Friday, January 12, 2007

The Art of Storytelling

Once upon a time there was a shocket,
that is, a kosher butcher,
who went for a walk.

He was standing by the harbor
admiring the ships, all painted white,
when up came three sailors, led by an officer.
"Filth," they said, "who gave you permission?"
and they seized and carried him off.

So he was taken into the navy.
It wasn't a bad life — nothing is.
He learned how to climb and sew,
and to shout "Glad to be of service, Your Excellency!"
He sailed all round the world,
Was twice shipwrecked, and had other adventures.
Finally, he made his way back to the village ...
whereupon he put on his apron, and picked up his knife,
and continued to be a shocket.

At this point, the person telling the story
would say, "This shocket-sailor
was one of our relatives, a distant cousin."

It was always so, they knew they could depend on it.
Even if the story made no sense,
the one in the story would be a relative —
a definite connection with the family.

Louis Simpson

11:47 AM