Long ago expelled from the ranks of the nobility on account of his worthless behavior, the knight had cultivated a connection with some discontented idle burghers of the city, and these he hoped to make the ministers of his vengeance. -from "The Massacre at Prague" These strange tales of Jewish folklore make the Brothers Grimm look cheery, with their emphases on murder, bigotry, revenge, and other sordid human impulses: . "The Bird That Sang to a Bridegroom" features an appearance by the Angel of Death. . "The Pound of Flesh" tells the legend that provided Shakespeare his source material for his grim play The Merchant of Venice. . "The Ape and the Gold Pieces" features the decaying carcass of the titular primate. . "The Prisoner of the Inquisition" is a "monstrous" tale of unjust imprisonment. A tad intense, perhaps, for the children it was obviously intended for, it is nevertheless a darkly delicious read for grownups.