Jewish Bedtime Story Co-op

A Seder story that is told at the tables of Babylonian Jews...

Once upon a time there was a land in which the monarch was chosen by a bird. Yes, a bird.

You see, whenever it was time to choose a new king or queen, a bird called The Bird of Mazel would be released. On Whomever's head the bird landed, that person would be crowned the ruler of the land.

A time came when a new ruler had to be chosen. The Mazel bird was released. It flew around, and it flew around, and then it flew around some more.

Then the Bird of Mazel landed upon the head of a slave. This slave was an entertainer who dressed in feathered costumes and played instruments at parties. He also wore a big felt hat.

The slave was taken to the palace, placed in royal robes, coronated, and became king. He was a benevolent ruler of the land. He was a just king, filled with mercy and good judgement. He was fair to rich and poor alike.

Each year, in the Spring, at the time of the full moon, the king would leave his royal palace and spend time in a broken down hut. There he would take off his royal robes and attire and put on his old slave clothes. He would then dance around the hut and play his instruments as he did when he was a slave.

One year, the royal ministers and advisors confronted their king. "Your highness," they said, "you are our king. Why do you choose to attire yourself in the clothes of a lowly slave?"

The king replied so that all could hear, "Once I was a slave, and now I am a free man. Each year, I wish to remind myself that I was once a slave, so that I do not become puffed up like a piece of leavened bread or fluffy cake and treat the people of the kingdom arrogantly.

And this is how the king remembered that once he was a slave. -- Revised: July 1999
Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 Acquired in August 1999.

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