighten their clothes and make themselves presentable.
It is siesta time in this town. Everything is closed, and people are home eating their lunches and taking naps. The mother and daughter walk in the shade of the buildings and trees, and soon arrive at their destination, the priest's home.
The woman scratches on the door until the housekeeper opens it. The mother insists on seeing the priest, even though it is siesta.
Finally the mother and her daughter are allowed to enter the house. The housekeeper is persuaded to get the priest. He says that they should come back at three. The woman refuses as the train leaves at 3:30 p.m. At last the priest comes out.
The mother wants the key to the cemetery to visit her son's grave. Her son is a thief who was killed in this town a week ago. The priest fills out the page in the key registry with the information the mother gives him.
The week before, the son, Carlos Centeno Ayala, had tried to break into a lonely widow's house. She was terrified, took an old gun, aimed it, fired, and killed the thief.
The priest asked the mother if she had tried to straighten out her son. Her answer was that he was a good man and did what he had to do to take care of his family. She accepted his being a thief because when he was a boxer, he was hurt very often. His pain was more hurtful to his mother than his stealing.
The priest gives them a key and the directions to Carlos' grave. He notices that people from the town have gathered outside his house. He tries to encourage the mother to go out the side door. She refuses. She takes her daughter's hand and goes out the...
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