An astrologer and palm-reader is about to close up shop for the day. He tries to induce one last client to buy his services. The man initially resists, but then gives in. The astrologer then reads in the man's past that he had once been stabbed and left for dead in his village. The man had all this time been searching for his assailant. The astrologer reveals that the assailant had ?died four months ago in a far-off town.? The client is relieved and goes home. When the astrologer returns to his home, he tells his wife that once he had tried to kill a man.


In this short story Narayan deals with the healing of memories. Magically, the astrologer himself was the man who once tried to kill the client. For both client and healer, "a great load is gone" after the mysterious encounter.

Primary Source



Viking Penguin

Place Published

New York