Translated by Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum
THE HORSE AND THE PUMP
There was once a man who did not believe in what people say about joker-demons from the side of evil who sometimes trick people, as is known to have happened on various occasions.
One night a joker-demon came to him and invited him to step outside. The man went outside and the joker showed him a fine horse that he wanted to sell. The man examined the horse and saw that it was indeed a very fine horse.
"How much do you want?" he asked.
"Four rubles," replied the joker.
The man saw that it was easily worth eight rubles, because it was a particularly good horse. He purchased the horse from the joker for four rubles and was satisfied that he had found a great bargain.
The following day he took out the horse to sell. Some people were interested and offered him a certain sum of money. But he said to himself, "Presumably if they are offering me such a sum, it must be worth double" - and he did not accept.
The man led the horse on further and some people offered him twice the previous offer, just as he had wanted. But he said to himself: "Presumably it is worth at least double this price."
He led the horse further along until its price reached thousands. But the man would not agree to sell it to anyone. No matter how much anyone offered, he said, "Presumably it is worth at least double."
Eventually there was no-one who could afford the horse except the king. The man took it to the king, who was willing to pay an enormous sum for it. Everyone said it was an excellent offer, but the man refused to accept it , saying to himself: "Presumably it is worth more." Thus the king too did not buy the horse.
The man left the king and went to water the horse. There was a pump that people could use to get water for their animals. All of a sudden the horse jumped into the pump and disappeared without a trace - or so it appeared, because the whole episode with the horse was a trick by joker demons.
The man' s screams and shouts drew a crowd around him.
"Why are you shouting ?" they asked.
He replied that his horse had jumped into the pump. They gave him a sound beating, because he seemed insane. The hole of the pump was very narrow. How could a horse jump into it?
He saw how they were beating him, thinking he was crazy. He wanted to run away, but as he tried to escape, the horse suddenly stuck its head out of the pump. Once again the man started screaming , "Aaaagh! Aaaagh!" - because he was convinced it was his horse.
Again a crowd gathered around him and started beating him a second time because he seemed crazy. Again he wanted to flee, but as soon as he tried to escape, there was the horse sticking its head out of the pump. He started screaming again and the people gathered around again and beat him.
Evil tricks people time and time again with absolutely nothing - complete falsehood that contains no real substance at all. The person is tempted to follow evil, each time thinking he will satisfy his desires and gain more. Time after time he chases after these lies.
Until suddenly they disappear and all his desires vanish , as happens at times. For a time the desires subside. But then, when the person wants to distance himself from them completely, they return and stick out their head, making him pursue them again. This keeps on happening: as soon as they stick out their head, he continues pursuing them. Understand this well.
By Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
© AZAMRA INSTITUTE 5767 - 2006-7 All rights reserved