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Chapter 2 - The Thiefs Story

This article will help you to learn about the summary, characters and themes in the story “The Thief’s Story”.


Hari Singh, a young fifteen-year-old earned his living as a thief and a con. One day he befriended Anil, a struggling writer. Taking him into confidence, Hari Singh gets Anil to hire him on as a servant and a cook, though he did not know how to cook. Hari Singh agreed to get only food for the work he did.

The first meal cook was a complete disaster but Anil was overtaken by Hari Singh’s expression, allowing him to continue, as he began trusting Hari Singh. However, Hari Singh continued to make money through the grocery purchases that he did for Anil.

One day Anil, having sold his story came home with about Rs. 600. Hari Singh set his eyes on the money to steal it. That night when Anil slept with the money under his pillow, Hari Singh silently stole it and left for the railway station to board a train to Lucknow. Unfortunately, he missed it. He roamed through the bazaars. It was raining and Hari Singh was completely drenched.

Hari Singh thought of Anil and how Anil used to teach him. He then thought how sad he would be to find his money stolen. He realised that without being educated he would remain a thief all life long, but with education he could do some job and earn a decent living.

Hari Singh had a change of heart and decided to return to Anil and keep the money under the pillow. However, the next morning, Anil gave Hari Singh Rs. 50 saying he had earned it and told him he would now be paid regularly. Hari Singh realised that his crime had been discovered as the note was still wet.

Character List 

Anil and Hari Singh the Thief are the only two characters in the story. Their character sketches are as follows:

Hari Singh- He is a small-time thief. His real name is not Hari Singh, he keeps on changing names to escape from police. His modus operandi is that he earns the trust of people and then robs them and flees. When he sees Anil, he thinks of robbing him and hence approaches him and asks for work. Anil, being a simple person lets him work and even starts teaching him how to cook. Hari Singh is delighted when Anil starts teaching him to write as he plans to rob on a larger scale. Hari steals a little money daily when he goes to buy the daily groceries and one day when he gets a chance he steals money from Anil and runs away. However, at the railway station, he has a change of heart and decides to return. He is now happy and contented to live with Anil.

Anil- Anil is a kind, simple and easy-going young man. He is of tall and lean stature and is interested in sports like wrestling. He was not very rich and thus could not afford to employ Hari as a cook. He had the patience and goodness to not only teach Hari to cook but also to read, write and add numbers. Though he knew that Hari was stealing little bits of money from him, he ignored this fact.

Anil was a writer who wrote for magazines and made money in fits and starts. He was a very trusting person. Even when he earned a large amount of money, he kept the money under his mattress and not under lock and key. He was generous and paid Hari when he got some money. Hari had tried to steal the money from him. He was forgiving and he forgave Hari – the theft and continued to be good to him.


This story by Ruskin Bond revolves around the theme that human values and relations are important in life and they can thus change a person. Hari Singh is a character who is a thief. Though he robbed Anil but couldn’t run away with his money as Anil was an honest and genuine man, and Hari did not want to hurt him. Anil even educated Hari Singh. As a result, Hari Singh kept the money back. Hence, it can be said that even a person’s honesty can change an evil person.

Anil was a good man and his goodness changed the mind of a thief Hari, who remembered the days spent with Anil. This changed his mind which shows that true values and kindness wins everyone’s heart, even a thief’s heart.

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