The Thief’s Story by Ruskin Bond, Class 10

The Thief’s Story Summary

This is a story of a young man of age 15 who survives by robbing other people. He usually makes friends with kind and simple people by praising them and convincing them to give him work. Once he has taken them into confidence he robs them and runs away at the first chance he gets. He changes his name every month so that the police can’t find him. That means the young man usually robbed one person every month. This month he took the name Hari Singh for himself. 

Hari Singh found Anil, a young man of age 25, watching a wrestling match and decided to make him his next victim. Anil looked simple and easy going, just the type Hari Singh looked for, to rob. The thief started talking with Anil and asked for some work. Anil told him that he did not have any money to give him. Hari agreed to cook for Anil in return for food. It became clear that Hari couldn’t cook and although Anil asked him to leave Hari just hung around. Anil felt pity and started teaching him how to read, write and cook. 

Anil used to write for a magazine and he was not paid regularly. He would be worried about money, but careless when he had it. He sometimes had to borrow money and he would lend money when he had some.

Hari was keeping the one rupee change he would save from shopping for the day’s supplies. One day he noticed that Anil brought home a bundle of notes. Anil explained that he had sold a book to a publisher. He put the bundle of notes under the mattress and went to sleep. Hari saw the chance that he had been waiting for. It was almost a month he had been with Anil and it was time he moved to another victim. He also had a key to the door. 

Hari took the money and ran away. His plan was to catch a train to Lucknow. Although he reached the station just in time for the train, he did not catch it. He did not want to go. He remembered he was learning to read and write from Anil. Hari returned home and put the money back under the mattress. 

In the morning Anil gave Hari some money. It was Hari’s first salary. He promised that Hari would be paid regularly and also that he would teach him to write sentences.   

The thief’s story moral

The moral of the story is that a thief can become a good person if shown some love and care. Hari had come to Anil’s house with the intention of robbing and conning him. However, when Anil had accepted Hari as he was and started teaching him to read, write and cook, Hari couldn’t run away from that.

Warming Up!

  1. Read the following incident.

Lokesh had always been a class-topper in tests and examinations. However, invariably, he used foul means during exams to gain those high marks.

Once, on the day of History examination, Lokesh realized, that his classmate and friend Farhan came all prepared for Maths instead of History. Farhan had become desperate. So Lokesh offered to let him copy from his answer-sheet, since Farhan sat just behind him.

Farhan refused. He said, “It’s all right even if I get a zero, but I can call it my own zero. I do not want to score a single mark, unearned. Cheating in exams is for cowards. Not me!”

These words were a turning point in Lokesh’s life. He gave up cheating for ever. He worked hard for what he desired and never, ever used false measures to acquire anything. 

(a) In the given story, which words/phrases can be replaced by the following

(i) became aware

Ans: realised

(ii) always

Ans: invariably

(iii) very upset and helpless

Ans: desperate

(iv) cheating

Ans: foul means

(v) without working for it

Ans: unearned

(vi) a sudden change

Ans: a turning point

(vii) gain/achieve

Ans:: acquire

(b) Summarize the incident in 6 to 8 lines making Lokesh, the narrator:

Begin with: ‘I was always a class topper.

I was always the class topper. Over the years I learned to cheat and score high marks. On the of the History exams I noticed that my classmate and friend Farhan had prepared for Mathematic. He was worried and did not know what to do. I offered to show him my paper since he sat right behind me. He refused saying he would rather get a zero and call it his own. He did not want to get anything he did not earn and believed cheating was for cowards. Those words changed my life. I gave up cheating. I worked hard for whatever I wanted and never used false measures to acquire anything.

Complete the following diagram

Anil’s virtues – Kind-hearted, Compassionate, Forgiving, Helpful

Hari’s vices – robber, deceitful, lying, untrustworthy

2. Insert the appropriate word/phrase given below, in the sentences that follow. 

(flattery, appealing, by fits and starts, dashed to, undetected, spirits rose) 

(a) I dashed to the school gate when I heard the school-bell ring.

(b) After the death of my pet dog, my spirits rose when dad got me a new pup.

(c) Do not stoop to flattery just to gain something from someone.

(d) The artist completes his paintings by fits and starts.

(e) The crime went undetected for 11 years.

(f) When the baby saw its mother it gave an appealing smile

3. (a) Find from the text the collocation for the following.

(i) stray dog

(ii) careless man

(iii) ticket office

(iv) walked slowly

(v) light drizzle

(vi) whole sentences

(vii) risen spirits

(h) Complete the compound words from the story.

(i) oil rich

(ii) fifty rupee

(iii) easy going

(iv) clock tower

(v) moon light

c) Pick out from the story 3 or 4 examples of Code-mixing (Indian words used in English).

bazaar, maidan, pyjamas

4. Read the story carefully and complete the table.

Total no. of charactersNamesAgePhysical appearanceEarned money byQualities
TwoHari15 yearsThinRobbing / stealinggrateful, eager to learn
Anil25 yearsTall and LeanWritingKind, simple, forgiving, compassionate

The thief’s story class 10 question and answers

The thief’s story author

Footprints without feet?