Author Topic: Gimpel the Fool by Isaac Bashevis Singer  (Read 2771 times)

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Gimpel the Fool by Isaac Bashevis Singer
« on: 29 Oct, 2007, 17:28:34 »
Gimpel the Fool
by Isaac Bashevis Singer


I am Gimpel the fool. I don't think myself a fool. On the
contrary. But that's what folks call me. They gave me the
name while I was still in school. I had seven names in all:
imbecile, donkey, flax-head, dope, flump, ninny, and fool.
The last name stuck. What did my foolishness consist of? I
was easy to take in. They said, "Gimpel, you know the
rabbi's wife has been brought to childbed?" So I skipped
school. Well, it turned out to be a lie. How was I
supposed to know? She hadn't had a big belly. But I never
looked at her belly. Was that really so foolish? The gang
laughed and hee-hawed, stomped and danced and chanted a
good-night prayer. And instead of the raisins they give
when a woman's lying in, they stuffed my hand full of goat
turds. I was no weakling. If I slapped someone he'd see
all the way to Cracow. But I'm really not a slugger by
nature. I think to myself: Let it pass. So they take
advantage of me.

I was coming home from school and heard a dog barking. I'm
not afraid of dogs, but of course I never want to start up
with them. One of them may be mad, and if he bites there's
not a Tartar in the world who can help you. So I made
tracks. Then I looked around and saw the whole market place
wild with laughter. It was no dog at all but Wolf-Leib the
thief. How was I supposed to know it was he? It sounded
like a howling bitch.

When the pranksters and the leg-pullers found that I was easy
to fool, every one of them tried his luck with me. "Gimpel
the Czar is coming to Frampol: Gimpel, the moon fell down
in Turbeen; Gimpel, little Hodel Furpiece found a treasure
behind the bathhouse." And I like a golem believed
everyone. In the first place, everything is possible, as it
is written in the Wisdom of the Fathers. I've forgotten
just how: Second, I had to believe when the whole town came
down on me! If I ever dared to say, Ah, you're kidding!"
there was trouble. People got angry. "What do you mean!"
You want to call everyone a liar?": What was I to do? I
believed them, and I hope at least that did them some good.

I was an orphan. My grandfather who brought me up was
already bent toward the grave. So they turned me over to a
baker, and what a time they gave me there! Every woman or
girl who came to bake a batch of noodles had to fool me at
least once. "Gimpel, there's a fair in heaven; Gimpel, the
rabbi gave birth to a calf in the seventh month; Gimpel, a
cow flew over the roof and laid brass eggs." A student from
the yeshiva came once to buy a roll, and he said, "You,
Gimpel, while you stand here scraping with your baker's
shovel, the Messiah has come. The dead have arisen."
"What do you mean?" I said. "I heard no one blowing the
ram's horn!" He said, "Are you deaf?" And all began to
cry, "We heard it, we heard!" Then in came Rietze the
Candle-dipper and called out in her hoarse voice, "Gimpel
your father and mother have stood up from the grave.
They're looking for you."

To tell the truth, I knew very well that nothing of the sort
had happened, but all the same, as folks were talking, I
threw on my wool vest and went out. Maybe something had
happened. What did I stand to lose by looking? Well, what
a cat music went up! And then I took a vow to believe
nothing more. But that was no go either. They confused
me so that I didn't know the big end from the small.

I went to the rabbi to get some advice. He said, "It is
written, better to be a fool all your days than for one hour
to be evil. You are not a fool. They are the fools. For
he who causes his neighbor to feel shame loses Paradise
himself." Nevertheless the rabbi's daughter took me in. As
I left the rabbinical court she said, "Have you kissed the
wall yet?" I said, "No what for?" she answered, "It's the
law; you've got to do it after every visit." Well, there
didn't seem to be any harm in it. And she burst out
laughing. It was a fine trick. She put one over on me,
all right.

I wanted to go off to another town, but then everyone got
busy matchmaking, and they were after me so they nearly tore
my coat tails off. They talked at me and talked until I got
water on the ear. She was no chaste maiden, but they told
me she was virgin pure. She had a limp, and they said it
was deliberate, from coyness. She had a bastard, and they
told me the child was her little brother. I cried, "You're
wasting your time. I'll never marry that whore." But they
said indignantly. "What a way to talk! Aren't you ashamed
of yourself? We can take you to the rabbi and have you
fined for giving her a bad name." I saw then that I
wouldn't escape them so easily and I thought: They're set on
making me their butt. But when you're married the
husband's the master, and if that's all right with her it's
agreeable to me too. Besides, you can't pass through life
unscathed, nor expect to.

I went to her clay house, which was built on the sand, and
the whole gang, hollering and chorusing, came after me.
They acted like bear baiters. When we came to the well they
stopped all the same. They were afraid to start anything
with Elka. Her mouth would open as if it were strung from
wall to wall and clothes were drying. Barefoot she stood
by the tub, doing the wash. She was dressed in a worn
hand-me-down gown of plush. She had her hair put up in
braids and pinned across her head. It took my breath away.
Almost, the reek of it all.

Evidently she knew who I was. She took a look at me and
said, "Look who's here! He's come, the drip. Grab a seat."

I told her all; I denied nothing. "Tell me the truth, " I
said," are you really a virgin, and is that mischievous
Yechiel actually your little brother? Don't be deceitful
with me, for I'm an orphan."

"I'm an orphan myself," she answered, "and whoever tries to
twist you up, may the end of his nose take a twist. But
don't let them think they can take advantage of me. I want
a dowry of fifty guilders, and let them take up a collection
besides. Otherwise they can kiss my you-know-what." She
was very plainspoken. I said, "It's the bride and not the
groom who gives a dowry." Then she said, "Don't bargain
with me. Either a flat 'yes' or a flat 'no'-Go back to where
you came from."

I thought: No bread will ever be baked from this dough. But
out is not a poor town. They consented to everything and
proceeded with the wedding. It so happened that there was a
dysentery epidemic at the time. The ceremony was held at
the cemetery gates, near the little corpse washing hut. The
fellows got drunk. While the marriage contract was being
drawn up I heard the most pious high rabbi ask, "Is the
bride a widow or a divorced woman?" And the sexton's wife
answered for her, "Both a widow and divorced." It was a
black moment for me. But what was I to do, run away from
under the marriage canopy?

There was singing and dancing. An old granny danced
opposite me, hugging a braided white chalah. The master of
revels made a "God'a mercy" in memory of the bride's parents.
The schoolboys threw burrs, as on Tishe b'Av fast day. There
were a lot of gifts after the sermon: a noodle board, a
kneading trough, a bucket, brooms, ladels, household articles
galore. Then I took a look and saw two strapping young men
carrying a crib. "What do we need this for?" I asked. So
they said, "Don't rack your brains about it. It's all
right, it'll come in handy." I realized I was going to be
rooked. Take it another way though, what did I stand to
lose? I reflected: I'll see what comes of it. A whole
town can't go altogether crazy.

At night I came where my wife lay, but she wouldn't let me
in. "Say, look here, is this what they married us for?" I
said. And she said, "My monthly has come."

"But yesterday they took you to the ritual bath, and that's afterward,
isn't it suppose to be?"

"Today isn't yesterday," said she, "and yesterday's not
today. You can beat it if you don't like it." In short, I
waited.

Not four months later she was in childbed. The townsfolk
hid their laughter with their knuckles. But what could I
do? She suffered intolerable pains and clawed at the walls.
"Gimpel," she cried, "I'm going. Forgive me." The house
filled with women. They were boiling pans of water. The
screams rose to the welkin.

The thing to do was to go to the House of Prayer to repeat
Psalms, and that was what I did.

The townsfolk liked that, all right. I stood in a corner
saying Psalms and prayers, and they shook their heads at me.
"Pray, pray!" they told me, "Prayer never made any woman
pregnant." One of the congregation put a straw to my mouth
and said, "Hay for the cows." There was something to that
too, by God!

She gave birth to a boy, Friday at the synagogue the sexton
stood up before the Ark, pounded on the reading table, and
announced, "The wealthy Reb Gimpel invites the congregation
to a feast in honor of the birth of a son." The whole House
of Prayer rang with laughter. My face was flaming. But
there was nothing I could do. After all, I was the one
responsible for the circumcision honors and rituals.

Half the town came running. You couldn't wedge another soul
in. Women brought peppered chick-peas, and there was a keg
of beer from the tavern. I ate and drank as much as anyone,
and they all congratulated me. Then there was a
circumcision, and I named the boy after my father, may he
rest in peace. When all were gone and I was left with my
wife alone, she thrust her head through the bed-curtain and
called me to her.

"Gimpel," said she, "why are you silent? Has your ship gone
and sunk?"

"What shall I say?" I answered. "A fine thing you've done
to me! If my mother had known of it, she'd have died a
second time."

She said, " Are you crazy or what?"

"How can you make such a fool," I said, "of one who should
be the lord and master?"

"What's the matter with you?" she said. "What have you
taken it into your head to imagine?"

I saw that I must speak bluntly and openly. "Do you think
this is the way to use an orphan?" I said. "You have born
a bastard."

She answered, "Drive this foolishness out of your head.
This child is yours."

"How can he be mine?" I argued. "He was born seventeen
weeks after the wedding."

She told me then that he was premature. I said, "Isn't he a
little too premature?" She said, she had had a grandmother
who carried just as short a time and she resembled this
grandmother of hers as one drop of water does another. She
swore to it with such oaths that you would have believed a
peasant at the fair if he has used them. To tell the plain
truth, I didn't believe her; but when I talked it over next
day with the schoolmaster he told me that the very same thing
happened to Adam and Eve. Two they went up to bed and four
they descended.

"There isn't a woman in the world who is not the
granddaughter of Eve," he said.

That was how it was; they argued me dumb. But then, who
really knows how such things are?

I began to forget my sorrow. I loved the child madly, and
he loved me too. As soon as he saw me he'd wave his little
hands and want me to pick him up, and when he was colicky I
was the only one who could pacify him. I bought him a
little bone teething ring and a little gilded cap. He was
forever catching the evil eye from someone, and then I had
to run to get one of those abracadabras for him that would
get him out of it. I worked like an ox. You know how
expenses go up when there's an infant in the house. I don't
want to lie about it; I didn't dislike Elka either, for that
matter. She swore at me and cursed, and I couldn't get
enough of her. What strength she had! One of her looks
could rob you of the power of speech. And her orations!
Pitch and sulfur, that's what they were full of, and yet
somehow also full of charm. I adored her every word. She
gave me bloody wounds though.

In the evening I brought her a white loaf as well as a dark
one, and also poppy seed rolls I baked myself. I thieved
because of her and swiped everything I could lay hands on:
macaroons, raisins, almonds, cakes. I hope I may be
forgiven for stealing from the Saturday pots the women left
to warm in the baker's oven. I would take out scraps of
meat, a chunk of pudding, a chicken leg or head, a piece of
tripe, whatever I could nip quickly. She ate and became fat
and handsome.

I had to sleep away from home all during the week, at the
bakery. On Friday nights when I got home she always made an
excuse of some sort. Either she had heartburn, or a stitch
in the side, or hiccups, or headaches. You know what
women's excuses are. I had a bitter time of it. It was
rough. To add to it, this little brother of hers, the
bastard, was growing bigger. He'd put lumps on me, and when
I wanted to hit back she'd open her mouth and curse so
powerfully I saw a green haze floating before my eyes. Ten
time a day she threatened to divorce me. Another man in my
place would have taken French leave and disappeared. But
I'm the type that bears it and says nothing. What's one to
do? Shoulders are from God and burdens too.

One night there was a calamity in the bakery; the oven
burst, and we almost had a fire. There was nothing to do
but go home, so I went home. Let me, I thought, also taste
the joy of sleeping in bed in midweek. I didn't want to
wake the sleeping mite and tiptoed into the house. Coming
in, it seemed to me that I heard not the snoring of one but,
as it were, a double snore, one a thin enough snore and the
other like the snoring of a slaughtered ox. Oh I didn't
like that! I didn't like it as at all. I went up to the bed,
and things suddenly turned black. Next to Elka lay a man's
form. Another in my place would have made an uproar, and
enough noise to rouse the whole town, but the thought
occurred to me that I might wake the child. A little thing
like that - why frighten a little swallow, I thought. All
right then, I went back to the bakery and stretched out on a
sack of flour and till morning I never shut an eye. I
shivered as if I had had malaria. "Enough of being a
donkey, " I said to myself. " Gimpel isn't going to be a
sucker all his life. There's a limit even to the
foolishness of a fool like Gimpel."

In the morning I went to the rabbi to get advice, and it
made a great commotion in the town. They sent the beadle
for Elka right away. She came, carrying the child. And
what do you think she did? She denied it, denied everything,
bone and stone! "He's out of his head," she said. I know
nothing of dreams of divinations." they yelled at her,
warned her, hammered on the table, but she stuck to her
guns: it was a false accusation, she said.

The butchers and the horse-traders took her part. One of
the lads from the slaughterhouse came buy and said to me,
"We've got our eye on you, you're a marked man." Meanwhile
the child started to bear down and soiled itself. In the
rabbinical court there was an Ark of the Covenant, and they
couldn't allow that, so they sent Elka away.

I said to the rabbi, "What shall I do?"

"You must divorce her at once," said he.

"And what if she refuses?" I asked.

He said, "You must server the divorce. That's all you'll
have to do."

I said, "Well, all right Rabbi. Let me think about it."

"There's nothing to think about," said he. "You mustn't
remain under the same roof with her."

"And what if she refuses?" I asked.

"Let her go, the harlot," said he, "and her brood of
bastards with her."

The verdict he gave was that I mustn't even cross her
threshold - never again, as long as I should live.

During the day it didn't bother me so much. I thought: It
was bound to happen, the abscess had to burst. But at night
when I stretched out upon the sacks I felt it all very
bitterly. A longing took me, for her and for the child.
I wanted to be angry, but that's my misfortune
exactly, I don't have it in me to be really angry. In
the first place - this was how my thoughts went - there's
bound to be a slip sometimes. You can't live without
errors. Probably that lad who was with her led her on and
gave her presents and what not, and women are often long on
hair and short on sense, and so he got around her. And then
since she denies it so, maybe I was only seeing things?
Hallucinations do happen. You see a figure or a mannikin or
something, but when you come up closer it's nothing, there's
not a thing there. And if that's so, I'm doing her an
injustice. And when I got so far in my thoughts I started
to weep. I sobbed so that I wet the flour where I lay. In
the morning I went to the rabbi and told him that I had
made a mistake. The rabbi wrote on with his quill, and he
said that if that were so he would have to reconsider the
whole case. Until he had finished I wasn't to go near my
wife, but I might send her bread and money by messenger.

Nine months passed before all the rabbis could come to an
agreement. Letters went back and forth. I hadn't realized
that there could be so much erudition about a matter like
this.

Meanwhile Elka gave birth to still another child, a girl this
time. On the Sabbath I went to the synagogue and invoked a
blessing on her. They called me up to the Torah, and I
named the child for my mother-in-law - may she rest in
peace. The louts and loudmouths of the town who came into
the bakery gave me a going over. All Frampol refreshed it's
spirits because of my trouble and grief. However, I resolved
that I would always believe what I was told. What's the
good of not believing? Today it's your wife you don't
believe; tomorrow it's God Himself you won't take stock in.

By an apprentice who was her neighbor I sent her daily a
corn or a wheat loaf, or a piece of pastry, rolls or bagels,
or, when I got the chance, a slab of pudding, a slice of
honeycake, or wedding strudel-whatever came my way. The
apprentice was a goodhearted lad, and more than once he
added something on his own. He had formerly annoyed me a
lot, plucking my nose and digging me in the ribs, but when
he started to be a visitor to my house he became kind and
friendly, "Hey, you , Gimpel," he said to me, "you have a
very decent little wife and two fine kids. You don't
deserve them."

"But the things people say about her," I said.

"Well, they have long tongues," he said, "and nothing to do
with them but babble. Ignore it as you ignore the cold of
last winter."

One day the rabbi sent for me and said, "Are you certain,
Gimpel, that you were wrong about your wife?"

I said, "I'm certain."

"Why, but look here! You yourself saw it."

"It must have been a shadow," I said.

"That shadow of what?"

"Just of one of the beams, I think."

"You can go home then. You owe thanks to the Yanover rabbi.
He found an obscure reference in Maimonides that favored
you."

I seized the rabbi's hand and kissed it.

I wanted to run home immediately. It's no small think to be
separated for so long a time from wife and child. Then I
reflected: I'd better go back to work now, and go home in
the evening. I said nothing to anyone, although as far as
my heart was concerned it was like one of the Holy Days.
The women teased and twitted me as they did every day, but
my though was: Go on, with your loose talk. the truth is
out, like the oil upon the water. Maimonides says it's
right, and therefore it is right!

At night, when I had covered the dough to let it rise, I
took my share of bread and a little sack of flour and
started homeward. The moon was full and the stars were
glistening, something to terrify the soul. I hurried onward,
and before me started a long shadow. It was winter, and
fresh snow had fallen. I had a mind to sing, but it was
growing late and I didn't want to wake the householders.
Then I felt like whistling, but I remembered that you don't
whistle at night because it brings the demons out. So I was
silent and walked as fast as I could.

Dogs in the Christian yards barked at me when I passed, but
I thought: Bark your teeth out! What are you but mere
dogs? Whereas I am a man, the husband of a fine wife, the
father of promising children.

As I approached the house my heart started to pound as
though it were the heart of a criminal. I felt no fear, but
my heart went thump! thump! Well, no drawing back. I
quietly lifted the latch and went in. Elka was asleep. I
looked at the infant's cradle. The shutter was closed, but
the moon forced its way through the cracks. I saw the
newborn child's face and loved it as soon as I saw it -
immediately-each tiny bone.

Then I came nearer to the bed. And what did I see but the
apprentice lying there beside Elka. The moon went out all
at once. It was utterly black, and I trembled. My teeth
chattered. The bread fell from my hands and my wife waked
and said, "Who is that, ah?"

I muttered, "It's me."

"Gimpel?" she asked. "How come you're here? I thought it
was forbidden."

"The rabbi said," I answered and shook as with a fever.

"Listen to me, Gimpel," she said, "go out to the shed and
see if the goat's all right. It seems she's been sick." I
have forgotten to say that we had a goat. When I heard she
was unwell I went into the yard. The nanny goat was a good
little creature. I had nearly human feeling for her.

With hesitant steps I went up to the shed and opened the
door. The goat stood there on her four feet. I felt her
everywhere, drew her by the horns, examined her udders, and
found nothing wrong. She had probably eaten too much bark.
"Good night, little goat," I said. "Keep well." And the
little beast answered with a "Maa" as thought to thank me
for the good will.

I went back. The apprentice had vanished.

"Where," I asked, "is the lad?"

"What lad?" my wife answered.

"What do you mean?" I said. "The apprentice. You were
sleeping with him."

"The things I have dreamed this night and the night before,"
she said, "may they come true and lay you low, body and soul!
An evil spirit has taken root in you and dazzled your
sight." She screamed out, "You hateful creature! You moon
calf! You spook! You uncouth man! Get out, or I'll scream
all Frampol out of bed!"

Before I could move, her brother sprang out from behind the
oven and struck me a blow on the back of the head. I though
he had broken my neck. I felt the something about me was
deeply wrong, and I said, "Don't make a scandal. All that's
needed now is that people should accuse me of raising spooks
and dybbuks." For that was what she had mean. "No one will
touch bread of my baking."

In short, I somehow calmed her.

"Well," she said, "that's enough. Lie down, and be
shattered by wheels."

Next morning I called the apprentice aside. "Listen here,
brother!" I said. And so on and so forth. "What do you
say?" He stared at me as though I had dropped from the roof
or something.

"I swear," he said, "you'd better go to an herb doctor or
some healer. I'm afraid you have a screw loose, but I'll
hush it up for you." And that's how the think stood.

To make a long story short, I lived twenty years with my
wife. She bore me six children, four daughters and two
sons. All kinds of things happened, but I neither saw nor
heard. I believed, and that's all. the rabbi recently said
to me, "Belief in itself is beneficial. It is written that
a good man lived by his faith."

Suddenly my wife took sick. It began with a trifle, a
little growth upon the breast. But she evidently was not
destined to live long; she had no years. I spent a fortune
on her. I have forgotten to say that by this time I had a
bakery of my own and in Frampol was considered to be
something of a rich man. Daily the healer came, and every
witch doctor in the neighborhood was brought. They decided
to use leeches, and after that to try cupping. They even
called a doctor from Lublin, but it was too late. Before she
died she called me to her bed and said, "Forgive me,
Gimpel."

I said, "What is there to forgive? You have been a good and
faithful wife."

"Woe, Gimpel!" she said. "It was ugly how I decieved you
all these years. I want to go clean to my Maker, and so I
have to tell you that the children are not yours."

If I had been clouted on the head with a piece of wood it
couldn't have bewildered me more.

"Whose are they?" I asked.

"I don't know," she said. "There were a lot . . . but
they're not yours." And as she spoke she tossed her head to
the side, her eyes turned glassy, and it was all up with
Elka. On her whitened lips there remained a smile.

I imagined that, dead as she was, she was saying, "I
deceived Gimpel. That was meaning of my brief life."

One night, when the period of mourning was done, as I lay
dreaming on the flour sacks, there came the Spirit of Evil
himself and said to me, "Gimpel, why do you sleep?"

I said, "What should I be doing? Eating kreplach?"

"The whole world deceives you," he said, "and you ought to
deceive the world in your turn."

"How can I deceive all the world?" I asked him.

He answered, "You might accumulate a bucket of urine every
day and at night pour it into the dough. Let the sages of
Frampol eat filth."

"What about the judgement in the world to come?" I said.

"There is no world to come," he said. "They've sold you a
bill of goods and talked you into believing you carried a
cat in your belly. What nonsense!"

"Well then," I said, "and is there a God?"

He answered, "There is no God, either."

"What," I said, "is there then?"

"A thick mire."

He stood before my eyes with a goatish beard and horn,
long-toothed, and with a tail. Hearing such words, I wanted
to snatch him by the tail, but I tumbled from the flour
sacks and nearly broke a rib. Then it happened that I had
to answer the call of nature, and, passing I saw the risen
dough, which seemed to say to me, "Do it!" In brief, I let
myself be persuaded.

At dawn the apprentice came. We kneaded the bread,
scattered caraway seeds on it, and set it to bake. Then the
apprentice went away, and I was left sitting in the little
trench of the oven, on a pile of rags. Well, Gimpel, I
thought, you've revenged yourself on them for all the shame
they've put on you. Outside the frost glittered, but it was
warm beside the oven. The flames heated my face. I bent my
head and fell into a doze.

I saw in a dream, at once, Elka in her shroud. She called
to me, "What have you done, Gimpel?"

I said to her, "It's all your fault," and started to cry.

"You fool!" she said. "You fool!" Because I was false is
everything false too? I never deceived anyone but myself.
I'm paying for it all, Gimpel. They spare you nothing
here."

I looked at her face. It was black; I was startled and
waked, and remained sitting dumb. I sensed that everything
hung in the balance. A false step now and I'd lose Eternal
Life. But God gave me His help. I seized the long shovel
and took out the loaves, carried them into the yard, and
started to dig a hole in the frozen earth.

My apprentice came back as I was doing it. "What are you
doing boss?" he said, and grew pale as a corpse.

"I know what I'm doing," I said, and I buried it all before
his very eyes.

Then I went home, took my hoard from its hiding place, and
divided it among the children. "I saw your mother tonight,"
I said. "She's turning black, poor thing."

They were so astounded they couldn't speak a word.

"Be well," I said, "and forget that such a one as Gimpel
ever existed." I put on my short coat, a pair of boots,
took the bag that held my prayer shawl in one hand, my stock
in the other, and kissed the mezzuzah. When people saw me
in the street they were greatly surprised.

"Where are you going?" they said.

I answered, "Into the world." And so I departed from
Frampol.

I wandered over the land, and good people did not neglect
me. After many years I became old and white; I heard a
great deal, many lies and falsehoods, but the longer I lived
the more I understood that there were really no lies.
Whatever doesn't really happen is dreamed at night. It
happens to one if it doesn't happen to another, tomorrow if
not today, or a century hence if not next year. What
difference can it make? Often I heard tales of which I
said, "Now this is a thing that cannot happen." But before a
year had elapsed I heard that it actually had come to pass
somewhere.

Going from place to place, eating at strange tables, it
often happens that I spin yarns - improbable things that could
never have happened - about devils, magicians, windmills,
and the like. The children run after me, calling,
"Grandfather, tell us a story." Sometimes they ask for
particular stories, and I try to please them. A fat young
boy once said to me, "Grandfather, it's the same story you
told us before." The little rogue, he was right.

So it is with dreams too. It is many years since I left
Frampol, but as soon as I shut my eyes I am there again.
And whom do you think I see? Elka. She is standing by the
washtub, as at your first encounter, but she speaks
outlandish words to me, strange things. When I wake I have
forgotten it all. But while the dream lasts I am comforted.
She answers all my queries, and what comes out is that all
is right. I weep and implore, "Let me be with you." And
she consoles me and tells me to be patient. The time is
nearer than it is far. Sometimes she strokes and kisses me
and weeps upon my face. When I awaken I feel her lips and
taste the salt of her tears.

No doubt the world is entirely an imaginary world, but it is
only once removed from the true world. At the door of the
hotel where I lie, there stands the plank on which the dead
are taken away. The grave digger Jew has his spade ready.
The grave waits and the worms are hungry; the shrouds are
prepared - I carry them in my beggar's sack. Another
schnorrer is waiting to inherit my bed of straw. When the
time comes I will go joyfully. Whatever may be there, it
will be real, without complication, without ridicule,
without deception. God be praised: there even Gimpel
cannot be deceived.


The End





http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Bashevis_Singer
http://www.gimpel.tv/gimpel.txt
« Last Edit: 29 Oct, 2007, 17:30:15 by elena petelos »