The moon was like a giant fluorescent light in the sky. It was a full moon night. And a foolish thief was getting ready to rob a villager’s house.

He located the house he had decided upon and tip-toed inside. From the silvery world of moonlight outside, he had entered a dark room. He could not even see his own hand or foot. But on the wall near the roof, there was a ventilator. The moon’s rays came sliding through it to create a circle of light.

The thief had brought a cloth with him in which to gather all the things he hoped to steal. He spread it out on the moonlit floor and went inside the store room, where all the goodies were kept.

The Foolish Thief
The Foolish Thief [Illustration by Kusum Chamoli]
He did not know it but the owner of the house was wide awake and watching. As soon as the thief went inside the store room, he got up swiftly from his cot, and picked up the cloth which the thief had spread out. He came back to his cot, which was in one dark corner of the room and waited for the thief to come out.

Meanwhile the thief went on collecting the things he wanted and threw them on the floor where he knew he had spread out the cloth. Soon there was a little mountain in the centre of the room. Then the thief looked around for the ends of the cloth to tie up the stolen wealth. And that’s when he realized that the cloth piece was not there. He was terribly confused, and scratched his head for a long time.

It was the moment the house owner was looking for. He decided it was the right time to scare the thief out of his wits. So he let out a big groan – a deep groan. The thief’s teeth started chattering, he was so scared. He realised that someone had been watching him all the time he thought he was stealing in a very smart manner. He picked up the ends of his dhoti and ran! He had no thought for the stolen wealth he was leaving behind.

The owner decided to have some more fun at the thief’s expense. “This cloth that you are leaving behind is good for me. But please remember to get something for your sister (my wife) the next time you come.”

The thief went back a dejected man. He had not only failed at stealing, he had even lost the only upper cloth he had had to cover his body.