| Jolly Solly |

A Fishy Ending

“Jolly Solly, why do you have scaffolding up?” asked Fishel

Fishel and Faivish were walking home from Gavriel’s grocery store. As they turned into Sunny Lane, they stopped short in surprise. There was scaffolding all the way around Jolly Solly’s house. Instead of the usual colorful walls, there was wood and metal pipes going up till the roof.

“That’s strange,” said Fishel.

“It’s not strange, it’s weird,” said Faivish.

“Ha! Same thing!”

“No, it’s not. Strange begins with an S. Last I checked, weird begins with a W.

“Think you’re a smart guy, huh?”

“Yeah. Because I am.”

The brothers faced off, fists clenched. Fortunately, just then the front door opened. Out came Jolly Solly.

The troublesome two forgot their fight immediately.

“Jolly Solly, why do you have scaffolding up?” asked Fishel.

“You having your house painted?” asked Faivish. “I think you should do it in purple and black stripes.”

“Eww!” Fishel made gagging noises. “What a horrible idea!”



The clown quickly stepped in.

“Actually, I’m not having the house painted,” he said. “I’m getting the roof fixed. If you come by tomorrow after school, you might still see the roofers at work.”


“Double yay!”

The next day, the brothers dumped their school bags on the floor as soon as they came home. (They hoped their mother wouldn’t notice.) Then they ran up the road to watch the roofers.

There were two men in hardhats up on the roof, hammering nails in. Bang bang!

“That looks fun!” commented Fishel. He decided he wanted to be a roofer when he grew up, and ditched his previous plans to be a fireman. Or policeman.

Faivish was about to reply, when a loud yell came from across the road.

“Stop that dreadful racket!”

Uh-oh. It was Mr. Krankowitz, red-faced and angry.

The workmen looked down to see what the fuss was about. They saw an old man shaking his walking stick furiously.

The first roofer waved at him.

“Sorry about the banging, sir, but we’ve got to fix this roof before it becomes unsafe.”

“It won’t take long,” added the second roofer. “Only a handful of nails still to bang in.”

With that, they prepared to continue.

The old man was furious. He marched up to Jolly Solly’s house and banged loudly on the door.

“I refuse to put up with this noise! I like a nice cup of tea and a nap at this time of day. This is a most dreadful disturbance!”

The clown listened patiently. Fishel and Faivish wondered what he would do. Would he perform one of his magic tricks to fix the roof? Or did he perhaps have a way of muffling the sound of the hammering?

Instead, Jolly Solly signaled to the roofers to put down their tools.

“Sorry about the disturbance,” he apologized to Mr. Krankowitz. “I’ll ask the men to come back in the morning if you like. That way you can still enjoy your nap.”

“In the morning? That won’t work. That’s when I read my newspaper! I need peace and quiet then, without any banging on a roof.”

Fishel and Faivish watched with interest. There was a loud clattering of footsteps coming down ladders. Then the roofers appeared, looking fed up.

“It’s getting dark,” said the first.

“Can’t get anything done now,” added the second.

And with that, they marched off.

“Good riddance,” growled Mr. Krankowitz.

The brothers went home. They wondered how Jolly Solly would ever get his roof fixed.

The next morning, they noticed somebody putting flyers into the Sunny Lane mailboxes. The flyer, from the fish store on Main St., read:


Mrs. Morris and Mrs. Friedman threw the circulars away. Nobody in their families liked kippers. But Mr. Krankowitz, muffled up in a coat, hat, and two scarves, was soon seen tap-tapping excitedly along to the fish shop. Kippers! His favorite food! This wasn’t to be missed!

A few minutes after he turned the corner, a van drew up outside Jolly Solly’s house. The roofers quickly jumped out. With a banging and clattering, they finished fixing the roof.

“All done,” they told Jolly Solly, while packing up their tools. “When you called us this morning, how did you know the old fellow was going to go out?”

Jolly Solly smiled mysteriously.

“It’s a fishy tale,” he said.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 936)

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