THE pulsar 1829-10 has a remarkable companion1 of only ~10 Earth masses, which occupies a nearly circular orbit of 184-day period. Bailes et al.1 speculate that this companion is a planet which has either survived the earlier stellar evolution and supernova which created the pulsar, or else formed through some sort of coagulation process during the lifetime of the pulsar. I argue here that another interpretation, which they excluded, may actually be more plausible: that the companion began its life as a star, and has been ablated down to its present mass by absorbing a portion of the pulsar's spindown energy. That similar phenomena have already been seen in two other binary pulsars, PSR 1957 + 20 (refs 2, 3) and PSR 1744-24A (refs 4, 5), lends preliminary credence to this suggestion. The (surprisingly small) final mass of the remnant is determined by the interplay between decreasing spin-down luminosity, recession of the companion from the pulsar as a result of its mass loss, and, most importantly, shrinkage of the companion due to convective cooling of its interior.