Military Honors (Maupassant)

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Military Honors
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A young woman tricked six lost Prussian soldiers into her cellar, where they were later captured by French citizen soldiers and taken as prisoners.

In a forest, a young woman named Berthine lived with her mother and father, Nicholas Pichon, who was a forester. One day, when her father was away, six Prussian soldiers came to their house, lost and hungry. Berthine let them in and fed them, but when they fell asleep, she locked them in the cellar. She then fired her revolver to make them think the French were attacking.

Berthine — young, strong, and resourceful woman; daughter of a forester.

Berthine says to her mother when she is worried about being alone in the house with her daughter while her husband is away, "I could kill a wolf or a Prussian, the one as well as the other."

When her father returned, Berthine told him what had happened and he went to get help from the town. The town's militia, led by Monsieur Lavigne, arrived and surrounded the house. They pumped water into the cellar, forcing the Prussian soldiers to surrender. The soldiers were taken prisoner and the town celebrated their victory.

Monsieur Lavigne — commander of the citizen soldiers; determined and patriotic.

Monsieur Lavigne says when he comes up with a plan to flood the cellar where the Prussian soldiers are trapped, forcing them to surrender, "Now we are going to drink to the health of these German gentlemen."

Monsieur Lavigne was decorated for capturing the Prussian soldiers, and a baker named Maloison, who was injured during the incident, received a military medal for his bravery.