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Awed by the sudden force of Nature that pinions them under the branches of a huge beech tree, Ulrich von Gradwitz, "the inheritor of the quarrel," and Georg Znaeym, "the tireless game-snatcher and raider of the disputed border-forest," join together in prayful thanks and curses. Caught in this precarious position, the men arrive at a new perspective regarding their lives: Neither of them may survive.
...in the pain and laguor that Ulrich himself was feeling the old fierce hatred seemed to be dying down.
Ulrich tells his old enemy that he has concluded that they have been "rather fools"; for, there is much in life better than feuding over a property border. Von Gradwitz entreats his old enemy to let him bury the old quarrel. With nothing to do but ponder von Gradwitz's words, Georg Znaeym considers how the whole region would be shocked if the two men end their feud. Then, each of the men generously offers the other "honorable attention." Unfortunately, there are interlopers to themen's promises of generosity and friendship arrived at in the "moment of truth" as they have considered their chances for survival.
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