Home treasures

Aug 2nd, 2009 | By | Category: Personal Columns


An old Jewish story came to mind in Huish Episcopi Church this evening.

A story told of Isaac the son of Jacob, a Jewish rabbi living near the Polish city of Cracow many years ago.

One night Isaac the son of Jacob had a strange dream – he dreamt there was treasure buried under the bridge to the imperial palace in the Czech city of Prague. “What a strange dream”, thought Isaac to himself when he woke the next day. The next night Isaac the son of Jacob had the same dream: under the bridge to the imperial palace there was treasure buried. “What a remarkable dream”, thought Isaac to himself the next day, “the same dream two nights in a row”. That night, Isaac the son of Jacob had the same dream for a third time, there was treasure buried under the bridge to the palace in Prague.

Having the same dream three nights in a row clinched the decision in Rabbi Isaac’s mind – he must go to Prague to find this treasure. Prague was many, many miles from Cracow and for an old rabbi it was a long and hard walk.

When he reached Prague he found that the imperial palace was heavily guarded, many of the guards were guarding the bridge – the rabbi knew there was no hope in digging for treasure here.

He was spotted by the captain of the guard. “What are you doing here, old man?” asked the captain.

The rabbi decided he might as well tell the truth. “I had a dream that there was treasure buried under this bridge”.

The captain of the guard roared with laughter, “Treasure under the bridge indeed. You silly old man, are you not old enough not to believe in dreams? I myself had a dream last week. I dreamt there was treasure buried in the house of a rabbi called Isaac the son of Jacob. What would you makeof that dream, old man?”

Isaac the son of Jacob said nothing. He turned and walked back to his home outside of Cracow. Digging up the floor of his house, he found the treasure of his dreams, enough to Isaac and his family for years to come.

Travelling to Birmingham for an exhibition of the work of Edward Burne Jones, one painting’s caption advised that Burne Jones’ stained glass window of the Nativity could be seen at Huish Episcopi in Somerset. Huish Episcopi was the family’s home parish; my grandparents lie in the churchyard.

For years this artist’s work had been on the doorstep and I had never noticed. Like Isaac the son of Jacob I had missed the treasure in my own home.

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  1. Happy claps for excellent story – well said!

  2. It’s so true. I yearn for treasures old and wonderful in Europe because our history is so young and seems a bit passe . . then I can drive 20 minutes from home and marvel at Wanjini hand paintings in Kuringai National Park that are well over 2000 years old. Not quite the beauty of a stained glass window but a treasure nonetheless. Erm aren’t you supposed to be on holidays?

  3. K8,

    I thought for a moment you said ‘happy slaps’!


    I am on holiday. There would be no time for such wandering during the rest of the year.

  4. One of Burne-Jones’ other Nativity stained glass windows is in St. Phillips, B’ham, as are two windows depicting the Ascension

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