Tag Archives: anti-semitism

Barrel Maker Family Legend

This was collected during a discussion section for this class on March 27, 2018 in which we were instructed to exchange folklore with each other. We could share whatever we wanted, so there was no prompting from me about this legend. This was told to me along with several other people in our discussion. WL is the informant, PH is myself.

WL: Okay so this is a family legend, the legend of my …. great-great-great grandpa. Maybe even further back in the family, I’m not sure exactly. I’ll just call him my grandpa. He was a barrel maker. My whole family left Russia at the turn of the 18th century, they were all Jewish, it was anti-Semitic Minsk, Russia. My dad told me this. So, my grandpa: barrel maker, strong, long beard. A Russian cossack comes up to my grandpa, throws an anti-Semitic slur at him, and pulls his beard. Grandpa replies, “Thanks for putting me in my place,” basically, puts his hand out to shake….but my grandpa is really strong–

At this point, I had to leave the discussion to make it to my next class, so the recounting was interrupted. We agreed she would finish telling me another time. On April 8, 2018 I showed the informant how much I had written down to jog her memory.

PH: It ends with your great grandpa extending his hand to shake

WL: Okay so my great great grandpa, whatever it is…his is around like the beginning of the 19th century…extends his hand to this Russian Cossack and is like, “Oh thanks for putting me in my place” etc etc and ends up BREAKING this dude’s hand because he was such a strong barrel maker…. My dad tells this story pretty much at any event where the entirety of his family is over.