Gimpel Beynish the Matchmaker
(Gimpl Beynish der Shadkhn)
Yiddish Comics of the early 20th century

Translation and commentary by Jane Peppler
Click here to read about and order the seven Gimpel books I've published.

Comics read right to left. Click on any comic strip for larger view.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

April Fool's Day is always a curse for the gullible. 4-1-1914

This looks to me like an example of English imperfectly understood by the typesetter. He transliterates correctly in the first panel "messenger boy" but in the third panel he confuses messenger and messages and comes out with messenges. $ is spelled doler and then dolar. Telegram is spelled first without, and then with, a final "e." And "understand" is rendered as fershtanden.

I believe what happened here is that some kid dressed up as a messenger and basically sold Gimpel a piece of paper that says "April Fools!" (well, it just says "First of April" in big letters but I think that's the intent).

April 1, 1914: It's a good joke to "earn" from him on April Fool's Day.
  1. Messenger Boy: You're Gimpel Beynish? I have a telegram for you, from a lady. Two dollars, please.
  2. GB: A telegram for me? From a lady? Let me have a peek, to see if it's worth the cost.
  3. Messenges Boy: Nix. You have to pay the two dollars in advance, if you don't, no telegram, understand?
  4. GB: Oy, you're a scamp! Give me the telegram. Oh well, so it's two dollars. Maybe there's a match in it.
  5. GB: Swindler, thief, robber! Fooled out of two dollars! A plague on Columbus and his holidays.

אַ גרױסע חכמח צו ״פֿאַרדיענען״ בײַ איהם דעם ערשטען אַפּריל.

מעסענדזשער באָי: איהר זײַט גימפּעל בײניש? איך האָב פֿאַר אײַך אַ טעלעגראַם פֿון אַ לײדי. צװײ דאָלער, פּליעז.
גימפּעל בײניש: צו מיר אַ טעלעגראַם? פֿון אַ לײדי? װײַז אַ קוק טהוען, אַז עס װעט װערטה זײַן, באַצאָהל איך.
מעסענדזשעס באָי: ניקס. איהר מוזט מיר פֿאַראױס באַצאָהלען די צװײ דאָלאַר, אַז ניט, איז ניטאָ קײן טעלעטראַמע, פֿערשטאַנדען?
גימפּעל בײניש: אױ ביסטו אַ מזיק! גיב שױן אַהער די טעלעגראַמע. מילא זאָל זײַן צװײ דאָלער. אפֿשר עפּעס אַ שידוך.
גימפּעל בײניש: שװינדלער, גנבֿים, ראַזבאָיניקעס! אױסגענאַרט, צװײ דאָלער! אַ קלאָג צו קאָלאָמבוס׳ן, מיט זײַנע יום-טובֿים.

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