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Filled with princesses and witches, dybbuks and wonder-working rebbes, the two hundred marvelous tales that make up this delightful compendium were gathered during the 1920s and 1930s by ethnographers in the small towns and villages of Eastern Europe. Collected from people of all walks of life, they include parables and allegories about life, luck, and wisdom; tales of ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published September 23rd 1997 by Schocken
(first published 1988)
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You don't have to be Jewish to love Yiddish Folktales, but it couldn't hurt. As good as chicken soup for giving the reader a warm wonderful feeling. There's a wide range in the 178 folktales here: allegories, children's stories, pious tales, and humorous tales, not to mention ghosts, golems, villains, elves, and dibbuks. My favorites were Wisdom or Luck, Poverty Grows and Grows, Good Manners and Foolish Khushim. The traditional Jewish folk art paper cuts, popular in 19th and 20th century Russia ...more
This is a great collection of stories. Admittedly, these are geared more towards children - picture the "bedtime story" read aloud situation, which makes sense, since these were derived from Yiddish oral history! I'm also giving it the "Atheist Seal of Approval," that is to say, unlike author Yiddish folktale authors, those that write a bit more complex stories, there's not as much "hidden religious agenda" in these stories. Sure, there are a few that I won't be reading to my kids if I ever have ...more
This book is so delightful! It is marvelous to read the stories which are divided into different categories such as "Naked Truths and Resplendent Parables", "Magic Rings, Feathers of Gold, Mountains of Glass", and "Justice, Faith, and Everyday Morals." Favorites of mine include The Snake Bridegroom, The Golden Feather, The Poor Rabbi and His Three Daughters. Two marvelous Cinderella stories here are How Much Do You Love Me? and The Princess of the Third Pumpkin.
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“Once three men were confined in a pitch-dark prison. Two of the men were intelligent, but one of them was a simpleton who knew nothing at all: he couldn’t put his clothes on, he didn’t know how to eat; nothing. One of the intelligent men worked hard to teach the simpleton to dress himself, to eat, to hold a spoon, and so on. The other intelligent man did nothing at all. One day the hardworking man asked the indifferent one, “Why don’t you make some effort to help teach the simpleton?” The other replied, “In this darkness you’ll teach him nothing, no matter how many years you spend. I use my time thinking of ways to break a hole in the wall to let in the light. When that happens, he’ll learn on his own what he needs to know.”More quotes…