I remember reading this English (could be a translation) short story ~20 years ago in my school. There was an executioner who executed convicts on an electric chair. He never cared about (or looked into) the convicts. Then he comes across the fact the next convict is a young man of a cheerful nature. (I don't remember if that exact word is used). And while going through the things of this young man, he comes across this watch which he gifted to his son, and it was too late.

I don't remember much details about that story, except the use of the phrase "throwing the switch". I looked online but couldn't find it.

What short story is this?

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    I was thinking about the same story just now and tried to recall all short story writers I had in my text book- O. Henry, Oscar Wilde, HG Wells, Saki but still could not find the this story. But i distinctly recall about the executioner’s indifference to convicts and the watch that he sees later. It feels like his name was Something Like Allison.
    – Swati
    Jan 14, 2021 at 19:35

1 Answer 1


As far as I can remember, the name of the story is "The Other Side", I read this story as part of the CBSE English curriculum, either in class XI or XII, sometimes in 1999/2000. I have been searching for this story, however, couldn't find it till now. Maybe the name of the story was changed. I tried to get hold of the English textbooks of the time but in vain.

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    Welcome to Literature Stack Exchange! Answers to story-ID questions are expected to explain why they're correct. Can you cite any details to explain why "The Other Side" matches the question?
    – bobble
    Mar 22, 2021 at 13:57
  • That maybe it. I also lost those books few years ago :(
    – abbe
    Mar 23, 2021 at 10:23
  • Also @sarbbottam, by any chance do you remember the name of the author ? Thanks in advance.
    – abbe
    Mar 23, 2021 at 10:26
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    Thanks for mentioning some other stories in the same collection - that's really good info, maybe worth editing into your answer. I've been trying to find more info about this story, like its author, but "The Other Side" is a pretty vague search term. There's a blog post about "Love Across the Salt Desert" whose comments also mention "The Other Side" and some other stories, probably in the same collection that you read.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Mar 23, 2021 at 15:35
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    @sarbottam "Sparrows" was by K. A. Abbas, and "Love Across the Salt Desert" was by Keki N. Daruwalla, and was made into the Bollywood movie "Refugee", IIRC :)
    – abbe
    Mar 24, 2021 at 5:09

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