F ishel and Faivish stared at each other, wild-eyed.

“What’s that noise?” asked Fishel.

“Exactly the question I was going to ask you,” pointed out Faivish.

“Well, I asked it first, so there,” snapped Fishel.

“Well, I thought it first, so go fly a kite,” retorted Faivish.

“Thoughts don’t count!”

“Do!”

“Don’t!”

The two brothers glared at each other, fists clenched, only to be distracted once again by the noise, which seemed to be coming from the back garden. As one, they turned and raced downstairs, bursting through the back door and looking wildly around them.

Thwack! Thump! Grr!

What on earth could it be, wondered the boys? A wild animal on the loose? A strange, noisy new bird for Mr. Faigelbaum’s collection?

As they listened more closely, they realised the noise was actually coming from behind Mr. Krankowitz’s fence. The boys stood on tiptoe and peered over. What a strange sight met their eyes!

On Mr. Krankowitz’s lawn, a large piece of canvas was flapping and heaving about like a wild thing, while every so often a groan or a yell emerged from underneath. The boys stared open-mouthed as a section of the canvas lifted, and a red-faced Mr. Krankowitz crawled out from underneath. He spotted the boys and shook his fist at them.

“What are you staring at me like that for? Haven’t you got a succah of your own to put up, rather than gawking at your neighbors?”

The boys gaped in astonishment. It seemed the shapeless canvas was meant to be a succah, and for some reason the old man, who was usually invited out for Succos, was doing his own thing this year. And making rather a mess of it, by the looks of things.

“Um… do you think we should offer to help?” whispered Fishel to Faivish.

“Weeeeeeeeeell,” Faivish hemmed and hawed uncertainly.

They were saved from any further debate by another shout from Mr. Krankowitz.

“Hey! Can’t you two lend a hand instead of gaping? You can see this job’s impossible for a fella to do on his own!”

Fishel and Faivish reluctantly climbed over the fence, although they had little inclination to help the old man, who looked even more bad-tempered than usual.

“Here! Hold this!” Mr. Krankowitz barked at Fishel, handing him a rope.

“And you! Hold this!” he ordered Faivish, pushing a section of canvas into his hands.

The old man scurried about, frantically issuing instructions — half of which contradicted the other half — as he attempted to get the succah upright.

Suddenly there was a sighing noise. With a whoosh the whole caboodle of canvas and ropes collapsed on top of Fishel, Faivish, and Mr. Krankowitz. All that could be seen was a tangle of arms and legs thrashing about. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 680)