Iswaran, the Storyteller – Summary

Iswaran, the Storyteller by R. K. Laxman is a story about Mahendra, a junior supervisor and his cook, Iswaran.


Mahendra had to keep moving from place to place as ordered by head office. But, he had fortunately an expert caretaker, Iswaran, who cooked his meals, washed his clothes and chatted with him at night.

Iswaran was very fond of reading tamil thrillers during his spare time. As a result, he innovated his own thrillers and would tell about it to Mahendra. The latter used to hear patiently without finding any loopholes in the story.

Iswaran often in his stories narrated about elephants. For example, he told a story about how he paralysed a mad elephant that had gone berserk. He told that there were timber logs loaded on trucks. But if an elephant went mad, no Mahaut could control it. The elephant now entered a school ground breaking through the brick wall where children were playing. Children and teachers ran helter and skelter to save their lives. The elephant was stunned when Iswaran, then only a little boy, took a rod and hit at the elephant’s third toe nail. The secret was if the elephant is hit there, his nervous system gets paralysed.

Finally, one day, talking about spirits of the ancestors, Iswaran began to talk of ghosts. He said that the place where they had their shed was, once a burial ground. He also had come across ghosts but he was not scared of them. He told Mahendra about a woman ghost seen only on a full moon night. She moaned and carried a foetus in her arms.

This terrified Mahendra so much that he finally thought of that woman ghost on a full moon night. He could hear a low moan outside his window. He peeped from his window and there stood the ghost of the woman. He flung himself down and found that he was often dreaming of that woman ghost.

Iswaran used to ask grinning at Mahendra, “Sir, you were angry with me the other day when I told you about the ghost but didn’t you see her yourself last night ?” Mahendra never used to listen to Iswaran’s questions and finally decided to resign from his job and leave that haunted place.

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