by Hashem, Tzivos
One wintry Chanukah night, a weary traveler stopped at an inn by the roadside.
He was cold and hungry, and he was thinking of a warm fireplace and steaming
latkes. From this you gather that the traveler was a Jew, and the innkeeper was
likewise, a Jew.
When the traveler came in, the fireside was fully occupied by lazy-looking people, chatting idly. They took no notice of the newcomer, and nobody offered him a place by the fireside.
The traveler took out a little prayer book and recited the evening prayers. Then he brought out a Chanukah lamp and a bottle of pure olive oil. He filled the lamp with oil, prepared fresh wicks and lit the Chanukah lamp, after reciting the blessings in a clear and joyous voice.
Still nobody in the room took any notice of him. Presently the innkeeper's servant came in, and asked him if he wished to order anything to eat.
"The horse must be taken care of first," replied the traveler.
Then, to the servant's amazement, he ordered a bowl of latkes for the horse. The servant stood there, not knowing what to make of it and the traveler repeated the order in a loud voice, adding: "Be sure that the latkes are steaming hot and well fried, and have a bowl of heavy sour cream with it. But make haste, my horse is hungry!"
The people sitting around the fireplace, raised their heads and became quite interested. They had never heard of a horse that eats steaming hot latkes, with sour cream at that! One by one they got up and went into the stable to watch the strange sight.
No sooner were they gone than the traveler made himself comfortable at the fireplace. He smiled happily, but when he heard footsteps, he pretended to be serious.
The embarrassed servant came in with the steaming hot latkes and sour cream, followed by the crowd of curious people.
"These men are my witnesses that the horse did not even touch the latkes," the servant stated apologetically. "He just would have none of them, with or without the sour cream. It's the honest truth!"
"Is that so?" the traveler exclaimed. "Well, never mind, the poor horse must have forgotten it's Chanukah night. If he knows no better, then he deserves nothing better than oats. Give him his oats, then. And by the way, I'll have the latkes. I'm hungry, too. Place them right here by the fireside." Turning to the others, he said jovially: "Good Chanukah, gentlemen. Does anybody care to join me?"
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