An old sea captain retired to a staid, but scandal-hungry, Brazilian coastal suburb entices the dwellers with mythical nets of maritime adventure. From Hong Kong to the Barbados, his exploits with women and vessels spin irresistible lore. One Chico Pachecho, usurped of his status as chief story-teller and village scandal-monger, refuses to rise to the bait and undertakes the infamous task of exposing the captain as a grandiose impostor. In the person of a young, aspiring historian, the author of Gabriela: Clove and Cinnamon begins to dredge out ""the whole truth concerning the adventures of Captain Vasco Moscoso de Aragao, Master Mariner"" and comes up with a delightful tale in which a man's dream of himself contrives to win the unromantic battle against truth. Once a titleless merchant, the ""Captain"" had in fact finagled a fake examination and received both a license and a decoration without testing the brine. Destiny and a storm later save his concocted reputation when he is suddenly forced from ""retirement"" to go to sea. Whichever version you and the citizens of Periperi choose to believe, the rime of the bogus mariner provides a pleasant diversion--with truth as an albatross that loses its power to the human dream. A fanciful fable.