Faced with possible death, Ulrich von Gradwitz decides to no longer hold onto his animus. Instead of this enmity toward Georg Znaeym, who is pinioned beside him by the fallen tree's branches, Ulrich offers friendship.
After the split second of being vis-à-vis as they both have rounded the huge beech tree, the men are held captive by the felled tree. At first, each man hurls invectives at each other, but as they await their own men to rescue them, this life-and-death situation puts much more valuable conditions into perspective. Ulrich von Gradwitz is the first to speak, offering his flask of wine, saying, "....Let us drink, even if tonight one of us dies." But, Georg Znaeym repels his offer,
"No, I can scarcely see anything...and in any case I don't drink wine with an enemy."
Hearing this, Ulrich ponders their situation for a while as "an idea was slowly forming and growing in his brain...." Despite Znaeym's hostility, he turns to Georg and tells him that he has changed his mind, and if his men arrive first, he will have Znaeym treated as his guest and freed first. Further, he tells his "neighbor," as he now calls Znaeym, that they have quarreled all their lives about "this stupid strip of forest" where trees cannot even withstand the wind. He concludes,
"Neighbor, if you will help me to bury the old quarrel, I--I will ask you to be my friend."
Silent for a time, Georg finally speaks in "jerks," remarking on how the region would be shocked if they rode together into the market square. He, then, displays a change of mind, and accepts Ulrich's offer of friendship: Asking for the wine flask, adding, "Ulrich von Gradwitz, I will be your friend."