Imágenes de páginas

On each day of the feast, the book, or scroll, of Esther, is read from begining to end in the Synagogues, and all the Jews, of each sex and every age, to whom attendance is not quite impracticable, are required to be present, for the better preservation of the momory of the important deliverance it records. The copy of Esther must be written on vellum, as a single roll by itself.

There are five places in the text where the reader raises his voice with all his might; when he comes to the place which metions the ten sons of Haman, he repeats them very quick to show they were all destroyed in a moment; and every time the name of Haman is pronounced, the children used formerly to strike furiously against the benches of the Synagogue with little mallets, which they brought for that purpose; the elder members of the congregation clapping their hands, and stamping their feet, exclaiming “Let his name be blotted out; may the memory of the wicked rot. After the reading is finished the whole congregation exclaim, “Cursed be Haman! blessed be Mordecai ! cursed be Zerish ! blessed be Esther! cursed be all Idolators ! blessed be all Israelites! and blessed also be Harbonah, at whose suggestion Haman was hanged."

John.-Did you say, papa, the children did not use the little mallets now ?

MR. W.-They have recently discontinued that, but all the rest they keep up as formerly. It is said they used to have a large stone with Haman's name written upon it, and looking upon it as his representative, batter it with other stones, till the writing was effaced, exclaiming as before, “Let his name be blotted out,” &c,

[ocr errors]

Altogether this festival is one of great rejoicing. All furnish their tables with every luxury they can command.

Mordecai after this became still higher in esteem both by the king and his own people, the Jews. Esther and him. self both did their utmost for the continued happiness of their people during the remainder of their long lives.

John. - Thank you, papa, for this beautiful history. I shall always remember the trouble and deliverance of the poor Jews, and the feast of Purim, that Esther established in grateful recollection of the same.

MR. W.-That is quite right, my dear boy; but also remember, in connexion with wicked Haman, the truth of the proverb, that “The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked; but he blesseth the habitation of the just.”

[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed]
[ocr errors][merged small]


Translated from the French,


[ocr errors]

F all the birds that repeat the language of

man, the Starling is the one which speaks it the most distinctly, • It will, " says Buffon," learn to speak indifferent French,

, German, Greek, and Latin, and to pro

nounce connected words and short sentences.”

Ambrose, a cobler, the back of whose stall was at the corner of one of the principal streets of Paris, had one of these birds, who, joyous and talkative, though always shut up in an old wicker cage, was the delight of his master, and would repeat nearly all he heard. " Where is Ambrose ?" a customer would ask when they could not find him in the stall.

" In the public-house at the corner, the Starling would immediately reply. “ How much do I owe you, Ambrose ?” another would say. “Twenty pence exactly,” cries the Starling. At length, the chattering of the bird got so well known in the neighbourhood, that the cobbler saw each day the number of his customers increase, and found in his obscure stall ease, happiness, and gaiety.

In front of the stall of the cobbler were the windows of an apartment belonging to a military captain, whose only daughter, named Flora, twelve years of age, took great pleasure in listening to the Starling. Often had she talked about it to her father, and for some time had begged him to buy the bird, that each day gave them greater pleasure,

The Captain, in consequence of the entreaties of his daughter, sent for Ambrose one morning, and asked him how much he would sell his Starling for. “ Sell my Starling! no, sir, that would be selling my life. It is he who procures me all my customers, who makes all the neighbours come to my shop. It is to him I owe my songs, my health, and the happiness I enjoy. All the gold that you have would not be enough to buy my Starling.

You hear, said the officer to his daughter, man will not part with a bird that is so dear to him, and I cannot blame his refusal. At these words Ambrose returned to his stall, more joyous than ever, and applauded himself for having kept his dear Starling, who seemed to know the attachment his old master bore him, and kept repeating what he had heard said in the street. old Ambrose,--good old Ambrose,"--and seemed to partici. pate in his master's delight. A short time after, the cobbler, learning from a servant of the Captain's that his daughter was always wishing for the bird, thought that he would discourage the young lady, by making his dear pupil

" this good

[ocr errors]

" Good

[ocr errors]

pronounce several words, that would apply to the conduct and habits of little Flora. If she scolded the servant, the next day, upon going to the window, she heard the Starling say:

“ Flora is naughty,”- “Flora is naughty.” If she told her father an untruth, to abuse his confidence, soon she would hear the Starling say:-"Flora tells stories,”—"Flora tells stories.” At length, each time she did anything wrong, she was sure to receive from the well-taught bird a lesson that wounded her self-love, at the same time making a great impression upon her.

The result that Ambrose had wished for soon arrived. As much as Flora had liked the Starling before, now she disliked it quite as much. She complained to her father of the audacity of the cobbler, urging him to punish him for his insolence. At the same moment the Starling called out several times :-"Flora is naughty,”—"Flora is naughty." "You hear,” she cried ; “surely you will not suffer your daughter to be insulted thus ? I am not the only person that this ugly little animal insults ; he abuses you

likewise. “ Flora tells stories,”—“Flora tells'stories," again replied the Starling.

This happy stroke, which sprang from chance, only heightened the anger and spite of the little lady, but at the same time opened her father's eyes, who repressing his surprise and sorrow, proposed to himself to profit by this singular incident.

Some days after, the Captain learned that during his ab. sence, Flora's nurse had been to see her, and that she had been received with an indifference and pride that had wounded this worthy woman, who, upon retiring in tears, promised never to see again the ungrateful little girl whom

« AnteriorContinuar »