Shtetl Routes. Vestiges of Jewish cultural heritage in cross-border tourism in borderland of Poland, Belarus and Ukraine

Beta version

Shtetl Routes. Vestiges of Jewish cultural heritage in cross-border tourism in borderland of Poland, Belarus and Ukraine

Beta version

NN Theatre

The Passover Elf Helps great-grandmother

B. Silverman Weinreich, “Yiddish Folktales”, New York 1988: “The Passover Elf Help great-grandmother”.

The Passover Elf Helps great-grandmother

One Saturday evening in fall, after the holidays, my great-grandmother was standing beside the stove rendering down goose fat. She was all alone in the kitchen; the house was hushed and still. Suddenly in the chimney corner, she saw a tiny hand stretched out, palm up, as if it were asking for something. She felt terribly frightened but forced herself to remain calm while she put a piece of crackling into the little hand. Then she started to pour the rendered fat from the frying pan into containers. But no matter how often she poured from the pan, it stayed full. She poured and poured until every vessel in the house was brimming with fat. Every pot, every pitcher, every tub. And the fat continued to flow as from a spring.

About midnight my great-grandfather woke up and saw that the kitchen was brightly lighted and his wife was still standing at the stove. He got out of bed and said irritably, “Why are you fussing with the fat at this hour? It’s almost dawn.”

“Well,” said my great-grandmother, “there went that. Too bad. Our household was being blessed: we had an elf, a shretele, in the house, and now you’ve chased it away.”

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