Why did Georg not consider himself a poacher in "The Interlopers" by Saki? 

1 Answer | Add Yours

auntlori's profile pic

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

Posted on

The two characters in "The Interlopers" by Saki are Georg Znaeym and Ulrich von Gradwitz. It is a stormy night somewhere in the Carpathian mountain range, and the two men are both in the forest ready to hunt--each other. 

The von Gradwitz lands are vast, covered by healthy trees and populated by wild game of all kinds. On the edge of the family's holdings, however, there is a piece of worthless forest land which is the most "jealously guarded" of all the family's lands. That is because it was the object of a long-ago lawsuit between these two families. By law, the land belongs to Ulrich's family; Georg's family never agreed with the judge's ruling and the neighboring families have been in a feud over this land for three generations. The feud between Georg and Ulrich has become personal, and that is how the men end up here, hunting one another, tonight.

Just as the men come face to face, the storm intensifies and a tree falls on both men, pinning them to the ground. As one might imagine, given the bitterness of the feud between them, the men do not have anything to say to one another at first. Then the threatening talk begins. 

"So you're not killed, as you ought to be, but you're caught, anyway," [Ulrich] cried; "caught fast. Ho, what a jest, Ulrich von Gradwitz snared in his stolen forest. There's real justice for you!

And he laughed again, mockingly and savagely.

"I'm caught in my own forest-land," retorted Ulrich. "When my men come to release us you will wish, perhaps, that you were in a better plight than caught poaching on a neighbour's land, shame on you."

The reason Georg does not consider himself a poacher here is that he (and his entire family, for generations, remember) believes this bit of what the law has deemed to be von Gradwitz lands really belongs to the Znaeyms.

Soon, Ulrich will have a change of heart about what he calls this "stupid strip of forest." For now, though, the feud rages. 

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,957 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question