For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“The Dog of Tithwal”

Saadat Hasan Manto

Excerpt

Harnam Singh opened his satchel, and removing a biscuit, threw it at the dog. Sniffing the biscuit, it was just about to open its mouth when Harnam Singh leapt forward and picked it up: ‘Wait, wait … you’re not, by any chance, Pakistani?’

Once again everyone laughed. Banta Singh approached, and running his hand over the dog’s back, looked up at Harnam Singh and said: ‘No, corporal saab, chapad jhunjhun is Indian.’

Corporal Harnam Singh chuckled, and addressing the dog, said, ‘Oye, give us a sign.’

The dog began to wag his tail.

Harnam Singh laughed heartily. ‘That’s no sign. All dogs wag their tails.’

Banta Singh caught hold of the dog’s trembling tail. ‘Poor fellow, he’s a refugee.’

Corporal Harnam Singh threw down the biscuit, which the dog sprang upon.

One young soldier, digging the heel of his boot into the ground, said, ‘Dogs, too, better now make up their minds as to whether they’re Indian or Pakistani.’

Harnam Singh removed another biscuit from his satchel and threw it in the direction of the dog. ‘And like the Pakistanis, their dogs, too, will be blown away.’

Another soldier shouted : ‘Long Live, India!’

We read it in Granta.