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Jewish Fairy Tales and Legends

Gertrude Landa

Book Overview: 

My desire is to give boys and girls something Jewish which they may be able to regard as companion delights to the treasury of general fairy-lore and childish romance." from the preface. These tales deal with the boyish exploits of the great Biblical characters, Abraham, Moses, and David. "These I have rewritten from the stories in the Talmud and Midrash in a manner suitable for the children of to-day.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Bar Shalmon, amused at the fears of the men, again struck the vessel with the twig. Once more it trembled. A third time he raised the twig.

[44]"If the ship is bewitched," he said, "something will happen after the third blow."

"Swish" sounded the branch through the air, and the third blow fell on the vessel's bow. Something did happen. The ship almost leaped from the sand, and before Bar Shalmon could realize what had happened it was speeding swiftly away.

"Come back, come back," he screamed, and he could see the captain struggling with the helm. But the vessel refused to answer, and Bar Shalmon saw it grow smaller and smaller and finally disappear. He was alone on an uninhabited desert land.

"What a wretched plight for the richest man in the world," he said to himself, and the next moment he realized that he was in danger indeed.

A terrible roar made him look around. To his horror he saw a lion making toward him. As quick as. . . Read More

Community Reviews

This was a delightful, quick read. I was enchanted by many of the stories, and many of them felt very homey and familiar, like I'd heard a version of them before. They really did seem like Jewish fairy tales. Many of these short tales would make great bedtime stories.

Thought I would write an honest review that wasn’t Anti-Semitic like the top review currently.
This book is a pretty good selection of Jewish folklore ranging from biblical to a modern Europe. Many new ones to me and some classics that I was told in Hebrew school, including the Golem of Prague. Ther

I saw this book of tales referenced several times in other sources, most recently probably in "Jewish Myth, Magic & Mysticism," and I finally decided to give it a whirl. Most of the tales are deceptively simple (containing straightforward stories for the kids and timeless allegorical resonances for

David and Goliath meets a rabbi.

A lot of cute stories. Some of the stories feel like the equivalent of Bible fan fiction giving insight and fleshing out some of the characters, such as Abraham. This had the story of Abraham and smashing the idols. Also had a few others like one about David. It's good to help flesh out the characte

Interesting collection of stories of "indeterminate origin"

This was an easy read, taking only part of an afternoon to finish. Many of the stories seemed to be a mix of both older and newer tales. I found the notion that Alexander the Great viewed "luminous" fish as I seem to recall those being a twe

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