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.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Cognitive dissonance (and a dancing bear) in the Warheit: 8-15-1914

August 15, 1914, on the first page this political cartoon appeared of a mother and her starving children (it appears the youngest may be dead). The title is "The real battlefield" and the caption reads: "The wife and children at home when the husband is gone away to war." I don't think this illustration is by Zagat but it isn't signed.

On the back page, when the kids hear that the bear makes a penny a dance, they figure he's a steady earner, the type their father likes to make matches for. Maybe they had bears on their mind, Louis Miller and Sam Zagat, because that's the Russian, uh, mascot? Symbol? We met this same trained bear last year (or another just like it) and, once again, it has a tendency to look a little bit like a pig.

August 15, 1914: Not all matches with money are satisfactory (zufriedenstellend)
  1. Motke: Oy gevald, a bear! Papa! Mama! Oy, he'll eat us up!
  2. The Bear's Owner: Don't be afraid, children - he'll dance for a penny.
  3. Notke: Hurray! We should take him to father for a match.
  4. Motke: Mister, that man over there will give a dollar for the bear's dance.
  5. Notke: Yes, that man is a great expert on bears and bearesses.
  6. GB: No, my child, today I don't do business with...
  7. GB: Sh'ma Yisrael! An elephant! Gevald, Jews, help!
  8. Motke: Why are you running away, Dad? He makes a lot of money.

ניט אַלע געלד שידוכים זײַנען צופֿריעדענשטעלענד.

מאָטקע: אױ געװאַלד, אַ בער! פּאַפּאַ! מאַמאַ! אױ, ער עסט אונז אױף!
דעם בער׳ס בעל-הבית: שרעקט אײַך ניט קינדער – פֿאַר אַ פּענני טאַנצט ער.
נאָטקע: הוררעי! מען דאַרף איהם פֿיהרען צום פּאַפּאַ פֿאַר אַ שידוך.
מאָטקע: מיסטער, אָט דער מאַן װעט גיבען אַ דאָלאַר דער בעער זאָל טאַנצען.
נאָטקע: יאָ, דער מאַן איז אַ גרױסער מװין אױף בעערען און בערעכים.
גימפּעל בײניש: נײן, מײַן קינד, הײַנט רעד איך ניט פֿון ביזנעס מיט…
גימפּעל בײניש: שמע ישראל! אַ עלעפֿאַנט! גװאַלד, אידען, ראַטעװעט!
מאָטקע: װאָס אַנטלױפֿסטו, פּאַפּאַ? ער מאַכט אַ סך געלד.

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