In the 1700s (Ukraine) Rabbi Yisroel ben Eliezer (often called Baal Shem Tov) took interest in one of his follower’s sons named Shaul. One morning while taking Shaul home to his father in a sleigh, Rabbi Yisroel ben Eliezer accompanied by the sleigh driver and students passed and inn where some drunken peasants were having a good time. To everyone’s surprised the Rabbi gave an order to turn around and stop at the inn. Once in the inn the Rabbi instructed little Shaul to sing for the peasants. After the song, all of the peasants were moved by Shaul’s nice voice. There were among the group three little peasant boys around the age of Shaul. They (through the Rabbi’s instruction) introduced themselves to Shaul. The Rabbi told them to always be nice to Shaul.
Years later, little Shaul had grown up and had a family of his own. One night he was riding a horse through the woods on the way home when three bandits made a plan to attack him with knives and hatchets. They seized Shaul and tied him to a tree. While looting through Shaul’s bag the bandits decided to take Shaul’s life. Shaul thought that at best, he wanted to die with a song on his lips –so he sung with all his heart and soul the same song he had song years earlier at the inn.
Suddenly, while singing he noticed the bandits were in bewilderment. Shaul took another look at them and it suddenly occurred to him that these bandits were the same three little boys that he had sung to years earlier and were now all grown up. The next moment the three bandits fell on their knees before Shaul asking to be forgiven. They set Shaul free and promise to never to rob again. As Shaul rode home it became clear why the Rabbi (the Baal Shem Tov) years earlier had stopped at the end and asked him to sing for the drunken peasants.