The Thief’s Story, Explanation, Line by Line,  Meaning of Difficult Words English CBSE Class 10 NCERT Footprints without Feet Chapter 2


(Explanation and Meaning of difficult words)

Author – Ruskin Bond

When I met Anil, my profession was of a thief. At that time my age was 15. But I was an experienced and a successful thief. When I first spoke to Anil, he was watching a wrestling match.




Word Meaning
Lean Thin
Easy going Relaxed, Generous
Of late In recent past

Age of Anil was about 25. He was a tall and thin person. He appeared to be relaxed, simple and kind person. So I thought it would be easy to rob him. In recent past, I have not been lucky. [Meaning that I could not steal anything] I thought I would be able to win confidence of this young person.




Word Meaning
Flattery False praise, Sweet talk
Put someone off To discourage, To surprise

I said to Anil that he looked like a wrestler. Praising someone helps in making a friend. Anil replied that I also looked like a wrestler. His answer surprised me because at that time I was very thin.




Word Meaning
Modestly Humbly, Politely
Ahead of To manage not being caught

I humbly replied that I did wrestling only a bit. Anil asked my name. I said Hari Singh. I had spoken a lie. Every month I used to change my name. By this method police and my previous employers were not able to catch me.




Word Meaning
Grunting Making sound through throat
Followed Walked behind

After learning my name, Anil talked about wrestlers. They had applied lot of oil on their body. They were making noise, lifting and throwing each other. I did not say anything. Anil started walking away from there. I walked behind him.




Word Meaning
Most appealing Very pleasant

Anil said hello to me. I gave him a most pleasant smile. I said that I wanted to work for him. Anil replied that he did not have money to give me salary.



I thought that perhaps my judgement about Anil was wrong. [Meaning I had thought that Anil was a rich person]. I asked Anil if he can give me food. Anil asked if I could cook. I told him a lie that I could cook.



Anil told me that if I could cook, he would give me food. He took me to his room. His room was above Jumna Sweet shop. He told me that I could sleep in the balcony.




Word Meaning
Terrible Very bad
Stray dogs Dogs living in streets
Be off Go away
Hung around Remained there

That night I cooked food. The food must have been very bad because Anil gave it to dogs living in the street. He asked me to go away from his room. But I remained there. I again smiled in the most pleasant way. He started laughing.




Word Meaning
Patted Repeated touching with palm
Never mind Not to get disappointed

After that he touched my head and said not to get disappointed. He said he would teach me cooking. He taught me to write my name. He said that he would teach me to write full sentences and to do addition.





Word Meaning
Grateful Thankful

I was thankful to Anil. I knew that after learning to write like an educated person, I would be able to achieve almost everything. I was happy to work for Anil.




Word Meaning
Day’s supply Things needed for the day
Did not mind Did not object

In the morning I made tea. Then I used to go to the market to buy things needed for that day. Normally I saved one rupee for me while purchasing things. Probably Anil knew about it. But he did not appear to object.




Word Meaning
Fits and starts Not regularly

Anil earned money irregularly. One week he would borrow money and next week he would lend money. [Meaning during one week he had shortage of money and next week he had surplus money]





Word Meaning
Next cheque Next income
Queer Strange

He was always worrying about his next income. But as soon as he earned some money, he would celebrate. Probably he used to write for magazines. A strange way of earning money.




Word Meaning
Tuck To hide something

One evening when he came home he told me that he had sold a book to a publisher. He had a small bundle of notes with him. He put this money under the mattress to hide.




Word Meaning
Apart from Other than
My line of work My profession

Now I had completed almost one month working for Anil. Other than cheating during shopping, I had not had any thing of my profession. [Recall that narrator is a thief]




I had many chances to steal money. Anil had given me the key of the main door. I could come anytime and go anytime as per my wish. He had trusted me. Nobody else had ever trusted me so much.



Because he trusted me, it was difficult to rob him. It is easy to rob a greedy person because he has lot of money with him. But it is difficult to rob a person who is not careful. Sometimes he will not come to know that he has been robbed. Therefore there is no pleasure in robbing a careless person.



I thought now it was the time to do some work. [Time to steal]. I thought I am out of practice of robbing. [I had not done any stealing since many days]. I thought if I did not rob Anil, he would waste his money on his friends. And he was not paying me any salary.




Word Meaning
Asleep Sleeping
Beam Ray

Anil was sleeping. Moonlight was coming in the balcony and on the bed of Anil. Considering the moonlight, I sat on the floor. [I did not stand]. I thought if I steal money from Anil, I can take 10:30 PM express train for Lucknow.





Word Meaning
Slipping out Coming out
Crept Crawled, Moved on hands and knees
Unlined face Young looking face
Marks Spots
Scars Spot left by a wound or a disease

I came out of my blanket and crawled up to the bed of Anil. Anil was sleeping. His face could be seen clearly in the moonlight. The face was looking young. I had more spots on my face. Most of these spots were scars.




Word Meaning
Sighed Took deep breath, Made a sound
Startled Surprised

I put my hand under the mattress to search for notes. I found them and pulled them out without making any noise. Anil made a sound in his sleep. Then he turned his side and now he face was towards me. I was surprised. I crawled out of the room.



When I reached road, I started running. I had put notes near the string of my pyjamas at my waist. After some time I slowed down and started walking. I counted notes. These were 600 rupees in notes of fifty. [12 notes of 50 rupees each]. I could live like a very rich person for about two weeks.



I reached the railway station. I did not go the ticket office because I had never bought a ticket. [Narrator used to travel without buying ticket]. The Lucknow Express train had just started from the platform.




Word Meaning
Pick up Gained, Attained
Carriage Coach of a train
Hesitated Was unwilling,
Get away Run away. Escape

The train was running slow. It had not gained speed. I could have easily jumped into any one of the coach. But I was not willing to get into the train. I do not know the reason. I missed the chance to run away.




Word Meaning
Deserted Empty, Without any body

The train had gone. I was standing alone on the empty platform. I did not know where to spend the night.



Word Meaning
Curious Eager to know

I did not have any friend. I believed that friends were more of a trouble than help. I did not want to stay in any one of the small hotels near the station. I did not want people to become eager to know about me.



I knew only one person. I had robbed that man. I left the station. I walked slowly in the streets of the bazaar.



When goods are stolen from people, different types of expression comes to their faces. I had understood this in my brief career as a thief. The greedy man had expression of fear. The rich man of anger. The poor man had the expression of accepting his misfortune.



When Anil comes to know about the theft, his face would show expression of sadness. I was sure about it. The sadness will not be because of loss of money. He will be sad because I had lost his trust.




Word Meaning
Chilly Very cold
Drizzle Rain of low intensity
Discomfort Trouble, Uneasiness

By this time I had reached an open ground. I sat down on a bench. The night was very cold. It was beginning of November. There was light rain which increased my trouble.



Very soon it started raining heavily. My shirt and pyjamas became wet. These were sticking to my skin. A cold wind started blowing. It blew the rain on my face.




Word Meaning
Damp Wet

I went back to bazaar. I sat in the clock tower. The time was midnight. [12 o’clock]. I touched notes to be sure that these were with me. These had become wet due to rain.



It was Anil’s money. In the morning he would have given me two or three rupees to go to cinema. But now I had all the money. I am out of his house. I cannot cook his food. I cannot go to bazaar to buy supplies. Now I cannot learn to write complete sentences.



I forgot about these aspects during the eagerness to steal money. I was aware that one day I could earn more than a few hundred rupees through complete sentences. [Narrator means that education would bring more money]



It was a very simple thing to steal in comparison to getting education. And sometimes it was equally simple to get caught. But to become a respectable and big person was different. I thought that I should go back to Anil to learn to read and write.




Word Meaning
Undetected Without getting noticed

I started going back quickly to the room. I was very nervous. Because it is easier to steal. But it is difficult to return back the stolen thing without getting noticed.



I opened the door quietly. I stood in the doorway. There was moonlight and clouds in the sky. Anil was in deep sleep. I crawled to the head of the bed. [The side Anil had his head on the bed] I took out notes in my hand.




Word Meaning
Still Without movement

I could feel breath of Anil on my hand. I did not move for a minute. Then my hand reached edge of the mattress. Then my hand went under the mattress to keep the money back.




Word Meaning
Stretched out Extended
Heart sank Felt sad, Felt afraid

Next day I woke up late. I noticed that Anil had already made tea. He extended his hand towards me. In his hand he had a fifty-rupee note. I was suddenly afraid. I thought he had become aware of  my fault.




Word Meaning
My spirits rose I felt happy

Anil told me that yesterday he had earned some money. Now he will pay my salary regularly. I was feeling very happy when I took the note from him. The note was wet because of rains of last night. He told me that today he would teach me to write sentences.




Word Meaning
Appealing Pleasant, Attarctive

He knew what had happened last night. But he neither spoke nor expressed through his eyes. I smiled at Anil in most pleasant manner. This smile had automatically come on my face. I did not make efforts to smile.





Important Links
The Thief’s Story – Textbook Q&A The Thief’s Story – Extra Q&A
A Triumph of Surgery – Explanation The Midnight Visitor – Explanation
A Triumph of Surgery – Textbook Q&A The Midnight Visitor – Textbook Q&A
A Triumph of Surgery – Extra Q&A The Midnight Visitor – Extra Q&A
Re-arrange Exercises Error Finding Exercises
Active-Passive Rules Gap Filling Exercises
Passages Direct-Indirect Speech Rules
Story Writing Tips Letter Writing



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