Reading Rabindranath Tagore’s Short Stories

Many years ago as we were desultorily walking down Gerard St W in Toronto, we espied an used bookstore (not far from the intersection with Yonge St).

We stepped into the tiny store and to our surprise, the first book we picked up was a collection of short stories by Rabindranath Tagore.

Titled Hungry Stones and Other Stories, the 271-page book features 13 stories and was published in 1916 by Macmillan and Co of London after Tagore had won the Nobel Prize for Literature three years earlier.

Originally written in Tagore’s native Bengali language, 12 stories in the book were translated by different people including C.F.Andrews (with assistance from the author).

Tagore himself handled the translation of the story The Victory.

The book lay forgotten all these years on our shelf until we picked it up this morning.

As we were poring over the titles of the stories, our eyes were drawn to the last story – The Cabuliwallah.

A story we first read several decades ago, when we were still in middle school.

Over the years, we have read this story on more than one occasion and each time it never failed to move us.

Today we read the 15-page story one more time.

Yet again, we were moved by the simple story of the Cabuliwallah, his young friend Mini and the visit to the Father-in-law’s place.

Tagore’s love for travel comes through in the story.

A well traveled man, Tagore visited several countries including the U.S., UK, Denmark, Sweden, Soviet Union, Iran, Argentina, Mexico, Germany and Italy.

We plan to read the other stories in the book fairly quickly and will keep updating this post.

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