The Jewish Fairy Book (Gerald Friedlander)/The Rebellious Waters

The Jewish Fairy Book by Gerald Friedlander
XVI. The Rebellious Waters (from Rabbi Eliezer)



ON the third day of the week of creation the mighty waters covered the face of all the earth. Then the Holy One commanded the waters to be gathered together so that the dry land might appear. The prince of the sea forced back the rolling waves, whereupon the mountains and hills scattered over the surface of all the earth rose beneath the blue sky. Now the prince of the sea brought the waters into the deep oceans. When the waters saw this they became proud and attempted once again to cover the face of the earth. The prince of the sea rebuked them and warned them not to disobey the great Creator. They refused to listen and were about to submerge the earth when the Holy One blamed them for being disobedient. He at once subdued them and placed them beneath the level of the earth. In order to restrain the sea He put the sand as their boundary. Whenever the water is tempted to rebel and to pass over its bounds, it sees the sand and returns to its proper place.

When the sea saw the sand for the first time it said: "What need have I to be afraid of the sand? Is it likely that its tiny grains can hold me in check?"

The tiny grains of sand heard these proud words of the sea. They whispered to one another: "Let us not be frightened by the big talk of the waves. It is quite true that each one of us is very small. What of that? If we be friendly to one another and remain united we shall be able to do what the good Creator intends us to do. We all know what that is. We were made to hold the great sea in check. This we certainly shall not be able to do if we quarrel and stand apart. Then each one of us will be very easily washed away by the waves. Now let us all promise one another to remain always united. Union is strength. Then we need have no fear of the raging waters. Their roaring and foam will not frighten us."

The Holy One blessed their union and to this day the golden sand holds the proud waves in check.

Chapters of Rabbi Eliezer, v.