‘The Child’s Return’ by Rabindraneth Tagore

The Child’s Returns by Rabindraneth Tagore, 1891

The magic trick:

Circular plot with an emotional payoff

We’re off to India this week, and we begin with a true master of the craft.

The plot here will feel like a labyrinth. But the ending will show you that the maze was always only a circle.

It’s a piece of genius, packing a surprisingly devastation emotional punch.

And that’s quite a trick on Tagore’s part.

The selection:

Raicharan grew older and older, and his employer was continually finding fault with him for his incompetent work. He had been starving himself for the boy’s sake, so he had grown physically weak and no longer up to his daily task. He would forget things and his mind became dull and stupid. But his employer expected a full servant’s work out of him and would not brook excuses. The money that Raicharan had brought with him from the sale of his land was exhausted. The boy was continually grumbling about his clothes and asking for more money.

Raicharan made up his mind. He gave up the situation where he was working as a servant, and left some money with Phailna and said: “I have some business to do at home in my village, and shall be back soon.”


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