“And It Came To Pass:
Legends and Stories About King David
and King Solomon”
By Hayyim Nahman Bialik
Woodcuts by Howard Simon
This English translation of this book, written by Hayyim Bialik, was written by Herbert Danby, a professor of Hebrew at Oxford University, and was published in 1938.
The legends and stories were written between 1927 and 1934 by Hayyim Bialik, who was considered the greatest Hebrew poet of modern times, and compiled into a single volume called Vay’hi Hayom, meaning “and it came to pass on a certain day.” The book was published a few weeks after Hayyim Bialik’s death in June 1934.
The stories are all adaptations from Arabic and Jewish sources – ancient, medieval and modern. Most of the stories existed in written form, while a number were derived from oral sources. Some of the stories and legends come straight from the source; the majority, however, “owe a large or the main part of their atmosphere and much of their point to Bialik,” according to Danby, and some are entirely the fruit of Bialik’s imagination.
Bialik tells some of the stories with the simplicity of biblical prose. In others he embellishes the simple ancient legends with his “scintillating wit,” while in a few he has given free rein to his broad, “Rabelaisian humor.” Some of the stories are dramatic and tragic, others are funny and often hilarious.
I have read a number of these stories both about King David and King Solomon. The stories are engaging and each has a point that makes you think. There are neat woodcuts at the beginning of each story. One of the stories is about a little bee that stings King Solomon on the end of his nose and the hilarious consequences of this event. Another fable, “How the Hoopoe Got Its Crest,” makes the point that getting what you think you want is often not really what you will be happiest with, and that you need to think about the consequences of your desires.
This fun, thoughtful book reads like a collection of great fairy tales. Adults would enjoy reading it on their own and to their kids.
Sale Book Cart: Books for Bucks
Check out the Books for Bucks book cart in the Sha’are Shalom lobby. We are selling used paperback and hardcover books as a continuing fundraiser for the synagogue. Paperbacks are 50 cents and hardbacks $1. Put your cash or check in the container on the cart.
Donations to Books for Bucks will become the property of the Congregation. Please donate books only in good condition and in quantities of fewer than 25. Leave your name, phone, email, and the date of your donation in a note with any books you donate.
Contact Lorraine Blatt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 772-359-7370.
Please remember to leave a note with your name when dropping off books at the library. Thanks!