Folktales of the Jews - Vol. 2

By Dan Ben-Amos | Go to book overview

28
The Boy Who Was Kidnapped and
Brought to Russia

TOLD BY HINDA SHEINFERBER TO HADARAH SELA

Once some kidnappers came and snatched an only child. He was already past thirteen. He left the synagogue with his efillin.* But they grabbed him, gagged him so that he wouldn't scream, put him in a wagon, and carried him off to distant Russia.

They gave the boy to a childless family, who took care of him. He cried a lot because he missed his parents and wanted to go home. He wouldn't eat their food because it wasn't Jewish food. He didn't want to eat. He became thin and sickly. He ate only bread and water. The man loved the boy very much. He called in a physician, who told him, "If you want him to be your son, do what he wants. Buy him new dishes, a plate and a pot and a spoon and a fork, and let him prepare his own food, so he'll start eating."

The boy said that if he watched them milk the cow he'd drink the milk. So they began to cook potatoes with milk. And he could eat butter, too, because when they make butter, it doesn't absorb anything from the goy.** So he was already eating butter and potatoes and drinking milk straight from the cow. He began to be in a better mood and started studying. The man brought him a teacher to teach him Russian because the boy knew only Yiddish.

He grew up. In Russia they went to the army for twenty-five years. He was seventeen or eighteen when they took him for a soldier. But what could he do with his tefillin? He found a metal box and put them inside, dug a hole, and marked the place. He buried his tefillin there and went off to the army.

He grew old—well, not really old, but he had a long beard, and his

*Small black leather prayer boxes, wrapped around the head and arm, containing passages from the
Torah.

**A non-Jew, often meant disparagingly.

-214-

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