Opening Thy Palm

Rabindranath Tagore
224 words, 19K views, 14 comments

I had gone a-begging from door to door in the village path when thy golden chariot appeared in the distance like a gorgeous dream and I wondered who was this King of all kings!

My hopes rose high and methought my evil [hungry] days were at an end, and I stood waiting for alms to be given unasked and for wealth scattered on all sides in the dust.

The chariot stopped where I stood.  Thy glance fell on me and thou camest down with a smile.  I felt that the luck of my life had come at last.  Then of a sudden thou didst hold out thy right hand and say “What hast thou to give to me?”

Ah, what a kingly jest was it to open thy palm to a beggar to beg!  I was confused and stood undecided and then from my wallet I slowly took out the least little grain of corn and gave it to thee.

But how great my surprise when at the day’s end I emptied my bag on the floor to find a least little grain of gold among the poor heap.  I bitterly wept and wished that I had had the heart to give thee my all.


Rabindranath Tagore was the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913.