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Horatius at the Bridge

Ancient Rome

It is a commonplace of literary history that Roman art was largely imitated or derived from the Greek, and in particular that Roman literature contributed little to the world’s store of masterpieces. Yet among the Romans the short story was esteemed more highly and was often more skillfully developed than it was among the Greeks.

The first of the stories chosen is from the historian Livy. Before his day there is very little material from which to select, although if the earlier writers of epic and history were better known to us, we might have found stories in the works of Livius Andronicus, Ennius, and the historians, most of whose writings have been lost. In the Letters of Cicero are numerous incidents falling within our category, but none of them of sufficient intrinsic interest to warrant their inclusion in this volume. Livy’s History abounds in episodes, many of them related with a certain matter-of-factness that characterizes a great deal

Read More

The Kaddish part 2

The seven girls took alarm.

“That is for joy,” explained the “grandmother.” “I have known that happen before.”

“A boy… a boy!” sobbed Reb Selig, overcome with happiness, “a boy… a boy… a Kaddish!”

The little boy received the name of Jacob, but he was called, by way of a talisman, Alter.

Reb Selig was a learned man, and inclined to think lightly of such protective measures; he even laughed at his Cheike for believing in such foolishness; but, at heart, he was content to have it so. Who could tell what might not be in it, after all? Women sometimes know better than men.

By the time Alterke was three years old, Reb Selig’s cough had become worse, the sense of oppression on his chest more frequent. But he held himself morally erect, and looked death calmly in the face, as though he would say, “Now I can afford to laugh at you—I leave a Kaddish!”
“What do you think, Cheike,” he would sa

Read More

The Kaddish part 1

Abraham Raisin (187&—1953)

Raisin is another of the Yiddish group who came from Russia, though he lived for some time in the United States. He is equally well-known among Yiddish readers as a poet and as a writer of stories.

The technical virtues of this popular and influential artist are particularly well exemplified in The Kaddish.

This story is reprinted from the volume, Yiddish Tales, translated by Helena Frank, copyright, 1912, by the Jewish Publication Society of America, by whose permission it is here used.

The Kaddish

From behind the curtain came low moans, and low words of encouragement from the old and experienced Bobbe. In the room it was dismal to suffocation. The seven children, all girls, between twenty three and four years old, sat quietly each by herself, with drooping head, and waited for something dreadful.

At a little table near a great cupboard with books sat the “patriarch” Reb Selig Chanes, a tall, thin Jew, w

Read More

A Picnic part 4

“O Sarah!” he sighed, and he would have said more, but just at that moment it began to spot with rain, and before they had time to move there came a downpour. People started to scurry in all directions, but Shmuel stood like a statue.

“Shlimm-mazel, look after the children!” commanded Sarah. Shmuel caught up two of them, Sarah another two or three, and they ran to a shelter. Doletzke began to cry afresh.

“Mame, hungry!” began Berele.

“Hungry, hungry!” wailed Yossele. “I want to eat!”

Shmuel hastily opened the handbag, and then for the first time he saw what had really happened: the bottle had broken, and the milk was flooding the bag; the rolls and bananas were soaked, and the pineapple (a damaged one to begin with) looked too nasty for words. Sarah caught sight on the bag, and was so angry, she was at a loss how to wreak vengeance on her husband. She was ashamed to scream and Scold in the presence of other people, but she

Read More

A Picnic part 3

Shmuel counted his children and the traps. “No, nothing, Sarah!” he said.

Doletzke went to sleep, the other children sat quietly in their places. Sarah, too, fell into a doze, for she was tired out with the preparations for the excursion.

All went smoothly till they got some way up town, when Sarah gave ‘ a start.

“I don’t feel very well—my head is so dizzy,” she said to Shmuel.

“I don’t feel very well, either,” answered Shmuel. “I suppose the fresh air has upset us.”

“I suppose it has,” said his wife. “I’m afraid for the children.”

Scarcely had she spoken when Doletzke woke up, whimpering, and was sick. Yossele, who was looking at her, began to cry likewise. The mother scolded him, and this set the other children crying. The conductor cast a wrathful glance at poor Shmuel, who was so frightened that he dropped the hand-bag with the provisions, and then, conscious of the havoc he had ce

Read More

A Picnic part 2

“What will it cost?” asks Sarah, suddenly, and Shmuel has soon made the necessary calculation.

“A family ticket is only thirty cents, for Yossele, Rivele, Hannahle, and Berele; for Resele and Doletzke I haven’t to pay any carfare at all. For you and me, it will be ten cents there and ten back—that makes fifty cents. Then I reckon thirty cents for refreshments to take with us: a pineapple (a damaged one isn’t more than five cents), a few bananas, a piece of watermelon, a bottle of milk for the children, and a few-rolls—the whole thing shouldn’t cost us more than eighty cents at the outside.”
“Eighty cents!” and Sarah clapped her hands together in dismay.

“Why, you can live on that two days, and it takes nearly a whole days’ earning. You can buy an old ice-box for eighty cents, you can buy a pair of trousers—eighty cents!”

Shmuel disconcerted

“Leave off talking nonsense!” said Shmuel, disconcerted. “Eight

Read More

A Picnic part 1

S. Libin (Israel Hurwitz) (1872-1955)

Israel Hurwitz, better known by his pseudonym, S. (or Z.) Libin, was born in Russia in 1872. He wrote a number of short stories, having specialized to a great extent in that form. Libin’s best work is found in his brief and homely sketches of Jewish domestic life among the labouring classes of the large cities. He was for many years a resident in the United States.

A Picnic reveals one of the amusing aspects of Jewish life. It is related with lightness of touch and great good-humour.

This story is reprinted from the volume, Yiddish Tales, translated by Helena Frank, copyright, 1912, by the Jewish Publication Society of America, by whose permission, it is here used.

A Picnic

Ask Shmuel, the capmaker, just for a joke, if he would like to come for a picnic! He’ll fly out at you as if you had invited him to a swing on the gallows. The fact is, he and his Sarah once went for a picnic, and the

Read More

A Womans Wrath part 4

His heart is already sore for his victim, but he is feeling his power over her for the first time, and it has gone to his head. Silly woman! He had never known how easy it was to frighten her.

“That comes of making light of the Torah!” he shouts, and breaks off. After all, she might come to her senses at any moment, and take up (he broom! He springs back to the table, closes the Gemoreh, and hurries out of the room.

“I am going to the house-of-study,” he calls out over his shoulder in 11 milder tone, and shuts the door after him.

The loud voice and the noise of the closing door have waked the sick child. The heavy-lidded eyes open, the waxen face puckers, and there is a peevish wail. But she, beside herself, stands rooted to the spot, and does not hear.

“Ha!” comes hoarsely at last out of her narrow chest. “So that’s it, is it? Neither this world nor the other. Hanging, he says, stoning, burning, beheading, strangling, hanging

Read More

A Womans Wrath part 3

He sits and “learns,” unconscious of the charged atmosphere; does not see her let the sock fall and begin wringing her finger-joints; does not see that her forehead is puckered with misery, one eye closed, and the other fixed on him, her learned husband, with a look fit to send a chill through his every limb; does not see her dry lips tremble and her jaw quiver. She controls herself with all her might, but the storm is gathering fury within her. The least thing, and it will explode.

That least thing has happened.

He was just translating a Talmudic phrase with quiet delight, “And thence we derive that—” He was going on with “three,—” but the word “derive” was enough, it was the lighted spark, and her heart was the gunpowder. It was ablaze in an instant. Her determination gave way, the unlucky word opened the flood-gates, and the waters poured through, carrying all before them.

“Derived,’you say, derived? Oh, derived may you be

Read More

A Womans Wrath part 2

To her right is the one grimy little window, to her left, the table. She is knitting a sock, rocking the cradle with her foot, and listening to him reading the Talmud at the table, with a tearful, Wallachian, singing intonation, and swaying to and from with a series of nervous jerks.

Some of the words he swallows, others he draws out; now he snaps at a word, and now he skips it; some he accentuates and dwells on lovingly, others he rattles out with indifference, like dried peas out of a bag. And never quiet for a moment.

First, he draws from his pocket a once red and whole handkerchief, and wipes his nose and brow, then he lets it fall into his lap, and begins twisting his ear locks or pulling at his thin, pointed, faintly grizzled beard. Again, he lays a pulled-out hair from the same between the leaves of his book, and slaps his knees. His fingers coming into contact with the handkerchief, they seize it, and throw a comer in between his teeth; he bites it, lays

Read More

Horatius at the Bridge

Ancient Rome

It is a commonplace of literary history that Roman art was largely imitated or derived from the Greek, and in particular that Roman literature contributed little to the world’s store of masterpieces. Yet among the Romans the short story was esteemed more highly and was often more skillfully developed than it was among the Greeks.

The first of the stories chosen is from the historian Livy. Before his day there is very little material from which to select, although if the earlier writers of epic and history were better known to us, we might have found stories in the works of Livius Andronicus, Ennius, and the historians, most of whose writings have been lost. In the Letters of Cicero are numerous incidents falling within our category, but none of them of sufficient intrinsic interest to warrant their inclusion in this volume. Livy’s History abounds in episodes, many of them related with a certain matter-of-factness that characterizes a great deal

Read More

The Kaddish part 2

The seven girls took alarm.

“That is for joy,” explained the “grandmother.” “I have known that happen before.”

“A boy… a boy!” sobbed Reb Selig, overcome with happiness, “a boy… a boy… a Kaddish!”

The little boy received the name of Jacob, but he was called, by way of a talisman, Alter.

Reb Selig was a learned man, and inclined to think lightly of such protective measures; he even laughed at his Cheike for believing in such foolishness; but, at heart, he was content to have it so. Who could tell what might not be in it, after all? Women sometimes know better than men.

By the time Alterke was three years old, Reb Selig’s cough had become worse, the sense of oppression on his chest more frequent. But he held himself morally erect, and looked death calmly in the face, as though he would say, “Now I can afford to laugh at you—I leave a Kaddish!”
“What do you think, Cheike,” he would sa

Read More

The Kaddish part 1

Abraham Raisin (187&—1953)

Raisin is another of the Yiddish group who came from Russia, though he lived for some time in the United States. He is equally well-known among Yiddish readers as a poet and as a writer of stories.

The technical virtues of this popular and influential artist are particularly well exemplified in The Kaddish.

This story is reprinted from the volume, Yiddish Tales, translated by Helena Frank, copyright, 1912, by the Jewish Publication Society of America, by whose permission it is here used.

The Kaddish

From behind the curtain came low moans, and low words of encouragement from the old and experienced Bobbe. In the room it was dismal to suffocation. The seven children, all girls, between twenty three and four years old, sat quietly each by herself, with drooping head, and waited for something dreadful.

At a little table near a great cupboard with books sat the “patriarch” Reb Selig Chanes, a tall, thin Jew, w

Read More

A Picnic part 4

“O Sarah!” he sighed, and he would have said more, but just at that moment it began to spot with rain, and before they had time to move there came a downpour. People started to scurry in all directions, but Shmuel stood like a statue.

“Shlimm-mazel, look after the children!” commanded Sarah. Shmuel caught up two of them, Sarah another two or three, and they ran to a shelter. Doletzke began to cry afresh.

“Mame, hungry!” began Berele.

“Hungry, hungry!” wailed Yossele. “I want to eat!”

Shmuel hastily opened the handbag, and then for the first time he saw what had really happened: the bottle had broken, and the milk was flooding the bag; the rolls and bananas were soaked, and the pineapple (a damaged one to begin with) looked too nasty for words. Sarah caught sight on the bag, and was so angry, she was at a loss how to wreak vengeance on her husband. She was ashamed to scream and Scold in the presence of other people, but she

Read More

A Picnic part 3

Shmuel counted his children and the traps. “No, nothing, Sarah!” he said.

Doletzke went to sleep, the other children sat quietly in their places. Sarah, too, fell into a doze, for she was tired out with the preparations for the excursion.

All went smoothly till they got some way up town, when Sarah gave ‘ a start.

“I don’t feel very well—my head is so dizzy,” she said to Shmuel.

“I don’t feel very well, either,” answered Shmuel. “I suppose the fresh air has upset us.”

“I suppose it has,” said his wife. “I’m afraid for the children.”

Scarcely had she spoken when Doletzke woke up, whimpering, and was sick. Yossele, who was looking at her, began to cry likewise. The mother scolded him, and this set the other children crying. The conductor cast a wrathful glance at poor Shmuel, who was so frightened that he dropped the hand-bag with the provisions, and then, conscious of the havoc he had ce

Read More

A Picnic part 2

“What will it cost?” asks Sarah, suddenly, and Shmuel has soon made the necessary calculation.

“A family ticket is only thirty cents, for Yossele, Rivele, Hannahle, and Berele; for Resele and Doletzke I haven’t to pay any carfare at all. For you and me, it will be ten cents there and ten back—that makes fifty cents. Then I reckon thirty cents for refreshments to take with us: a pineapple (a damaged one isn’t more than five cents), a few bananas, a piece of watermelon, a bottle of milk for the children, and a few-rolls—the whole thing shouldn’t cost us more than eighty cents at the outside.”
“Eighty cents!” and Sarah clapped her hands together in dismay.

“Why, you can live on that two days, and it takes nearly a whole days’ earning. You can buy an old ice-box for eighty cents, you can buy a pair of trousers—eighty cents!”

Shmuel disconcerted

“Leave off talking nonsense!” said Shmuel, disconcerted. “Eight

Read More

A Picnic part 1

S. Libin (Israel Hurwitz) (1872-1955)

Israel Hurwitz, better known by his pseudonym, S. (or Z.) Libin, was born in Russia in 1872. He wrote a number of short stories, having specialized to a great extent in that form. Libin’s best work is found in his brief and homely sketches of Jewish domestic life among the labouring classes of the large cities. He was for many years a resident in the United States.

A Picnic reveals one of the amusing aspects of Jewish life. It is related with lightness of touch and great good-humour.

This story is reprinted from the volume, Yiddish Tales, translated by Helena Frank, copyright, 1912, by the Jewish Publication Society of America, by whose permission, it is here used.

A Picnic

Ask Shmuel, the capmaker, just for a joke, if he would like to come for a picnic! He’ll fly out at you as if you had invited him to a swing on the gallows. The fact is, he and his Sarah once went for a picnic, and the

Read More

A Womans Wrath part 4

His heart is already sore for his victim, but he is feeling his power over her for the first time, and it has gone to his head. Silly woman! He had never known how easy it was to frighten her.

“That comes of making light of the Torah!” he shouts, and breaks off. After all, she might come to her senses at any moment, and take up (he broom! He springs back to the table, closes the Gemoreh, and hurries out of the room.

“I am going to the house-of-study,” he calls out over his shoulder in 11 milder tone, and shuts the door after him.

The loud voice and the noise of the closing door have waked the sick child. The heavy-lidded eyes open, the waxen face puckers, and there is a peevish wail. But she, beside herself, stands rooted to the spot, and does not hear.

“Ha!” comes hoarsely at last out of her narrow chest. “So that’s it, is it? Neither this world nor the other. Hanging, he says, stoning, burning, beheading, strangling, hanging

Read More

A Womans Wrath part 3

He sits and “learns,” unconscious of the charged atmosphere; does not see her let the sock fall and begin wringing her finger-joints; does not see that her forehead is puckered with misery, one eye closed, and the other fixed on him, her learned husband, with a look fit to send a chill through his every limb; does not see her dry lips tremble and her jaw quiver. She controls herself with all her might, but the storm is gathering fury within her. The least thing, and it will explode.

That least thing has happened.

He was just translating a Talmudic phrase with quiet delight, “And thence we derive that—” He was going on with “three,—” but the word “derive” was enough, it was the lighted spark, and her heart was the gunpowder. It was ablaze in an instant. Her determination gave way, the unlucky word opened the flood-gates, and the waters poured through, carrying all before them.

“Derived,’you say, derived? Oh, derived may you be

Read More

A Womans Wrath part 2

To her right is the one grimy little window, to her left, the table. She is knitting a sock, rocking the cradle with her foot, and listening to him reading the Talmud at the table, with a tearful, Wallachian, singing intonation, and swaying to and from with a series of nervous jerks.

Some of the words he swallows, others he draws out; now he snaps at a word, and now he skips it; some he accentuates and dwells on lovingly, others he rattles out with indifference, like dried peas out of a bag. And never quiet for a moment.

First, he draws from his pocket a once red and whole handkerchief, and wipes his nose and brow, then he lets it fall into his lap, and begins twisting his ear locks or pulling at his thin, pointed, faintly grizzled beard. Again, he lays a pulled-out hair from the same between the leaves of his book, and slaps his knees. His fingers coming into contact with the handkerchief, they seize it, and throw a comer in between his teeth; he bites it, lays

Read More

Horatius at the Bridge

Ancient Rome

It is a commonplace of literary history that Roman art was largely imitated or derived from the Greek, and in particular that Roman literature contributed little to the world’s store of masterpieces. Yet among the Romans the short story was esteemed more highly and was often more skillfully developed than it was among the Greeks.

The first of the stories chosen is from the historian Livy. Before his day there is very little material from which to select, although if the earlier writers of epic and history were better known to us, we might have found stories in the works of Livius Andronicus, Ennius, and the historians, most of whose writings have been lost. In the Letters of Cicero are numerous incidents falling within our category, but none of them of sufficient intrinsic interest to warrant their inclusion in this volume. Livy’s History abounds in episodes, many of them related with a certain matter-of-factness that characterizes a great deal

Read More

The Kaddish part 2

The seven girls took alarm.

“That is for joy,” explained the “grandmother.” “I have known that happen before.”

“A boy… a boy!” sobbed Reb Selig, overcome with happiness, “a boy… a boy… a Kaddish!”

The little boy received the name of Jacob, but he was called, by way of a talisman, Alter.

Reb Selig was a learned man, and inclined to think lightly of such protective measures; he even laughed at his Cheike for believing in such foolishness; but, at heart, he was content to have it so. Who could tell what might not be in it, after all? Women sometimes know better than men.

By the time Alterke was three years old, Reb Selig’s cough had become worse, the sense of oppression on his chest more frequent. But he held himself morally erect, and looked death calmly in the face, as though he would say, “Now I can afford to laugh at you—I leave a Kaddish!”
“What do you think, Cheike,” he would sa

Read More

The Kaddish part 1

Abraham Raisin (187&—1953)

Raisin is another of the Yiddish group who came from Russia, though he lived for some time in the United States. He is equally well-known among Yiddish readers as a poet and as a writer of stories.

The technical virtues of this popular and influential artist are particularly well exemplified in The Kaddish.

This story is reprinted from the volume, Yiddish Tales, translated by Helena Frank, copyright, 1912, by the Jewish Publication Society of America, by whose permission it is here used.

The Kaddish

From behind the curtain came low moans, and low words of encouragement from the old and experienced Bobbe. In the room it was dismal to suffocation. The seven children, all girls, between twenty three and four years old, sat quietly each by herself, with drooping head, and waited for something dreadful.

At a little table near a great cupboard with books sat the “patriarch” Reb Selig Chanes, a tall, thin Jew, w

Read More

A Picnic part 4

“O Sarah!” he sighed, and he would have said more, but just at that moment it began to spot with rain, and before they had time to move there came a downpour. People started to scurry in all directions, but Shmuel stood like a statue.

“Shlimm-mazel, look after the children!” commanded Sarah. Shmuel caught up two of them, Sarah another two or three, and they ran to a shelter. Doletzke began to cry afresh.

“Mame, hungry!” began Berele.

“Hungry, hungry!” wailed Yossele. “I want to eat!”

Shmuel hastily opened the handbag, and then for the first time he saw what had really happened: the bottle had broken, and the milk was flooding the bag; the rolls and bananas were soaked, and the pineapple (a damaged one to begin with) looked too nasty for words. Sarah caught sight on the bag, and was so angry, she was at a loss how to wreak vengeance on her husband. She was ashamed to scream and Scold in the presence of other people, but she

Read More

A Picnic part 3

Shmuel counted his children and the traps. “No, nothing, Sarah!” he said.

Doletzke went to sleep, the other children sat quietly in their places. Sarah, too, fell into a doze, for she was tired out with the preparations for the excursion.

All went smoothly till they got some way up town, when Sarah gave ‘ a start.

“I don’t feel very well—my head is so dizzy,” she said to Shmuel.

“I don’t feel very well, either,” answered Shmuel. “I suppose the fresh air has upset us.”

“I suppose it has,” said his wife. “I’m afraid for the children.”

Scarcely had she spoken when Doletzke woke up, whimpering, and was sick. Yossele, who was looking at her, began to cry likewise. The mother scolded him, and this set the other children crying. The conductor cast a wrathful glance at poor Shmuel, who was so frightened that he dropped the hand-bag with the provisions, and then, conscious of the havoc he had ce

Read More

A Picnic part 2

“What will it cost?” asks Sarah, suddenly, and Shmuel has soon made the necessary calculation.

“A family ticket is only thirty cents, for Yossele, Rivele, Hannahle, and Berele; for Resele and Doletzke I haven’t to pay any carfare at all. For you and me, it will be ten cents there and ten back—that makes fifty cents. Then I reckon thirty cents for refreshments to take with us: a pineapple (a damaged one isn’t more than five cents), a few bananas, a piece of watermelon, a bottle of milk for the children, and a few-rolls—the whole thing shouldn’t cost us more than eighty cents at the outside.”
“Eighty cents!” and Sarah clapped her hands together in dismay.

“Why, you can live on that two days, and it takes nearly a whole days’ earning. You can buy an old ice-box for eighty cents, you can buy a pair of trousers—eighty cents!”

Shmuel disconcerted

“Leave off talking nonsense!” said Shmuel, disconcerted. “Eight

Read More

A Picnic part 1

S. Libin (Israel Hurwitz) (1872-1955)

Israel Hurwitz, better known by his pseudonym, S. (or Z.) Libin, was born in Russia in 1872. He wrote a number of short stories, having specialized to a great extent in that form. Libin’s best work is found in his brief and homely sketches of Jewish domestic life among the labouring classes of the large cities. He was for many years a resident in the United States.

A Picnic reveals one of the amusing aspects of Jewish life. It is related with lightness of touch and great good-humour.

This story is reprinted from the volume, Yiddish Tales, translated by Helena Frank, copyright, 1912, by the Jewish Publication Society of America, by whose permission, it is here used.

A Picnic

Ask Shmuel, the capmaker, just for a joke, if he would like to come for a picnic! He’ll fly out at you as if you had invited him to a swing on the gallows. The fact is, he and his Sarah once went for a picnic, and the

Read More

A Womans Wrath part 4

His heart is already sore for his victim, but he is feeling his power over her for the first time, and it has gone to his head. Silly woman! He had never known how easy it was to frighten her.

“That comes of making light of the Torah!” he shouts, and breaks off. After all, she might come to her senses at any moment, and take up (he broom! He springs back to the table, closes the Gemoreh, and hurries out of the room.

“I am going to the house-of-study,” he calls out over his shoulder in 11 milder tone, and shuts the door after him.

The loud voice and the noise of the closing door have waked the sick child. The heavy-lidded eyes open, the waxen face puckers, and there is a peevish wail. But she, beside herself, stands rooted to the spot, and does not hear.

“Ha!” comes hoarsely at last out of her narrow chest. “So that’s it, is it? Neither this world nor the other. Hanging, he says, stoning, burning, beheading, strangling, hanging

Read More

A Womans Wrath part 3

He sits and “learns,” unconscious of the charged atmosphere; does not see her let the sock fall and begin wringing her finger-joints; does not see that her forehead is puckered with misery, one eye closed, and the other fixed on him, her learned husband, with a look fit to send a chill through his every limb; does not see her dry lips tremble and her jaw quiver. She controls herself with all her might, but the storm is gathering fury within her. The least thing, and it will explode.

That least thing has happened.

He was just translating a Talmudic phrase with quiet delight, “And thence we derive that—” He was going on with “three,—” but the word “derive” was enough, it was the lighted spark, and her heart was the gunpowder. It was ablaze in an instant. Her determination gave way, the unlucky word opened the flood-gates, and the waters poured through, carrying all before them.

“Derived,’you say, derived? Oh, derived may you be

Read More

A Womans Wrath part 2

To her right is the one grimy little window, to her left, the table. She is knitting a sock, rocking the cradle with her foot, and listening to him reading the Talmud at the table, with a tearful, Wallachian, singing intonation, and swaying to and from with a series of nervous jerks.

Some of the words he swallows, others he draws out; now he snaps at a word, and now he skips it; some he accentuates and dwells on lovingly, others he rattles out with indifference, like dried peas out of a bag. And never quiet for a moment.

First, he draws from his pocket a once red and whole handkerchief, and wipes his nose and brow, then he lets it fall into his lap, and begins twisting his ear locks or pulling at his thin, pointed, faintly grizzled beard. Again, he lays a pulled-out hair from the same between the leaves of his book, and slaps his knees. His fingers coming into contact with the handkerchief, they seize it, and throw a comer in between his teeth; he bites it, lays

Read More

Horatius at the Bridge

Ancient Rome

It is a commonplace of literary history that Roman art was largely imitated or derived from the Greek, and in particular that Roman literature contributed little to the world’s store of masterpieces. Yet among the Romans the short story was esteemed more highly and was often more skillfully developed than it was among the Greeks.

The first of the stories chosen is from the historian Livy. Before his day there is very little material from which to select, although if the earlier writers of epic and history were better known to us, we might have found stories in the works of Livius Andronicus, Ennius, and the historians, most of whose writings have been lost. In the Letters of Cicero are numerous incidents falling within our category, but none of them of sufficient intrinsic interest to warrant their inclusion in this volume. Livy’s History abounds in episodes, many of them related with a certain matter-of-factness that characterizes a great deal

Read More

The Kaddish part 2

The seven girls took alarm.

“That is for joy,” explained the “grandmother.” “I have known that happen before.”

“A boy… a boy!” sobbed Reb Selig, overcome with happiness, “a boy… a boy… a Kaddish!”

The little boy received the name of Jacob, but he was called, by way of a talisman, Alter.

Reb Selig was a learned man, and inclined to think lightly of such protective measures; he even laughed at his Cheike for believing in such foolishness; but, at heart, he was content to have it so. Who could tell what might not be in it, after all? Women sometimes know better than men.

By the time Alterke was three years old, Reb Selig’s cough had become worse, the sense of oppression on his chest more frequent. But he held himself morally erect, and looked death calmly in the face, as though he would say, “Now I can afford to laugh at you—I leave a Kaddish!”
“What do you think, Cheike,” he would sa

Read More

The Kaddish part 1

Abraham Raisin (187&—1953)

Raisin is another of the Yiddish group who came from Russia, though he lived for some time in the United States. He is equally well-known among Yiddish readers as a poet and as a writer of stories.

The technical virtues of this popular and influential artist are particularly well exemplified in The Kaddish.

This story is reprinted from the volume, Yiddish Tales, translated by Helena Frank, copyright, 1912, by the Jewish Publication Society of America, by whose permission it is here used.

The Kaddish

From behind the curtain came low moans, and low words of encouragement from the old and experienced Bobbe. In the room it was dismal to suffocation. The seven children, all girls, between twenty three and four years old, sat quietly each by herself, with drooping head, and waited for something dreadful.

At a little table near a great cupboard with books sat the “patriarch” Reb Selig Chanes, a tall, thin Jew, w

Read More

A Picnic part 4

“O Sarah!” he sighed, and he would have said more, but just at that moment it began to spot with rain, and before they had time to move there came a downpour. People started to scurry in all directions, but Shmuel stood like a statue.

“Shlimm-mazel, look after the children!” commanded Sarah. Shmuel caught up two of them, Sarah another two or three, and they ran to a shelter. Doletzke began to cry afresh.

“Mame, hungry!” began Berele.

“Hungry, hungry!” wailed Yossele. “I want to eat!”

Shmuel hastily opened the handbag, and then for the first time he saw what had really happened: the bottle had broken, and the milk was flooding the bag; the rolls and bananas were soaked, and the pineapple (a damaged one to begin with) looked too nasty for words. Sarah caught sight on the bag, and was so angry, she was at a loss how to wreak vengeance on her husband. She was ashamed to scream and Scold in the presence of other people, but she

Read More

A Picnic part 3

Shmuel counted his children and the traps. “No, nothing, Sarah!” he said.

Doletzke went to sleep, the other children sat quietly in their places. Sarah, too, fell into a doze, for she was tired out with the preparations for the excursion.

All went smoothly till they got some way up town, when Sarah gave ‘ a start.

“I don’t feel very well—my head is so dizzy,” she said to Shmuel.

“I don’t feel very well, either,” answered Shmuel. “I suppose the fresh air has upset us.”

“I suppose it has,” said his wife. “I’m afraid for the children.”

Scarcely had she spoken when Doletzke woke up, whimpering, and was sick. Yossele, who was looking at her, began to cry likewise. The mother scolded him, and this set the other children crying. The conductor cast a wrathful glance at poor Shmuel, who was so frightened that he dropped the hand-bag with the provisions, and then, conscious of the havoc he had ce

Read More

A Picnic part 2

“What will it cost?” asks Sarah, suddenly, and Shmuel has soon made the necessary calculation.

“A family ticket is only thirty cents, for Yossele, Rivele, Hannahle, and Berele; for Resele and Doletzke I haven’t to pay any carfare at all. For you and me, it will be ten cents there and ten back—that makes fifty cents. Then I reckon thirty cents for refreshments to take with us: a pineapple (a damaged one isn’t more than five cents), a few bananas, a piece of watermelon, a bottle of milk for the children, and a few-rolls—the whole thing shouldn’t cost us more than eighty cents at the outside.”
“Eighty cents!” and Sarah clapped her hands together in dismay.

“Why, you can live on that two days, and it takes nearly a whole days’ earning. You can buy an old ice-box for eighty cents, you can buy a pair of trousers—eighty cents!”

Shmuel disconcerted

“Leave off talking nonsense!” said Shmuel, disconcerted. “Eight

Read More

A Picnic part 1

S. Libin (Israel Hurwitz) (1872-1955)

Israel Hurwitz, better known by his pseudonym, S. (or Z.) Libin, was born in Russia in 1872. He wrote a number of short stories, having specialized to a great extent in that form. Libin’s best work is found in his brief and homely sketches of Jewish domestic life among the labouring classes of the large cities. He was for many years a resident in the United States.

A Picnic reveals one of the amusing aspects of Jewish life. It is related with lightness of touch and great good-humour.

This story is reprinted from the volume, Yiddish Tales, translated by Helena Frank, copyright, 1912, by the Jewish Publication Society of America, by whose permission, it is here used.

A Picnic

Ask Shmuel, the capmaker, just for a joke, if he would like to come for a picnic! He’ll fly out at you as if you had invited him to a swing on the gallows. The fact is, he and his Sarah once went for a picnic, and the

Read More

A Womans Wrath part 4

His heart is already sore for his victim, but he is feeling his power over her for the first time, and it has gone to his head. Silly woman! He had never known how easy it was to frighten her.

“That comes of making light of the Torah!” he shouts, and breaks off. After all, she might come to her senses at any moment, and take up (he broom! He springs back to the table, closes the Gemoreh, and hurries out of the room.

“I am going to the house-of-study,” he calls out over his shoulder in 11 milder tone, and shuts the door after him.

The loud voice and the noise of the closing door have waked the sick child. The heavy-lidded eyes open, the waxen face puckers, and there is a peevish wail. But she, beside herself, stands rooted to the spot, and does not hear.

“Ha!” comes hoarsely at last out of her narrow chest. “So that’s it, is it? Neither this world nor the other. Hanging, he says, stoning, burning, beheading, strangling, hanging

Read More

A Womans Wrath part 3

He sits and “learns,” unconscious of the charged atmosphere; does not see her let the sock fall and begin wringing her finger-joints; does not see that her forehead is puckered with misery, one eye closed, and the other fixed on him, her learned husband, with a look fit to send a chill through his every limb; does not see her dry lips tremble and her jaw quiver. She controls herself with all her might, but the storm is gathering fury within her. The least thing, and it will explode.

That least thing has happened.

He was just translating a Talmudic phrase with quiet delight, “And thence we derive that—” He was going on with “three,—” but the word “derive” was enough, it was the lighted spark, and her heart was the gunpowder. It was ablaze in an instant. Her determination gave way, the unlucky word opened the flood-gates, and the waters poured through, carrying all before them.

“Derived,’you say, derived? Oh, derived may you be

Read More

A Womans Wrath part 2

To her right is the one grimy little window, to her left, the table. She is knitting a sock, rocking the cradle with her foot, and listening to him reading the Talmud at the table, with a tearful, Wallachian, singing intonation, and swaying to and from with a series of nervous jerks.

Some of the words he swallows, others he draws out; now he snaps at a word, and now he skips it; some he accentuates and dwells on lovingly, others he rattles out with indifference, like dried peas out of a bag. And never quiet for a moment.

First, he draws from his pocket a once red and whole handkerchief, and wipes his nose and brow, then he lets it fall into his lap, and begins twisting his ear locks or pulling at his thin, pointed, faintly grizzled beard. Again, he lays a pulled-out hair from the same between the leaves of his book, and slaps his knees. His fingers coming into contact with the handkerchief, they seize it, and throw a comer in between his teeth; he bites it, lays

Read More

Horatius at the Bridge

Ancient Rome

It is a commonplace of literary history that Roman art was largely imitated or derived from the Greek, and in particular that Roman literature contributed little to the world’s store of masterpieces. Yet among the Romans the short story was esteemed more highly and was often more skillfully developed than it was among the Greeks.

The first of the stories chosen is from the historian Livy. Before his day there is very little material from which to select, although if the earlier writers of epic and history were better known to us, we might have found stories in the works of Livius Andronicus, Ennius, and the historians, most of whose writings have been lost. In the Letters of Cicero are numerous incidents falling within our category, but none of them of sufficient intrinsic interest to warrant their inclusion in this volume. Livy’s History abounds in episodes, many of them related with a certain matter-of-factness that characterizes a great deal

Read More

The Kaddish part 2

The seven girls took alarm.

“That is for joy,” explained the “grandmother.” “I have known that happen before.”

“A boy… a boy!” sobbed Reb Selig, overcome with happiness, “a boy… a boy… a Kaddish!”

The little boy received the name of Jacob, but he was called, by way of a talisman, Alter.

Reb Selig was a learned man, and inclined to think lightly of such protective measures; he even laughed at his Cheike for believing in such foolishness; but, at heart, he was content to have it so. Who could tell what might not be in it, after all? Women sometimes know better than men.

By the time Alterke was three years old, Reb Selig’s cough had become worse, the sense of oppression on his chest more frequent. But he held himself morally erect, and looked death calmly in the face, as though he would say, “Now I can afford to laugh at you—I leave a Kaddish!”
“What do you think, Cheike,” he would sa

Read More

The Kaddish part 1

Abraham Raisin (187&—1953)

Raisin is another of the Yiddish group who came from Russia, though he lived for some time in the United States. He is equally well-known among Yiddish readers as a poet and as a writer of stories.

The technical virtues of this popular and influential artist are particularly well exemplified in The Kaddish.

This story is reprinted from the volume, Yiddish Tales, translated by Helena Frank, copyright, 1912, by the Jewish Publication Society of America, by whose permission it is here used.

The Kaddish

From behind the curtain came low moans, and low words of encouragement from the old and experienced Bobbe. In the room it was dismal to suffocation. The seven children, all girls, between twenty three and four years old, sat quietly each by herself, with drooping head, and waited for something dreadful.

At a little table near a great cupboard with books sat the “patriarch” Reb Selig Chanes, a tall, thin Jew, w

Read More

A Picnic part 4

“O Sarah!” he sighed, and he would have said more, but just at that moment it began to spot with rain, and before they had time to move there came a downpour. People started to scurry in all directions, but Shmuel stood like a statue.

“Shlimm-mazel, look after the children!” commanded Sarah. Shmuel caught up two of them, Sarah another two or three, and they ran to a shelter. Doletzke began to cry afresh.

“Mame, hungry!” began Berele.

“Hungry, hungry!” wailed Yossele. “I want to eat!”

Shmuel hastily opened the handbag, and then for the first time he saw what had really happened: the bottle had broken, and the milk was flooding the bag; the rolls and bananas were soaked, and the pineapple (a damaged one to begin with) looked too nasty for words. Sarah caught sight on the bag, and was so angry, she was at a loss how to wreak vengeance on her husband. She was ashamed to scream and Scold in the presence of other people, but she

Read More

A Picnic part 3

Shmuel counted his children and the traps. “No, nothing, Sarah!” he said.

Doletzke went to sleep, the other children sat quietly in their places. Sarah, too, fell into a doze, for she was tired out with the preparations for the excursion.

All went smoothly till they got some way up town, when Sarah gave ‘ a start.

“I don’t feel very well—my head is so dizzy,” she said to Shmuel.

“I don’t feel very well, either,” answered Shmuel. “I suppose the fresh air has upset us.”

“I suppose it has,” said his wife. “I’m afraid for the children.”

Scarcely had she spoken when Doletzke woke up, whimpering, and was sick. Yossele, who was looking at her, began to cry likewise. The mother scolded him, and this set the other children crying. The conductor cast a wrathful glance at poor Shmuel, who was so frightened that he dropped the hand-bag with the provisions, and then, conscious of the havoc he had ce

Read More

A Picnic part 2

“What will it cost?” asks Sarah, suddenly, and Shmuel has soon made the necessary calculation.

“A family ticket is only thirty cents, for Yossele, Rivele, Hannahle, and Berele; for Resele and Doletzke I haven’t to pay any carfare at all. For you and me, it will be ten cents there and ten back—that makes fifty cents. Then I reckon thirty cents for refreshments to take with us: a pineapple (a damaged one isn’t more than five cents), a few bananas, a piece of watermelon, a bottle of milk for the children, and a few-rolls—the whole thing shouldn’t cost us more than eighty cents at the outside.”
“Eighty cents!” and Sarah clapped her hands together in dismay.

“Why, you can live on that two days, and it takes nearly a whole days’ earning. You can buy an old ice-box for eighty cents, you can buy a pair of trousers—eighty cents!”

Shmuel disconcerted

“Leave off talking nonsense!” said Shmuel, disconcerted. “Eight

Read More

A Picnic part 1

S. Libin (Israel Hurwitz) (1872-1955)

Israel Hurwitz, better known by his pseudonym, S. (or Z.) Libin, was born in Russia in 1872. He wrote a number of short stories, having specialized to a great extent in that form. Libin’s best work is found in his brief and homely sketches of Jewish domestic life among the labouring classes of the large cities. He was for many years a resident in the United States.

A Picnic reveals one of the amusing aspects of Jewish life. It is related with lightness of touch and great good-humour.

This story is reprinted from the volume, Yiddish Tales, translated by Helena Frank, copyright, 1912, by the Jewish Publication Society of America, by whose permission, it is here used.

A Picnic

Ask Shmuel, the capmaker, just for a joke, if he would like to come for a picnic! He’ll fly out at you as if you had invited him to a swing on the gallows. The fact is, he and his Sarah once went for a picnic, and the

Read More

A Womans Wrath part 4

His heart is already sore for his victim, but he is feeling his power over her for the first time, and it has gone to his head. Silly woman! He had never known how easy it was to frighten her.

“That comes of making light of the Torah!” he shouts, and breaks off. After all, she might come to her senses at any moment, and take up (he broom! He springs back to the table, closes the Gemoreh, and hurries out of the room.

“I am going to the house-of-study,” he calls out over his shoulder in 11 milder tone, and shuts the door after him.

The loud voice and the noise of the closing door have waked the sick child. The heavy-lidded eyes open, the waxen face puckers, and there is a peevish wail. But she, beside herself, stands rooted to the spot, and does not hear.

“Ha!” comes hoarsely at last out of her narrow chest. “So that’s it, is it? Neither this world nor the other. Hanging, he says, stoning, burning, beheading, strangling, hanging

Read More

A Womans Wrath part 3

He sits and “learns,” unconscious of the charged atmosphere; does not see her let the sock fall and begin wringing her finger-joints; does not see that her forehead is puckered with misery, one eye closed, and the other fixed on him, her learned husband, with a look fit to send a chill through his every limb; does not see her dry lips tremble and her jaw quiver. She controls herself with all her might, but the storm is gathering fury within her. The least thing, and it will explode.

That least thing has happened.

He was just translating a Talmudic phrase with quiet delight, “And thence we derive that—” He was going on with “three,—” but the word “derive” was enough, it was the lighted spark, and her heart was the gunpowder. It was ablaze in an instant. Her determination gave way, the unlucky word opened the flood-gates, and the waters poured through, carrying all before them.

“Derived,’you say, derived? Oh, derived may you be

Read More

A Womans Wrath part 2

To her right is the one grimy little window, to her left, the table. She is knitting a sock, rocking the cradle with her foot, and listening to him reading the Talmud at the table, with a tearful, Wallachian, singing intonation, and swaying to and from with a series of nervous jerks.

Some of the words he swallows, others he draws out; now he snaps at a word, and now he skips it; some he accentuates and dwells on lovingly, others he rattles out with indifference, like dried peas out of a bag. And never quiet for a moment.

First, he draws from his pocket a once red and whole handkerchief, and wipes his nose and brow, then he lets it fall into his lap, and begins twisting his ear locks or pulling at his thin, pointed, faintly grizzled beard. Again, he lays a pulled-out hair from the same between the leaves of his book, and slaps his knees. His fingers coming into contact with the handkerchief, they seize it, and throw a comer in between his teeth; he bites it, lays

Read More

Horatius at the Bridge

Ancient Rome

It is a commonplace of literary history that Roman art was largely imitated or derived from the Greek, and in particular that Roman literature contributed little to the world’s store of masterpieces. Yet among the Romans the short story was esteemed more highly and was often more skillfully developed than it was among the Greeks.

The first of the stories chosen is from the historian Livy. Before his day there is very little material from which to select, although if the earlier writers of epic and history were better known to us, we might have found stories in the works of Livius Andronicus, Ennius, and the historians, most of whose writings have been lost. In the Letters of Cicero are numerous incidents falling within our category, but none of them of sufficient intrinsic interest to warrant their inclusion in this volume. Livy’s History abounds in episodes, many of them related with a certain matter-of-factness that characterizes a great deal

Read More

The Kaddish part 2

The seven girls took alarm.

“That is for joy,” explained the “grandmother.” “I have known that happen before.”

“A boy… a boy!” sobbed Reb Selig, overcome with happiness, “a boy… a boy… a Kaddish!”

The little boy received the name of Jacob, but he was called, by way of a talisman, Alter.

Reb Selig was a learned man, and inclined to think lightly of such protective measures; he even laughed at his Cheike for believing in such foolishness; but, at heart, he was content to have it so. Who could tell what might not be in it, after all? Women sometimes know better than men.

By the time Alterke was three years old, Reb Selig’s cough had become worse, the sense of oppression on his chest more frequent. But he held himself morally erect, and looked death calmly in the face, as though he would say, “Now I can afford to laugh at you—I leave a Kaddish!”
“What do you think, Cheike,” he would sa

Read More

The Kaddish part 1

Abraham Raisin (187&—1953)

Raisin is another of the Yiddish group who came from Russia, though he lived for some time in the United States. He is equally well-known among Yiddish readers as a poet and as a writer of stories.

The technical virtues of this popular and influential artist are particularly well exemplified in The Kaddish.

This story is reprinted from the volume, Yiddish Tales, translated by Helena Frank, copyright, 1912, by the Jewish Publication Society of America, by whose permission it is here used.

The Kaddish

From behind the curtain came low moans, and low words of encouragement from the old and experienced Bobbe. In the room it was dismal to suffocation. The seven children, all girls, between twenty three and four years old, sat quietly each by herself, with drooping head, and waited for something dreadful.

At a little table near a great cupboard with books sat the “patriarch” Reb Selig Chanes, a tall, thin Jew, w

Read More

A Picnic part 4

“O Sarah!” he sighed, and he would have said more, but just at that moment it began to spot with rain, and before they had time to move there came a downpour. People started to scurry in all directions, but Shmuel stood like a statue.

“Shlimm-mazel, look after the children!” commanded Sarah. Shmuel caught up two of them, Sarah another two or three, and they ran to a shelter. Doletzke began to cry afresh.

“Mame, hungry!” began Berele.

“Hungry, hungry!” wailed Yossele. “I want to eat!”

Shmuel hastily opened the handbag, and then for the first time he saw what had really happened: the bottle had broken, and the milk was flooding the bag; the rolls and bananas were soaked, and the pineapple (a damaged one to begin with) looked too nasty for words. Sarah caught sight on the bag, and was so angry, she was at a loss how to wreak vengeance on her husband. She was ashamed to scream and Scold in the presence of other people, but she

Read More

A Picnic part 3

Shmuel counted his children and the traps. “No, nothing, Sarah!” he said.

Doletzke went to sleep, the other children sat quietly in their places. Sarah, too, fell into a doze, for she was tired out with the preparations for the excursion.

All went smoothly till they got some way up town, when Sarah gave ‘ a start.

“I don’t feel very well—my head is so dizzy,” she said to Shmuel.

“I don’t feel very well, either,” answered Shmuel. “I suppose the fresh air has upset us.”

“I suppose it has,” said his wife. “I’m afraid for the children.”

Scarcely had she spoken when Doletzke woke up, whimpering, and was sick. Yossele, who was looking at her, began to cry likewise. The mother scolded him, and this set the other children crying. The conductor cast a wrathful glance at poor Shmuel, who was so frightened that he dropped the hand-bag with the provisions, and then, conscious of the havoc he had ce

Read More

A Picnic part 2

“What will it cost?” asks Sarah, suddenly, and Shmuel has soon made the necessary calculation.

“A family ticket is only thirty cents, for Yossele, Rivele, Hannahle, and Berele; for Resele and Doletzke I haven’t to pay any carfare at all. For you and me, it will be ten cents there and ten back—that makes fifty cents. Then I reckon thirty cents for refreshments to take with us: a pineapple (a damaged one isn’t more than five cents), a few bananas, a piece of watermelon, a bottle of milk for the children, and a few-rolls—the whole thing shouldn’t cost us more than eighty cents at the outside.”
“Eighty cents!” and Sarah clapped her hands together in dismay.

“Why, you can live on that two days, and it takes nearly a whole days’ earning. You can buy an old ice-box for eighty cents, you can buy a pair of trousers—eighty cents!”

Shmuel disconcerted

“Leave off talking nonsense!” said Shmuel, disconcerted. “Eight

Read More

A Picnic part 1

S. Libin (Israel Hurwitz) (1872-1955)

Israel Hurwitz, better known by his pseudonym, S. (or Z.) Libin, was born in Russia in 1872. He wrote a number of short stories, having specialized to a great extent in that form. Libin’s best work is found in his brief and homely sketches of Jewish domestic life among the labouring classes of the large cities. He was for many years a resident in the United States.

A Picnic reveals one of the amusing aspects of Jewish life. It is related with lightness of touch and great good-humour.

This story is reprinted from the volume, Yiddish Tales, translated by Helena Frank, copyright, 1912, by the Jewish Publication Society of America, by whose permission, it is here used.

A Picnic

Ask Shmuel, the capmaker, just for a joke, if he would like to come for a picnic! He’ll fly out at you as if you had invited him to a swing on the gallows. The fact is, he and his Sarah once went for a picnic, and the

Read More

A Womans Wrath part 4

His heart is already sore for his victim, but he is feeling his power over her for the first time, and it has gone to his head. Silly woman! He had never known how easy it was to frighten her.

“That comes of making light of the Torah!” he shouts, and breaks off. After all, she might come to her senses at any moment, and take up (he broom! He springs back to the table, closes the Gemoreh, and hurries out of the room.

“I am going to the house-of-study,” he calls out over his shoulder in 11 milder tone, and shuts the door after him.

The loud voice and the noise of the closing door have waked the sick child. The heavy-lidded eyes open, the waxen face puckers, and there is a peevish wail. But she, beside herself, stands rooted to the spot, and does not hear.

“Ha!” comes hoarsely at last out of her narrow chest. “So that’s it, is it? Neither this world nor the other. Hanging, he says, stoning, burning, beheading, strangling, hanging

Read More

A Womans Wrath part 3

He sits and “learns,” unconscious of the charged atmosphere; does not see her let the sock fall and begin wringing her finger-joints; does not see that her forehead is puckered with misery, one eye closed, and the other fixed on him, her learned husband, with a look fit to send a chill through his every limb; does not see her dry lips tremble and her jaw quiver. She controls herself with all her might, but the storm is gathering fury within her. The least thing, and it will explode.

That least thing has happened.

He was just translating a Talmudic phrase with quiet delight, “And thence we derive that—” He was going on with “three,—” but the word “derive” was enough, it was the lighted spark, and her heart was the gunpowder. It was ablaze in an instant. Her determination gave way, the unlucky word opened the flood-gates, and the waters poured through, carrying all before them.

“Derived,’you say, derived? Oh, derived may you be

Read More

A Womans Wrath part 2

To her right is the one grimy little window, to her left, the table. She is knitting a sock, rocking the cradle with her foot, and listening to him reading the Talmud at the table, with a tearful, Wallachian, singing intonation, and swaying to and from with a series of nervous jerks.

Some of the words he swallows, others he draws out; now he snaps at a word, and now he skips it; some he accentuates and dwells on lovingly, others he rattles out with indifference, like dried peas out of a bag. And never quiet for a moment.

First, he draws from his pocket a once red and whole handkerchief, and wipes his nose and brow, then he lets it fall into his lap, and begins twisting his ear locks or pulling at his thin, pointed, faintly grizzled beard. Again, he lays a pulled-out hair from the same between the leaves of his book, and slaps his knees. His fingers coming into contact with the handkerchief, they seize it, and throw a comer in between his teeth; he bites it, lays

Read More

Horatius at the Bridge

Ancient Rome

It is a commonplace of literary history that Roman art was largely imitated or derived from the Greek, and in particular that Roman literature contributed little to the world’s store of masterpieces. Yet among the Romans the short story was esteemed more highly and was often more skillfully developed than it was among the Greeks.

The first of the stories chosen is from the historian Livy. Before his day there is very little material from which to select, although if the earlier writers of epic and history were better known to us, we might have found stories in the works of Livius Andronicus, Ennius, and the historians, most of whose writings have been lost. In the Letters of Cicero are numerous incidents falling within our category, but none of them of sufficient intrinsic interest to warrant their inclusion in this volume. Livy’s History abounds in episodes, many of them related with a certain matter-of-factness that characterizes a great deal

Read More

The Kaddish part 2

The seven girls took alarm.

“That is for joy,” explained the “grandmother.” “I have known that happen before.”

“A boy… a boy!” sobbed Reb Selig, overcome with happiness, “a boy… a boy… a Kaddish!”

The little boy received the name of Jacob, but he was called, by way of a talisman, Alter.

Reb Selig was a learned man, and inclined to think lightly of such protective measures; he even laughed at his Cheike for believing in such foolishness; but, at heart, he was content to have it so. Who could tell what might not be in it, after all? Women sometimes know better than men.

By the time Alterke was three years old, Reb Selig’s cough had become worse, the sense of oppression on his chest more frequent. But he held himself morally erect, and looked death calmly in the face, as though he would say, “Now I can afford to laugh at you—I leave a Kaddish!”
“What do you think, Cheike,” he would sa

Read More

The Kaddish part 1

Abraham Raisin (187&—1953)

Raisin is another of the Yiddish group who came from Russia, though he lived for some time in the United States. He is equally well-known among Yiddish readers as a poet and as a writer of stories.

The technical virtues of this popular and influential artist are particularly well exemplified in The Kaddish.

This story is reprinted from the volume, Yiddish Tales, translated by Helena Frank, copyright, 1912, by the Jewish Publication Society of America, by whose permission it is here used.

The Kaddish

From behind the curtain came low moans, and low words of encouragement from the old and experienced Bobbe. In the room it was dismal to suffocation. The seven children, all girls, between twenty three and four years old, sat quietly each by herself, with drooping head, and waited for something dreadful.

At a little table near a great cupboard with books sat the “patriarch” Reb Selig Chanes, a tall, thin Jew, w

Read More

A Picnic part 4

“O Sarah!” he sighed, and he would have said more, but just at that moment it began to spot with rain, and before they had time to move there came a downpour. People started to scurry in all directions, but Shmuel stood like a statue.

“Shlimm-mazel, look after the children!” commanded Sarah. Shmuel caught up two of them, Sarah another two or three, and they ran to a shelter. Doletzke began to cry afresh.

“Mame, hungry!” began Berele.

“Hungry, hungry!” wailed Yossele. “I want to eat!”

Shmuel hastily opened the handbag, and then for the first time he saw what had really happened: the bottle had broken, and the milk was flooding the bag; the rolls and bananas were soaked, and the pineapple (a damaged one to begin with) looked too nasty for words. Sarah caught sight on the bag, and was so angry, she was at a loss how to wreak vengeance on her husband. She was ashamed to scream and Scold in the presence of other people, but she

Read More

A Picnic part 3

Shmuel counted his children and the traps. “No, nothing, Sarah!” he said.

Doletzke went to sleep, the other children sat quietly in their places. Sarah, too, fell into a doze, for she was tired out with the preparations for the excursion.

All went smoothly till they got some way up town, when Sarah gave ‘ a start.

“I don’t feel very well—my head is so dizzy,” she said to Shmuel.

“I don’t feel very well, either,” answered Shmuel. “I suppose the fresh air has upset us.”

“I suppose it has,” said his wife. “I’m afraid for the children.”

Scarcely had she spoken when Doletzke woke up, whimpering, and was sick. Yossele, who was looking at her, began to cry likewise. The mother scolded him, and this set the other children crying. The conductor cast a wrathful glance at poor Shmuel, who was so frightened that he dropped the hand-bag with the provisions, and then, conscious of the havoc he had ce

Read More

A Picnic part 2

“What will it cost?” asks Sarah, suddenly, and Shmuel has soon made the necessary calculation.

“A family ticket is only thirty cents, for Yossele, Rivele, Hannahle, and Berele; for Resele and Doletzke I haven’t to pay any carfare at all. For you and me, it will be ten cents there and ten back—that makes fifty cents. Then I reckon thirty cents for refreshments to take with us: a pineapple (a damaged one isn’t more than five cents), a few bananas, a piece of watermelon, a bottle of milk for the children, and a few-rolls—the whole thing shouldn’t cost us more than eighty cents at the outside.”
“Eighty cents!” and Sarah clapped her hands together in dismay.

“Why, you can live on that two days, and it takes nearly a whole days’ earning. You can buy an old ice-box for eighty cents, you can buy a pair of trousers—eighty cents!”

Shmuel disconcerted

“Leave off talking nonsense!” said Shmuel, disconcerted. “Eight

Read More

A Picnic part 1

S. Libin (Israel Hurwitz) (1872-1955)

Israel Hurwitz, better known by his pseudonym, S. (or Z.) Libin, was born in Russia in 1872. He wrote a number of short stories, having specialized to a great extent in that form. Libin’s best work is found in his brief and homely sketches of Jewish domestic life among the labouring classes of the large cities. He was for many years a resident in the United States.

A Picnic reveals one of the amusing aspects of Jewish life. It is related with lightness of touch and great good-humour.

This story is reprinted from the volume, Yiddish Tales, translated by Helena Frank, copyright, 1912, by the Jewish Publication Society of America, by whose permission, it is here used.

A Picnic

Ask Shmuel, the capmaker, just for a joke, if he would like to come for a picnic! He’ll fly out at you as if you had invited him to a swing on the gallows. The fact is, he and his Sarah once went for a picnic, and the

Read More

A Womans Wrath part 4

His heart is already sore for his victim, but he is feeling his power over her for the first time, and it has gone to his head. Silly woman! He had never known how easy it was to frighten her.

“That comes of making light of the Torah!” he shouts, and breaks off. After all, she might come to her senses at any moment, and take up (he broom! He springs back to the table, closes the Gemoreh, and hurries out of the room.

“I am going to the house-of-study,” he calls out over his shoulder in 11 milder tone, and shuts the door after him.

The loud voice and the noise of the closing door have waked the sick child. The heavy-lidded eyes open, the waxen face puckers, and there is a peevish wail. But she, beside herself, stands rooted to the spot, and does not hear.

“Ha!” comes hoarsely at last out of her narrow chest. “So that’s it, is it? Neither this world nor the other. Hanging, he says, stoning, burning, beheading, strangling, hanging

Read More

A Womans Wrath part 3

He sits and “learns,” unconscious of the charged atmosphere; does not see her let the sock fall and begin wringing her finger-joints; does not see that her forehead is puckered with misery, one eye closed, and the other fixed on him, her learned husband, with a look fit to send a chill through his every limb; does not see her dry lips tremble and her jaw quiver. She controls herself with all her might, but the storm is gathering fury within her. The least thing, and it will explode.

That least thing has happened.

He was just translating a Talmudic phrase with quiet delight, “And thence we derive that—” He was going on with “three,—” but the word “derive” was enough, it was the lighted spark, and her heart was the gunpowder. It was ablaze in an instant. Her determination gave way, the unlucky word opened the flood-gates, and the waters poured through, carrying all before them.

“Derived,’you say, derived? Oh, derived may you be

Read More

A Womans Wrath part 2

To her right is the one grimy little window, to her left, the table. She is knitting a sock, rocking the cradle with her foot, and listening to him reading the Talmud at the table, with a tearful, Wallachian, singing intonation, and swaying to and from with a series of nervous jerks.

Some of the words he swallows, others he draws out; now he snaps at a word, and now he skips it; some he accentuates and dwells on lovingly, others he rattles out with indifference, like dried peas out of a bag. And never quiet for a moment.

First, he draws from his pocket a once red and whole handkerchief, and wipes his nose and brow, then he lets it fall into his lap, and begins twisting his ear locks or pulling at his thin, pointed, faintly grizzled beard. Again, he lays a pulled-out hair from the same between the leaves of his book, and slaps his knees. His fingers coming into contact with the handkerchief, they seize it, and throw a comer in between his teeth; he bites it, lays

Read More

Horatius at the Bridge

Ancient Rome

It is a commonplace of literary history that Roman art was largely imitated or derived from the Greek, and in particular that Roman literature contributed little to the world’s store of masterpieces. Yet among the Romans the short story was esteemed more highly and was often more skillfully developed than it was among the Greeks.

The first of the stories chosen is from the historian Livy. Before his day there is very little material from which to select, although if the earlier writers of epic and history were better known to us, we might have found stories in the works of Livius Andronicus, Ennius, and the historians, most of whose writings have been lost. In the Letters of Cicero are numerous incidents falling within our category, but none of them of sufficient intrinsic interest to warrant their inclusion in this volume. Livy’s History abounds in episodes, many of them related with a certain matter-of-factness that characterizes a great deal

Read More

The Kaddish part 2

The seven girls took alarm.

“That is for joy,” explained the “grandmother.” “I have known that happen before.”

“A boy… a boy!” sobbed Reb Selig, overcome with happiness, “a boy… a boy… a Kaddish!”

The little boy received the name of Jacob, but he was called, by way of a talisman, Alter.

Reb Selig was a learned man, and inclined to think lightly of such protective measures; he even laughed at his Cheike for believing in such foolishness; but, at heart, he was content to have it so. Who could tell what might not be in it, after all? Women sometimes know better than men.

By the time Alterke was three years old, Reb Selig’s cough had become worse, the sense of oppression on his chest more frequent. But he held himself morally erect, and looked death calmly in the face, as though he would say, “Now I can afford to laugh at you—I leave a Kaddish!”
“What do you think, Cheike,” he would sa

Read More

The Kaddish part 1

Abraham Raisin (187&—1953)

Raisin is another of the Yiddish group who came from Russia, though he lived for some time in the United States. He is equally well-known among Yiddish readers as a poet and as a writer of stories.

The technical virtues of this popular and influential artist are particularly well exemplified in The Kaddish.

This story is reprinted from the volume, Yiddish Tales, translated by Helena Frank, copyright, 1912, by the Jewish Publication Society of America, by whose permission it is here used.

The Kaddish

From behind the curtain came low moans, and low words of encouragement from the old and experienced Bobbe. In the room it was dismal to suffocation. The seven children, all girls, between twenty three and four years old, sat quietly each by herself, with drooping head, and waited for something dreadful.

At a little table near a great cupboard with books sat the “patriarch” Reb Selig Chanes, a tall, thin Jew, w

Read More

A Picnic part 4

“O Sarah!” he sighed, and he would have said more, but just at that moment it began to spot with rain, and before they had time to move there came a downpour. People started to scurry in all directions, but Shmuel stood like a statue.

“Shlimm-mazel, look after the children!” commanded Sarah. Shmuel caught up two of them, Sarah another two or three, and they ran to a shelter. Doletzke began to cry afresh.

“Mame, hungry!” began Berele.

“Hungry, hungry!” wailed Yossele. “I want to eat!”

Shmuel hastily opened the handbag, and then for the first time he saw what had really happened: the bottle had broken, and the milk was flooding the bag; the rolls and bananas were soaked, and the pineapple (a damaged one to begin with) looked too nasty for words. Sarah caught sight on the bag, and was so angry, she was at a loss how to wreak vengeance on her husband. She was ashamed to scream and Scold in the presence of other people, but she

Read More

A Picnic part 3

Shmuel counted his children and the traps. “No, nothing, Sarah!” he said.

Doletzke went to sleep, the other children sat quietly in their places. Sarah, too, fell into a doze, for she was tired out with the preparations for the excursion.

All went smoothly till they got some way up town, when Sarah gave ‘ a start.

“I don’t feel very well—my head is so dizzy,” she said to Shmuel.

“I don’t feel very well, either,” answered Shmuel. “I suppose the fresh air has upset us.”

“I suppose it has,” said his wife. “I’m afraid for the children.”

Scarcely had she spoken when Doletzke woke up, whimpering, and was sick. Yossele, who was looking at her, began to cry likewise. The mother scolded him, and this set the other children crying. The conductor cast a wrathful glance at poor Shmuel, who was so frightened that he dropped the hand-bag with the provisions, and then, conscious of the havoc he had ce

Read More

A Picnic part 2

“What will it cost?” asks Sarah, suddenly, and Shmuel has soon made the necessary calculation.

“A family ticket is only thirty cents, for Yossele, Rivele, Hannahle, and Berele; for Resele and Doletzke I haven’t to pay any carfare at all. For you and me, it will be ten cents there and ten back—that makes fifty cents. Then I reckon thirty cents for refreshments to take with us: a pineapple (a damaged one isn’t more than five cents), a few bananas, a piece of watermelon, a bottle of milk for the children, and a few-rolls—the whole thing shouldn’t cost us more than eighty cents at the outside.”
“Eighty cents!” and Sarah clapped her hands together in dismay.

“Why, you can live on that two days, and it takes nearly a whole days’ earning. You can buy an old ice-box for eighty cents, you can buy a pair of trousers—eighty cents!”

Shmuel disconcerted

“Leave off talking nonsense!” said Shmuel, disconcerted. “Eight

Read More

A Picnic part 1

S. Libin (Israel Hurwitz) (1872-1955)

Israel Hurwitz, better known by his pseudonym, S. (or Z.) Libin, was born in Russia in 1872. He wrote a number of short stories, having specialized to a great extent in that form. Libin’s best work is found in his brief and homely sketches of Jewish domestic life among the labouring classes of the large cities. He was for many years a resident in the United States.

A Picnic reveals one of the amusing aspects of Jewish life. It is related with lightness of touch and great good-humour.

This story is reprinted from the volume, Yiddish Tales, translated by Helena Frank, copyright, 1912, by the Jewish Publication Society of America, by whose permission, it is here used.

A Picnic

Ask Shmuel, the capmaker, just for a joke, if he would like to come for a picnic! He’ll fly out at you as if you had invited him to a swing on the gallows. The fact is, he and his Sarah once went for a picnic, and the

Read More

A Womans Wrath part 4

His heart is already sore for his victim, but he is feeling his power over her for the first time, and it has gone to his head. Silly woman! He had never known how easy it was to frighten her.

“That comes of making light of the Torah!” he shouts, and breaks off. After all, she might come to her senses at any moment, and take up (he broom! He springs back to the table, closes the Gemoreh, and hurries out of the room.

“I am going to the house-of-study,” he calls out over his shoulder in 11 milder tone, and shuts the door after him.

The loud voice and the noise of the closing door have waked the sick child. The heavy-lidded eyes open, the waxen face puckers, and there is a peevish wail. But she, beside herself, stands rooted to the spot, and does not hear.

“Ha!” comes hoarsely at last out of her narrow chest. “So that’s it, is it? Neither this world nor the other. Hanging, he says, stoning, burning, beheading, strangling, hanging

Read More

A Womans Wrath part 3

He sits and “learns,” unconscious of the charged atmosphere; does not see her let the sock fall and begin wringing her finger-joints; does not see that her forehead is puckered with misery, one eye closed, and the other fixed on him, her learned husband, with a look fit to send a chill through his every limb; does not see her dry lips tremble and her jaw quiver. She controls herself with all her might, but the storm is gathering fury within her. The least thing, and it will explode.

That least thing has happened.

He was just translating a Talmudic phrase with quiet delight, “And thence we derive that—” He was going on with “three,—” but the word “derive” was enough, it was the lighted spark, and her heart was the gunpowder. It was ablaze in an instant. Her determination gave way, the unlucky word opened the flood-gates, and the waters poured through, carrying all before them.

“Derived,’you say, derived? Oh, derived may you be

Read More

A Womans Wrath part 2

To her right is the one grimy little window, to her left, the table. She is knitting a sock, rocking the cradle with her foot, and listening to him reading the Talmud at the table, with a tearful, Wallachian, singing intonation, and swaying to and from with a series of nervous jerks.

Some of the words he swallows, others he draws out; now he snaps at a word, and now he skips it; some he accentuates and dwells on lovingly, others he rattles out with indifference, like dried peas out of a bag. And never quiet for a moment.

First, he draws from his pocket a once red and whole handkerchief, and wipes his nose and brow, then he lets it fall into his lap, and begins twisting his ear locks or pulling at his thin, pointed, faintly grizzled beard. Again, he lays a pulled-out hair from the same between the leaves of his book, and slaps his knees. His fingers coming into contact with the handkerchief, they seize it, and throw a comer in between his teeth; he bites it, lays

Read More

Horatius at the Bridge

Ancient Rome

It is a commonplace of literary history that Roman art was largely imitated or derived from the Greek, and in particular that Roman literature contributed little to the world’s store of masterpieces. Yet among the Romans the short story was esteemed more highly and was often more skillfully developed than it was among the Greeks.

The first of the stories chosen is from the historian Livy. Before his day there is very little material from which to select, although if the earlier writers of epic and history were better known to us, we might have found stories in the works of Livius Andronicus, Ennius, and the historians, most of whose writings have been lost. In the Letters of Cicero are numerous incidents falling within our category, but none of them of sufficient intrinsic interest to warrant their inclusion in this volume. Livy’s History abounds in episodes, many of them related with a certain matter-of-factness that characterizes a great deal

Read More

The Kaddish part 2

The seven girls took alarm.

“That is for joy,” explained the “grandmother.” “I have known that happen before.”

“A boy… a boy!” sobbed Reb Selig, overcome with happiness, “a boy… a boy… a Kaddish!”

The little boy received the name of Jacob, but he was called, by way of a talisman, Alter.

Reb Selig was a learned man, and inclined to think lightly of such protective measures; he even laughed at his Cheike for believing in such foolishness; but, at heart, he was content to have it so. Who could tell what might not be in it, after all? Women sometimes know better than men.

By the time Alterke was three years old, Reb Selig’s cough had become worse, the sense of oppression on his chest more frequent. But he held himself morally erect, and looked death calmly in the face, as though he would say, “Now I can afford to laugh at you—I leave a Kaddish!”
“What do you think, Cheike,” he would sa

Read More

The Kaddish part 1

Abraham Raisin (187&—1953)

Raisin is another of the Yiddish group who came from Russia, though he lived for some time in the United States. He is equally well-known among Yiddish readers as a poet and as a writer of stories.

The technical virtues of this popular and influential artist are particularly well exemplified in The Kaddish.

This story is reprinted from the volume, Yiddish Tales, translated by Helena Frank, copyright, 1912, by the Jewish Publication Society of America, by whose permission it is here used.

The Kaddish

From behind the curtain came low moans, and low words of encouragement from the old and experienced Bobbe. In the room it was dismal to suffocation. The seven children, all girls, between twenty three and four years old, sat quietly each by herself, with drooping head, and waited for something dreadful.

At a little table near a great cupboard with books sat the “patriarch” Reb Selig Chanes, a tall, thin Jew, w

Read More

A Picnic part 4

“O Sarah!” he sighed, and he would have said more, but just at that moment it began to spot with rain, and before they had time to move there came a downpour. People started to scurry in all directions, but Shmuel stood like a statue.

“Shlimm-mazel, look after the children!” commanded Sarah. Shmuel caught up two of them, Sarah another two or three, and they ran to a shelter. Doletzke began to cry afresh.

“Mame, hungry!” began Berele.

“Hungry, hungry!” wailed Yossele. “I want to eat!”

Shmuel hastily opened the handbag, and then for the first time he saw what had really happened: the bottle had broken, and the milk was flooding the bag; the rolls and bananas were soaked, and the pineapple (a damaged one to begin with) looked too nasty for words. Sarah caught sight on the bag, and was so angry, she was at a loss how to wreak vengeance on her husband. She was ashamed to scream and Scold in the presence of other people, but she

Read More

A Picnic part 3

Shmuel counted his children and the traps. “No, nothing, Sarah!” he said.

Doletzke went to sleep, the other children sat quietly in their places. Sarah, too, fell into a doze, for she was tired out with the preparations for the excursion.

All went smoothly till they got some way up town, when Sarah gave ‘ a start.

“I don’t feel very well—my head is so dizzy,” she said to Shmuel.

“I don’t feel very well, either,” answered Shmuel. “I suppose the fresh air has upset us.”

“I suppose it has,” said his wife. “I’m afraid for the children.”

Scarcely had she spoken when Doletzke woke up, whimpering, and was sick. Yossele, who was looking at her, began to cry likewise. The mother scolded him, and this set the other children crying. The conductor cast a wrathful glance at poor Shmuel, who was so frightened that he dropped the hand-bag with the provisions, and then, conscious of the havoc he had ce

Read More

A Picnic part 2

“What will it cost?” asks Sarah, suddenly, and Shmuel has soon made the necessary calculation.

“A family ticket is only thirty cents, for Yossele, Rivele, Hannahle, and Berele; for Resele and Doletzke I haven’t to pay any carfare at all. For you and me, it will be ten cents there and ten back—that makes fifty cents. Then I reckon thirty cents for refreshments to take with us: a pineapple (a damaged one isn’t more than five cents), a few bananas, a piece of watermelon, a bottle of milk for the children, and a few-rolls—the whole thing shouldn’t cost us more than eighty cents at the outside.”
“Eighty cents!” and Sarah clapped her hands together in dismay.

“Why, you can live on that two days, and it takes nearly a whole days’ earning. You can buy an old ice-box for eighty cents, you can buy a pair of trousers—eighty cents!”

Shmuel disconcerted

“Leave off talking nonsense!” said Shmuel, disconcerted. “Eight

Read More

A Picnic part 1

S. Libin (Israel Hurwitz) (1872-1955)

Israel Hurwitz, better known by his pseudonym, S. (or Z.) Libin, was born in Russia in 1872. He wrote a number of short stories, having specialized to a great extent in that form. Libin’s best work is found in his brief and homely sketches of Jewish domestic life among the labouring classes of the large cities. He was for many years a resident in the United States.

A Picnic reveals one of the amusing aspects of Jewish life. It is related with lightness of touch and great good-humour.

This story is reprinted from the volume, Yiddish Tales, translated by Helena Frank, copyright, 1912, by the Jewish Publication Society of America, by whose permission, it is here used.

A Picnic

Ask Shmuel, the capmaker, just for a joke, if he would like to come for a picnic! He’ll fly out at you as if you had invited him to a swing on the gallows. The fact is, he and his Sarah once went for a picnic, and the

Read More

A Womans Wrath part 4

His heart is already sore for his victim, but he is feeling his power over her for the first time, and it has gone to his head. Silly woman! He had never known how easy it was to frighten her.

“That comes of making light of the Torah!” he shouts, and breaks off. After all, she might come to her senses at any moment, and take up (he broom! He springs back to the table, closes the Gemoreh, and hurries out of the room.

“I am going to the house-of-study,” he calls out over his shoulder in 11 milder tone, and shuts the door after him.

The loud voice and the noise of the closing door have waked the sick child. The heavy-lidded eyes open, the waxen face puckers, and there is a peevish wail. But she, beside herself, stands rooted to the spot, and does not hear.

“Ha!” comes hoarsely at last out of her narrow chest. “So that’s it, is it? Neither this world nor the other. Hanging, he says, stoning, burning, beheading, strangling, hanging

Read More

A Womans Wrath part 3

He sits and “learns,” unconscious of the charged atmosphere; does not see her let the sock fall and begin wringing her finger-joints; does not see that her forehead is puckered with misery, one eye closed, and the other fixed on him, her learned husband, with a look fit to send a chill through his every limb; does not see her dry lips tremble and her jaw quiver. She controls herself with all her might, but the storm is gathering fury within her. The least thing, and it will explode.

That least thing has happened.

He was just translating a Talmudic phrase with quiet delight, “And thence we derive that—” He was going on with “three,—” but the word “derive” was enough, it was the lighted spark, and her heart was the gunpowder. It was ablaze in an instant. Her determination gave way, the unlucky word opened the flood-gates, and the waters poured through, carrying all before them.

“Derived,’you say, derived? Oh, derived may you be

Read More

A Womans Wrath part 2

To her right is the one grimy little window, to her left, the table. She is knitting a sock, rocking the cradle with her foot, and listening to him reading the Talmud at the table, with a tearful, Wallachian, singing intonation, and swaying to and from with a series of nervous jerks.

Some of the words he swallows, others he draws out; now he snaps at a word, and now he skips it; some he accentuates and dwells on lovingly, others he rattles out with indifference, like dried peas out of a bag. And never quiet for a moment.

First, he draws from his pocket a once red and whole handkerchief, and wipes his nose and brow, then he lets it fall into his lap, and begins twisting his ear locks or pulling at his thin, pointed, faintly grizzled beard. Again, he lays a pulled-out hair from the same between the leaves of his book, and slaps his knees. His fingers coming into contact with the handkerchief, they seize it, and throw a comer in between his teeth; he bites it, lays

Read More

Horatius at the Bridge

Ancient Rome

It is a commonplace of literary history that Roman art was largely imitated or derived from the Greek, and in particular that Roman literature contributed little to the world’s store of masterpieces. Yet among the Romans the short story was esteemed more highly and was often more skillfully developed than it was among the Greeks.

The first of the stories chosen is from the historian Livy. Before his day there is very little material from which to select, although if the earlier writers of epic and history were better known to us, we might have found stories in the works of Livius Andronicus, Ennius, and the historians, most of whose writings have been lost. In the Letters of Cicero are numerous incidents falling within our category, but none of them of sufficient intrinsic interest to warrant their inclusion in this volume. Livy’s History abounds in episodes, many of them related with a certain matter-of-factness that characterizes a great deal

Read More

The Kaddish part 2

The seven girls took alarm.

“That is for joy,” explained the “grandmother.” “I have known that happen before.”

“A boy… a boy!” sobbed Reb Selig, overcome with happiness, “a boy… a boy… a Kaddish!”

The little boy received the name of Jacob, but he was called, by way of a talisman, Alter.

Reb Selig was a learned man, and inclined to think lightly of such protective measures; he even laughed at his Cheike for believing in such foolishness; but, at heart, he was content to have it so. Who could tell what might not be in it, after all? Women sometimes know better than men.

By the time Alterke was three years old, Reb Selig’s cough had become worse, the sense of oppression on his chest more frequent. But he held himself morally erect, and looked death calmly in the face, as though he would say, “Now I can afford to laugh at you—I leave a Kaddish!”
“What do you think, Cheike,” he would sa

Read More

The Kaddish part 1

Abraham Raisin (187&—1953)

Raisin is another of the Yiddish group who came from Russia, though he lived for some time in the United States. He is equally well-known among Yiddish readers as a poet and as a writer of stories.

The technical virtues of this popular and influential artist are particularly well exemplified in The Kaddish.

This story is reprinted from the volume, Yiddish Tales, translated by Helena Frank, copyright, 1912, by the Jewish Publication Society of America, by whose permission it is here used.

The Kaddish

From behind the curtain came low moans, and low words of encouragement from the old and experienced Bobbe. In the room it was dismal to suffocation. The seven children, all girls, between twenty three and four years old, sat quietly each by herself, with drooping head, and waited for something dreadful.

At a little table near a great cupboard with books sat the “patriarch” Reb Selig Chanes, a tall, thin Jew, w

Read More

A Picnic part 4

“O Sarah!” he sighed, and he would have said more, but just at that moment it began to spot with rain, and before they had time to move there came a downpour. People started to scurry in all directions, but Shmuel stood like a statue.

“Shlimm-mazel, look after the children!” commanded Sarah. Shmuel caught up two of them, Sarah another two or three, and they ran to a shelter. Doletzke began to cry afresh.

“Mame, hungry!” began Berele.

“Hungry, hungry!” wailed Yossele. “I want to eat!”

Shmuel hastily opened the handbag, and then for the first time he saw what had really happened: the bottle had broken, and the milk was flooding the bag; the rolls and bananas were soaked, and the pineapple (a damaged one to begin with) looked too nasty for words. Sarah caught sight on the bag, and was so angry, she was at a loss how to wreak vengeance on her husband. She was ashamed to scream and Scold in the presence of other people, but she

Read More

A Picnic part 3

Shmuel counted his children and the traps. “No, nothing, Sarah!” he said.

Doletzke went to sleep, the other children sat quietly in their places. Sarah, too, fell into a doze, for she was tired out with the preparations for the excursion.

All went smoothly till they got some way up town, when Sarah gave ‘ a start.

“I don’t feel very well—my head is so dizzy,” she said to Shmuel.

“I don’t feel very well, either,” answered Shmuel. “I suppose the fresh air has upset us.”

“I suppose it has,” said his wife. “I’m afraid for the children.”

Scarcely had she spoken when Doletzke woke up, whimpering, and was sick. Yossele, who was looking at her, began to cry likewise. The mother scolded him, and this set the other children crying. The conductor cast a wrathful glance at poor Shmuel, who was so frightened that he dropped the hand-bag with the provisions, and then, conscious of the havoc he had ce

Read More

A Picnic part 2

“What will it cost?” asks Sarah, suddenly, and Shmuel has soon made the necessary calculation.

“A family ticket is only thirty cents, for Yossele, Rivele, Hannahle, and Berele; for Resele and Doletzke I haven’t to pay any carfare at all. For you and me, it will be ten cents there and ten back—that makes fifty cents. Then I reckon thirty cents for refreshments to take with us: a pineapple (a damaged one isn’t more than five cents), a few bananas, a piece of watermelon, a bottle of milk for the children, and a few-rolls—the whole thing shouldn’t cost us more than eighty cents at the outside.”
“Eighty cents!” and Sarah clapped her hands together in dismay.

“Why, you can live on that two days, and it takes nearly a whole days’ earning. You can buy an old ice-box for eighty cents, you can buy a pair of trousers—eighty cents!”

Shmuel disconcerted

“Leave off talking nonsense!” said Shmuel, disconcerted. “Eight

Read More

A Picnic part 1

S. Libin (Israel Hurwitz) (1872-1955)

Israel Hurwitz, better known by his pseudonym, S. (or Z.) Libin, was born in Russia in 1872. He wrote a number of short stories, having specialized to a great extent in that form. Libin’s best work is found in his brief and homely sketches of Jewish domestic life among the labouring classes of the large cities. He was for many years a resident in the United States.

A Picnic reveals one of the amusing aspects of Jewish life. It is related with lightness of touch and great good-humour.

This story is reprinted from the volume, Yiddish Tales, translated by Helena Frank, copyright, 1912, by the Jewish Publication Society of America, by whose permission, it is here used.

A Picnic

Ask Shmuel, the capmaker, just for a joke, if he would like to come for a picnic! He’ll fly out at you as if you had invited him to a swing on the gallows. The fact is, he and his Sarah once went for a picnic, and the

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A Womans Wrath part 4

His heart is already sore for his victim, but he is feeling his power over her for the first time, and it has gone to his head. Silly woman! He had never known how easy it was to frighten her.

“That comes of making light of the Torah!” he shouts, and breaks off. After all, she might come to her senses at any moment, and take up (he broom! He springs back to the table, closes the Gemoreh, and hurries out of the room.

“I am going to the house-of-study,” he calls out over his shoulder in 11 milder tone, and shuts the door after him.

The loud voice and the noise of the closing door have waked the sick child. The heavy-lidded eyes open, the waxen face puckers, and there is a peevish wail. But she, beside herself, stands rooted to the spot, and does not hear.

“Ha!” comes hoarsely at last out of her narrow chest. “So that’s it, is it? Neither this world nor the other. Hanging, he says, stoning, burning, beheading, strangling, hanging

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A Womans Wrath part 3

He sits and “learns,” unconscious of the charged atmosphere; does not see her let the sock fall and begin wringing her finger-joints; does not see that her forehead is puckered with misery, one eye closed, and the other fixed on him, her learned husband, with a look fit to send a chill through his every limb; does not see her dry lips tremble and her jaw quiver. She controls herself with all her might, but the storm is gathering fury within her. The least thing, and it will explode.

That least thing has happened.

He was just translating a Talmudic phrase with quiet delight, “And thence we derive that—” He was going on with “three,—” but the word “derive” was enough, it was the lighted spark, and her heart was the gunpowder. It was ablaze in an instant. Her determination gave way, the unlucky word opened the flood-gates, and the waters poured through, carrying all before them.

“Derived,’you say, derived? Oh, derived may you be

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A Womans Wrath part 2

To her right is the one grimy little window, to her left, the table. She is knitting a sock, rocking the cradle with her foot, and listening to him reading the Talmud at the table, with a tearful, Wallachian, singing intonation, and swaying to and from with a series of nervous jerks.

Some of the words he swallows, others he draws out; now he snaps at a word, and now he skips it; some he accentuates and dwells on lovingly, others he rattles out with indifference, like dried peas out of a bag. And never quiet for a moment.

First, he draws from his pocket a once red and whole handkerchief, and wipes his nose and brow, then he lets it fall into his lap, and begins twisting his ear locks or pulling at his thin, pointed, faintly grizzled beard. Again, he lays a pulled-out hair from the same between the leaves of his book, and slaps his knees. His fingers coming into contact with the handkerchief, they seize it, and throw a comer in between his teeth; he bites it, lays

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