The story revolves around a man walking along the sea shore picking up stones and looking at them intensely and them putting them down.

At the end of the story I remember that we found out that he was a space traveler and, to save his world from some disaster, they shrank the world and he was to find a safe place to restore the world, but he fell to earth and dropped the world in the sea and he was looking for it.


Beachcomber (1952) by Damon Knight, available at the Internet Archive; publication history at ISFDB.

The Beachcomber made an impatient gesture. "You don’t think we could bring it back into a space it already occupied, do you? It was in stasis, all but a fraction out of this time-line. Just a miniature left, so that it could be controlled. A model of the universe, so big." He spread his thumb and forefinger an inch apart — "Just a pebble."

Maxwell's jaw dropped open. He stared at the giant. "You don’t mean — you — "

"Oh, yes," said the Beachcomber, "I landed about twenty miles out from shore — five years ago." He stared out across the sea, while his fingers groped nervously among the pebbles at his feet.

"And when I hit the water," he said, "I dropped it."

I remembered that this had appeared on the site before, so I searched for site:scifi.stackexchange.com short story man searches for world lost on beach, which brought me to Short story: pebble-sized galaxy lost on a beach


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