orthent (orthent) wrote in little_details,

Nice Jewish Boys Behaving Badly

Period/Setting: 1900-1905, a shtetl in the Pale of Settlement (probably Vilna or Volhynia guberniya, but not decided yet)

Searches: none tried

Can anyone suggest a really, really awful prank for a young shtetl boy to pull--something not only naughty, but actually savoring of impiety?

The scenario: The character in question is pretty much the epitome of edelkeit--clever, studious, obedient and dutiful. His father is a minor town official--probably the beadle--a gentle, pious man, not in the best of health, not terribly well-educated; it's the dream of his life to see his son become a rabbi. Sometime between the ages of 12 and 14, the kid goes through a phase of admiring one of the toughest boys in town--the son of the roofer/town drunk--and yearning to be equally cool and badass. The roofer's son won't give him the time of day, but finally dares him to commit The Prank. Our hero pulls it off--and afterward is nearly sick with shame and guilt, not least because everyone assumes that the roofer's son is the culprit. Our hero confesses it, but no one believes him.
Tags: 1900-1909, russia: history, ~religion: judaism

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