“The Jew Among Thorns”
There once was a miser who didn’t pay his servant for several years, and when the servant wanted his pay so he could go off and see the world, the miser severely underpaid him. The servant didn’t understand money and thought he had a fortune, so he set off singing and dancing down the road.
Along the way he met an old man who asked for money because he was old and could no longer work. The servant gave him his money, and the old man granted him three wishes. The three things the servant wished for were a gun that never missed, a fiddle that made everyone dance, and that nobody would be able to refuse him any favor he asked.
The servant set out and he came upon an old Jew who wanted a bird that was sitting up in a tree. The servant shot it with his gun and it fell into some thorn-bushes, and he told the Jew to fetch it himself.
The Jew crawled into the thorns to get the bird, and the servant began playing his fiddle. The Jew started jumping and dancing all about as the thorns ripped his skin and clothes. To make him stop, the Jew offered up a purse full of gold.
So the servant took the purse and went on his way. Once he was out of sight, the Jew cursed him and ran to town to get the judge.
Men went out and found the servant and brought him back to the town. He said the Jew had given him the money of his own free will, but the judge didn’t buy that because “no Jew would do that.” The servant was convicted of robbery and sentenced to hang.
As he was being led to the gallows, the servant asked the favor of playing his fiddle one last time. The servant began to play and everyone there began to jump about and dance. He played for a long time until the judge offered to spare his life if he stopped. The servant stopped playing and went to the Jew and asked where he had gotten the purse of gold. The Jew said he had stolen it, so the judge sent him to the gallows.
Why do I have the feeling this story will never be made into a kid’s movie? I think the oddest twist in this for me is that the servant is described as good hearted. I mean, he gave all his money to some beggar he met on the road. But the very next man he meets on the road, he sends into a thorn bush and makes him dance about. So I guess the “moral” of this story is that you can be both good hearted and cruel, as long as you’re cruel to Jews.