The Street Boy Who Turned Honest


The Street Boy Who Turned Honest

( Short Story by M. Menonimus)

The Street Boy Who Turned Honest

The Street Boy Who Turned Honest

The Street Boy Who Turned Honest

It was about 9 a. m. I was standing under the Poinciana tree beside the bus stoppage and was in wait for my van to arrive which was to carry me to my institute. Suddenly a boy about fourteen approached me. He was wearing almost worn out long pants and a blue-spotted shirt and was looking shabby. His complexion was dark. His hair was black but entangled. It was a day of summer. The sun was shining heavily and the people who were standing on the bus stoppage for their destined carriage seemed to be unsteady because of the humid heat of the sun. The boy effacing the drops of sweat from his forehead with the forefinger of his right hand came close to me and accosted, “Sir, please do you need a page boy for your household work?”

I asked, “Who are you? How do you know me?”

He replied, “I am Larry. I know you, sir. You are a teacher.”

I retorted, “How have you come to know that I am a teacher?”

He replied, “I have come to know you to be a teacher from the fact that I see you every day, except the Sundays, here at the bus stoppage, waiting for your school van to come. It is a time when the teachers usually go to their schools as routine work. Secondly, you carry a pen in your shirt pocket as the teachers are accustomed to doing. Thirdly, some days I have heard you be addressed as ‘sir’ by some students.”

I looked at the boy and from his talk, I come to the conclusion that the boy might be a shrewd boy with some intelligence. I asked him, “Where is your whereabouts?”

He, holding his right hand up towards the north, replied, “I live in a shed house there at the back of the temple.”

I asked, “Where is your present engagement?”

He gave a plain answer, “Nowhere.”

I asked again, “What are the works you can do?”

He replied, “If you instruct me, maybe, I would be able to do any household work such as shoe polishing, sweeping, washing, sentry, marketing, gardening etc.”

“Have you any previous experience?”

‘Something, sir.”

“What are your parents?” I asked.

He, lowering his head down, replied, “I have neither mother nor father. Both are dead.”

I asked, “Then who is your guardian?”

He answered, “One of my far-off aunts is my guardian. I have heard from my aunt that my father was a Panjabi driver who left my mother when I was in my mother’s womb. And my mother died just a week after my birth. Then I was adopted by a woman whom I call ‘aunt’.”

I asked, “Do you go to school?”

He replied, “No, sir.”

“What do you do at home?”

He gave a direct answer, “I do nothing at home. But my aunt sends me to roam over the town in order to pilfer the trifling.” All day I steal something from the market and submit them to my aunt at night and then she gives me food. If a day I fail to steal, she deprives me of taking food.”

“Then you are a professional thief, isn’t it? I asked’

He replied, “Just not so. I am compelled to do so.”

I retorted, “If you are a professional thief then why do you want to work for me?”

I want to work for you for just two reasons. First, I hate stealing. Second, Jennie gets angry with me for my acts of stealing.”

I asked, “Who is Jennie?”

He told, “Jennie is an orphan like me. She lost both his father and mother in her childhood. She is taken up by one of her aunts from her mother’s side. They live to the south corner of the town. She is about ten years old.”

I asked, “What is your relation with her?”

He said, “We have no blood relation with each other. I just like her.”

“Do you love her?”

“Yes, I love her. But she has been getting angry with me since last month when she came to know that I am a pilferer and she repudiated receiving the Christmas Present that I offered her. And she said that she would not love me if I don’t give up stealing.”

I was astonished at his frank and straightforward answer. Already the school van arrived and I asked him to meet me tomorrow evening at 4’ o clock.

The next day I got down from the school van at about 4.15 p. m. and found that he was waiting for me. When I looked at him he gave a most appealing smile and approached me.

I asked him direct, “Do you truly like to work?”

“Yes, sir. I want to do honest work.”

I asked, “Would your aunt allow you to leave her for me?”

“She may object but I would not hear her because I want to be a good boy.”

I thought if he had a guardian it would not see good to take him without his guardian’s permission. Hence I wished to visit his aunt. But he said, “It would not be possible to meet her now as she works at people’s houses or roams over here and there and returns home after nine o’clock at night.”

Then I said, “Go home and seek her permission, and then if she allows you to go with me then I shall take you tomorrow to my home.”

When I said so he suddenly turned gloomy and became silent. When I was about to leave him he said, “Please sir…”

But I did not hear him and left him instantly because I had to go to the bank.

The next day, I took him to my home and allowed him to sleep in the guest room. My family is a small one. We are four in our family-I the host, my wife the hostess and two children- one boy about ten and a daughter about eight. We are self-dependent. We do our household works ourselves. I have taught my children to be so. Hence generally we don’t need a servant for household work. First, my wife expressed her unwillingness to keep Larry as a page boy. But when I said that he is an orphan then my wife seemed not to be obstinate.

Days passed by and Larry proved to be utterly ignorant of the ways of life. He did not know how to eat, drink, and sleep; not how to dress or how to maintain cleanliness. I put him to work in the garden removing the grasses and tending the saplings. But he worked waywardly and very clumsily.

Then I realized that to get good service from him I must give him basic teachings of life. Then I used to devote an hour every day to him. First I taught him the importance of observing cleanliness, the importance of healthy eating, sleeping, and honest ways of life. I bought him two pairs of dresses and instructed him how to wear them, how to wash them and how to like them. Then I taught him why to sleep and how to get sound sleep. Thus step by step he turned into a fine, good and healthy boy. Then I began to teach him the alphabet and within three months he became able to read simple sentences.

Already ten months passed by. One morning, while I was about to leave home for school, he came to me and said, “Please, sir…” he seemed to be hesitant and resumed, “Sir, would you give me fifty rupees, Please?” 

I asked, “Why?”

He said hesitantly, “Sir tomorrow is Christmas Day. I would like to buy a present for my Jennie.”

I smiled within myself and asked, “What would you like to buy for Jennie with fifty rupees?”

He said, “Something like a chemise or a gown.” 

I said, “You would not get a chemise for such a price. You need not be bothered with it. I shall just buy something for your Jennie, would it not be?”

“It would be, sir.” He replied.

The next morning, he seemed to get up earlier than usual. At the time of taking breakfast, he came to me. Then I declared to him, “From the following January you will be given a regular salary of one thousand rupees per month.”

He looked to be astonished and said, “Would it, Sir?”

I said, “Yes.” Saying so, I drew out two packages from the drawer and offering one to him said, “Here is a pair of shirt and long pants for you.”

And then offering the second package I said, “Here is a pair of dresses for your Jennie worth rupees six hundred.”

Larry took them in hand and gave a sweet smile and begged to leave for the day.

Then he, wearing the new pair of dresses with satisfaction, ran off to Jennie and on the way, he thought he would call on Jennie under the Banyan tree at the back of the temple and offer the present and tell her, “Jennie don’t be angry with me. Here is a present for you bought with my honest earnings. Receive it and love me.” 0 0 0

The Street Boy Who Turned Honest

N.B.  The short story ‘The Street Boy Who Turned Honest’ originally belongs to the book ‘The Fugitive Father and Other Stories‘ by Menonim Menonimus.

The Street Boy Who Turned Honest

Books of Composition by M. Menonimus:

  1. Advertisement Writing
  2. Amplification Writing
  3. Note Making
  4. Paragraph Writing
  5. Notice Writing
  6. Passage Comprehension
  7. The Art of Poster Writing
  8. The Art of Letter Writing
  9. Report Writing
  10. Story Writing
  11. Substance Writing
  12. School Essays Part-I
  13. School Essays Part-II
  14. School English Grammar Part-I
  15. School English Grammar Part-II..

Books of S. Story by M. Menonimus:

  1. The Fugitive Father and Other Stories
  2. The Prostitute and Other Stories
  3. Neha’s Confession

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I am Menonim Menonimus, a Philosopher & Writer.


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