One-minute review: A Jewish story by a Jewish story-teller. A pogrom was coming to our town. Hooligans had been sent for who would do the worst to the Jews in the town. But the police chief had called for Cossacks who would beat up the Hooligans and kick them out of town. But horrors! The hooligans would be coming by train while the Cossacks would be coming on horseback and the hooligans would reach the town first.
But the hooligans were coming on a train called the “Straggler Special” because it never arrived any where on time. This time, when the “Straggler Special” arrived in town there were no cars nor crew nor hooligans. Somehow, at the previous station, while the hooligans were drinking and making merry, the cars had become detached from the locomotive, which arrived all by itself.
When the hooligans realized they were in railroad cars without a locomotive, they decided to walk to the next town, our town, and when they arrived, the Cossacks had already been there on horseback and had taken over the town, ready to whip the hooligans out of town, which they did. For the hooligans, the Jews were like the wedding and the hooligans were the musicians who couldn’t stay for the wedding.
Comment: The engineer said that once the conductor gave the signal to go, he went and never looked behind him and, therefore, he never knew that the cars were not attached to his locomotive. Humor in the telling.
75 Short Masterpieces: Stories from the World’s Literature. Ed. Roger B. Goodman.