What conclusion can you draw about how Saki feels about fate in "The interlopers"?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In his story, "The Interlopers," Saki seems to feel that life contains a select number of opportune moments, and if these moments are not utilized, fate will predominate.

For years Ulrich von Gradwitz and Georg Znaeym have harbored great enmity for each other, and if it were not for this terrible animosity between the two men, the feud over forest land may have died out. So, von Gradwitz pursues his enemy one night, heedless of an approaching storm. Then, when the two men come vis-à-vis, there is the slight hesitation of civilized men and they do not shoot. As fate would have it, lightning strikes a huge beech tree just as each man is ready to shoot the other, and they are trapped.

Pinioned in such positions that they can speak, but not touch, von Gradwitz offers his old enemy his flask; further, he proposes that they terminate their feud. Znaeym accepts and jokes at how the others will be surprised that such enemies have made peace. They promise each other that no matter which of their parties arrive to help them, they will provide the other with food and good care. Unfortunately, however, it is too late because Nature intercepts their attempts with the fateful approach of the greatest of enemies:

“Are they your men?” asked Georg....“No,” said Ulrich with a laugh, the idiotic chattering laugh of a man unstrung with hideous fear. “Who are they?” asked Georg quickly, straining his eyes to see what the other would gladly not have seen. 

Fate ends the new friendship and the old animosity with the approach of the Russian man's greatest fear in the woods: wolves.   

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