The Flag


Wolfe's comments from the Introduction to Storeys from the Old Hotel

The Introduction does not discuss this story.


A very short story (500 words or so). Children play beneath the statue of a young knight who heroically snatched up the fallen banner to rally the army against the Turkish invasion. When they are adult, the country is conquered by an oppressive invader, and the boy most inspired by the old story circulates a paper of the conquerors' abuses, entitled The Flag. He is presumed to die, but other such gestures of resistance have been inspired.


  • The setting seems to be somewhere in the part of Eastern Europe that was threatened by the Turks in one of the Ottoman wars. The gray-uniformed soldiers are likely Germans.
  • The narrator's account of listening to the soldiers come for his neighbors and realizing that they would eventually come for him as well is reminiscent of Martin Niemöller's poem First they came....
  • The meaning of the last sentence, where it says they have already chosen a site where they will never put up a monument, suggests they will keep up the resistance but they have no hope of overthrowing the regime permanently. The idea of a monument is more indestructible than a real one.

Unresolved Questions

  • Does the story refer to a specific real-world legend?

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