The Hungry Stones Summary by Rabindranath Tagore


This is a story that reveals the trap that is formed by materialistic desires and bodily lusts for a human being. The story uses mystery, myth, and folklore to create a sense of wonderment for the readers but leaves them hankering for more as there is no closure or revelation at the end of it. Thus, the story keeps the readers engrossed even after its completion.

Journey to Bengal

The story begins on a train journey to Bengal. The narrator is traveling with his entourage of friends and family and is impatiently waiting for the journey to end. However, he is soon pulled toward a man of charismatic personality and impressive speech.

The man is so magnetic that he has garnered attention from all the passengers and has them glued to his every word. He is a skilled storyteller and has numerous tales to spin and entertain them with.

One such tale is from his time spent in Hyderabad working as a functionary of the British government. He narrates how he was taken aback by the culture and customs of the place. It had a sense of lost romance to it and he quickly settled in the place.

A Palace in Ruin

Soon, he was introduced to different myths and wonders of the place. He was especially fascinated by the local palace built by a Muslim emperor which had fallen into disrepair and ruin over the centuries.

The ruler was a man of luxury and frivolities and the palace was a place of all sorts of merriments and materialism. He soon visited the palace and was surprised to see the condition it was reduced to as compared to the lofty standards of the past.


However, things took an unforeseen turn thereon in. He started to hallucinate and see images of grand celebrations. He was captivated by gorgeous women playing with each other. He was transfixed by their beauty and the lavish nature of its comforts and celebrations.

He developed a routine to visit the palace every night and return to his work during the daytime. However, he could not remember one when he was in the other. He started to be drawn deeper into the magic of the palace.

Soon, he came to a breaking point and enquired about the palace with his colleague. His colleague told him the past glories and sinful ways of the old palace and its emperor.

He also informed him about the haunted nature of the palace ruins which continue to prey on the souls of its visitors. The only person to have ever escaped the trap was lunatic who still wandered the palace warning newcomers.

Story Incomplete

Then he started to reveal a dark secret regarding a foreign woman who came to the palace. However, before the man could recount the story further, the narrator and his friends reached their destination.

The tale was brought to a premature end without the big revelation. After getting off the train, the narrator and his friends continue to argue about the details of the tale and if it had any shred of truth attached to it.