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The Dybbuk and Other Writings by S. Ansky {Excerpt}

The Dybbuk and Other Writings by S. Ansky {Excerpt}

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Published by OpenRoadMedia
This volume presents The Dybbuk, S. Ansky’s well-known drama of mystical passion and demonic possession, along with little-known works of his autobiographical and fantastical prose fiction and an excerpt from his four-volume chronicle of the Eastern Front in the First World War, The Destruction of Galacia.
This volume presents The Dybbuk, S. Ansky’s well-known drama of mystical passion and demonic possession, along with little-known works of his autobiographical and fantastical prose fiction and an excerpt from his four-volume chronicle of the Eastern Front in the First World War, The Destruction of Galacia.

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Published by: OpenRoadMedia on Oct 14, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/23/2013

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!
 
S. Ansky
THE DYBBUK AND OTHER WRITINGS
 
!
In the Tavern
1
The drunken gang spilled out of the tavern and dispersed in the alley,stomping in the soggy mud. Except for the women tavernkeepers, onlytwo gentile “regulars” of the Whirlpool Inn remained inside, Axinya andGlashka. The first, a disheveled hag with a black eye, sat on the floor in adrunken fever. She kept shouting disconnected words and phrases. Theyounger woman, Glashka, was uncharacteristically sober. She busiedherself scraping the floorboard with an iron shovel, removing wholeclumps of dirt.Malke squatted behind the bar lining up the empty bottles that her granddaughter, Khanke, handed to her over the counter. From the livingquarters came the tavernkeeper, Malke’s son and Khanke’s father. He wasstooped and had a matted, reddish beard. Throwing an anxious glancearound the room, he too went behind the bar and began counting up thereceipts.“Leyb,” said Malke, turning to him as she rose from the floor withdifficulty. “Could you spend about an hour behind the bar? Khanke has togo to the liquor store, and I’d like to lie down for a while.”“Don’t have the time.” Leyb cut her short. “As if I had nothing better to do than sit behind the bar!” he added, putting on his coat.Though he thought himself master of the tavern, Leyb rarely sat behind the counter; he had his own affairs, serious, important matters. Heviewed the tavern with disdain, as a two-bit operation fit only for women.“Pick up that towel—otherwise they’ll steal it!” he muttered as hewalked out.
 
S. Ansky
THE DYBBUK AND OTHER WRITINGS
 
!
Glashka had scraped all the mud off the floor, swept it into one pile, and taken it outside. With a cigarette for her labors, she lit up and satdown on the bench, calm and satisfied, like a person who hadconscientiously fulfilled a given task. Then Khanke entrusted her with amore important one: to return the empty barrel to the liquor store.Deliberately but with a good deal of inner satisfaction, Glashka picked upthe barrel. She was flattered by the trust shown in her; she also knew thatshe would be treated to a drink both in the liquor store and upon her successful return.A Jew about thirty years of age, thin, phlegmatic, came into thetavern. He looked around, went up to the counter, put down a five-kopeck  piece, silently pointed at the barrel with his chin. Khanke understood and poured him a glass.“Reb Mikhel, you were two kopecks shy this morning,” shereminded him.He looked at her with disdain. “I’m not leaving town,” he mutteredthrough his teeth, spat to the side, picked up the glass with a shaking hand,and gulped his drink down in one swallow.He was barely done when his wife rushed into the tavern; she wasa short, sharp-nosed woman, with tiny wild eyes; she stopped in front of her husband and addressed him angrily: “Another little glass? Your throatall dry, is it? Gotta moisten it, do you? How many is that today? Eh?”“The fif-tee-nth….” Mikhel answered with imperturbable calm.“Oh, you swine! You might at least be ashamed of yourself!”“The fifteenth!” She mimicked him.Mikhel looked at her with contempt and burst into quiet,monotonously steady laughter.

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