Folktales of the Jews - Vol. 2

By Dan Ben-Amos | Go to book overview
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52
The Stolen Ring

TOLD BY ZINDALE NEUMAN TO MEIR NOY

Once there was a king whose precious signet ring had been stolen. This king had a Jew-hating minister named Dayenu. "Your majesty, the Jews are a stiff-necked people," he told the king. "Their ways are crooked, and they consider every means appropriate to enhance their Passover festival, which is coming soon. Even the poor of Israel must celebrate this festival with great pomp and splendor, so there is no doubt that they stole the ring to sell it."

The king took the wicked minister's words to heart. On seder night, he disguised himself and went to the Jewish quarter, hoping to learn what had happened to his ring.

The king stood outside the window of one of the houses, where the seder was being conducted strictly according to procedure. Inside they were singing a song. The master of ceremonies was asking questions, and all of those seated around the table kept answering, "Dayenu."

"What are all these questions?" the king asked himself. "They must be about the thief who stole the ring. And the thief is none other than my minister Dayenu! The Jews are indeed a wise and intelligent people."

The king returned to his palace and sent messengers to search the minister's house. Sure enough, the signet ring was found. The shocked minister admitted that he had thought that he could use the signet ring to launch a rebellion and overthrow the king.

The king had his wicked Jew-hating minister executed. "So may all your enemies perish!"* He gave the Jews many presents, and they had light and gladness** and lived in peace and tranquility. And every year after that, the king's treasury paid out kimha de-Pis'ha—money to buy matzah with—to all the poor Jews.

*Judges 5:31.

*Esther 8:16.

-381-

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