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The story revolves around irony and deception. As in so many of Roald Dahl's stories, there is a real twist in the tale that makes it delightful to read and we can appreciate the irony, the gap between appearance and reality, all the more keenly. The central irony concerns the way in which the old man insists that they take the umbrella for the money that they give him, and the way in which the girl is concerned that they are taking advantage of the old man.
The irony of the story is that of course they are not taking advantage of the old man--in fact, he is taking advantage of them to get more money for another drink. The irony is heightened by the mother's lecture to the daughter on being able to judge people correctly as the old man walks away, a lot faster and spryer than before. The mother is so pleased to have "judged" the old man, she thinks, whereas she has been taken in like so many others before. He is an elaborate con man who has successfully fooled them and manages to fund his drinking by stealing umbrellas and then selling them to unsuspecting individuals.
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