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The Storyteller

Selected Short Stories
Volume Four



Published by

770 Eastern Parkway
Brooklyn, N.Y. 11213


Copyright s 1991

Published by

770 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York 11213
Tel. (718) 774-4000 " 493-9250


Preface to Volume One
Foreword to Volume Four

The Children Were Calling
The Horse and its Rider
A Seder without Wine
The Wonder Flute
Adventure on Kol-Nidrei Night
Hakafot Under Fire
Chanukah during the Blitz
Purim Saragossa
The Berditchever's Shallach-Monos

The Maharal's Bride
The Royal Banquet
"Nachas" from Children
Solitary Confinement
The Bookbinder
Encounter with Napoleon
It was only a Small Candle
From Rags to Riches


The Tailor of Lemberg
An Unusual Reception
The Little Siddur'l
The Blood Libel of Ragusa
The Blind Fiddler
The Coachman
A Double Cure

Father of the Rothschilds
At the Western Wall
The Beehive

Last Will and Testament
The Oak Tree
From Hebron to Jerusalem 500 Years Ago
The Missing Bridegroom
Adventures of a Jewish Girl
The Physician from Toledo
A Miraculous Rescue
The Emperor Walked in his Sleep
The Czar and his Jewish Contractor
The Spectacles
The Cock did not Crow

The Getaway

The Children
Were Calling

  Once upon a time there lived in a small town a
very fine and pious Jew called Yakov, whose busi-
ness was a distillery of spirits. He had a small
factory where he employed a few workers under
the care of a highly skilled supervisor. This super-
visor knew his work well, and served his employer
honestly and conscientiously. The employer treated
his workers very nicely and the business prospered
greatly. Yakov had nothing much to do in the factory
and could devote most of his time to Torah study,
prayer and the practice of good deeds.

Everything seemed to run very smoothly for a
time, until one day the supervisor gave notice of
leaving. Nothing could induce him to stay and he
left his position before his employer was able to
find a substitute. The owner of the distillery was
greatly distressed, not knowing where to find
another supervisor for his factory.

The day after the supervisor left, a stranger
knocked at the door of Yakov's house, as Yakov was
sitting at the table having dinner.

With his customary hospitality, Yakov invited
the stranger to dinner and offered him to stay in

is house as long as he wished. The stranger grate-
fully accepted the invitation.

Looking into the face of his kindly host, the
newcomer felt that something was worrying him.
He asked what it was, and Yakov told him of his

"What a coincidence," the stranger said, "I
know this work well and will be glad to accept the
position if you will offer it to me."

"You are Heaven-sent!" exclaimed the host, and
without further delay proceeded to tell him of the
very good conditions the position held out for his
visitor. The working hours, wages and other condi-
tions were mutually agreed upon, and the stranger
whose name was Moshe, became Yakov's new super-
visor in the distillery.

The new supervisor was provided with living
quarters in the factory, and everything began to
run smoothly again.

It was Yakov's custom to invite his supervisor
to the melave malke (the traditional meal of Satur-
day night dedicated to the departing "Sabbath
Queen"). The new supervisor was very glad to be
his employer's guest every Saturday night for this
inspiring occasion. Employer and employee thus
spent a few happy hours discussing other things
than business; the weekly portion of the Torah and
various spiritual matters were the only topics of
their conversation at the melave malke. Though

the new supervisor did not appear to be a great
scholar, he certainly made an intelligent listener,
and he let his employer speak most of the time. It
was clear, however, that Moshe was a pious man.

Once, when Moshe came to his employer's house
on a Saturday night as was his custom, he found
his host busy with some accounts in his study.
Moshe did not want to disturb him and so he sat
down quietly and waited. As time went on and his
host was still engrossed in his work, Moshe decided
to go home.

About half an hour later, Yakov looked at the
clock, and immediately closed his books. He was
surprised not to see Moshe in his house and in-
quired of his family whether he had been there or
not. On being told that Moshe had been waiting
for him quite a while and had left, Yakov felt very
sorry that he should have spoiled the evening for
both of them. Besides, Yakov was not sure whether
his supervisor would have a meal that night, since
it was his custom to be his employer's guest every

Finally, Yakov decided to go to Moshe and call
him to his house.

Approaching Moshe's living quarters in the fac-
tory, Yakov could not believe his eyes. A bright light
was streaming out of the window shutters, such as
he had never seen before. His curiosity aroused,
Yakov walked briskly up to the window and peered

in. He held his breath and nearly fainted when he
saw his supervisor talking earnestly to an old man
with a silvery beard and a face that looked like an
angel's. They were both sitting at a richly clad
table, covered with a sparkling white table cloth,
burning candles, and delicious foods.

Without recovering from his surprise, Yakov
turned on his heels and fled.

At night he could not sleep a wink, and the
following morning he hastened to the supervisor.

"Master and teacher," Yakov said, "I cannot let
you work for me any longer. You have been hiding
your identity from me. I saw you last night in the
company of a G-dly person. I beg you to tell me
who you are, and who was your visitor?"

"If you saw my visitor last night, it is good for
you," the supervisor answered, "and I can trust you.
The visitor was Elijah the Prophet, who came to
tell me last night that the time has come for me
to discard my disguise and become a teacher. He
told me to return to my native town to become
teacher and spiritual leader there, for the sake of
the children who needed me. I asked him how it
was possible for me to do this, since everybody in
my native town knew me as an ordinary human
being, unqualified for such a position. 'Have no fear
of that,' Elijah told me, 'and here is proof: When
you come back to your native town the children,
seeing you, will run excitedly about the streets tell-
ing everybody that the Rebbe has come to town.
How would the children know? Well, those children

are very good. Their minds and hearts have not
been spoilt; they have a hidden sense to recognize
a real Rebbe and teacher!'"

After warmly bidding good-bye to each other,
they parted. Moshe returned to his native town,
and sure enough the children turned out to greet
the new Rebbe joyously, exactly as Elijah had


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