The story begins with the narrator driving down the foothills of the Alps. Here is when he first encounters the two brothers selling wild strawberries. Even after the driver forbade the narrator to buy the wild fruits, he bought the biggest basket and drove towards the town. This scene emphasizes on the first step of growing intimacy between the narrator and the two boys.
Next day, the boys were found shining shoes in the public square. This amazed the narrator. Here is when they revealed the fact that they did numerous kinds of things to earn money. Here, the narrator is shown to develop a soft corner for them in his heart. He finds them to be innocent, serious, pleasant and earnest.
The boys are very useful for the narrator. They are very willing to satisfy all that the narrator required. They were also found selling newspapers by the narrator one stormy night. One day, when the narrator asked if he could help them in any way they said they would be very grateful if they got a lift to the nearby village Poleta.
Although it didn’t ‘t come in the narrator ‘s way he took them there. The boys got down in a building and asked the author to wait in a nearby café while they would be back within an hour.
Eagerness led the narrator to follow the boys up to a place which was actually a hospital. On peeping through a room led by a nurse, he realized that the boys were talking to a girl who resembled them. He did not feel like intruding and thus asked the nurse the details about the boys.
This is when the nurse told him there heart rendering story about their father being killed in a war and home being destroyed in a war and their sister suffering from tuberculosis. The brothers lived in a shelter and literally starved only so that they could pay for their sister ‘s treatment.
Them keeping a secret and helping their sister showed that war had not shaken their spirit. They were noble and gentle and great human beings in their own special yet subtle way. This story distinctly talks about how true the amplification says: “All that glitters is not gold,” in turn explaining the fact that appearances are deceptive.
Q. Why didn’t Luigi, the driver, approve the two boys?
A. Luigi didn’t approve of the two boys for two reasons: 1. They were selling wild strawberries. Due to being wild they could be poisonous. 2. They looked very dirty and shabby, from their appearance they looked like cheats, thieves and what not.
Q. Why were the narrator and his companion impressed by two boys?
A. The narrator and his companion were impressed by the two boys because of their mutual love and capacity to work hard. They cared more for their sister than their own selves.
Q. Why was the author surprised to see Nicola and Jacopo working as shoeshine boys?
A. The author was surprised to see Nicola and Jacopo working as shoeshine boys. It was because the previous day he had seen them selling wild strawberries. This change naturally created a doubt about them in the author’s mind.
Q. How were there the boys useful to the author?
A. The boys useful to the author because they brought the things that he wanted. They helped him in getting American Cigarettes, seats for opera or knowing the names of a good restaurant. They could be depended upon.
Q. Why were the boys in the deserted square at night? What character trait do they exhibit?
A. They were in the deserted square at night as they could sleep there. no policemen would scare them off from there. The author met them at night over there.
Q. The narrator asks the boys, “Must you work so hard? You both look rather tired.” The boys reply, “We are not complaining, Sir.” What do you learn about the boys from their reply?
A. I learn about the boys from their reply that both of them have seen much harder days. So they aren’t afraid of anything, even the worst. Secondly, they understand it well that hard work shall end their miseries.
Q. When the narrator asks the boys about their plans, they are evasive. Why don they disclose their problems?
A. Both the boys are evasive and don’t want to disclose their plans because they find the author as a stranger. Since they have seen many dark days, they have lost their faith in the people. That’s why they don’t want to create more troubles in sharing their personal problems/matters with outsiders. They may also think that may be a lion in sheep’s clothing.
Q. Where there is a will, there is a way’. How did the two boys prove it?
A. The two boys, Nicola and Jacopo, were very hard working. Fate had never smiled at them. Their home had been destroyed and they lost their father in a bomb blast. Their sister was suffering from tuberculosis of the spine. But this did not deter their spirit. They admitted her to a nearby hospital and ensured that they paid the bill every week.
For this they earned money by hawking newspapers, selling fruits, shining shoes, running errands and whatnot. Even war did not break their spirit. In a way, they fought against all odds and never lost the battle. They were trying their best to come out victorious from this battle.
Q. What were the hardships faced by Nicola and Jacopo?
A. Both Nicola and Jacopo had to work hard from morning till midnight to make their both ends meet. They had to earn more and spent less as they had to meet the expenses of the treatment of their only surviving sister.
Q. What did the narrator saw when he looked through the glass partition?
A. The narrator saw that the two boys seated beside a girl of about twenty, who propped up on pillows. She was listening to their chatter. She bore a resemblance to her brothers. They gave her vase of wildflowers, fruits, and several books.