Folktales of the Jews - Vol. 2

By Dan Ben-Amos | Go to book overview

35
The Tailor Who Was Content
with His Lot

TOLD BY DVORA FUS

In a village there lived a poor couple. They had never had children, but this did not keep them from leading a contented life. His trade was tailoring, which he practiced for the gentiles of the village. At home they had plenty of good things. When they had a guest for the Sabbath, he never went away hungry, while they learned all the news about events in the big city from the wayfarer.

There was also a poor woman from the next town who used to come begging door to door. The housewife would feed her well and give her more to take back home. This went on for years.

Then the tailor's wife died suddenly, and he was left alone. He took his loss very hard and began looking for a match. He was considering the neighbor woman, until he had a dream in which a heavenly voice told him: "You must not look for a match. You must marry the woman who comes every week asking for alms." He woke up from his sleep in a fright. But when the voice called three times, saying, "If you don't marry the woman, you will die," he began to change his mind. Still, how could he marry a woman who went begging door to door, and he a respectable householder? What would people say? On the other hand, would it be better to die?

When the woman came around, as usual, he didn't give her a handout right away. He asked her to sit down, and started up a conversation with her: "Perhaps you should marry me? Then you wouldn't have to beg. You'd be a housewife."

The woman thought he was making fun of her. "Go on! Can't you find a better match?" But when she saw that he was serious, she told him: "If you want to marry me, you must go begging with me for a year. You are obviously a clever man. Life is full of talk. You will always be calling me 'the tramp,' and I won't stand for that. If we're going to be happy together, you have to agree to come begging with me. We'll go far away so no one

-263-

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