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. Mountain Ash District Council.





ABERPENNAR'S FIRST JEW. {BY ILPA.) Some time in the early sixties, there appeared in the public life of Abcrpennar, for the first time, a veritable son of Judah. It would be difficult, if not impossible for one of that tribe, should he so desire, to conceal his identity. The peculiar traits and characteristics are passed on from generation to generation, and the subject of our brief sketch seemed to have inherited more than the ordinary share. There was no mistaking him. He was proud and erect of bearing with an exceptionally patriarchal mien, that gave one the impression that he went about simply for the purpose of being observed rather than to be an observer. He would perambulate the main street of the village, puffing away at his cigar (of which he was an inveterate smoker), with the air of one favoured of the gods, unassailable and un- approachable. He was ever arrayed in the garb of a citiy merchant, the conventional frock coat and silk hat, which added so greatly to his personality. His conduct and mode of life must have contrasted greatly with that of the Welsh villagers of half-a-century ago. His advent to the then small but growing village was the cause of much comment and speculation, and when the three gilded balls were hung up in front of his unpretentious establishment in Oxford-street many of the inhabitants were very indignant, and greatly exercised over the possible con- sequences of the establishing in their midst of a business which was looked upon by the typical Welsh villager in those days with disfavour. Apparently, very soon their preju- dices died away, for the Jew's business flourished, and he succeeded in a short time in amassing a fair share of the world's goods, in the accumu- lation of which many are the quaint and interesting stories that are related by some of the older inhabitants. It was not his outward traits alone that marked the Jew; in his religious and moral obligations he was ever faithful to the stern precepts of the Moar ic law and traditions of the fathers. He had a large family, whom he endeavoured to bring up accordingly, but environment sometimes retarded his proposals, as the following little episode will illustrate. It came to the knr.wJedgo cf the old man one day that one of h:? »&<«. who was as yet too young to (listing.lib's r,etweev« the clean and the unclean," had pLr-'wkcn of some real Welsh bacon (which pieasod the l'ajte of the young fellow immensely), afc one of the neighbour's houses. The eld man. lit i £ »l: £ assurance doubly sure, wer.c to t!u. ns .cl»oiu himself,and there found. t.) iricreaBC*: horror, that such had really fctit* cciifi. Seizing the poor lad in his arn'.r- >•?;t o t»ay with him, before, as he thought, organs had had time to. assimilate tb<» 'Atr l/7 but unclean morsel, towards the Mocvi, bridge, and thsre had him suspended the over the parapet, shaking him well, with ",¡, Ü, A getting him to discharge t-hfi vryx&i: MJig irom his stomach. This "'»>?' efteco, the frightened boy vr-ra'ttnt, excited old j Jew was shouting "• the u w out. Thank j Gott. t.he devil is w. At. one time wx-z circulated that the old man was in financial <iifScv)ties, and th ruiBOWt came »•> his knowledge Instead vf >' resorting to machinery of the law to yii* 5 an end to tha id!o gossip, he. adopted a ? costly ard TItvr- ^rpeditious arse himself. W, •»< gooc' sv.ppJy icady cash filled a l&rga bow» -with and placed it in the windo-v of his phop; ir. close proximity he j placed a í: C;,q:.1 vui U5T«rderoas-looking nix- j chambered r.oj*er, which was significant of the danger in £ ;~>.c for the one who would t;o daring enough to attempt the removal of the tempting coin. The plan succeeded; the villagers still continued to look upon the Jew as the possessor of much wealth, and perfectly solvent, j He was the subject of a good deal of practical joking. On one ocacsion a well-known character j entered his shop avid placing on the counter a j paper parcel, asked for a small advance of the J needful" oa itsr contents. The old pawn- broker, in the wooers' of opening the parcel, dropped it 3cvin (lP to the counter, as if it had been a red-kov ro"X- For a moment he seemed j as one ;>eieft of i'in senses, but on recovering, j and rtading r6¥.1.> had not deserted him, ) shouted top of his voice, Perlice, j perlice." But p«>i?eemen in those days were not so nhmerot^ and none was forthcoming. The practical joker was only induced to take the parcel away again by the old man giving t him sixpence, but not as an advance on the; pig's head, which the parcel contained, and j which had gi him such a shock, but for taking out of t)ir. snop what the old Jew designate ed as the Once, the gÜdd balls, emblematic of the old man's U. were substituted by three large cabbages, ?.bovo the door of his shop, j again the work ot the practical joker. Of course the deed was done at night, and Ids attention was drawn to the substitution, in th^j morning, he ww astounded. He knerw oi o\<x* from his Scriptures, how water had turned into blood, light into darkness, etc., but that the three gilded balls had turned into cabbages was beyond hw comprehension. Many are the stories told in connection with the incident, Small sums of 310:ney were extracted from the old man on the pre^mce of giving information that would lead to the discovery of the culprit I and the restoration of the balls. But this only added insult to injury. After a while the j gilded balls were restored, whilst the identity i of the joker was an open secret in the village. With the rapid growth of the population, and the advent of others of the Jewish fraternity, and rivals in business, the old pioneer Jew was perforce at last compelled to seek fresh fields j and pastures new." His familiar figure was missed for a long while, but bis memory is still green in the minds of the older inhabitants, by the many tales they are able to relate of him during his sojourn in the village of Aberpennar. j


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