A reverent smile crosses Nguyen Co’s lined face. His eyes are fixed on a large mound of dirt. The 84-year-old sits on the steps of a temple on Ly Son Island off the coast of central Vietnam, dressed in a bright red and gold Áo dài, the Mekong country’s national dress. The old man has come to worship a sea creature: the mass of earth is a burial mound under which a twenty-foot whale is buried.
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