illustration of a wolf standing in the forest looking toward a fallen tree that has pinned a man underneath

The Interlopers

by Saki
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In "The Interlopers," Saki does a good job of misleading the reader about the outcome of the story. What are two events he does that are misleading? If so, explain how these two events give the reader the impression of a positive ending.

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There are several details in the story's development that give the reader the impression of a positive ending. The two most important would be Georg and Ulrich making friends and then Ulrich thinking he sees a group of men coming to rescue them in the end. The first event (Georg and Ulrich making friends) takes up the bulk of the story. It is precipitated by Ulrich who offers his enemy, Georg, a sip from his wine flask as both are pinned helplessly under tree branches. This gracious gesture begins to soften both of them as "the old fierce hatred seemed to [die] down". The feud that has lasted for generations is finally ended as Ulrich declares "[l]ying here to-night thinking I've come to think we've been rather fools; there are better things in life than getting the better of a boundary dispute. Neighbour, if you will help me to bury the old quarrel I - I will ask you to be my friend." Georg agrees, and the reader realizes that this story that appeared to be about death and hatred has now completely turned around. The second misleading event is when the two men join together in their new found friendship to call for help. Even in their pain, they raise their voices together to call for help and both are ecstatic when their cries seem to be answered. The 'happily-ever-after' story is shattered, however, when Ulrich reveals in the final line that their peace treaty will never be revealed- what they thought was a group of 'rescuers' is actually a pack of wolves.

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