In the current conditions, more than a dozen of the hunger stones can now be seen around Děčín, recording the low water levels of years and centuries long ago – “chiselled with the years of hardship and the initials of authors lost to history,”
The oldest and most famous of these landmarks, known simply as “Hunger Rock” according to Děčín’s tourist guide, contains an inscription that dates back to 1616, which reads: “Wenn du mich siehst, dann weine” (If you see me, weep).
While the oldest legible inscription on this particular Děčín hunger stone is from 1616, the rock commemorates numerous droughts going as far back as 1417.
A fellow hunger stone in Germany records the conditions that year in no happier terms: “If you will again see this stone, so you will weep, so shallow the water was in the year 1417.”
Others say things like “We cried – We cry – And you will cry”, and “Who once saw me, he cried. Whoever sees me now will cry”.