Provide a summary and critical appreciation of "Fritz."

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The short story "Fritz," by Satyajit Ray, a Bengali filmmaker, writer, and composer, delves into the childhood memories of Jayanto. In this chilling tale, Jayanto, who works for a newspaper, is reunited with his childhood friend, Shankar, the narrator. They have planned to journey to Bundi, a rural town in India, that holds many childhood memories for Jayanto. As the two friends sightsee, Jayanto's memories of his father and the circuit house make him nostalgic. When they visit the fort, Jayanto is carried back in time to a different era, where craftsmanship was valued.

As the story progresses, Jayanto becomes quiet, sad, and absent-minded. However, he remembers a Deodar tree that was important to him and becomes excited when he is able to locate the tree and show it to Shankar. Later, upon reflecting about his childhood, he confides to his friend that he once had a Swiss doll named Fritz who was very lifelike. Fritz stood one foot tall and was attired in Swiss clothes. The doll was attacked by dogs and ripped apart. Jayanto, heartbroken about Fritz's untimely demise, buried the doll under the Deodar tree.

One night, Jayanko awakes with a start. He thinks there may be rats in their room. Neither Shankar or Jayanto can find the animal that disturbed Jayanto's sleep. Jayanto becomes more and more agitated, believing it was Fritz who visited him. Shankar, thinking his friend is needlessly upset, suggests going back to the tree to dig up the doll. The frightening twist occurs at the end of the story. Instead of digging up a doll, the pair has dug up a tiny, human skeleton. The reader is left to question just who or what Fritz was. What was Jayanko's role in Fritz's death?

Ray explores the motif of childhood memories and their effect on adulthood. Additionally, the friendship of Jayanko and Shankar is revealed. While the reader can only guess at Fritz's real identity, it is clear that Fritz's impact on Jayanko is everlasting.

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The short story Fritz by Satyajit Ray explores the themes of childhood memories, friendship, fear, superstition, and conflict. Jayanto, the protagonist, works for a newspaper. Shankar, the narrator, is a school teacher. The two friends visit a sleepy village called Bundi, in Rajasthan, where Jayanto spent his childhood. The remote place, its eerie environment, and the colonial era circuit house with skylights and high ceilings add mystery to the story.

Jayanto rekindles a past memory and shares the story of Fritz, his favorite Swiss doll and childhood companion. He recalls the incident when two stray dogs mutilated the doll. He had decided to bury the doll's remains under a deodar tree. Haunted by the doll's memory, Jayanto decides to dig the ground and look for its remains. To their horror, the friends discover a human skeleton from the doll's grave.

The bizarre end leaves the reader with more questions than answers. It may be Ray's intention to shock the reader, something that the master story-teller successfully manages to achieve.

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