Tommy's Burglar (Henry)

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Tommy's Burglar
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A young boy encountered a burglar in his home and engaged in a conversation with him, discussing the cliches of their situation in fictional stories, ultimately helping the burglar escape.

One night, a burglar broke into a house while the parents were away at the opera and the maid was out with a policeman. The burglar began to work on the lock of the silver closet when suddenly, the room was filled with light. A young boy named Tommy, dressed in pink pajamas, appeared and asked if the man was a burglar.

Tommy — young boy in pink pajamas; clever, self-aware, and unafraid of the burglar.
The burglar confirmed his identity and threatened to harm Tommy if he raised an alarm.

Am I a burglar? Wot do you suppose I have a three-days’ growth of bristly beard on my face for, and a cap with flaps?

However, Tommy was not afraid and engaged the burglar in conversation. He brought the burglar some food and asked him about his life. The burglar revealed that he had a wife and a young child named Bessie, and that he had turned to crime after losing his job.

The Burglar — bearded man with a cap; experienced, resigned to his role in stories, and surprisingly friendly.
Tommy sympathized with the burglar and suggested that they find a way to end the story without anyone getting hurt. The burglar agreed and they decided that Tommy's father would return home early from the opera and recognize the burglar as an old college friend. The burglar would then leave the house, having been reformed by Tommy's kindness.

It’s the same old story. Your innocence and childish insouciance is going to lead me back into an honest life.

Before leaving, Tommy insisted that the burglar take some food and wine for his family.

As they made their way to the front door, the burglar worried about being caught by the policeman outside. Tommy suggested they use the back door instead, and the burglar left the house without being caught.