The town of Frampol is the setting of “Gimpel the Fool,” but it also functions as an important symbol in the story of the limitations of our small earthly lives compared to the life to come. The small-minded townspeople never think of themselves in connection with anyone or anything beyond the borders of Frampol. That, for instance, the Czar should have even the remotest interest in Frampol is a hilarious joke to them. And part of the reason they find unlikely scenarios so ridiculous stems from their confinement to such a small place and their extremely limited experience of the wider world. When Gimpel finally decides to leave Frampol, he tells his neighbors that he is setting out “into the world.” He is itching to get acquainted with a wider range of environments and cultures than what he has always known in this one tiny community. What he discovers on his explorations is that the world really is much vaster and more varied than it would seem from insular Frampol. Gimpel’s realization that his hyper-local, repetitive, slightly claustrophobic existence in Frampol is embedded in a much more complex and colorful one actually mirrors his contemplation of the distance between this world, the world of the living, to the next world, the afterlife, God’s world. This world, Gimpel realizes, like Frampol beside that rich world around it, pales in comparison with the grandeur of what is to come.
The Town of Frampol Quotes in Gimpel the Fool
To tell the truth, I knew very well that nothing of the sort had happened, but all the same, as folks were talking, I threw on my wool vest and went out. Maybe something had happened. What did I stand to lose by looking?
“It is written, better to be a fool all your days than for one hour to be evil. You are not a fool. They are the fools. For he who causes his neighbor to feel shame loses Paradise himself.”
‘Let the sages of Frampol eat filth.’
‘What about the judgment in the world to come?’ I said.
‘There is no world to come,’ he said. “They’ve sold you a bill of goods and talked you into believing you carried a cat in your belly. What nonsense!’ ‘Well then,’ I said, ‘And is there a God?’
He answered, ‘There is no God either.’
‘What,’ I said, ‘is there, then?’
‘A thick mire.’
I heard a great deal, many lies and falsehoods, but the longer I lived, the more I understood that there were really no lies. Whatever doesn’t really happen is dreamed at night. It happens to one if it doesn’t happen to another, tomorrow if not today, or a century hence if not next year. What difference does it make? Often I heard tales of which I said, ‘Now this is a thing that cannot happen.’ But before a year had elapsed I heard that it had actually come to pass somewhere.
No doubt the world is entirely an imaginary world, but it is only once removed from the real world….Whatever may be there, it will be real, without complication, without ridicule, without deception. God be praised: there even Gimpel cannot be deceived.