Monday, March 26, 2012

Stories from the Talmud

From the Babylonian Talmud, Bava Batra 74b::

Rav Yehuda, the Ethiopian related:  Once we were traveling by a ship, and in the water we saw a precious stone that was being circled by a sea serpent.  A diver descended to bring it.  The sea serpent approached, wanting to swallow the ship.  A Pushkantza (female raven)bird came and chopped off its head.

The water turned blood red.  Another sea serpent came, took the precious stone and hung it on the dead sea serpent and returned it to life.  It again came wanting to swallow the ship.  Again the Pushkantza bird came and chopped off its head.  The diver then took the precious stone and threw it into the ship.  We had with us salted birds for eathing.  When the diver put the stone on top of them, the birds returned to life, took the stone and flew off with it.

(this is a more mystical story)

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