For centuries, fairy tales have entertained, enchanted, frightened and enlightened. They have been many things to many people the world over. But one thing they have clearly not been is Jewish. Until now.
As my Judaic gift to young and old, I have decided to create a new collection which will present Jewish versions of some of the most beloved fairy tales. No, I insist. I’m a giver. Fairy Tales for Jews should be available shortly in bookstores, online, and at some of the more upscale carwashes.
Here is a selection of three from it to whet your appetite:
The Meeskait Duckling
A little duckling, Reuven, was very sad because he thought he was the ugliest amongst all his brothers and sisters. They would not play dreidel with him and teased the poor ugly duckling. His therapist, Dr. Feinblatt, prescribed the antidepressant Lexapro, but Reuven found it slowed him down and made it more difficult to quack and swim. One day, he saw his reflection in the water and cried, “Nobody likes me. They’re right; I am a meeskait.”
He decided to leave home, packed a bag and a few pieces of rugelach, and went far away into the woods.
Deep in the forest, he saw a cottage in which there lived an old woman, Chava, her hen Lila, and her cat, Shlomo. The duckling stayed with them for some time but he was unhappy there and soon left. When winter set in, the poor duckling almost froze to death. A peasant took him home to his wife and children who often scrolled their computers for duckling recipes. The poor duckling was terrified of the children and escaped. The meeskait duckling spent the winter in a marshy pond.
Finally, spring arrived. One day, the duckling saw a beautiful swan, Miriam, swimming in the pond and fell in love with her. But then he remembered how everyone made fun of him and he bent his head down in shame. When he saw his own reflection in the water he was astonished. He was not an ugly duckling anymore, but a handsome young swan! Now, he knew why he had looked so different from his brothers and sisters. “They were ducklings but I was a baby swan!” he said to himself. “No wonder Jews are referred to as “The Chosen Swans”.”
He married Miriam and lived happily ever after. Though he never stopped wondering why, if he was a swan, his brothers and sisters were all ducklings. “Oy vey ist mir!”
The Three Little Pigs, One of Whom was Jewish
Once upon a time there were three little pigs, one of whom was Jewish. One pig, Dave, built a house of straw while the second pig, Pete, built his house with sticks. They built their houses very quickly and then sang and danced all day because they were lazy. The third little pig, Isaac, spent a substantial amount of time studying the Torah and listening to his Mandy Patinkin albums, and then worked hard and built his house with leftover bricks from his new synagogue.
A big bad wolf saw the two little pigs while they danced and played and thought, “What juicy tender meals they will make! I can always start my diet tomorrow.” He chased the two pigs and they ran and hid in their houses. The big bad wolf went to the first house and huffed and puffed and blew the house down in minutes. His cardio work was really paying off. The frightened little pig ran to the second pig’s house that was made of sticks. The big bad wolf now came to this house and huffed and puffed and blew the house down in hardly any time. He couldn’t wait to blog about that. Now, the two little pigs were terrified and ran to the third pig’s house that was made of synagogue bricks.
The big bad wolf tried to huff and puff and blow the house down, but he could not. He kept trying for hours but the house was very strong and the little pigs were safe inside. He tried to enter through the chimney but the third little pig boiled a big pot of borscht and kept it below the chimney. The wolf fell into it and died.
The two little pigs now felt sorry for having been so lazy. They too built their houses with synagogue bricks, converted to Judaism, started studying Torah, and lived happily ever after.
Little Red Davening Hood
Little Red Davening Hood is walking through the woods to deliver chicken noodle soup and kugel to her sickly grandmother. Her mother had ordered her to stay strictly on the path.
A Big Bad Wolf, not a member of the Tribe, wants to eat the girl and the food in the basket. Loves kosher food ever since Winnie the Pooh invited him over for latkes. He secretly stalks her behind trees, bushes, shrubs, and patches of little and tall grass. He approaches Little Red Davening Hood, and she naïvely tells him where she is going. She also asks if he’s Jewish and would like to put on tefillin and daven with her. He says he is and he does and so they daven. He suggests that Little Red Davening Hood pick some flowers, which she does.
In the meantime, he goes to the grandmother's house and gains entry by pretending to be a 12 year old girl studying for her bat mitzvah. Grandma Estelle’s sight isn’t the best, ever since she was assigned a trainee optician at Costco. The Wolf swallows the grandmother whole, along with a little horseradish, and waits for the girl, disguised as the grandma.
When the girl arrives, she notices that her grandmother looks very strange. Even stranger than when her friend Flossie beats her at Bingo. Little Red then says, "What a deep voice you have!" ("The better to daven with you", responds the wolf), "Goodness, what big eyes you have!" ("The better to see a recent production of Fiddler on the Roof" with you, responds the wolf), "And what big hands you have!" ("The better to lovingly squeeze you with", responds the wolf), and lastly, "What a big mouth you have" ("The better to sing you my favorite Barry Manilow song – and then to eat you with!", responds the wolf), at which point the wolf jumps out of bed and eats her up too. Then he falls asleep.
A woodcutter comes to the rescue and with his ax and cuts open the sleeping wolf. Little Red Davening Hood and her grandmother emerge unharmed and sing Dayenu. They then fill the wolf's body with heavy overcooked matzo balls. The wolf awakens and tries to flee, but the matzo balls cause him to collapse and die. Little Red Davening Hood heads to a local comedy club, feeling that she could use a couple of laughs.