In The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier, Edek is separated from his sisters, Ruth and Bronia, when he is captured by the Germans. A while later, the girls find a ragged boy in the street and bring him to live and travel with him as they seek their brother and try to make their way to Switzerland and look for their parents.
When the three young people get to the transit camp at Posen where Edek is supposed to be, they discover that he has run away that very morning. During mealtime, a brawl breaks out, and Ruth, in the midst of the chaos, reaches out and grabs someone's hand. When she can finally get up, she looks over to see whom she is holding onto and finds her brother, Edek.
Unfortunately, Edek is suffering from tuberculosis, yet he is determined to continue the journey with Ruth, Bronia, and Jan to find their parents. Ruth worries that Jan is not "entirely at ease with Edek." In many ways, Jan has taken over the role that Edek once filled in his sisters' lives. Jan is the protector and the provider as Edek once was, and Ruth worries that there "might be trouble" if Jan resents Edek's presence. Jan has, Ruth realizes, a "jealous nature" and will not want Edek to "usurp" his position.
Indeed, Jan does show some contempt for Edek. He laughs "scornfully" at Edek's story of escape and challenges the truth of it. The boys nearly fight, but Edek stands his ground and sticks to his near-miraculous story. The more Jan listens, however, the more impressed he is by Edek's resourcefulness and courage. The boys come to a truce and begin a lasting friendship.