‘The Thief’s Story’ Notes Class 10: The Thief’s Story is a short story from Ruskin Bond’s anthology Collected Short Stories. Through this story, Ruskin Bond shows the transformation of a thief to an honest man through self-realisation. The author gives the message that the kindness and love of people can change people for good.
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Summary: The Thief’s Story
Broadly, The Thief’s Story can be divided into:
- Hari Meets Anil
- Hari’s Desire To Work For Anil
- Anil Educates Hari
- Anil’s Unstable Income
- Anil Gets Robbed
- Hari’s Dilemma
- Hari Returns With Anil’s Money
Hari meets Anil
- Hari Singh was a fifteen-year-old thief.
- Hari Singh wasn’t his real name. He used a different name every month to avoid getting caught.
- The first time Hari met Anil was at a wrestling match. Anil looked like the perfect mark – simple, kind and easy-going.
Hari’s desire to work for Anil
- Hari approached Anil and complimented him on his looks.
- He told Anil he wanted to work for him.
- Anil replied that he couldn’t pay him. So, Hari agreed to work for food and even lied that he could cook.
- So, Anil agreed and took him in.
Anil Educates Hari
- The dinner Hari made was so bad that Anil gave it to some stray dogs and told Hari to leave.
- Anil relented. He let Hari stay and taught him how to cook.
- He also taught Hari how to write his name and promised that one day Hari would learn how to write whole sentences and add numbers.
- Hari found it easy to work for Anil. Every day he would make tea in the morning.
- Then, he would go to the market to buy supplies. He always made a rupee’s profit every time.
Anil’s Unstable Income
- Anil was a writer and did not make a steady income.
- When he did, he would go out and celebrate. When he didn’t, he would borrow and worry about his next paycheque.
- One day, Anil came home flush with several banknotes. He had just sold a book to a publisher.
- He safely hid the money under his mattress.
Anil Gets Robbed
- Hari made up his mind to steal the money Anil had got.
- He carefully extracted the money from under the mattress and ran until he came to a bazaar by the station.
- There, he slowed down and counted the money. There were six hundred rupees in the bundle!
- Hari thought he would live like a king for the next week or two.
- He came to the station. The Lucknow Express was just leaving the platform. If he ran, he could easily jump into one of the compartments. But something stopped him.
- Hari stood still and watched as the train left.
- Having nowhere to go, Hari started walking aimlessly and came to a maidan and sat on a bench thinking about Anil’s reaction.
- Anil, he knew, would feel sad – not at the loss of money – but at the loss of trust.
- It started to rain. Soaked, Hari made his way back to the bazaar.
- He took out the notes. Then, he thought about his time spent with Anil.
- He remembered that Anil had promised to teach him to write whole sentences.
- One day, he thought, knowing whole sentences would bring him more than thieving could.
- After all, stealing was easy. But becoming a clever and well-respected man – that was better.
Hari Returns With Anil’s Money
- Hari went back to Anil and put the money back under the mattress.
- The next day, when he woke up Anil was already making tea.
- Anil gave him a fifty rupee note as part of his wages. Then, he declared that they were going to learn whole sentences.
- Hari realised that Anil knew what had happened. But Anil didn’t say anything.
- Moved, Hari gave Anil a smile – a genuine, heartfelt smile.
The major themes of the chapter are :
- Trust vs Betrayal
- Importance of Values and Relationships
Trust vs Betrayal
- The author brings out the theme of Trust v/s Betrayal through the two major characters of the story, Anil and Hari respectively.
- Anil trusts Hari and not only gives him shelter under his roof but also teaches him the skills of cooking and writing.
- Hari, on the other hand, robs Anil and flees.
- Through these instances, the author creates a striking contrast between the two characters and how they perceive the world.
Importance Of Values And Relationships
- The author reveals how human values and relations can change a person for better through Hari’s character.
- Being a thief, Hari Singh was used to deceiving people and cheating them effortlessly. But the warmth of Anil’s heart melted his harsh exterior and made him realise his folly and become a better person.
The major characters in the story are:
- Hari Singh
Dishonest: Hari Singh was a fifteen-year-old thief, who used fake names to avoid getting caught.
Untrustworthy: Hari conned people. He also stole money from Anil, who trusted him and promised to educate him and serve him his daily bread.
Inquisitive: Hari was happy to know that Anil would teach him how to write full sentences. He knew that learning to write would bring him success.
Cognizant: Although he stole from Anil, he stood in a dilemma and eventually learned that he couldn’t cheat a man who helped him selflessly.
Kind: Anil, a writer by profession, was a kind and simple man. He was compassionate and accepted Hari into his home.
Helpful: When Anil learnt that Hari could not cook, he not only taught him to cook but also to read and write.
Forgiving: Despite knowing that Hari had stolen money from him and broken his trust, he forgives Hari and never mentions a word about it.
Trustworthy: He trusted Hari with his money when he sent him for shopping groceries. He also gave Hari the key to his door.
Generous: He paid Hari for his services as soon as he earned the money despite knowing that Hair had stolen it.
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