The lesson "The thief's story" is written by Ruskin Bond. The lesson narrates how a thief's life changes when he meets a good human being. The story opens with the narrator stating that he was a thief when he met Anil. Though he was fifteen years old, he was experienced and good at stealing.

When the thief met Anil, he was watching a wrestling match. He then describes the appearance of Anil. Anil was a tall and lean guy. He was about twenty-five years old. According to the thief, Anil looked like an easy-going and kind man. He believed that Anil would be a good man to steal things from. So he thought about getting comfortable with him. Also, the thief had not committed any theft in the past few days as he did not get a chance.
Wrestling match
While looking at Anil, the thief said that he looked like a wrestler. The thief used these sugar-coated words to make friends with him. He assumed that he would become his friend if he were praising Anil. After hearing the thief's conversation, Anil replied that even the thief looked like a wrestler, which offended him as he was very thin. The thief modestly replied that he did wrestle a bit sometimes. Anil then asked the thief's name, and the narrator lied that he was Hari Singh. The narrator had the character of changing his name every month to escape from the police and his ex-employers.
After introducing themselves, Anil started talking about the well-oiled wrestlers. The well-oiled wrestlers shouted, pulled, and threw each other around. After hearing that, the thief did not have anything to say because he had no experience in wrestling. Anil then walked away, and then the thief followed him.

The thief then tried to make friends with Anil. As a result, he started talking to him. He said "Hello again" to Anil in the notion of being friendly with him. He intended to be with Anil and then steal things from him.

The thief approached Anil with the most appealing smile. Later, he told Anil that he wanted to work for him. But Anil said that he had no money to pay him. The thief had not expected this reply and thought he had misjudged Anil. He believed that Anil had a lot of money. The thief then asked whether Anil could feed him. After hearing that, Anil instantly asked the thief whether he could cook.

The thief then replied that he knew to cook. But in reality, he did not know how to cook. Anil then said he would give him food if the thief cooked food for him. Anil then took the thief to his room. The room was over the Jumna Sweet Shop. Anil told the thief to sleep on the balcony.

Anil asked the thief to prepare the dinner. The food he prepared was horrible because he had given that food to a stray dog. Anil then told the thief to leave the place, but he hung around for a while by smiling appealingly. By seeing that, Anil couldn't stop laughing.
A stray dog
After some time, Anil patted the thief's head and told him that he would teach him how to cook. He also taught the thief how to write his name. In addition, he said that he would soon teach him to write full sentences and add numbers. It shows the goodness of Anil. He did not consider the narrator as a servant. He thought of giving him a good education and making him earn money.

After hearing that, the thief felt very grateful. The thief had thought that if Anil taught him how to write and learn, there would be no limits to his work. For instance, the narrator doesn't have proper education, and if he had an education, he wouldn't have chosen his profession of stealing. He could have earned income by working in a respectable profession. Also, he thought that if he got proper education, he could achieve more.

The thief enjoyed working for Anil. He used to prepare tea for Anil in the morning and then buy groceries for the day. He would also profit one rupee every day from the money that Anil used to give him for daily groceries. The thief also had a notion that Anil must have known about it earlier, and he didn't ask him anything regarding that.
The narrator would buy groceries from  the shop
Anil did not have any stable income. He made money by fits and starts. The idiom "fits and starts" means anything that works on and off and functions irregularly. Here in this context, the narrator did not work regularly, so he did not get a regular income.

Also, the narrator did not have any fixed job. The thief says that Anil used to be worried about his paycheque, but he would go out with friends and celebrate as soon as he received a cheque. Anil used to write for the magazine. After telling that, the narrator says what a strange way to make a career! He might have said that people had to find out different sorts of jobs for a living. He only knew stealing. While seeing Anil earning in such a way, he might have made this statement.
Then, one evening, Anil came home with some money and told the thief that he had just sold a book to a publisher. Before going to bed, Anil put the money under his mattress. The thief observed him stuffing the money under it.
The thief then said that he had worked as a cook for Anil for almost a month. He had not cheated Anil apart from the one rupee that he used to take daily from the shopping. The thief also thinks that he had every chance to steal as Anil had given him the key to his room, and he could come and go whenever he wished. Also, the thief said that Anil had been the most trusting person he had ever met. The reason behind the statement was that people usually wouldn't give that much freedom to the people who cook in their house. Even though the thief came to him before a month, Anil had treated and trusted him well and gave him the keys. This shows the goodness of Anil.

After telling about the goodness of Anil, the thief said because of his love and care, and he couldn't steal anything from him. Also, he says that it was difficult to rob such a good man compared to a greedy person. In addition, he said that it was an easy job to steal from a greedy person because he could afford the loss. Also, the thief says that it was difficult to steal; from a careless man like the narrator because if he steals, sometimes he doesn't come to know that he has been robbed. Moreover, he said that there is no fun left in robbing in such a way.

The thief then decided that he would start with his stealing. He had not robbed anyone for a long time. He also justified his act of stealing Anil's money by telling himself that if he didn't steal it, then Anil would waste it on his friends. He also thought that he had a right over the money as Anil didn't even pay him for his work.

The thief started his work when Anil was sleeping. There was a little light over Anil's bed because of the moonlight coming in from the window. The thief sat on the floor and planned that he could leave the city by the 10:30 pm Lucknow Express train if he took the money. The thief then crawled towards the bed. He looked at Anil, who was sleeping peacefully without a single line on his face. After telling that, he said that his face had so many scars. The scars might be because of the theft he had made. He would have got some injuries while stealing. He realised that although he was much younger than Anil, he had a bad appearance. On the other hand, Anil was carefree and thought good for others, because of which he had such a nice face.
The narrator decided to leave by the Lucknow Express train
The thief then put his hand under the mattress, searching for Anil's notes under his pillow. When the thief found them, he took that without making any sound. While the thief was doing that, Anil sighed in his sleep and turned on the thief's side. He was directly facing the thief, which scared him a bit. The thief then quickly left the room.

After leaving the room, the thief came to the road. When he was on the road, he started running. The thief had the notes on his waist. He holds it using the string in his pyjamas. Then after a while, the thief slowed down and counted the notes. He had twelve notes of 50 rupees each which made it 600 rupees. Then the thief thought that he could live a luxurious life like an oil-rich Arabian sheikh for a week or two using that money.

When the thief reached the station, he went to the platform straight away without buying a ticket. The thief had never bought a ticket in his life. He had always travelled without a ticket. When he reached the platform, the Lucknow Express he had to board was just leaving the platform. The train was still slow, so he could have quickly jumped into one of the carriages. But he did not do so. There was a bit of hesitation in him. Even he didn't understand why he had that hesitation inside him, and because of that, he could not board the train.
After some time, when the train had left, the thief found himself all alone on the empty platform. The thief did not know where he would spend the night. He did not have any friends whom he could go to as he used to think that friends were more of a trouble than being helpful. He did not even want to stay at any small hotels as that would attract attention. He knew only one person very well, and he had also robbed him.

After leaving the station, the thief walked through the bazaar. While walking, he was thinking of his observations as a thief. In a short career span, he realised that although everybody – from rich to poor reacts differently to losing their goods. After telling that, he said that he knew Anil would show only a tinge of sadness. That would not be because he lost his money but because he has lost his trust in the thief. He would be sad that he trusted someone so much and the person had betrayed him.

The thief was walking when he reached a park. He sat on a bench. As it was the month of November, the night was a bit chilly, and then the drizzle added to the thief's discomfort. It started raining heavily, and the thief's shirt and pyjamas stuck to his body. Also, the cold wind was blowing across the thief's face.
A bench in the park
Then the thief went back towards the bazaar and sat under the shelter of the clock tower to escape getting wet. The clock showed that it was midnight. The thief then checked the notes, and they were wet. Then again, the thief started thinking that it was Anil’s money and if he had not stolen it, Anil would have surely given him two to three rupees to go to a movie. But now, as he had stolen it, he had it all. Now he won’t be able to make tea or do groceries for Anil anymore, nor would he be able to learn to write whole sentences ever.

The thief had forgotten about the benefits Anil had given him because of the excitement of stealing the money. He knew that if he could learn to read and write, he could earn much more money than these few hundred rupees and that too, honestly. He knew that it was effortless to steal something from someone, but sometimes it was that easy to get caught.

The thief knew that if he learnt to read and write, he could become a prominent and respected man one day. Then the thief told himself that he should go back if he wanted to learn to read and write and also if he wanted to be a big man one day.

From the above paragraphs, one might understand the state of mind of the thief. His sudden decision to steal the money had made him feel guilty. Also, he thinks that he would succeed in his life if he were with him. It also shows that the narrator did not want to become a thief again. He realised his mistakes only after stealing the money. He wished to become a successful person by learning something from Anil.
The thief then went back to Anil's room. He was very nervous because the thief knew it was much more difficult to return stolen things without being caught than actually stealing them. The thief then went to the hallway and stood there as the moonlight was still falling over the bed.

Anil was still sleeping in the bed. The thief went near the head of the bed and took out the notes. As he was going near the mattress, the thief's hand could feel Anil's breath. The thief then became still for a moment, found the edge of the mattress and finally slipped the notes under it.

The following day, the thief woke up a little late, and Anil had already made the tea by then. Anil extended his hand towards the thief and had a fifty rupees note. The thief thought that he had been caught. Meanwhile, Anil explained that he had made some money the previous day and gave it to him. In addition, he said that he would be paying the thief regularly.

Fifty rupees note
The thief was happy, but when he took the note in his hand, he saw that it was still wet from last night. Anil then told the thief that he would teach him how to write complete sentences that day. The thief realised that Anil had learned that he had stolen the money and kept it back. But the best part was that he didn't exhibit any emotion on his face. The thief smiled at Anil once again in his most charming manner. It demonstrates that his smile was genuine. Anil, the lovely human being, was responsible for his beautiful smile.