A Thief’s Story, Class 10 English, Footprints without Feet
Detailed explanation of “A Thief’s Story”, including definitions of difficult words. In addition, the explanation is followed by a lesson summary. Also, NCERT Question and Answers are also provided to help students understand this Chapter and do well in their exams.
The story highlights how kindness , compassion and trust can change even criminals. The Thief’s Story’ by Ruskin Bond is about a 15 year old boy, Hari Singh, whose life changes when he meets Anil, a 25 year old writer. Anil’s unspoken words and kind gestures leave very positive imprints on Hari Singh who is an artful thief. He realised the importance of education and became a better man under Anil’s company.
Hari Singh is the narrator of this story. He is an artful thief. One day, he met a young man of twenty-five named Anil, while he was watching a wrestling match. Anil was a tall , thin , easy going and simple man. He gave him an artificial smile. He desired to have an acquaintance with him in order to make him his next victim. Anil avoided him. The narrator used some flattering words to gain Anil’s confidence and soon they started conservation. He lied to Anil that his name was Hari Singh. He changed his name every month to hide himself from police.
Hari Singh followed Anil after the match was over. He asked Anil for work. To this , Anil expressed his inability to pay Hari. He was ready to work for Anil if he could just feed him. Anil agreed to engage Hari Singh if he could cook food for both. Anil gave that night’s food to a stray dog because the food cooked by Hari was terrible. Anil realised that Hari didn’t know how to cook. The thief lied that he was a good cook.
Apart from cooking , Anil also taught Hari to read and write his name and promised to teach him how to write whole sentences and to add numbers. Hari was grateful and happy for getting educated as he knew that he could do anything once he get educated. The Hari made the morning tea and bought the daily supplies. Anil was aware of the fact that Hari Singh made a profit from the purchases but Anil did not mind.
Anil had no regular income and was not a rich man. He borrowed money sometimes but repaid the loan whenever he earned money through his writings for magazines. The thief thought it a strange way of making money.
One day, Anil sold a book to a publisher and brought home a bundle of notes. He put the money under his mattress and Hari noticed it. The thief had not stolen anything since a month of his working there and had gained Anil’s trust. He had no desire to rob a careless person who trusted him blindly. However, he could not resist the temptation of getting the bundles of notes.
The thief got up quietly when Anil had gone to sleep. He took the money and slipped out of the room. He had six hundred rupees in his possession. He reached the railway station just as the Lucknow Express was picking up speed. He could have boarded it but something held him back. The train was soon out of his sight.
Hari Singh was left alone on the platform. He was in a dilemma where to go. He had no acquaintance there. He did not like to go to a hotel lest he should be suspected. The thief thought that Anil would be sad not for the loss of money but for the loss of trust he had reposed on him. It was a cold night. It was drizzling when he went to the maidan and sat down on a bench. His clothes got drenched. He went back to the bazaar. There he took shelter under the clock tower. It was midnight. He thought and realized that he had let go a chance of being a respectable man.
Anil was taking pains to teach him reading and writing. He decided to go back to Anil and reached his home. Anil was still asleep. He slipped the money at its usual place. He slept till late hours. Anil had made tea before Hari Singh woke up. Anil offered him a fifty rupee note. He also promised him to pay him regularly. The note was still wet. Anil understood everything but he did not expose the thief’s doing. Instead, Anil said that they would start writing sentences that day. Hari Singh felt guilty and smiled shamefacedly.
|fairly successful hand||reasonably successful in my work|
|lean||Thin in a healthy and attractive way|
|easy-going||relaxed and open-minded|
|get into confidence||win the young man’s trust|
|put me off||distracted me|
|modestly||without boasting, humbly|
|grunting||making a short, low sound usually because of anger or pain|
|be off||go away|
|hung around||did not leave|
|by fits and starts||irregularly|
|cheque||payment for work done|
|queer||strange, unusual or not expected|
|crept||moved in a quiet, careful way to avoid being noticed|
|unlined||showing no sign of worry
|fifties||50 rupee notes|
|deserted||empty of people|
|heart sank||felt disappointed and
|spirits rose||mood became happy|