The tale of a proud Norwegian artist staving off starvation for as long as possible. The narrator is already hungry when we first encounter him in his rented room, having to sneak out because the rent is overdue, desiring a quiet spot in the park to work on an article he can sell to the newspapers but instead having a run-in with a beggar who asks him for money, which prompts the narrator to immediately pawn his waistcoat in order to obtain money for the beggar (and have a tiny bit left over for himself to buy bread). Manic after eating bread in a state of starvation, he leers at two passing women, telling them they are losing their book (no book is among them). He drops off an article to the editor and is told that he’ll hear back at his lodgings, which he’s had to abandon due to lack of funds. And so the story spirals, the writer becoming increasingly desperate but too proud to ask for help. When his luck changes and the store clerk assumes he’s already paid with a large coin, he spends the excess change on beef he cannot keep down, then feels overwhelming guilt and gives the dishonest money to a woman selling cakes. The woman he leered at begins to lurk near his lodgings (now above a stable), and eventually they have a disastrous date. He attempts to sell the buttons off his jacket. In the end his rescue comes as a sailor aboard a boat leaving port.