Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 273
“The Hungry Stones” (Bengali: Kshudhit Pashaan) is a 1895 short story written by Bengali writer, poet, artist, musician, and polymath Rabindranath Tagore (a.k.a Gurudev, Kabiguru, and Biswakabi). Tagore wrote the story in Shah Jahan's Moti Shahi Mahal palace in Shahibaug, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, while he was visiting his brother Satyendranath, who was a judge.
“Ask me no questions, and I will tell you no lies.”
It was always the poor grass that suffered most when two kings went to war.
The story revolves around Srijut, a tax collector who is sent to a small town to collect taxes from the locals. He stays in an old, abandoned palace which is believed to be haunted by ghosts. The locals warn him that whoever resides in the palace ends up going mad, or dying, because “the stones of the palace are always hungry.”
“Ah! How we all love to be deluded! We have a secret dread of being thought ignorant. And we end by being ignorant after all, only we have done it in a long and roundabout way.”
Thus, Srijut slowly meets all of the spirits of the former inhabitants of the palace who lived in the Mughal Empire, including a mysterious, beautiful woman that roams the palace at night.
The sands of desert may be very white and shiny, but I would much rather sow my seeds in black soil.
Tagore wrote several other ghost stories and other works based on a similar thematic representation, such as: "The Skeleton" (1892), "Lost Jewels" (1898), "In the Middle of the Night" (1991) and "False Hope" (1998). Tagore became the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913.