A man and his companion were walking through a forest in Corsica when they came across a wooden cross, marking the spot where a man had been killed. The companion began to tell the story of a notorious Corsican bandit named Sainte-Lucie.
Sainte-Lucie's father was killed in a quarrel by a young man from their district, but Sainte-Lucie, who was weak and fainthearted, did not declare a vendetta against his father's murderer. His sister, angered by his inaction, took away his black clothes so he could not wear mourning for their unavenged father. Sainte-Lucie remained indifferent to this insult and continued living with his sister.
One day, the suspected murderer was to be married and passed by Sainte-Lucie's house on his way to the church. Overcome with rage, Sainte-Lucie took his father's gun and hid it in a thicket on the road to Corte. Later, he ambushed the murderer and his groomsmen, killing the murderer and one of the groomsmen. The other groomsman escaped.
I felt my blood boiling; I felt it had to be, that, in spite of everything, I could not resist the inevitable.
Sainte-Lucie then went into hiding in the mountains, where he was joined by his uncle, a priest who had been imprisoned for inciting him to vengeance. Together, they exacted revenge on their enemies. Sainte-Lucie killed all of the murderer's relatives and friends, as well as fourteen policemen. He also burned down the houses of his opponents and became the most feared bandit in the region.
As the sun set behind the mountains, the man and his companion reached the village of Albertace. The man remarked that the vendetta was a dreadful thing, to which his companion replied that a man must do his duty.