You may have heard those rumors about me: how I escaped by moonlight, how I hid inside each one of the seven wells of Beersheba, with nothing in my possession but the shirt on my back, how I eluded my enemy, my brother, and then, how frightened I was, how alone. I’m afraid you have been, at best, misinformed—or, more probably, mislead by some romantic foolery, some fiction and lies, the kind of which can easily be found, and in abundance I might add, in the holy scriptures.
I insist: it was not moonlight but rather, high noon. I was wearing no shirt whatsoever—nothing, really, but a goatskin sleeve. There was only one well in which I could hide, not seven. And most importantly, I was hardly alone, for the entire camp—all the maidservants, the shepherds, the guards—stood aghast all around me. So now, you must see that I could not, despite my best intentions, escape stealthily out of there, nor could I elude anyone.
Instead I was flung out, kicking and screaming, with tugs and pulls loosening the remaining shreds of my clothes, and whacks and smacks coming at my bare back from all directions. My left eye swelled up to such a degree that out of necessity, I resorted to use the right one—only to discover, once I raised my head from the dirt, that my brother was standing right over me. His foot could be seen coming straight at me, at an easygoing, unhurried pace, until it turned into a full blown kick.
I managed to roll away, mainly by flailing my arms wildly over my head. With a great sense of urgency I crawled on all four through the crowd, and hid inside the closest well. Luckily it was bone dry, thanks to a yearlong drought. And so for a second, I could hang there by my fingernails and pant, and catch my breath. Then I tiptoed behind the corner, right into the shade of my mother’s tent.
From there I took a plunge and hurled myself downhill—where, to my utter disappointment, I found out that my brother had already caught up to where I was headed, and was waiting there for me with open arms. He made a point of letting me know that his hate for me would, by no means, stand in the way of our closeness.
“Come, Yankle,” said Esav. “I promise not to hurt you.”
“Really,” I said. “Can I trust you?”
“Aha,” said he. “I will just kill you.”
Yankle in A Favorite Son
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