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In a comment in a Q&A with the director of the excellent short science fiction film Laura un Vineta, a fellow called Will Long tried to identify a short story which was probably from the '50s or '60s:

Your video brought to mind a science fiction short story that I read more than fifty years ago. An alien ship crashed in the cornfield of a lonely, but kindhearted farmer. The farmer finds and buries the crushed body of the sole occupant. Somewhat resembling a corn plant itself, the creature is regenerated from the burial site. And the farmer takes it into his home and raises it to maturity; whereupon, the alien repairs it ship and leaves to return to its home world. However, before it departs, it removes something resembling a large, gem-like marble from its own body and leaves it with the farmer. Even though it knew its own journey through the interstellar distances would be harder to endure without its "companion" (the gem), the alien gave it to the kind farmer to ease his loneliness.

I actually thought it was called "The Companion" or something similar. However, my browser searches on science fiction of that theme did not produce the result I had hoped. It was popular enough that the story later appeared in a book anthology—I read it first in one of the 1950's or early 60's pulp magazines such as "Analog" or "Galaxy"—and I read it again about twenty years ago.

I had a bit of a look myself, but there are too many well-known stories involving aliens and farmers that aren't this!

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  • 1
    I've read that one before... let me see if I can find it. My impulse is that it's a Ben Bova story, but I could certainly be wrong.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Oct 10 at 0:03
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    @FuzzyBoots I just linked to your previous identification below. Apparently, I asked the question last time.
    – Buzz
    Oct 10 at 0:06
  • ^_^ No wonder it seemed familiar.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Oct 10 at 0:20
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    Does this answer your question? Seeking a story where a dead alien regrows as a plant from its grave
    – tardigrade
    Oct 10 at 19:54
  • @TomAnderson: I think it's highly likely we've found your story. If you can confirm it, we would appreciate it. :)
    – FuzzyBoots
    Oct 10 at 20:59
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This is "A Death in the House," by Clifford D. Simak. Since its first publication in 1959, it has appeared in numerous anthologies.

Summarized here:

In "A Death in the House," Mose Abrams, an irascible old farmer comes across a crashed spaceship and a dying alien. He tries to get help for the alien, but nobody does anything for it. When the alien dies, Mose buries it. He doesn't tell anyone where he buried it, and he also doesn't let them know about the remains of the spaceship. At which point, the dead alien sprouts back up from where it was buried, and with Mose's help repairs its spaceship. Those repairs use up the store of silver that Mose kept beneath the floorboards of his house, which had been his only companion and comfort. When the alien leaves, he gives Mose a small glowing crystal. The gift makes Mose happy, even though he doesn't know why.

At the end of the story (the last two paragraphs of the story are from the alien's point of view) the gift is indeed called a "Companion."

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