One Hundred Rupees (Bunin)

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One Hundred Rupees
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man observed a mysterious woman in a hotel courtyard every morning, captivated by her exotic beauty and silence. One day, a Malay servant requested one hundred rupees from him.

In the past, there was an old Dutch house located in the coco forests by the ocean shore. This house was converted into a hotel where a woman was seen every morning in the courtyard. She would sit in a reed armchair under the shade of the building. A tall, yellow-faced Malay man, dressed in white canvas attire, would serve her golden tea and then retreat.

The Malay Servant — tall, yellow-faced, narrow-eyed; dressed in white; deferential and quiet.

The woman would then continue to sit in silence, rhythmically waving her straw fan. The woman had a small, strong body with a coffee-coloured complexion. Her attire consisted of a bright green cloth that covered her torso and hips, while the rest of her body was bare. She wore yellow-wood sandals and had tar-black hair piled up high. Her ears were adorned with hollow gold rings and her black eyelashes were strikingly large and beautiful. She was an enigmatic figure, seemingly from another planet, and her silence was her most defining characteristic.

The Mysterious Woman — small, coffee-coloured skin, black hair and eyelashes; silent and exotic; possibly from another planet.

To what species of earthly creations could she be assigned?

Beauty, intelligence, stupidity – none of those words went with her at all, nor did anything human: she truly was as if from some other planet.

One morning, as the usual rickshaw arrived at the hotel courtyard, the Malay man met the narrator on the veranda steps. He quietly said in English, "One hundred rupees, sir." The date was 24th May 1944.

The Narrator — a man staying at a hotel; observant and intrigued by the mysterious woman.