What happens at the end of "The Interlopers" by Saki?

1 Answer | Add Yours

auntlori's profile pic

Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

"The Interlopers" was written by H.H. Munro, who went by the pen name of Saki. The story is set in the Karpathians, and the two protagonists are Georg Znaeym and Ulrich von Gradwitz. Since I am not completely sure how far back to go to explain "the end" of the story, here is a quick review.

The two men are the current generation in a family feud over a strip of worthless land. Tonight they are in the forest of that land, and each man is determined to kill the other. Nature intervenes, however, and just as the men come face to face, a tree falls down and traps them both.

Though they are both outraged at their predicament and bitterly threaten one another, some time passes and their emotions begin to settle. Ulrich eventually reaches a momentous decision:

"Lying here tonight 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 is silent for a long time, but then he accepts the offer of friendship, laughing at the thought of what the townspeople will say when they show up in town together.

Now both men begin to wait anxiously for their men to arrive and save them, but only Ulrich can see the approaching figures. He says,

"I can see figures coming through the wood. They are following in the way I came down the hillside."

There are nine or ten of them, too many for Georg's hunting party, but Ulrich is still glad to see them coming. Georg asks again if they are Ulrich's men, but Ulrich does not answer immediately.

"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.

"Wolves."

At the end of the story, ironically, just as the men have settled their feud, they are attacked (and presumably eaten) by wolves.

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,924 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question