Study Guide

Number the Stars Chapter 2

By Lois Lowry

Chapter 2

Who is the Man Who Rides Past?

  • It's bedtime and Kirsti's having a hard time falling asleep so she asks Annemarie to "[t]ell [her] a fairy tale" (2.1). Awesome big sister that she is, Annemarie makes up a story about a princess living in a time without war. Sounds pretty nice.
  • When Kirsti finally catches some winks, Annemarie starts thinking about the real-life royalty in their country: King Christian. 
  • More history, comin' at ya: King Christian X was the real king of Denmark, and he was majorly in support of the Jews in his country.
  • Annemarie remembers seeing the king out and about when she was young. Nothing wrong with a celebrity sighting, but the memory makes her think about her big sister, Lise, who died.
  • Annemarie thinks about a story that her father told three years ago. 
  • In the story, a German soldier interrogated a little boy about the way in which King Christian moved freely around the city. The little boy responded that "All of Denmark is his bodyguard" (2.21).
  • The whole thing made Annemarie feel patriotic, and she talked with her parents about why King Christian allowed the German army to occupy Denmark. During this conversation, her sister was still alive, and their mother was in the process of making a trousseau for Lise. (P.S. That's the outfit a woman is given to wear after her wedding. Trousseaus used to be a big deal.)
  • At that point, three years ago, the German army had successfully taken over countries that didn't resist, like Denmark, and even countries that did, like Norway. Annemarie's family talked about how one country, Sweden, remained outside of German control. 
  • And that's the end of Annemarie's memory. 
  • The situation in Europe now is pretty much the same as it was then. As her dad said, "Sweden is still free" (2.39). 
  • But in the meantime, Annemarie's sister has died. The family doesn't talk about her much, but Annemarie misses her like crazy.
  • Her family still keeps in touch with Peter, Lise's fiancé (the guy she was going to marry before she died). Poor guy has become very serious since Lise died.
  • Still lying in bed, Annemarie thinks about how much the Germans have changed everything around her. She tells the end of the princess story, even though Kirsti has fallen asleep.