(This is a feeble translation of a story by Sukumar Ray)

One of Jaladhar's uncles works in the police department and another uncle is a novelist who writes detective stories. So, Jaladhar believes he knows all the methods to catch criminals - such ingenious methods that are unknown to everybody else excepting his two uncles!

If there is a theft in the neighbourhood, Jaladhar is the first to reach the victim's house where he, talking like an expert, tells the unfortunate person as to who could have committed the theft, how the theft was committed, and what he would have done to prevent the theft.

When thieves struck at Jogeshbabu's house and carried away his utensils, Jaladhar told him, "You have been very careless; your house is an easy target for thieves. There is a dark lane just opposite the kitchen, but you have not fixed grills to the windows. It is an easy matter for thieves to carry away your utensils."

Jaladhar told Jogeshbabu about the precautions he had taken in his own home. "Such thefts cannot happen in our house," he said. "I have instructed Ramdin to stack the utensils against the window in such a manner that if anybody tries to open the window, the utensils will fall to the floor with a violent clatter. You must know such tricks if you want to be one up on the thieves."

This simple strategy had impressed us very much and we were eloquent in our praises for Jaladhar. But the next day when we learned that thieves had struck at Jaladhar's own house the previous night and made away with valuables, we realized we should not have been so liberal with our praises. But Jaladhar was unshaken; he blamed Ramdin. "It was due to Ramdin's foolishness," he said. "Anyway, the thief cannot hope to enjoy the goods stolen from my house. Just wait for a few days.

But two months passed and then four months, the thief was never caught. We had almost forgotten about the incident. However, all of a sudden there was again a spurt in thieving activities in our own school. Most of the boys carried lunch boxes to school; the food from the lunch boxes began to be stolen. Ramapoda was the first victim. He had gone to wash his hands, leaving his lunch box open on a bench. When he returned, he found that someone had eaten his food. Thereafter, a few other boys reported similar theft of their food.

We taunted Jaladhar, "Mr. Detective! What has happened to the super-duper brain of yours this time?" Jaladhar said, "Do you think I am not working on the problem? Have patience." Then he lowered his voice to a whisper and said he suspected the new peon, a young fellow, of the misdeeds. The lunch-lifting incidents have begun after the arrival of the new peon, he said.

We started keeping a close watch on the peon, but the food continued to disappear. Crazy Dashu had brought mutton chops from home and had hidden the tiffin box under a bench in the lunchroom. Someone had opened the box and eaten away half the contents while scattering the remaining half on the floor. Dashu raised Cain in rage and created a scene in the school. We tried to hush him. "Don't make so much noise; it will only caution the thief and he will never be caught," we reasoned. But Crazy Dashu was not willing to see reason. Jaladhar tried to pacify him, "Just wait for two days. I will catch the new peon red-handed; it is certainly his doing." This assurance failed to calm Dashu; he became angrier. "You and your rusted intelligence! The peon belongs to a community that does not eat non-vegetarian food. Ask the watchman," he told Jaladhar. It was true; the fact had escaped us. We had seen the peon cook his own food; we had never seen him eating non-vegetarian food. Although we usually dismissed Dashu as eccentric, we had to accept this simple logic.

Jaladhar was not a boy who easily accepted defeat. He made a bold attempt to smile and said, "I, purposely, lied to you. A true detective never reveals his secrets until the thief is caught. I have kept the identity of the thief a secret."


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