Why is this narrow strip woodland so jealously guarded by the von gradwitz family?
The "narrow strip of precipitous woodland" is jealously guarded because the ownership of this part of the forest has long been a point of contention, and now Ulrich von Gradwitz has rekindled the feud between his family and Georg Znaeym's family.
This portion of land first belonged to the Gradwitz family but was purportedly stolen from them by the Znaeym family. Then, in the days of Ulrich von Gradwitz's grandfather, there was a famous lawsuit that forced the Znaeym family of "petty landowners" to relinquish this strip of land. But the Znaeym family never accepted the judgment of the court; consequently, they continued to hunt on the land.
A long series of poaching affrays and similar scandals had embittered the relationships between the families for three generations.
Once Ulrich became the head of his family, the feud became a personal war between him and Georg Znaeym, whom Ulrich perceives as a "tireless game-snatcher" and raider of the disputed forest. The feud might have died down if these two enemies had not re-ignited the animosity between the two families. "As boys, they had thirsted for one another's blood"; later, as men, they each hope that the other will encounter misfortune. Constantly, Ulrich von Gradwitz has his foresters watch the dark forest in the hope of catching "the prowling thieves."
One stormy night, Ulrich strays from his men in the hope of encountering his adversary alone. Suddenly, he finds that he is doing just that. But as von Gradwitz stares into the face of his enemy, fate intervenes, and massive limbs from a beech tree come falling upon them.
Ulrich von Gradwitz claims ownership to the narrow strip of land. He guards is carefully because Georg Znaeym refuses to accept that Ulrich owns the narrow strip of land. Georg and Ulrich have feuded for years over the narrow strip of land. In fact, Georg's family and Ulrich's family have feuded over this land for years.
In the courts, Ulrich is legally made the owner of the narrow strip of land. Georg has never agreed to the court's decision in the matter:
The characters in ‘‘The Interlopers,’’ Ulrich von Gradwitz and Georg Znaeym, have been enemies since birth. Their grandfathers feuded over a piece of forestland. While the courts ruled in the Gradwitz family's favor, the Znaeym family has never accepted this ruling. Throughout the course of Ulrich and Georg's lifetime, the feud has grown into a personal, bloodthirsty one.
This narrow strip of land is guarded so carefully because it is good for game. That is one reason the men fight over this land:
The forest that Saki creates in ‘‘The Interlopers" is wild and untamable; it is held in the thrall of nature and her creatures.
The land is good for hunting wild game. Both men claim ownership. Both men desire to have the land because it is so filled with wild game for hunting. No doubt, the land is to be desired because of the possibility of shooting the wild creatures that fill it. The land is to be desired by both Ulrich and Georg.