In Isaac Bashevis Singer's short story "The Riddle", Oyzer-Dovidl remembers a dream where his wife, Nechele, acted like a young boy:

He was constantly remembering adventures from stories his aunts had read or told him, though now Nechele was involved in all of them. At night he dreamed of gipsy [sic] women, of robbers in caves, of sacks full of gold coins. Once it seemed to him that Nechele was male, that he saw under her lace drawers the fringed garment of a boy; but when he had tried to kiss her, she had clambered to the roof, nimble as a chimney sweep, and yelled down at him:

Kitchen cleaver,
Pudding eater,
Tumble down,
Crack your crown.
"The Riddle", section 1 (translated by Chana Faerstein and Elizabeth Pollet)

How can this dream be interpreted? What does it mean that Oyzer dreamt that Nechele "seemed male", and that she was wearing the "fringed garment of a boy" (presumably tzitzit)?


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