Translations of short stories from the subcontinent

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A miracle (करामात by Saadat Hasan Manto)

Many shops and homes had been looted and burned in the riots. 
Police had begun to conduct raids to recover looted goods and arrest looters.
People were abandoning contraband and hiding away even their legitimate property under the cover of darkness.

One man was worried about two large sacks of sugar grabbed in haste.
One night he dragged the sacks to the neighbourhood well and somehow managed to heave the first one inside.
Tired and struggling with the second sack, he lost his footing and was carried away with it into the well.

The loud splash roused his neighbours. Ropes were lowered into the well.
Able-bodied young men descended and the man was soon pulled out onto dry ground.
But it was too late. He was dead in a few hours.

The next morning when water was drawn from the well, it was found to be as sweet as honey.
That same night the man's grave was covered with lamps.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The benefit of the doubt (बेख़बरी का फ़ायदा by Saadat Hasan Manto)

The trigger shifted; the first bullet shook itself awake as it was propelled out of the revolver.
The man in the window bent over instantly.

The trigger was pulled again; the second bullet buzzed out of the barrel like an angry wasp.
A waterskin of sheep's bladder burst open, the bearer fell forward and his blood began to mix with the water from the waterskin. 

The trigger was pulled a third time. But it was a careless shot and the bullet buried itself in a mud wall.
The fourth bullet struck an old woman in the back. She was dead before she could make a sound.

The last two bullets were completely wasted. No one was killed or even wounded.
This annoyed the man who had fired the gun.

A child then appeared on the road, running in panic towards the man and his companion.
The man turned the revolver in the child's direction.

The other man said, "What are you doing?"

"But we're out of bullets!"
"Be quiet! The kid doesn't know that!"


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