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The Purim Story for Young Children
by Sylvia Rouss, adapted

A long, long time ago in a town called Shushan there lived a king named Ahashverosh. King Ahashverosh liked to have parties and would invite all of his friends to the palace. At the end of every party, the king would ask his wife Vashti to dance for his friends. He would call to her, “Vashti, Vashti, come and dance.”

“I don’t feel like dancing! I have better things to do!” cried Vashti.


This made King Ahashverosh very angry. He was the king and no one ever said no to him. “If you don’t dance, you will have to leave Shushan!” he shouted. “I don’t care!” cried Vashti. “You must leave Shushan! You are no longer the queen,” the king said.


Now that Vashti was gone, King Ahashverosh missed her and became very lonely. He decided to choose a new queen.

Mordechai, a Jew living in Shushan, was a friend of the king. He had a kind and smart niece named Esther. Mordechai told Esther, “Go to the palace. I’m sure the king will choose you to be his new queen.”


Esther said, “I’m not sure, but I will go and see.”


The king met Esther and said, “You are such a kind, friendly person. Will you marry me?” Esther said yes. The king married Esther and they were both happy.


However, there was one person in Shushan who was not happy. Haman, a man who worked for the king and wore a three-cornered hat, liked to tell people what to do and wanted everyone to bow down to him.


Esther’s uncle Mordechai would not bow to him, and this made Haman angry.


Haman went to see King Ahashverosh. He told the king, “Mordechai is Jewish and he won’t bow down to me! I think all the Jews should leave Shushan. They are different from us. They have their own God and their own ways of doing things. Let’s get rid of them!”


The king listened to Haman and agreed, “OK, if you want, I guess the Jews will have to leave Shushan.”

The Jewish people were sad. They did not want to leave Shushan. Mordechai went to see Esther. He told her, "Haman wants the Jews to leave Shushan. You must help us! Tell the king that you are Jewish.”


Esther was afraid that this would make the king angry, but she knew she had to help the Jewish people. She went to see the king and she told him, “If Haman makes all the Jews of Shushan leave then I shall have to leave too because I am Jewish."

King Ahashverosh was sad. He loved Esther. He didn’t want her to leave. He said, “Esther, I will protect you and all of the Jewish people. You can stay, but it sounds like Haman has been mean, so he should leave."

Esther had saved the Jews of Shushan! Now that Haman was gone, King Ahashverosh was happy, Queen Esther was happy, Mordechai was happy, and all the people in Shushan were happy. Everyone was so happy that they decided to have a party! They made delicious cookies called hamantaschen. They have three corners, and are a way of saying, “Haman, you were not nice, so I’m going to eat your hat!”

Listen to a Family-Friendly Version of the Purim Story from PJ Library's Podcast, Have I Got a Story For You!

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