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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What message might Saki be sending to the reader about Mother Nature in the short story "The Interlopers"?

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One message that Saki may be sending to the reader about Mother Nature is that she is opportunistic, and she can override any decisions that man can make just on her whims.

When Ulrich Gradwitz goes out to check his forests that are "of wide extent and well stocked with game" he believes that he may catch his enemy Georg Znaeym out on this night. However, as each man "prayed that misfortune might fall on the other" Mother Nature intervenes as they come around a huge beech tree from opposite sides and they come face to face with each other. There is a momentary pause because "the code of a restraining civilization" causes them to hesitate so. It is then that the opportunist Mother Nature intervenes, sending a massive bolt of lightning that splits the huge birch tree, spilling branches that pinion the two foes underneath them.

Made prisoners of Nature, the two men ponder their chances of rescue and which of their parties will arrive first until Ulrich decides to end the feud, and he asks Georg if he wishes to share the warm wine that he has in a flask. At first Georg rejects the kind offer, but then he agrees and they make peace with one another. After this, they graciously offer the services of their men to the other regardless of who arrives first. But it seems that Mother Nature again has the upper hand as she overrides their decisions and sends her own party to the men--a party of devouring wolves.


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