De Amerikaans-Poolse schrijver Isaac Bashevis Singer werd geboren op 21 november 1904 als Isaac Hertz Singer in Radzymin, Polen. Zie ook mijn blog van 21 november 2006 en ook mijn blog van 21 november 2007 en ook mijn blog van 21 november 2008 en ook mijn blog van 21 november 2009.
Uit: Fool’s Paradise
„Somewhere, sometime, there lived a rich man whose name was Kadish. He had an only son who was called Atzel. In the household of Kadish there lived a distant relative, an orphan girl, called Aksah. Atzel was a tall boy with black hair and black eyes. Aksah was somewhat shorter than Atzel, and she had blue eyes and golden hair. Both were about the same age. As children, they ate together, studied together, played together. Atzel played the husband; Aksah, his wife. It was taken for granted that when they grew up they would really marry.
But when they had grown up, Atzel suddenly became ill. It was a sickness no one had ever heard of before: Atzel imagined that he was dead.
How did such an idea come to him? It seems it came from listening to stories about paradise. He had had an old nurse who had constantly described the place to him. She had told him that in paradise it was not necessary to work or to study or make any effort whatsoever. In paradise one ate the meat of wild oxen and the flesh of whales; one drank the wine that the Lord reserved for the just; one slept late into the day; and one had no duties.
Atzel was lazy by nature. He hated to get up early in the morning and to study languages and science. He knew that one day he would have to take over his father’s business and he did not want to.
Since his old nurse had told Atzel that the only way to get to paradise was to die, he had made up his mind to do just that as quickly as possible. He thought and brooded about it so much that soon he began to imagine that he was dead.
Of course his parents became terribly worried when theysaw what was happening to Atzel. Aksah cried in secret. The family did everything possible to try to convince Atzel that he was alive, but he refused to believe them. He would say, “Why don’t you bury me? You see that I am dead. Because of you I cannot get to paradise.”
Many doctors were called in to examine Atzel, and all tried to convince the boy that he was alive. They pointed out that he was talking, eating, and sleeping. But before long Atzel began to eat less and he rarely spoke. His family feared that he would die.“
Isaac Bashevis Singer (21 november 1904 – 24 juli 1991)
Portret door Sylvia Ary, 1935