Our Lady`s Juggler part 1

Anatole France (Anatole Thibault) (1844-1924)

Anatole France was born at Paris in 1844 and lived there most of his life. He was par excellence a man of letters. For over forty years he has written about Paris, the ancient world and the Middle Ages, en¬dowing each novel or story with the philosophy of enlightened scep¬ticism which is his contribution to modern thought.

Among the several volumes of stories he has written, L`Etui de nacre includes some of his very best. From this is taken Our Lady’s Juggler, which is a retelling of one of the most beautiful of the French mediaeval tales.

The present’ version is translated for this collection by Barrett H. Clark, by permission of Anatole France`s English publishers, John Lane, Ltd., the Bodley Head.

Our Lady`s Juggler

In the days of King Louis there lived a poor juggler by the name of Barnabas, a native of Compiegne, who wandered from city to city performing trick

The Jewish Mother

Biblical Literature

It is not surprising that the stories scattered so profusely through the Bible, the Apocrypha, and the Talmud, should be mostly moral tales. They were told in order to illustrate a theological or ethical contention or law, to glorify the race or nation to which the teller belonged, to attract and hold the interest of the listener. All of them were related by Jews, and all, even the parables of Jesus, bear the imprint of the Oriental imagination. The stories of Ruth and Susanna, from the Old Testament and the Apocrypha, are the earliest examples in this little group of Biblical tales. Ruth is the type of story that could easily be expanded into a novel, while Susanna conforms more exactly to the modern conception of what a short story ought to be. These two have been chosen from a great storehouse of prose narrative, which was designed in the first place to appeal to simple-minded shepherds and tradespeople.

In the New Testament we find among

The Dove And The Crow

The Dove And The Crow (Anonymous: 2nd Century B.C. or later)

It is thought that the collection of fables now known as the Panchatantra had assumed definite shape at least as early as the Sixth Century A.D., and it is possible that it dates back to the Second Century B.C. Nothing is known of the author. The little stories that make up the collection are mostly Beast Fables, which were originally designed to instruct young princes. “Panchatantra” means “five books.”

The present story, from the second book or Tantra, is reprinted from Ancient Indian Fables and Stories, by permission of the publisher, John Murray. It has no title in the original.

The Dove And The Crow

When Vishnu Sarma had finished telling and expounding these fables, his pupils were lost in admiration of their teacher, whose wisdom had been so clearly marked by his dexterous mingling of amusement with instruction. They rose and all three fell at his feet, thanking hi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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