The Butchers

by Lester L Weil

“’Jews bring the Plague’.”  The Lord chuckled. “You did an effective job with your sermon yesterday.”

The Lord and the Bishop were watching the mayhem from the balcony of the noble’s town house. “You were formerly believed to have no talent for that.” The Bishop glanced at the Lord, but did not reply to the insult.

Below them, the butchers ran down the street, still wearing their bloodstained aprons as they chased after the Jew. Several carried knives while another held high his killing hammer.  Not all of the stains on the aprons were from the animals of the slaughterhouse, but were fresh from the street carnage.

In the street lay the body of the rabbi, his yarmulke embedded in his skull from the force of a hammer blow. Close by lay the bloody body of his wife, while further up the street a large butcher disappeared between two buildings dragging the rabbi’s young daughter by her torn dress.

As they watched, the fleeing Jew staggered and fell. The butchers gave a triumphant roar and engulfed their victim.

“Ah. I see we both are now richer by the cancellation of debt.”

“My Lord. I…”

“Don’t pretend you weren’t in debt to the Jew,” interrupted the Lord crossly.  “We both know what this is about.”

The Bishop wanted to respond, but remained silent.

After a moment, the Lord continued in a lighter tone. “Pity about the rabbi though. He was my only real chess opponent.”

Originally published in Doorknobs and Bodypaint 2000

Lester L Weil

Lester L Weil, an ex-professional bassoonist, ex-professor, ex-custom furniture builder, ex-house builder. He is retired in Arizona near the Mexico border.

3 thoughts on “The Butchers

    1. For this story a time [during the Black Death I believe] and a phrase was given to relate the story to [I forget what the phrase was–cancellation of debt is a good candidate].

      During this period of plague there were many scapegoats, including Jews and lepers, who were blamed and persecuted. People during that period people lashed out at what they did not understand, and who better to lash out at than someone they disliked for some reason. And if one could cancel a debt in the process, so much the better. Royalty fared well during the Black Death with only one falling victim, Alfonso the some number of Spain. This story is just a brief possible scene of that extraordinary period using the above facts.

  1. I’m not sure how anyone can read this story as advocating such behavior. Pogroms existed, and as above, they were instigated for someone’s political/monetary advantage, and then as it is today, political decisions are make to benefit those who are making them.

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