What was the soldier telling the old man to do? Did the old man accept his advice?

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"The Old Man at the Bridge" is set during the Spanish Civil War, a particularly bitter, savage conflict that led to death and destruction on a horrendous scale. As with all modern conflicts, the Spanish Civil War had a particularly devastating impact on civilian life. We see an illustration right...

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"The Old Man at the Bridge" is set during the Spanish Civil War, a particularly bitter, savage conflict that led to death and destruction on a horrendous scale. As with all modern conflicts, the Spanish Civil War had a particularly devastating impact on civilian life. We see an illustration right at the beginning of the story, where dozens of men, women, and children are making their way to safety across a hastily-constructed pontoon bridge to escape the imminent arrival of fascist troops.

There's a real sense of urgency in the air, but an old man sitting by the side of the dusty road remains rooted to the spot, seemingly unwilling to move. A soldier engages in conversation with the old man, who reveals he left behind the animals he was caring for when forced to leave his hometown. The soldier, clearly recognizing the gravity and urgency of the situation, advises the old man to get up and try to walk. The old man gets to his feet, but soon starts swaying from side to side before sitting back down in the dust. And there he remains, mumbling to himself about taking care of the animals. There's nothing more that the soldier can do to help him.

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