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I’m looking for a classic era short story featuring an Earthman travelling the Martian canals by boat.

Earth has been destroyed, and the only survivors are crews of returning spacecraft stranded on Mars. The great majority seem to be male. Martians appear to be humanoid but there is little contact between the races.

The central character avoids the main centres and travels a circuit, working as a handyman for his keep. The events of the story revolve around his return to a Martian family he hasn’t seen in some time, and the growing daughter of the family who is attracted to him, although he leaves without acting on this.

The mother consoles her, saying that he will surely return again.

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    Hi, welcome to SF&F! Nice question. You should add details of when/where you read this story, if you remember. You should check out the other suggestions that might also help.
    – DavidW
    Commented Jul 5, 2019 at 21:36
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    Sounds like something from The Martian Chronicles. Commented Jul 5, 2019 at 21:53

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From memory of reading and liking it many years ago, I suspect you're thinking of Time to Rest by John Wyndham.

There is a description of the story on the Solar System Heritage web site, and the full story is available on Archive.org.

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  • That’s the one, thanks
    – Ben
    Commented Jul 6, 2019 at 5:19
  • I used to dream of Zaylo aged 14. Commented Jul 6, 2019 at 11:31
  • I mean, when I was 14. Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 21:40

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