Although Hayyim Nahman Bialik is known primarily as a poet -- perhaps the greatest Hebrew poet in the past six hundred years -- his novellas and other fictional prose writings are also of the highest quality and deserve the attention of a wide reading public.
Four of his stories, translated into English by I. M. Lask, came out in New York in 1939 under the title Aftergrowth and Other Stories, and the same translator had a fifth story appear under the title "Aryeh the Brawny" in Israel Argosy 7 in 1960. Similarly, Herbert Danby's translation of "The Legend of the Three and Four" was included in And It Came to Pass, published in New York in 1938. These translations have great merit, but they have been out of print and virtually unobtainable for many decades. Moreover, over the past half century English itself has undergone considerable changes and acquired a greatly expanded vocabulary.
In the light of these factors, a new translation of Bialik's five novellas, together with The Legend of the Three and Four (Second Version), seems both appropriate and timely. These works are presented to the English-language reader in the hope that they may help to illustrate the quality of modern Hebrew literature in its period of revival.