The story starts on describing cold weather and that some women are walking somewhere. Rosa is carrying her daughter Magda - a baby-girl of 15 months wrapped in the shawl. Another girl – Stella – is also walking with them. She is 14 years old, and sometimes she is carrying Magda too, but she is very jealous of her shawl that keeps her warm. They all are very hungry.
Referring to yellow star sewn on Rosa’s coat, it becomes clear that she is Jewish, and they all must have been in some Holocaust camp, or walking to one, because while walking Rosa is dreaming of giving up her daughter to any woman she might meet in villages they pass by. But she was afraid that if she moved out of the line they would shoot. So, they must be referred to Nazis.
Magda has already abandoned sucking Rosa’s teats as there was no milk, but she was sucking her shawl instead and made no noise. At some point it becomes clear that Magda’s father must have been some Nazi soldier, and Stella calls her one “Aryan”, and it gives Rosa an impression that Stella would gladly eat Magda.
Rosa always kept Magna wrapped in the shawl so no one could find her. Magda in her turn always was mute, so no one knew of her. But Rosa understood that Magda would die anyway, she thought her daughter must have been dead already, but magical shawl kept her alive.
Every day Magda was concealed under the shawl against a wall when everybody else was put into the line. But one day Stella took Magda’s shawl and she began to cry. When Magda saw light coming from the gate she moved there. A girl was howling for her shawl. Rosa understood that and hurried to the barracks to find the shawl. But Rosa was late, Magda was already near the electrified fence. Rosa understood that if she ran they would shoot, so she just got the shawl into her mouth to muffle her screams.