TEXT: “One day a rabbi went to visit a small stable owner. He saw one of horses and liked it very much. He asked him if he could have the horse as a gift. The owner replied that that was his favorite horse and was able to the work of three horses combined, so he said no. The rabbi left and upon his leaving the horse dropped dead right then and there.”
INFORMANT DESCRIPTION: Male, 83, Polish, Jewish
CONTEXT: This legend has many variations, some other are called The Magic Horse. But this man told me that this variation has a different purpose and message. He said he learned it from his dad who was trying to make him understand that God works in mysterious ways. He wanted him to be charitable but also loyal to his religion. The man says he never liked the legend because he doubted that it ever happened and didn’t like the message it gives. He said it made him feel like he could not say no to his rabbi or something bad would happen to him. But he understands the charitable aspect of the legend and will always remember it. He says that other variations of the legend are also interesting and have many different meanings.
THOUGHTS: I thought this was a very interesting legend that definitely had some aspect of charity but also duty to the religion. I find it a bit exaggerated but I also think it isn’t supposed to be so literal. Really just about sharing and being able to give things up for the benefit of others.
LINKS TO OTHER VERSIONS: https://culture.pl/en/article/hasidic-tales-7-intriguing-polish-jewish-legends