The narrator begins the story by establishing the setting, introducing some of the major characters, providing the plot, and setting the mood of the story. As the narrator explains, the incident that the narrator recounts took place on the night of November \(17\), \(1915\). Given that the book My Life and Hard Times is credited as an autobiography and that James Thurber was born in \(1894\), it is safe to assume that the narrator was about \(21\) yrs old at the time of the incident. Also, the year \(1915\) has a historical reference; it is the period of World War I
World War I was an international war that lasted from July \(28\), \(1914\), until November \(11\), \(1918\). It was one of the worst conflicts in the history of the human race. Statistics show that over \(9\) million people were killed in the warfare, while over \(5\) million died due to military occupation, bombings, disease, or hunger. The Ottoman genocides and the \(1918\) Spanish flu pandemic, which was spread by the movement of troops during the war, resulted in the deaths of many more millions worldwide. Hence, it could be understood that the war must have led to massive paranoia and delusions in people. This could also have been the reason for the narrator and his family reacting to the incident in a particular way.
It is evident from the firstparagraph that the story that the narrator was about to narrate consists of some strange events. To begin with, it is a ghost that is at the centre of the entire incident. The narrator claims that the ghost that entered his house on November \(17\), \(1915\), caused such a series of misunderstandings.
The paragraph suggests that the narrator was the one who had spotted the so-called ghost. It is also apparent that the narrator had alerted his family about its presence but eventually regretted having done so, for he says, "I am sorry I didn’t just let it keep on walking, and go to bed."
The narrator also further explains why he feels so; he says that the news of a potential ghost prompted his mother to throw a shoe through a window of the house next door. The paragraph also suggests that the police was involved. And to make things worse, the entire incident subsequently resulted in his grandfather shooting a police officer.
Finally, the narrator ends the paragraph by apologising (again) for the events that had unfolded and paying attention to "the footsteps" in particular. The last line of the paragraph hints that the footsteps that the narrator had heard and the ghost that had supposedly got into his house are linked.


As the 2 nd paragraph of the story begins, the narrator gets into narrating the incident. To recall, the narrator had stated in the previous paragraph that he had heard footsteps that had led to certain unfortunate events. So, in the \(2\)nd and the rest of the paragraphs, we see how those events unfold.
Talking about the footsteps, the narrator said he heard them about \(1.15\)am, the quietest, darkest time of the night. He felt someone (or something) strolling around the dining room table "in a rhythmic, quickcadenced" manner. Here, one could observe that the narrator was trying to describe the footsteps that he had heard. He doesn't have a face to associate it with as he never saw who walked around. Nevertheless, his description of the sound is acute. He says that the footsteps were quick and had a rhythm to them. Note that the word cadence refers to the modulation of a sound, which describes its regular rise and fall. The description of the footsteps could suggest either of the following two possibilities (or even both). Firstly, the owner of the footsteps was walking around the dining room multiple times. It wouldn't have created so much of a "cadence" if he had walked around only once. Secondly, there is a possibility that the owner was probably old, limp, or weak. For instance, when a person limps, the footsteps are likelier to rise and fall.


The following video demonstrates a man limping.



Later, the narrator explains what the rest of the members were doing:
  • his mother was asleep in a room upstairs,
  • his brother-Herman was settled down for the night in another room,
  • and his grandfather was sleeping in the attic, in the ancient walnut bed that had once fallen on his father.
Basically, everyone (except the narrator) was in their respective rooms. His father and the older brother, Roy, (as we would soon learn) are out of town.
The line "in the old walnut bed which, as you will remember, once fell on my father" is a reference to "The Night The Bed Fell", one of the stories in the book My Life and Hard Times. In "The Night The Bed Fell", the narrator's mother is paranoid and fears that an old wooden cot his father occasionally sleeps would cause his death. When she hears the narrator's cot collapse in the middle of the night, she assumes that her fear has come alive. Chaos follows, with the narrator unaware that he was at the centre of the misunderstanding.
So, coming back to the story, we see the narrator stepping out of his bath while his family is seeping. He was busy drying himself with a towel when he heard the footsteps. The narrator could hear the person walking quickly around the dining room downstairs. The dining room downstairs was reasonably visible from where he stood because the light from the bathroom shone down the back-steps. He could see the faint shine of plates on the plate-rail, but the table was hidden from the sight. He realised the footsteps were going around the table (multiple times) because he heard a particular floorboard creak at regular intervals.
The narrator had just stepped out of the bathtub

Initially, the narrator didn't make much of the footsteps. He merely assumed that his father and brother Roy had returned from their trip to Indianapolis. (Note: Indianapolis is the capital city of Indiana. The narrator and his family live in Columbus, the capital city of the neighbouring state Ohio.) But later, something must have told him that it was neither of them. So he suspected that there was a break-in and that the footsteps belonged to a burglar. But his assumptions never ended there, for he ends the paragraph by claiming that he eventually realised it wasn’t a burglar but a ghost.
USA map.png
A map of USA
It is noteworthy that the narrator had ended the first two paragraphs in suspense, pulling the readers with ease to the paragraph that follows.
The narrator observes that the walking (aka., the footsteps) had gone on for perhaps three minutes. He then tiptoed to Herman's room to alert him. The room was dark, and his brother was fast asleep. 'Psst!', the narrator called out in a quiet but sharp tone. He shook Herman to wake him up.
Herman was fast asleep in his room

'Awp,' Herman whispered, in a sad beagle's low, despairing tone. The narrator says that Herman always had a feeling that something would 'get him' in the night. So, to prevent Herman from getting all worked up, the narrator explained to his brother that it was he who had roused him. He further explained why he had woken his brother in the wee hours.
The narrator was visibly scared, given that he had an ill feeling about the footsteps. So, he cried out, stating that there was something downstairs. Herman, by then, was awake. He stood up and followed the narrator to the entrance of the back-stairs. However, by the time the duo got near the staircase, the footsteps had stopped. Herman gave the narrator a startled look; he must have thought that the narrator imagined things. Also, the latter wasn't dressed as he only had a bath towel draped around his waist. The scene must have looked ridiculous in the eyes of Herman, for he soon tried to return to bed. But the narrator stopped Herman by grabbing his arm.
'There's something down there!' repeated the narrator. Soon, they heard the footsteps coming from the dining room downstairs. The sound of footsteps hinted that the stranger (or the strange entity) was walking again around the dining table. However, it sounded as though the stranger was in a hurry because it seemed like he was running. Soon after, the stranger began to climb the stairs towards the brothers, with two steps at a time in a rather heavy movement.
The light still shined dimly down the stairwell; nevertheless, they could see nothing and could only hear the footsteps. Herman, by then, had realised that his brother was right. Convinced that it was a ghost, and out of fear, the boys ran. Herman sprang to his room and slammed the door behind him. The narrator shut the top stair door and pressed his knee against it. (Some sources say that the narrator ran to the bathroom to hide.*) After about a minute, he cautiously opened the door. To the better or worse, he saw nothing. There was silence and no sign of a figure or sound of footsteps. The ghost has mysteriously vanished. The narrator observes that neither he nor his family had seen or heard the ghost again.
In the previous paragraph, we saw that the narrator and Herman had slammed their doors shut. Incidentally, the banging of the doors had aroused their mother, who was sleeping in a room adjacent to Herman's.

It is essential to know the house's structure to understand the story. In "The Night the Bed fell", the first of the nine stories, the narrator describes the rooms' layout. He says,       
In the front room upstairs (just under my father’s attic bedroom) were my mother and my brother Herman... I was in a room adjoining this one. My brother Roy was in a room across the hall from ours. Our bull terrier, Rex, slept in the hall.
However, in the story "The Night that the Ghost Got In", certain changes appear as to who sleeps on which floor.  For instance, the attic room is now occupied by the grandfather, and the mother still sleeps in the room under the attic. Herman, his older brother, is sleeping in a separate room. His father and Roy are out of town, while Rex is nowhere to be found in the story. However, it is not mentioned where the narrator was sleeping. He could either be sleeping along with Herman or using Roy's. Apart from the bedrooms, the first floor also contains a bath. The stairs from the first floor lead directly to the dining room, which branches out into a kitchen and living room. However, it is unclear what other rooms are present in the house.
Back to the story, we see the mother glancing out of her bedroom, demanding what her sons were doing late in the night. Herman comes out of his hiding, telling her that it was 'nothing' in a 'gruff' tone that suggests he was both scared and anxious. He probably decided to keep his mother in the dark about the "ghosts" as the latter tended to get worked up or  become hysterical.
Though Herman had displayed the courage to come out of his room, "the presence of a ghost" visibly shook him. His skin had turned almost light green, says the narrator. Going or turning green suggests that someone looks ill or frightened in a figurative sense.
Mother wasn't convinced with Herman's answer, for she soon retorted, enquiring about the commotion downstairs. She asked, ‘What was all that running around downstairs?’
The boys were shocked in learning that she'd heard the steps as well. This further proved that the footsteps weren't figments of their imagination. But they were in a tight spot as they couldn't reveal that the house was possibly haunted. So they merely stood staring at her.
Mother immediately decided that there was a break-in. So she shouted, 'Burglars!'. The narrator wanted to calm her down. So before she could turn frenzy, he decided to go downstairs to investigate. He took a step slowly while calling out his brother to accompany him.
The narrator took a step forward to investigate

But Herman backed out, stating that his mother needed company. Citing that their mother was all worked up, he said ‘he would stay with her'. He might have wanted to stay back for either of the two reasons: as said, he didn't want to leave his mother alone. Or, he didn't dare to go downstairs and face the "ghost".
Herman's response suggested that the narrator would have to go alone. However, the latter probably deduced that it wasn't wise to encounter a potential ghost all by himself.  So, he took the step back onto the landing
In the previous paragraph, the narrator had suggested to Herman that they should go downstairs to Herman. However, it so happened the narrator took his step back, learning that Herman wasn't accompanying him.
In this paragraph, we see their mother barring them from going downstairs. She says, "Don’t either of you go a step", although it is unlikely that the duo would have gathered the courage to venture downstairs. She then suggests that they should call the police instead.
The narrator wondered how they would call the police without stepping down as the phone was placed downstairs. The narrator also explains that he didn't want to involve the cops, as he was aware that there wasn't any break-in. But, mother was determined to call the cops and had even found a way to do that without going to the ground floor. So, before the narrator could share his thoughts, mother swiftly went to her bedroom, pulled open her window that faced the bedroom windows of a neighbour's house, picked up a shoe, and threw it across the neighbour's window. The narrator explains that the mother was able to achieve the feat quite effortlessly because the space between the two houses was reasonably narrow.
Mother threw a shoe across the neighbour's window

Mother threw the shoe across, despite knowing that her action would destroy the neighbour's window. As she achieved the feat, Mr Bodwell and his wife (the neighbours) woke up to the sound of glass crashing. Mr Bodwell was a retired engraver. The narrator says that Mr Bodwell had been in a bad way for a long time and had suffered from minor 'attacks' from time to time.
The narrator observes that almost everyone they knew or lived around had some kind of "attacks".
It was around \(2:00\)a.m. when the mother flung her shoe at the Bodwells. And about \(45\) minutes had passed since the narrator heard the footsteps for the \(1\)st time. The narrator describes that it was a moonless night. The clouds were hanging back and low, 'an indication that it might rain in the next \(12\) hours'*. The line might also be a reference to the narrator's mood, suggesting his helplessness when it came to controlling his mother's frantic behaviour.
Bodwell was at the window in a flash, yelling, frothing a little, and shaking his fist. As expected, he was angry. Mrs Bodwell could also be heard saying, 'We’ll sell the house and go back to Peoria'. While Mr Bodwell's reaction can be considered spontaneous and natural, for anybody in his position would have reacted similarly, Mrs Bodwell's reaction has a humorous undertone. Without proper investigation as to what or who had caused the wreckage, she immediately suggested that they should sell the house and move back to Peoria.
Peoria is a city in Illinois, a state in the Midwestern region of the United States. It is also relatively closer to Ohio, with Indiana situated between the two states. The line "go back to Peoria" suggests that the Bodwells have probably moved from Peoria and that Mrs Bodwell feels more at home there than in their home in Ohio.
Mr Bodwell was angry
Back to the story, the narrator says that it took a while for his mother to get through to Mr Bodwell. She called out to him, explaining that burglars had broken into the house. The narrator explains that he and Herman hadn't dared to tell their mother that it was ghosts and not burglars. They remained silent because they knew that she was much more terrified of ghosts than burglars.
When the mother tried to inform Mr Bodwell about the burglars, he initially thought there was a break-in in his home. However, he eventually calmed down and called the police from an extension phone next to his bed. He later went back inside.
Mr Bodwell called the police
Mother, being who she is, didn't go inside. Instead, she made another attempt to throw a shoe at the Bodwell's window, though there was no need for it. Fortunately, the narrator was able to stop her this time. She later explained that she liked the excitement of hurling a shoe through window glass.  
Paragraph\(11\) begins with the arrival of the police. The narrator observes, rather humorously, that they arrived in "a commendably short time". As seen in one of the previous paragraphs, the narrator wasn't keen on seeing the police. Hence, since their presence wasn't welcome, he must have felt that they arrived too quickly.

Police arrived quickly
The narrator then proceeds to describe their arrival in detail. He states that they came in \(4\) different vehicles: a Ford sedan, two motorcycles, and a patrol wagon. The narrator is almost specific with the number of police officers who arrived that night- two policemen rode on two different bikes, and the wagon contained about eight patrolmen and a few reporters. However, he doesn't specify how many were there in the Ford, though he claims the sedan was full. Nevertheless, since a sedan is a four-seater, one could assume that there were about four police officers in the car.
A police wagon used in the U.S in the early 1900s*

One could see where the narrator's concern lies. It wasn't merely that the police came too soon; there were also too many of them.
As they arrived, they started pounding on the narrator's front door. Flashlights cast gleaming streaks over the walls, across the yard, and down the path between their house and Bodwell's. One of the police officers called out hoarsely, asking them to open up the front door. The policeman also stated that they were men from Headquarters.
Despite the narrator's concern, he still had wanted to go down and open the door to let them in. One could see that the narrator was a man of manners. However, his mother was worried that he would catch a cold as he wasn't appropriately dressed. 'You don't have a stitch on, and you'd catch your death,’ she observed. The word "stitch" refers to any form of cloth here. The mother was trying to emphasise the point that he was almost naked. As a result, he wrapped the towel over himself once again.
Since the narrator nor his family couldn't open the front door, the police decided to break in. They pushed against the large, heavy front door with thick bevelled glass and broke it open. The narrator could hear a rending of wood and a splatter of glass on the hall floor. The movement of the police is observed through the flashlights that streaked around the house. He says, "their lights played all over the livingroom and crisscrossed nervously in the dining-room, stabbed into hallways, shot up the front stairs and finally up the back." So, they moved from the living room to the dining room, from there to the hallways, and then up the stairs.
At the top, they caught the narrator standing with a towel wrapped around him. A large police officer dashed up the stairwell. Being an officer, he asked the narrator who he was in an authoritative voice. The narrator answered that he lived there, implying that he was a part of the family and was no intruder.
"Who are you?", the policeman demanded
The mother received a report from the officer in charge. He explained that there weren't any signs of intruders. He added that he must have escaped.  The officer asked the mother how the burglar looked.
The officer in charge reports to the mother

The mother, recalling the slamming of the doors that awakened her, declared that there were two or three of them. She concluded that there was more than one intruder because she had heard two or more doors shut simultaneously. As you would remember, Herman and the narrator had shut their doors in their agitated state.
The cop found the mother's statement hard to believe, for he said, 'funny, all your windows and doors were locked tight as a tick on the inside.' He suspected that there wasn’t a break-in because the doors and windows were locked from the inside.
The phrase “tight as a tick” is a simile. The officer compares the locked doors and windows to a tick that sticks onto ones’ skin. The figure of speech helps us understand that the doors and windows were appropriately secured, ruling out the possibility that someone had got out of the house.
A tick 

The paragraph is unique, and even intriguing, because of the language of the officer in charge. It is easy to observe that the English spoken by the officer is different from the English used by the rest of the characters. The officer seems to be quite liberal with his use of English. He defies English grammar and standard pronunciation.
The officer speaks in non-standard English that varies depending on where it is spoken. It contains a lot of slang (extremely informal versions of standard terms) specific to a particular place or set of people and hence may not be understood or used by everyone. It is a colloquial variant of standard English.
Let us look into his English and its standard counterparts:
The Officer's English
Standard Version
No sign of nobody, lady
No sign of anybody, lady
A sentence shouldn't contain a double negative. Eg; "No" and "Nobody"
Musta got away.
Must have got away.
While the standard contraction of "have" is "'ve" (as in I've), it is uncommon and informal to contract it to "a".
Whatt’d he like?
What was he like?
The exact translation of the question is "What did he like?". However, the statement is grammatically incorrect.
All ya windows and door was locked on the inside tight as a tick.
All your windows and doors were locked on the inside tight as a tick.
Non-standard contraction (ya) and incorrect grammar (door, was).
In this paragraph, we see the narrator describing the search carried out by the police. Since the narrator was still upstairs, he could "hear" what they were doing rather than see them. It is quite interesting to note his choice of adjectives while describing the scene downstairs.
The narrator begins by claiming that he could "hear" the officers "tromping" about. The word "tromp" suggests a heavy footstep, probably because of the boots the police were wearing. Then he describes how the doors and drawers were "yanked" open, windows were "shot" up and down, and furniture "fell with dull thumps". The words "yanked", "shot up", and "thumps" describe not just actions but the actions that are accompanied by sounds. He could also make out through the noises that the police were all over the house.
Later, a half-dozen police officers climbed upstairs to where the narrator was standing. It is interesting to note the phrase “a half-dozen” here. The narrator could have simply said that there were about six police officers. (A dozen is 12, and half of it is 6.) Instead, he chose an alternative that evokes a bigger number. The narrator wanted to emphasise the point that there were too many of them.
The narrator says that the police "emerged out of the darkness". Here, darkness could be seen in two different senses. Firstly, it could be of literal sense. It was dark because it was night. Secondly, the narrator describes the police to be 'emerging from darkness' because he could finally see them (and not just hear what they were doing). The following description of the police's action upstairs and the narrator's choice of words reveal the above point.
One might also wonder why the police had to emerge from the darkness and use so many flashlights when all they could have done was flick the switch to turn on the lights. The reason could be that electricity was more of a luxury in the early \(1900s\). We are sure that the narrator's house had an electricity connection as he had spoken about it in one of the previous stories, "The Car We Had to Push", from the collection My Life and Hard Times. It was majorly used as a source of light. However, being a luxury, people sparsely used it, and hence, the house isn't likely to be well lit.
Back to the story, the police are thoroughly searching the house. 'They began to ransack the floor, pulled beds away from the walls, tore clothes off hooks in the closets, and pulled suitcases and boxes from shelves.’ Here, one could observe that the details presented by the narrator are strikingly visual. He can see, and not just hear, what they were doing. He is reasonably specific about what had been happening: the police pulled out clothes from the cupboards, searched the floor rather heavily, moved beds away from the walls (so that they could look under the beds and also search the corners of the room), and even brought out the suitcases and other storage boxes stored away in shelves. In short, they turned the whole house upside down in searching nook and corner of the house.
So, while searching through the house, a policeman found an old zither. It belonged to the narrator's younger brother, Roy, who, as we have seen previously, is on a trip to Indianapolis with his father. He had won the zither in a pool tournament. In a whimsical sense of humour, the narrator observes how the policeman plays it, or rather strums it, with a "big paw". The phrase "big paw" sufficiently describes how inefficient and clumsy was the policeman with the instrument. Also, since the narrator described the instrument as old and forgotten, Roy may have won it in a childhood tournament. As a result, it is more likely that the zither was smaller (and toylike) than the traditional instrument. It explains the following two ideas: firstly, the policeman played the instrument poorly. Secondly, the instrument felt too small at the hands of the policeman.
An artist playing a zither

Back to the story, the policeman asks a fellow policeman named Joe to take a look at the zither.  The entire scene involving the policeman and the zither is comical yet mildly philosophical. It is humorous because one could see that the officer who seemed involved in the search got quite detracted when he saw a small, irrelevant artefact. On the other hand, the scene reminds us how there is a child in every adult; the police officer became all too excited and childlike when he saw the zither.
So, we see that Zoe has taken the zither and is looking it over. 'What is it?' he inquired, to which the narrator explained that it was an old zither that their pet guinea pig used to sleep on. The narrator asserts that their pet guinea pig would never sleep anywhere else, but he soon regrets saying so. Joe and the other policeman exchanged long looks with the narrator. They then returned the zither to its shelf.
There could be several reasons why the police officers stared at the narrator, yet, the narrator mentions none. Nevertheless, one could see that it was the mention of a guinea pig using the zither as a bed that had triggered the response. Could it be that the officers considered the zither to be unhygienic? Guinea pigs tend to eat all day, and due to that, they also excrete more than other animals. So, if the zither happened to be the pet's home, it was likely that the zither might have become its lavatory. That could explain why the police officers seemed disturbed.
A guinea pig 
'There's no trace of anything,' remarked the cop who had initially spoken to the narrator's mother. He was addressing the fellow police officers. Referring to the narrator's mother, he also added that she appeared to be upset. The rest of the policemen nodded in agreement. They didn't say anything; instead, they simply stared at the narrator.
They then heard a creaking in the attic. In his bed, Grandfather was tossing and turning. 'What's that?' Joe exclaimed. Before the narrator could intercede or explain, five or six cops rushed towards the attic entrance. The narrator understood it would be horrible if they showed up unannounced, or even announced, before the grandfather. The narrator describes that the grandfather's mind was still stuck in the civil war. He thought they lived in a period where he thought General Meade's army were beginning to retreat and even desert because of Stonewall Jackson's constant attack.
"What's that?", snapped Joe
Additional information:
  • The American Civil War (April \(12\), \(1861\) – May\(9\), \(1865\)) was a civil war in the United States between the Union (states that remained loyal to the federal union, or "the North") and the Confederacy (states that voted to secede, or "the South"). The central cause of the war was the status of slavery, especially the expansion of slavery into territories acquired as a result of the Louisiana Purchase and the Mexican–American War. On the eve of the Civil War in \(1860\), four million of the 32 million Americans (~13%) were enslaved black people, almost all in the South.
  • George Gordon Meade (December \(31\), \(1815\) – November \(6\), \(1872\)) was a United States Army officer and civil engineer best known for decisively defeating Confederate General Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg in the American Civil War.
General Meade**
  • Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson (January \(21\), \(1824\) – May \(10\), \(1863\)) served as a Confederate general (\(1861\)–\(1863\)) during the American Civil War, and became one of the best-known Confederate commanders after General Robert E. Lee. Jackson played a prominent role in nearly all military engagements in the Eastern Theater of the war until his death, and had a key part in winning many significant battles.
Stonewall Jackson***
Things were a little chaotic when the narrator arrived to the attic. Grandfather had apparently assumed that the police officers were Meade's army deserters seeking to hide in his attic. He leapt from his bed, dressed in a long flannel nightgown, long woollen pants, a nightcap, and a leather jacket across his chest. The cops must have immediately realised that the enraged white-haired old man belonged to the house, but they didn't have the opportunity to say so. Grandfather hurled curses at the police. He said, 'Back, you cowardly dog!' and 'You goddamn Lily-livered cattle, get back to the lines!'
With that, he got hold of the police officer who had found the zither and hit him across the head that knocked him out. The others tried to flee, but they weren't fast enough; grandfather took zither's revolver from its holster and fired. The gun shot shattered the rafters, and smoke flooded the attic. A cop cursed and held his shoulder with his fist. The group eventually made their way downstairs and locked the door behind the grandfather. The grandfather fired a few more shots in the dark before retiring to his bed.
When the group was downstairs, the narrator explained to Joe that the old man was his grandfather. He also explains how the grandfather thinks that the police were deserters from the Maede's army.  Joe responds by stating ‘I’ll say he does', suggesting a tone of sarcasm.
The cops didn't want to leave without catching someone; the night had been a complete failure for them. Furthermore, they clearly disliked the 'layout;' something appeared false, in their opinion, which the narrator can understand. They started poking about in the same places they had been before.
A thin-faced, wispy man approached the narrator and introduced himself as a reporter.
The narrator was wearing one of his mother's dresses as he was unable to find his clothes. With a mixture of mistrust and intrigue, the reporter glanced at the narrator and wanted to know the real reason behind all those chaos. The narrator told him the truth, that they had ghosts in the house. He stared at the narrator for a long time, as if he were a slot machine that he had inserted money into with no luck. Then the reporter turned and went away.
Slot machine
The officers also began to retreat, and the one that the grandfather had shot was shouting and blaspheming while grasping his now bandaged arm. The zither-cop, on the other hand, can be heard saying that he was going to get his pistol back from that grandfather, to which Joe sarcastically remarks, "Yeah, you – and who else?' They were evidently afraid after their stint with the grandfather.
The narrator promised them he would deliver it the next day to the station house. 
After the police force had retired, the narrator's mother asked the narrator what had happened to the police officer. She was referring to officer whose hand was bandaged. The narrator explained that the grandfather had shot him. When the mother demanded to know the reason behind the act, the narrator simply explains that it had because 'he was a deserter'. hearing this, the mother exclaimed, 'of all things!', suggesting that she wasn't happy with the news either. Later, she adds that he was such a handsome young man.
At breakfast the next morning, Grandfather was as bright as a daisy and full of jokes. The narrator and his family initially assumed he had forgotten all that had happened, but he hadn't. He looked at Herman and the narrator as he sipped his third cup of coffee, and demanded to know what had happened last night. He was also specific with his question, for asked them what the "police officers" were doing. His reveal that he not only remembered the situation from the previous night, but had also realised that the visitors were police officers and not the deserters. It is unclear how he had come to the realisation, or could it be that he had known about the fact all along.
In the end, he also points out to his family that none of them were thoughtful enough to leave a bottle of water beside his bedside the previous night. Moreover, he puts forward a rhetorical question, 'do you have any idea what it cost a thirsty man last night to hunt for water in the dining room?', revealing that it was his footsteps that the narrator had heard.
Taken by the turn of events, the narrator ends the story by stating, 'he had us there'. He was shocked in realising that all the ruckus and chaos were, in the end, a result of  a small misunderstanding.