Going from place to place, eating at strange tables, it
often happens that I spin yarns - improbable things that could
never have happened - about devils, magicians, windmills,
and the like. The children run after me, calling,
"Grandfather, tell us a story." Sometimes they ask for
particular stories, and I try to please them. A fat young
boy once said to me, "Grandfather, it's the same story you
told us before." The little rogue, he was right.
So it is with dreams too. It is many years since I left
Frampol, but as soon as I shut my eyes I am there again.
And whom do you think I see? Elka. She is standing by the
washtub, as at your first encounter, but she speaks
outlandish words to me, strange things. When I wake I have
forgotten it all. But while the dream lasts I am comforted.
She answers all my queries, and what comes out is that all
is right. I weep and implore, "Let me be with you." And
she consoles me and tells me to be patient. The time is
nearer than it is far. Sometimes she strokes and kisses me
and weeps upon my face. When I awaken I feel her lips and
taste the salt of her tears.
No doubt the world is entirely an imaginary world, but it is
only once removed from the true world. At the door of the
hotel where I lie, there stands the plank on which the dead
are taken away. The grave digger Jew has his spade ready.
The grave waits and the worms are hungry; the shrouds are
prepared - I carry them in my beggar's sack. Another
schnorrer is waiting to inherit my bed of straw. When the
time comes I will go joyfully. Whatever may be there, it
will be real, without complication, without ridicule,
without deception. God be praised: there even Gimpel
cannot be deceived.