Ten obcy

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That Stranger
Author Irena Jurgielewiczowa
Original title Ten obcy
Country Poland
Language Polish
Publication date
Followed by Inna?

That Stranger (Polish: Ten obcy) is a novel by the Polish author Irena Jurgielewiczowa, published in 1961. It is an obligatory reading in year 6 in Polish primary schools. That Stranger had been translated into 23 languages.[1]

The novel was placed on the Honour List at the 1964 Hans Christian Andersen Awards.[2]

Major characters of this novel appear in another book by Irena Jurgielewiczowa entitled Inna? (Another?) (1975). A feature film had been created on the basis of Inna?

Plot summary[edit]

The book is about teen love problems and the challenges of growing up. Major characters are four friends: Ula, Pestka (Pip), Julek and Marian. The action takes place in a small village called Olszyny, which is located about 150 km from Warsaw. During the holidays children spent a lot of time on an island created after the spring floods. They create a hut and set the poles in order to make access to the island easier. One day on the island shows up a mysterious boy. It turns out that the boy is injured, so the group of friends decides to take care of him. At first the boy is a man of few words, but eventually begins to reveal his secrets.

Major characters[edit]

  • Zenon Wójcik (called Zenek) is the main and title character of the book. After the death of his mother he lived alone in Wrocław with an alcoholic father. He had had enough of this life, so he decided to flee to his uncle. While trying to escape he hurt his leg with a piece of glass and stopped on an island near Olszyny. There he found the four friends. Zenek falls in love with Urszula Zalewska.
  • Urszula Zalewska (called Ula) is a very quiet and a shy girl. She doesn't like to talk about her feelings. She was the first to notice that Zenek is wounded, and that the group of friends should help him. Ula lives with her aunts in Warsaw. Her father is a doctor. Like Zenek she has no mother.
  • Juliusz Miler (called Julek) is a younger cousin of Marian. He is very energetic and dynamic. He does not like to play with girls, unless the 'Pip'. Julek loves the fact that Zenek saved the child and treats him as the greatest hero and his authority, although at first he wanted him as a first strike.
  • Pestka Ubyszówna (called Pip) is energetic and likes to impress Zenek by doing things, such as swimming. Pip is the best friend of Ula, although sometimes both fight. Zenek admires her for her courage.
  • Marian Pietrzyk is the oldest of the entire group. He is fully in the role of leader and guide. He is the older cousin of Julek. Zenek does not like the group, but Marian makes him stay. When the holidays come along, he decides to visit his grandparents in Olszyny with Julek.
  • Danube (Dunaj) is an unknown dog, which likes Ula. At the beginning of the book he is wild, but then the children with the help of Zenek embrace the animal. When Victor later on in the book throws a stone at the Danube, the dog becomes wild again.


  1. ^ Staniów, Bogumiła (2006). "Z uśmiechem przez wszystkie granice": recepcja wydawnicza przekładów polskiej książki dla dzieci i młodzieży w latach 1945-1989. Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego. p. 71. ISBN 978-83-229-2677-2. 
  2. ^ Orłowski, Hubert (1988). Die Rezeption der polnischen Literatur im deutschsprachigen Raum und die der Deutschsprachigen in Polen 1945-1985. Deutsches Polen-Institut. p. 143. OCLC 21306504.