The Thief’s Story – Ruskin Bond questions and answers

std 10th lesson 1.2 The Thief’s Story


Flattery: insincere praise

Modestly: without boasting, in a humble way

Grunting: making low guttural sounds

Appealing: attention-getting attractive

By fits and starts: in short irregular intervals

unlined : showing no sign of worry or anxiety

Heart sank: felt depressed

Spirits rose: became very hopeful

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 ones?

1. became aware – realized

2. always – invariably

3. very upset and helpless – desperate

4. cheating – foul means

5. without working for it – unearned

6. a sudden change – a turning point

7. gain/achieve – acquire

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

Begin with : ‘I was always a class topper. However, I always acquired high grades by cheating in the exam. Once I offered to help Farhan by allowing him to copy from my answer-sheet who had come prepared for Maths instead of History. Farhan refused and told me that he rather get a zero than cheat. Cheating is for coward. That day was a turning point in my life. I worked hard for whatever I desired.

Textual Questions:

1. At what is the narrator quite successful?

Ans. The narrator, a thief, was quite successful in cheating and robbery.

2. Who does ‘I’ refer to in this story?

Ans. Hari, the 15 year old thief and narrator is referred as ‘I’ in this story.

3. Why did the narrator change his name every month?

Ans. The narrator was a thief, after robbing an employer or anyone he would run away. In order that he shouldn’t be caught, he would change his name every month.

4. What favours did Anil do for the narrator?

Ans. Anil gave food, education and shelter to the narrator. Though, Hari was bad in cooking he allowed him to stay. Anil taught Hari cooking. He did not mind Hari cheating while buying daily supplies and he took good care of Hari.

5. What proves that the narrator still practised deceit?

Ans. Inspite of Anil being so kind to Hari, he robbed him. This proves that the narrator still practiced deceit.

6. What could have caused the scars on Hari’s face?

Ans. Hari was a thief. He often had to run away from people and the police. Maybe, he got all those scars while being on the run or by thrashing he may have received from people or the police whenever he was caught.

7. Why did Hari hesitate to board the train?

Ans. Hari hesitated to board the train because he realized that he was missing out on a chance to education by running away from Anil.

8. Why does Hari believe that friends were more trouble than help?

Ans. Hari was a thief. If he had friends, they would probably try to borrow from him or give out his location to the police. In order to save themselves they would make trouble for him. Hence he felt that friends were more trouble than help.

9. What is face reading?

Ans. Face reading means to observe and study the emotions and expressions on the faces of people and interpret them correctly.

10. What were Hari’s regrets as he pondered over his theft?

Ans. Hari’s regrets on pondering over his theft was breaking, Anil’s trust, losing a friend like Anil, his source of food, education and shelter, Anil was more a family for Hari now so when he pondered over this theft he saw Anil face with a touch of sadness not for the loss of money but losing trust.

11. Why did Hari feel nervous?

Ans. Hari felt nervous because it was easier to steal something than to return it undetected.

12. Does Anil realise that he has been robbed?

Ans. Anil realized that he had been robbed because the notes were still wet.

13. Why did Hari give a genuine appealing smile?

Ans. Inspite of knowing that Hari had tried to rob the money, Anil without saying anything gave Hari a fifty rupee note. This showed that he had forgiven Hari. Which made Hari genuinely happy and so he smiled at Anil.


1. Complete the web diagram.

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 a appealing smile.

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

1. Stray dog

2. greedy man

3. ticket office

4. walked slowly

5. light drizzle

6. whole sentences

7. rose spirits.

(b) Complete the compound words from the story.

1. oil rich

2. fifty rupee

3. easy going

4. clock tower

5. moon light

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

Ans. Examples of code-mixing are bazaar, maidan, pyjamas.

4. Read the story carefully and complete the table.

Total no. of characters Names Age Physical appearance Earned money by Qualities
1 Anil 25 Tall and lean Writing articles for magazines Friendly and trustworthy
2 Hari 15 Thin Robbery Clever and hardworking

5. Complete the given sentences

(a) Anil kept Hari as a cook because he wanted someone to cook for him. He perhaps also felt sorry for Hari.

(b) Hari was grateful because Anil was teaching him to read, write and add numbers, and all this would be useful to him in his life.

(c) Hari continued making money by cheating Anil while buying the day’s supplies.

(d) Anil didn’t hand Hari over to the police because then Hari would never have reformed and would continue to rob and cheat people.

(e) The moral of the story is – Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you have fed him for a lifetime.

6. Think and write in your own words, in your notebook.

(a) Why did Anil employ Hari as a cook, although he could not afford to pay him?

Ans. Anil was a kind and helpful man and he felt sorry for Hari. Anil understood that Hari wanted to work but he could not afford to pay him as he had just enough money to eat. So he employed Hari as a cook.

 (b) What did Hari learn from Anil in the beginning?

Ans. In the beginning Hari learnt to cook from Anil.

(c) Why didn’t Anil hand over Hari to the police? What effect would it have on Hari?

Ans. If Anil would have handed over Hari to the police, he would have been angry and bitter and he would have continued robbing and cheating. Anil cared for Hari so he wanted to win him through trust. Because of Anil’s kind act, Hari returned the money to Anil which he had robbed and became a changed person.

(d) Do you feel Anil’s way of handling a thief like Hari was effective? Justify your answer.

Ans. Yes I feel Anil’s way of handing a thief like Hari was effective. When Anil came to know that Hari was a thief he could have easily handed him to the police. The police would have beaten him and put him in jail. After some days Hari would have again gone back to cheating and robbery. But by forgiving him, Anil gave him a chance to change. He cared for Hari and wanted to educate him and help him earn his living. In this way, Anil helped Hari to get over to his bad habits and live a honest life.

(e) What tact had Anil used to change Hari’s dishonest ways?

Ans. Anil was a good, kind and a helpful person and he wanted to help Hari. Even though Anil knew that Hari had stolen his money he didn’t let Hari know that he was aware of the robbery. When Hari returned back with the money he had stolen, he forgave him and decided to educate him. This would help him change his dishonest ways and live a better life. Anil knew that Hari had no friends and he had a desire to study. So Anil used the tact of being a good friend and motivating him to study and ignored the fact that he had stolen his money.

(f) ‘And the smile came by itself without any effort.’ Say why. When do people give fake smiles?

Ans. Hari had stolen money from Anil. But he had regretted his actions and returned back to Anil with the money. He realised that Anil had forgiven him inspite of knowing that he had stolen the money. He was genuinely happy that Anil had decided to ignore what had happened and help him study. So in order to ask for forgiveness he smiled at Anil. People give false smiles for many reasons like pleasing others to get their work done, impressing people, covering up for their wrong actions etc.

7. Write a character sketch of ‘Hari Singh’ with the help of the following points, using the paragraph format.

Hari Singh’s background

His dishonesty

His aspirations

His courage to change himself.

Ans. Hari Singh was a only 15 year old but an experienced thief. He had no friends and always changed his name to avoid getting identified by police and former employers whom he had cheated. He wanted to steal from Anil’s house so he stayed with him as a domestic help. He even cheated Anil when he went to buy the daily supplies. He had a great desire to get a good education so that he could achieve whatever he wanted in his life. Anil took care of him, provided him with food and shelter and taught him to read and write. Hari’s intentions were to steal from Anil’s house and so when he got an opportunity he stole the money. Later he regretted his actions and returned back to Anil with the money, in order to get a chance to study. He was brave enough to return the money even though he could have been caught. His desire to get educated and change himself was so strong that it motivated him to reform himself.

8. Frame ‘Wh’ questions to get the answers underlined below. (Change the first person pronouns to the second person where necessary.)

(a) I hurried back to the room.

Ans. Where did you hurry back to?

(b) I had made a study of men’s faces.

 Ans. What had you made?  Ans. When did you make tea?

(c) I drew them out, without a sound.

Ans. How did you draw them out?

(d) The poor man showed acceptance.

Ans. Who show acceptance?

(e) I made tea in the morning.

Ans. When did you make tea?

9. Imagine that Anil catches Hari red-handed when Hari is stealing the money from under the mattress. Compose a short dialogue between the two, which reflects Anil’s shock and Hari’s repeated apologies.

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