T he sun was just beginning to rise above the sleepy city of Worms. Sunlight spread slowly across snowy rooftops, shining through windows and into bleary eyes. Roosters crowed and strutted through the empty streets.

Gradually the roads began to fill with men leaving for Shacharis and mothers hurrying their children to cheder. A familiar babble of voices filled the Jewish Quarter and blended with the sound of birds chirping merrily in the sky.

“Good morning, Rabbi!” the people said as their beloved Rav Eliezer walked past them on his way to shul. Rav Eliezer responded to each person with a warm smile and sincere wishes that they should have a good day.

“They’re coming!” someone suddenly screamed. Everyone seemed to freeze at the same time as the ground beneath them began to tremble. The sound of hoofbeats filled the air. Suddenly, two riders in full armor and carrying massive swords galloped through the crowded street.

“To your homes!” Rav Eliezer shouted, breaking the paralysis that seemed to have enveloped everyone around him. “Run!”

Men, woman and children screamed and ran for their lives. The merciless crusaders swung their swords left and right, eager to harm the helpless Jews. Rav Eliezer fled into his home and barred the door tightly. He then fled to his study and stared out the large window overlooking the center of town.

His heart broke at the sight of his pure, holy people being chased and terrorized by the horrid villains. As the crusaders on horseback neared his home, he hid underneath his desk. He davened and waited…

“What did I tell you, Wolf?” the straw-haired soldier with the pockmarked face said to his comrade. “Killing Jews always makes the heart gladder, am I right?”

“Yes, indeed,” the Wolf chuckled, maneuvering his horse so that he could trample a pile of fallen Jewish books. He wiped away the sweat pouring down his scarred face and looked around.

“They’ve all gone to hide in their dirty, little homes!” he growled, gripping the Templar blade in his giant fist. “Should we start a fire and force them out? Or should we go in, house by house?”

“We should find the rabbi’s home and start there!” the other thug said. “That would make them all panic!”

“Good idea,” the Wolf agreed. “Come, it must be that house over there, it looks slightly different from the rest of them.”

Rav Eliezer froze at the sound of boots slamming against his front door. A second later the door crashed in and he heard heavy stomping coming toward his study. Then a hand appeared beneath the desk and with one powerful flip, sent the entire desk crashing into the wall.

“Hiding! Tsk, tsk!” the Wolf sneered. “Stand up, Rabbi! Stand u—!”

The Wolf suddenly froze and his eyes grew wide. Rav Eliezer rose to his feet and stared in shock at the face of the horrible man he had met many years ago on a ferry from Regensburg.

“I can’t believe my good fortune,” the Wolf whispered, stepping forward. “I’ve dreamed of killing you for so many years…” (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 696)