Iswaran the Storyteller Summary by R.K.Laxman

The story is about a close relationship between Mahendra and his cook Iswaran. Mahendra’s work forces him to be on the move constantly. This necessitates that he has a trusted person that can move and adjust with his tough work life. 

This is very Iswaran is so valuable as he works dutifully for his master and takes care of all his needs. But he also has a unique ability that endears him to Mahendra. Iswaran is an eloquent talebearer.

He often mixes lore and popular myths with his own ideas and narrates some entertaining tales. He provides all the amusement that Mahendra needs to enjoy his spare time.

Among such stories is one about Iswaran’s childhood when the village elephant became reckless and went on a rampage. It destroyed several buildings and scared the entire village. However, young Iswaran was not to be taken by fear.

Like a true hero of his people, he seizes the moment and strikes the mad elephant on his toe. This made the elephant stop in its stead and come to an immediate halt. Iswaran boasts that he could do that trick because of some ancient martial arts.

One day Iswaran informs his master of the ritual where the ancestors are remembered and paid costly tributes. However, true to his eloquence, he also tells him about the haunted spirits which appear on such auspicious nights.

He narrates a new story to Mahendra but this time it is about supernatural beings. He tells him about the tale of a woman spirit that roams the place with a fetus in her hand. She visits the place to torment its occupant. 

Unalarmed, Mahendra rubbishes Iswaran’s narration as a tall tale and ask him to stop the insanity. However, the night was not over yet and as Mahendra prepares to sleep, he hears strange noises coming from outside his room.

He is startled and moves to glance outside. To his horror, there’s a faint figure of a woman flying without any support. Mahendra is petrified and loses consciousness.

The next morning, Iswaran comes to Mahendra with a taunting smile as if to say, “I told you so”. Mahendra learns an important lesson but is too spooked to remain in the place. He gives up his lucrative job and sprints as far as possible from the place of his worst nightmare.