The Thief’s Story | Ruskin Bond | Chapter 2 | Footprints Without Feet |

The Thief’s Story | Ruskin Bond | Chapter 2 | Footprints Without Feet |



Summary of The Thief’s Story

The Thief’s story is a story a young writer who manages to turn a thief into a good man with his trust and values.

Anil was a 25-year-old young writer. He was living his life very carelessly. He was writing for  local magazines and somehow earning enough money to run his livelihood. One day, Anil was watching a wrestling match when he met a cheat namely Hari Singh who, very well, knew how to make an unknown person a friend. He used his old formula to flatter the person. Having met him, Anil got impressed and he promised Hari Singh to teach how to read, write and cook tasty food. Hari Singh would go to buy daily needs and made profit of one rupee every day. Anil knew it but he didn’t mind it for Hari had been using his brain. Both were living together happily without any complaints. Ruskin Bond is a famous Indian writer. ‘The Thief’s Story’ is one of his well known stories. In this story, the writer shows how the reformation of a criminal is best achieved through love and understanding rather punishment.

One day, he saw that Anil had brought a bundle of notes from somewhere. Besides, he saw him put that bundle under the matters. As Hari Singh saw the bundle of notes, his evil spirit provoked him to steal all the amount and flee away and he, immediately, decided to rob Anil that night. After taking dinner, Anil slept peacefully for he had full faith in Hari Singh. On the contrary, Hari Singh couldn’t sleep for he was restless and waiting for Anil to sleep so that he could sneak away with his money stealthily. When Anil slept, he woke up, crept to the bed and slipped his hand under the matters. He found the notes there as well.



Having stolen the amount, he ran away on the road and decided that he would directly go to the railway station and catch the Lucknow Express. Moreover, he thought that Anil would never be able to catch him if he ran away from the city. Soon, he reached the railway station where Lucknow Express was about to depart.

All of a sudden, his conscience advised him not to betray the faith of Anil. The train was moving but Hari Singh didn’t dare to catch it. He was remembering the innocent face of Anil and wondering why he was breaking the faith of an innocent man. There was conflict of thoughts in the mind of Hari Singh. He did not want to lose faith of Anil for he knew that Anil was a simple man. Moreover, Anil had been teaching him how to write and add numbers for some time which could entirely change his life and get him a space of a respected person in the society.

When the train departed, he left the railway station, came to the ground and sat on a bench there. Just then, it started raining like cats and dogs. His shirt and pajamas were stuck to his body since they was wet due to the rain. He searched the notes and found that all the notes were wet. He realized his mistake, immediately went back to Anil’s house and secretly put back the bundle of money under the matters whence he had stolen that.

The next day, Anil woke up early in the morning, prepared tea for Hari Singh and himself. He handed over fifty rupees note to Hari Singh and told him that he would be regularly paid from now onwards. Hari Singh took the note and found that it was still wet. He understood that Anil knew about the last night episode. Anil, too, had a fair enough idea of what had happened last night but he did not utter a word as he could see a man being changed.

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Short Answer Type Questions of The Thief’s Story

Q1. What condition did Anil put to employ Hari Singh as his servant?

Ans. Hari Singh needed a place to live in and a source of food. When he met Anil, he told Anil that he wanted to work for him. But Anil replied that he couldn’t pay him. However, he told Hari Singh that if he could cook, he would feed him. Having said that, he took Hari Singh to his room over the Jumna Sweet Shop.

Q2. Why did the thief smile without any effort towards the end of the story?

Ans. The thief smiled without any effort in his most appealing way. It was because he wanted to please Anil. He wanted to win his favour. Secondly, he did so due to another season. It was that he had been forgiven by Anil for his being a thief.

Q3. How did the thief win the heart of Anil?

Ans. The thief told Anil that he wanted to work for him. Anil told him that he couldn’t pay him. The thief asked him to feed him. Anil told him that he could cook.




Q4. Hari Singh didn’t catch the train deliberately while he could catch it easily. Why?

Ans. The thief wanted to lead a respectable life after a change in him. He could become educated in the company of Anil and could earn a lot. So he didn’t go away with that money. Therefore, he didn’t catch the train deliberately while he could catch it easily. He returned to Anil’s room and put the money back under Anil’s mattress.

Q5. In which queer way did Anil make a living?

Ans. Anil lived a queer life. He made money by fits and starts. He would borrow one week and lend the next week. He kept worrying about the next cheque to come. When it arrived, he would go out and celebrate. He wrote for magazines too.

Q6. How did Anil react when Hari Singh cooked a bad meal? What was Hari’s response to this?

Ans. Hari Singh had told him a lie that he could cook well.  But the truth was that he couldn’t cook at all. So he cooked a very bad meal. No one could eat it. So Anil gave it to a stray dog lest the food should be wasted. Hari Singh kept smiling when Anil told him to be off.




Q7. What had Hari Singh forgotten in the excitement of the theft?

Ans. Hari Singh had forgotten the trust that he had earned from Anil. Anil had developed a trust for him like that of a young brother. He had offered him food and shelter. He even wanted to teach him. He had also given him the key of the door. But Hari Singh forgot all these values in the excitement of the theft.

Q8. What does Hari Singh say about the different reactions of people when they are robbed?

Ans. He says that different people react differently when they are robbed. A greedy man shows fear. A rich man shows anger. A poor man shows acceptance. In this way, he elaborates the reactions made by the people after they have been robbed.

Q9. What made Hari Singh think that he could live like an oil-rich Arab for some time?

Ans. Hari Singh was a poor boy therefore he stole Anil’s bundle of notes. It was a sum of 600 rupees. He thought that he could live in luxury like an oil-rich Arab for sometime on this stolen money. But, he couldn’t for his conscience forbade him to do so.

Q10. Why was Hari Singh getting nervous before going back to Anil’s room?

Ans. Hari Singh decided to go back to Anil’s room and keep the stolen money under the mattress from where he had stolen it. But, he felt nervous about going there. He thought that it was much easier to steal something than to return it undetected.




Q11. Why did Hari Singh think of doing some real work?

Ans. By ‘Real work’ Hari Singh meant stealing. He wanted to steal Anil’s money because he had not stolen anything for a long time. Secondly, Anil was a careless man which was known to Hari Singh. He had a fair enough idea, If he didn’t steal his money, Anil would waste it on useless things.

Q12. What made Hari Singh come back to Anil?

Ans. Anil had been teaching Hari Singh to read and write for some time. Therefore, the latter thought that without education, he would remain only a thief. But with education, he would become a big, clever and respected man in the society. This made him come back to Anil and return his money.



Long Answer Type Question

Q1. Money can’t make a man as much as education can. Elucidate the statement.

Ans. The statement stands true in almost all the aspects of life. Money may buy us all the luxuries and fulfill our needs but it can’t buy us knowledge, civilized thinking, skills and abilities to achieve our dreams. Education lays the platform for all to act upon our goals according to our abilities. Education enables us to keep up with the fast moving world. It opens the door to opportunities, we don’t know even exist. Money, on the other hand, can assist us to a certain level. It can buy us a plan but education gives us the knowledge of its execution. Just as in the story’ A Thief’s Story’.

Hari Singh befriends the struggling author ‘Anil’, with the plans of making a steal. Anil; the author is a good fellow and wants to teach Hari Singh how to read and write. Gradually, he develops trust in Hari Singh. But Hari Singh has been waiting for the right movement to steal the valuables of Anil. After stealing money from Anil, Hari Singh tries to go away forever. But some inner voice stops him from doing so. He returns to Anil because he wants to live a life of respect. This shows that Hari Singh prioritized the chance of being literate over a few hundred rupees, we must understand that education can help us to achieve whatever we desire.



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