A reluctant host to an uninvited guest, the schoolmaster Daru is conscripted by the old gendarme Balducci to hand the Arab prisoner over to the authorities. One of Camus's existential characters, Daru is an Algerian-born Frenchman who is conflicted with his connections to Algeria and to the colonizers both. After Balducci departs, Daru feeds his guest and the Arab invites him to join in the Arab cause; however, Daru refuses because he believes nothing will come from this rebellion. Yet, Daru
...felt strangely empty and vulnerable....That man's stupid crime revolted him, but to hand him over was contrary to honor.
So, he feeds the Arab and makes a bed for him. In the morning he makes a package of bread, dates, and sugar and leads the Arab down the outcropping of rocks that "gave the landscape a chaotic look." After walking for over an hour, Daru stops and gives the Arab the package and a thousand francs, telling him the food will last him two days. Pointing eastward, Daru tells the Arab that he can walk two hours and be in Tinguit where the police await him. Or, the Arab can walk southward and seek refuge with nomads who, according to their custom, will take him in and shelter him as their law dictates.
After leaving the prisoner, Daru turns around to find him yet standing where he has left him. Then, Daru proceeds for a while, only to rush back to discover which direction the Arab has gone. Ironically, he finds the Arab on the road to Tinguit and prison.