Booking.com

Author Topic: Gimpel the Fool by Isaac Bashevis Singer  (Read 1102 times)

hubag bohol

  • AMBASSADOR
  • THE SOURCE
  • *****
  • Posts: 88325
  • "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool...
Re: Gimpel the Fool by Isaac Bashevis Singer
« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2013, 12:46:03 PM »
I wanted to run home immediately. It's no small think to be
separated for so long a time from wife and child. Then I
reflected: I'd better go back to work now, and go home in
the evening. I said nothing to anyone, although as far as
my heart was concerned it was like one of the Holy Days.
The women teased and twitted me as they did every day, but
my though was: Go on, with your loose talk. the truth is
out, like the oil upon the water. Maimonides says it's
right, and therefore it is right!

At night, when I had covered the dough to let it rise, I
took my share of bread and a little sack of flour and
started homeward. The moon was full and the stars were
glistening, something to terrify the soul. I hurried onward,
and before me started a long shadow. It was winter, and
fresh snow had fallen. I had a mind to sing, but it was
growing late and I didn't want to wake the householders.
Then I felt like whistling, but I remembered that you don't
whistle at night because it brings the demons out. So I was
silent and walked as fast as I could.
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln


hubag bohol

  • AMBASSADOR
  • THE SOURCE
  • *****
  • Posts: 88325
  • "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool...
Re: Gimpel the Fool by Isaac Bashevis Singer
« Reply #21 on: June 12, 2013, 12:46:57 PM »
Dogs in the Christian yards barked at me when I passed, but
I thought: Bark your teeth out! What are you but mere
dogs? Whereas I am a man, the husband of a fine wife, the
father of promising children.

As I approached the house my heart started to pound as
though it were the heart of a criminal. I felt no fear, but
my heart went thump! thump! Well, no drawing back. I
quietly lifted the latch and went in. Elka was asleep. I
looked at the infant's cradle. The shutter was closed, but
the moon forced its way through the cracks. I saw the
newborn child's face and loved it as soon as I saw it -
immediately-each tiny bone.

Then I came nearer to the bed. And what did I see but the
apprentice lying there beside Elka. The moon went out all
at once. It was utterly black, and I trembled. My teeth
chattered. The bread fell from my hands and my wife waked
and said, "Who is that, ah?" I muttered, "It's me."
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

hubag bohol

  • AMBASSADOR
  • THE SOURCE
  • *****
  • Posts: 88325
  • "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool...
Re: Gimpel the Fool by Isaac Bashevis Singer
« Reply #22 on: June 12, 2013, 12:47:40 PM »
"Gimpel?" she asked. "How come you're here? I thought it
was forbidden."

"The rabbi said," I answered and shook as with a fever.

"Listen to me, Gimpel," she said, "go out to the shed and
see if the goat's all right. It seems she's been sick." I
have forgotten to say that we had a goat. When I heard she
was unwell I went into the yard. The nanny goat was a good
little creature. I had nearly human feeling for her.

With hesitant steps I went up to the shed and opened the
door. The goat stood there on her four feet. I felt her
everywhere, drew her by the horns, examined her udders, and
found nothing wrong. She had probably eaten too much bark.
"Good night, little goat," I said. "Keep well." And the
little beast answered with a "Maa" as thought to thank me
for the good will.
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

hubag bohol

  • AMBASSADOR
  • THE SOURCE
  • *****
  • Posts: 88325
  • "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool...
Re: Gimpel the Fool by Isaac Bashevis Singer
« Reply #23 on: June 12, 2013, 12:48:20 PM »
I went back. The apprentice had vanished.

"Where," I asked, "is the lad?"

"What lad?" my wife answered.

"What do you mean?" I said. "The apprentice. You were
sleeping with him."

"The things I have dreamed this night and the night before,"
she said, "may they come true and lay you low, body and soul!
An evil spirit has taken root in you and dazzled your
sight." She screamed out, "You hateful creature! You moon
calf! You spook! You uncouth man! Get out, or I'll scream
all Frampol out of bed!"

Before I could move, her brother sprang out from behind the
oven and struck me a blow on the back of the head. I though
he had broken my neck. I felt the something about me was
deeply wrong, and I said, "Don't make a scandal. All that's
needed now is that people should accuse me of raising spooks
and dybbuks." For that was what she had mean. "No one will
touch bread of my baking."
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

hubag bohol

  • AMBASSADOR
  • THE SOURCE
  • *****
  • Posts: 88325
  • "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool...
Re: Gimpel the Fool by Isaac Bashevis Singer
« Reply #24 on: June 12, 2013, 12:48:56 PM »
In short, I somehow calmed her.

"Well," she said, "that's enough. Lie down, and be
shattered by wheels."

Next morning I called the apprentice aside. "Listen here,
brother!" I said. And so on and so forth. "What do you
say?" He stared at me as though I had dropped from the roof
or something.

"I swear," he said, "you'd better go to an herb doctor or
some healer. I'm afraid you have a screw loose, but I'll
hush it up for you." And that's how the think stood.

To make a long story short, I lived twenty years with my
wife. She bore me six children, four daughters and two
sons. All kinds of things happened, but I neither saw nor
heard. I believed, and that's all. the rabbi recently said
to me, "Belief in itself is beneficial. It is written that
a good man lived by his faith."
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

hubag bohol

  • AMBASSADOR
  • THE SOURCE
  • *****
  • Posts: 88325
  • "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool...
Re: Gimpel the Fool by Isaac Bashevis Singer
« Reply #25 on: June 12, 2013, 12:49:37 PM »
Suddenly my wife took sick. It began with a trifle, a
little growth upon the breast. But she evidently was not
destined to live long; she had no years. I spent a fortune
on her. I have forgotten to say that by this time I had a
bakery of my own and in Frampol was considered to be
something of a rich man. Daily the healer came, and every
witch doctor in the neighborhood was brought. They decided
to use leeches, and after that to try cupping. They even
called a doctor from Lublin, but it was too late. Before she
died she called me to her bed and said, "Forgive me,
Gimpel."

I said, "What is there to forgive? You have been a good and
faithful wife."

"Woe, Gimpel!" she said. "It was ugly how I deceived you
all these years. I want to go clean to my Maker, and so I
have to tell you that the children are not yours."
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

hubag bohol

  • AMBASSADOR
  • THE SOURCE
  • *****
  • Posts: 88325
  • "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool...
Re: Gimpel the Fool by Isaac Bashevis Singer
« Reply #26 on: June 12, 2013, 12:50:10 PM »
If I had been clouted on the head with a piece of wood it
couldn't have bewildered me more.

"Whose are they?" I asked.

"I don't know," she said. "There were a lot . . . but
they're not yours." And as she spoke she tossed her head to
the side, her eyes turned glassy, and it was all up with
Elka. On her whitened lips there remained a smile.

I imagined that, dead as she was, she was saying, "I
deceived Gimpel. That was meaning of my brief life."
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

hubag bohol

  • AMBASSADOR
  • THE SOURCE
  • *****
  • Posts: 88325
  • "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool...
Re: Gimpel the Fool by Isaac Bashevis Singer
« Reply #27 on: June 12, 2013, 12:50:54 PM »
One night, when the period of mourning was done, as I lay
dreaming on the flour sacks, there came the Spirit of Evil
himself and said to me, "Gimpel, why do you sleep?"

I said, "What should I be doing? Eating kreplach?"

"The whole world deceives you," he said, "and you ought to
deceive the world in your turn."

"How can I deceive all the world?" I asked him.

He answered, "You might accumulate a bucket of urine every
day and at night pour it into the dough. Let the sages of
Frampol eat filth."

"What about the judgement in the world to come?" I said.

"There is no world to come," he said. "They've sold you a
bill of goods and talked you into believing you carried a
cat in your belly. What nonsense!"
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

hubag bohol

  • AMBASSADOR
  • THE SOURCE
  • *****
  • Posts: 88325
  • "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool...
Re: Gimpel the Fool by Isaac Bashevis Singer
« Reply #28 on: June 12, 2013, 12:51:38 PM »
"Well then," I said, "and is there a God?"

He answered, "There is no God, either."

"What," I said, "is there then?"

"A thick mire."

He stood before my eyes with a goatish beard and horn,
long-toothed, and with a tail. Hearing such words, I wanted
to snatch him by the tail, but I tumbled from the flour
sacks and nearly broke a rib. Then it happened that I had
to answer the call of nature, and, passing I saw the risen
dough, which seemed to say to me, "Do it!" In brief, I let
myself be persuaded.
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

hubag bohol

  • AMBASSADOR
  • THE SOURCE
  • *****
  • Posts: 88325
  • "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool...
Re: Gimpel the Fool by Isaac Bashevis Singer
« Reply #29 on: June 12, 2013, 12:52:22 PM »
At dawn the apprentice came. We kneaded the bread,
scattered caraway seeds on it, and set it to bake. Then the
apprentice went away, and I was left sitting in the little
trench of the oven, on a pile of rags. Well, Gimpel, I
thought, you've revenged yourself on them for all the shame
they've put on you. Outside the frost glittered, but it was
warm beside the oven. The flames heated my face. I bent my
head and fell into a doze.

I saw in a dream, at once, Elka in her shroud. She called
to me, "What have you done, Gimpel?"

I said to her, "It's all your fault," and started to cry.

"You fool!" she said. "You fool!" Because I was false is
everything false too? I never deceived anyone but myself.
I'm paying for it all, Gimpel. They spare you nothing
here."
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

hubag bohol

  • AMBASSADOR
  • THE SOURCE
  • *****
  • Posts: 88325
  • "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool...
Re: Gimpel the Fool by Isaac Bashevis Singer
« Reply #30 on: June 12, 2013, 12:53:18 PM »
I looked at her face. It was black; I was startled and
waked, and remained sitting dumb. I sensed that everything
hung in the balance. A false step now and I'd lose Eternal
Life. But God gave me His help. I seized the long shovel
and took out the loaves, carried them into the yard, and
started to dig a hole in the frozen earth.

My apprentice came back as I was doing it. "What are you
doing boss?" he said, and grew pale as a corpse.

"I know what I'm doing," I said, and I buried it all before
his very eyes.

Then I went home, took my hoard from its hiding place, and
divided it among the children. "I saw your mother tonight,"
I said. "She's turning black, poor thing."
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

hubag bohol

  • AMBASSADOR
  • THE SOURCE
  • *****
  • Posts: 88325
  • "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool...
Re: Gimpel the Fool by Isaac Bashevis Singer
« Reply #31 on: June 12, 2013, 12:54:10 PM »
They were so astounded they couldn't speak a word.

"Be well," I said, "and forget that such a one as Gimpel
ever existed." I put on my short coat, a pair of boots,
took the bag that held my prayer shawl in one hand, my stock
in the other, and kissed the mezzuzah. When people saw me
in the street they were greatly surprised.

"Where are you going?" they said.

I answered, "Into the world." And so I departed from
Frampol.

I wandered over the land, and good people did not neglect
me. After many years I became old and white; I heard a
great deal, many lies and falsehoods, but the longer I lived
the more I understood that there were really no lies.
Whatever doesn't really happen is dreamed at night. It
happens to one if it doesn't happen to another, tomorrow if
not today, or a century hence if not next year. What
difference can it make? Often I heard tales of which I
said, "Now this is a thing that cannot happen." But before a
year had elapsed I heard that it actually had come to pass
somewhere.
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

hubag bohol

  • AMBASSADOR
  • THE SOURCE
  • *****
  • Posts: 88325
  • "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool...
Re: Gimpel the Fool by Isaac Bashevis Singer
« Reply #32 on: June 12, 2013, 12:54:48 PM »
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.


The End
...than to speak out and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

 

Mobile View
SimplePortal 2.3.6 © 2008-2014, SimplePortal