DEBORAH THE DYBBUK: A Ghost Story by Marilyn Hirsh


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An original, folk-type tale of two little girls in a 19th-century Hungarian village, where ""many Jews believed in dybbuks."" Good Hannah is ""so quiet that people hardly knew she was there. In fact, after haft an hour with her, most people fell asleep""--but Deborah, a most disruptive child, makes free with other people's possessions and runs around clucking and flapping her winglike shawl. But Deborah does, very faithfully, feed the birds, and when she dies in a fall and wakes up a ghost, her main concern is for them. ""I need a body"" to toss them their food, decides Deborah, and ""Hannah has a body that she hardly ever uses."" Thus Hannah becomes host to Deborah the dybbuk, and her changed behavior so disconcerts the community that they call in a famous Rabbi. And as he is wise enough to take testimony from the birds as well as the people, it is decided that Deborah can legitimately be made an angel, with the wings she'd always wanted. And Hannah will continue on her own to feed the birds. Hardly a wellspring of archetypal resonance--but Hirsh makes apt and entertaining use of ethnic tradition and storytelling device.

Pub Date: March 15th, 1978
Publisher: Holiday House