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Gimpel the Fool, as he is called by the people of the Jewish town of Frampol, is constantly
ridiculed and poked practical jokes at. Gimpel himself does not believe himself to be a fool,
however. He states that people call him that because of his naievity, and not because he is trully
stupid and unwise. The rabbi advises Gimpel that it is better to be a fool than evil, for innocence is
always the better quality.
Before Gimpel manages to get away from the town, the townspeople drive him to
marriage. Here, the story introduces its next main character to shape the plot. He is introduced to
his future wife, Elka. Gimpel is not sure whether to marry her or not because of the child she is
with, which she claims is a bastard brother. Finally at the marriage celebration, some men bring
him a crib and Gimpel does not see why he would need it. Gimpel is not very good at
understanding his new wife nor does he see fully the concept of having children in his life.
Throughout the story, Gimpel is given clues that his wife is not faithful to him. For one,
Elka continues to have children even though Gimpel sees that he could not possibly have fathered
them. Also, he notices one night coming from his work at the bakery the figure of a man sleeping
next to Elka. Even with the rabbis advice to stay away from her, one day he returns to her. This
time he finds her apprentice lying next to her. Before Gimpel can say anything, she tricks Gimpel
by sending him away and hiding the apprentice. Naive Gimpel then dismisses it as possibly his
imagination. At the end of the story, she finally confesses to him that she had been unfaithful to
The next portion of the plot takes a sudden twist. One day, as he bakes bread, he is
tempted by the spirit of evil to taint the bread he bakes by urinating in it. As luck would have it, he
is visited by the tormented soul of Elka and brings Gimpel back to his clean senses. Gimpel finally
decides that leaving the town will be better for him, and so leaves for a journey into the world to
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