chapter  XIII
37 Pages

WONDER-TALES, LEGENDS AND MORAL TALES

Du R I N G the reign of Louis XI, King of France, there lived in Paris the pious and wise Rabbi Jechiel, who was known to possess a miraculous lamp. He used to

light it on the eve of Sabbath and it burned for a whole week without his having to add any oil. King Louis had heard of this miraculous lamp, but when he questioned the Rabbi, the latter gave only an evasive answer. Now some of the insolent and mischievous courtiers had made a habit of knocking whenever they passed the Rabbi's door, so the latter, in order to protect himself, invented an ingenious contrivance. Whenever he heard the knock of the young gentlemen, Rabbi J echiel touched a button on his table and the ground outside his house was lowered so that the disturbers sank rather abruptly, though they soon rose again to the surface when he touched another button. Thus the pious Rabbi had peace and could continue his studies undisturbed. One night the King, still curious to solve the riddle of the miraculous lamp, knocked at the Rabbi's house, and the latter, thinking that it was one of the insolent courtiers, touched the button so that the King suddenly sank. He rose again, however, a moment later and entered the house. The awe and anxiety of the Rabbi, when he saw the King standing in front of him, can be easily imagined. Louis XI, however, promised to forgive him if he only explained the secret of his miraculous lamp.