Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Saturday, December 9, 2017

“A Feast for the Poor” - A Short Story by Mordecai Spector -1912- Translated from Yiddish

There was a tradition among Eastern European Jews  that at the wedding a host was obligated to provide the poor of the community with a wonderful feast.  This gives the host, normally the father of the bride, an opportunity to flash his wealth and gives him the chance to show his generosity.  In today’s very funny story, we see how the poor work this tradition.

This morning’s story “A Feast for the Poor” by Mordecai Spector (their are slight variations found in the spelling of his first name) is just a pure delight, funny and sharply satirical.   The bride’s father had laid out a bountiful feast, Spector’s description made me wish I was there, he sent his head man to the local village with three big wagons to get the poor.  His man comes back and tells him the people say they already went to another big wedding feast, they won’t come to his feast unless he gives everyone a ruble.  This is potentially a huge loss of face.  He goes to the town to negotiate on this, to see if they will take less money.  I won’t tell more so as not to spoil this delightful story.  

 Leonard Nimoy does a very good job introducing the story and it is perfectly spoken

Mordecai Spector was born in the Ukraine in 1858, to a prominent Jewish Family.  Traditionally educated, he moved to Odessa, an intellectual hotspot, at 19 and became involved with he left The Soviet Union and moved to New York City, he continued to write, largely in Yiddish until his death in 1925.  (The link from Yivo  is very good.)

This story, including the introduction, can be heard in about 16 minutes. I really enjoyed “A Feast for the Poor”.

Mel u

1 comment:

Buried In Print said...

I've marked this one for later. I find it interesting how much can be conveyed in such a truly *short* short story.