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Jewish Folktales

Tax Complaint

An unemployed man was in his bed devising a plan to make money. He thought to himself, “I’ll get a job at the shoe factory. And after a month, I’ll use some of my earnings to buy ten chicks. And then those chicks will grow up and become adults, and they’ll lay eggs. And those eggs will hatch. And those chicks will grow up. And I’ll eventually have lots of hens producing eggs. And I’ll have enough money to buy a young lamb. The young lamb will grow up and have lambs, and they’ll have lambs, and I’ll end up having many lambs. Too many for me to tend to. I’ll have to go to Capital City and sell them. But when I get to the city border, they’ll say I have to pay customs to bring in the lambs.”

As he though about this, the man grew enraged over the idea of having to pay taxes. He got out of bed, went to the home of the customs officer, and banged on the door. The customs officer answered, and the man began complaining, “I refuse to pay taxes for taking my lambs across the city border!”

The customs officer said that he had to pay the taxes. The man responded by shouting, and soon this led to an intense shouting match between the two.

As they fought, the customs officer said, “Let me ask you something. Just how many lambs do you have in your flock?”

“There is no flock. I don’t have any lambs yet.”

“Well then leave me alone, and don’t come to see me until you do have some lambs!”

Same Letter, Different Results

A wealthy man had a son who was away in another city studying. One day, the man received a letter from the son, and asked his secretary to read it.

The latter, being in an agitated mood, read impatiently:

“Dad!–I need money as soon as possible–I need to buy some clothes.”

Greatly annoyed, the wealthy man said, “What a rude boy! He has no right to be so arrogant and write such a letter to me. I am not going to send him a cent.”

But an hour later, he showed the letter to his wife, and she, very eager to see the letter from her son, read aloud in a sweet caring voice:

“Dad! I need money as soon as possible. I need to buy some clothes.”

“OK,” said the father. “Now that’s more like it. He’s asking with some manners. I’ll send out the money.”

Drinker or Teacher?

A teacher was fond of liquor, but soon gained such a reputation for drinking that all his pupils left him. A friend heard about this and said, “I’ll help you stop drinking. If you give it up, you’ll get all your students back. Try!”

“What!” the teacher replied. “I’ve been teaching for all this time so that I could drink. And now you’re asking me to stop drinking so that I can teach!”


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