This story is about two little boys who overcome all the hardships to
help their ailing sister. The two boys; live in a village in Italy.
Their widower father had been killed during early years of the War.
Their village suffered due to German occupation. Their house was turned
into rubble because of incessant bombings during the War. The boys were
finally left with their only beloved sister. The sister was suffering
from tuberculosis. It is important to remember that tuberculosis was an
incurable disease during those days. The boys migrate to a nearby city
and begin doing petty jobs. They work as shoeshine boys, as local guide
and don many hats while trying to earn money. They are working hard so
that they can save enough money for treatment of their sister. But the
boys; particularly the elder one; have lot of self respect and they do
not want help from anyone; just out of pity. The narrator of the story
is a traveler who happens to visit the city. He is impressed by all the
hard work done by the boys. At the end of his stay in the city; the
narrator wants to help the boys in whatever way it could be possible.
Thus, the boys are driven by him to their village. The narrator
discovers the whole story about the boys from the nurse who is taking
care of the ailing sister. The narrator is deeply touched by the story.
But as a mark of respect to the boys’ unflinching courage; he does not
show that he knows their plight.