| Jolly Solly |

A Tall Tale

Who ever heard of unused chimneys, in modern times, raining down soot?


was Izzy who first noticed something strange going on in Eli’s cottage. The cottage was in a quiet corner of the animal center. It had an old-fashioned fireplace that hadn’t been used for years. With modern heating systems, there was no need for a fire.

That’s why it was so strange that showers of soot were falling from the chimney one day. The soot covered Izzy and the carpet with nasty black powder. Izzy tried looking up the chimney to see if he could figure out what was going on. And a shower of soot hit him in the face.

Yuck! thought Izzy, trying hard not to swallow any. I’d better tell Eli right away.

Eli stared in shock at his blackened assistant. What on earth was going on? He listened in surprise to Izzy’s tale, then went to have a look himself.

Plop! Down came some more soot. Eli gasped and spluttered as he got a mouthful. How weird! Who ever heard of unused chimneys, in modern times, raining down soot? Next thing he’d need a chimney sweep, just like in the history books!

Eli thought for a bit, then whipped out his cell phone and dialed — Jolly Solly, of course! If anyone could figure out what was going on, it was the clown!

Jolly Solly was concerned to hear about the problem with the chimney. He was quiet for a moment, thinking.

“Hmm,” he said slowly, “this reminds me of a problem we had once in Sunny Lane, with Mr. Krankowitz’s chimney. Aha! Got it! Listen, Eli. I need  you to watch Manny extra closely today, and not let him out of your sight.”

“Manny? What’s that monkey got to do with anything? How could he make soot rain down from an unused chimney?”

Jolly Solly was unfazed.

“All will become clear,” he said. “Just watch him like a hawk, okay?”

“Okay,” replied Eli.

A couple of hours later, Eli was calling Jolly Solly’s number again.

“Guess what? You were right! Manny was the culprit, the cheeky monkey!  I caught him red-handed, sneaking onto the roof of Eli’s cottage when he thought no one was looking—”

“—and stuffing something down the chimney,” Jolly Solly finished the sentence with a grin.

“Exactly! A  dish towel, to be exact, which he must have taken off my clothesline. I could tell it wasn’t the first time, either. That’s what must have loosened the ancient soot, and sent it raining down.”

Jolly Solly and Eli shared a chuckle.

“You’ll want to install something to stop him putting down anything else. After you’ve rescued your dish towels, of course.”

“Yeah. Wonder how many he’s pushed down. And how I’m going to get them back. I don’t have a long enough ladder.”

“What about getting Tuki to help?” said Jolly Solly. “He once got something out of Mr. Krankowitz’s chimney. Anyway, let me know what happens.”

But Tuki refused to help. The parrot was furious with Manny. The monkey had crept up behind him and pulled out one of his brightly colored feathers. Manny had stuck the feather behind his ear, strutting proudly around. Tuki wanted revenge. He had no intention of undoing Manny’s mischief. Oh, dear.

A little later, there was a curious tapping sound. It made Eli and all his staff stop and listen. Tuki cocked his head. Manny sniffed the air.

“It’s Jolly Solly!” shouted Izzy. Eli’s face brightened. The clown was on a pair of tall stilts. He tap-tapped toward Eli’s cottage, reached down, and plucked a bunch of dish towels from the chimney, easy as pie!

What clapping and cheering there was!

Suddenly, Manny gave a howl of anger.

Izzy whirled around just in time to see Tuki giving the monkey a sharp peck. He frowned at the parrot, then put his arm around Manny.

“Cheer up, old fellow. Next time, don’t start up with Tuki, and he won’t start up with you.”


(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 920)

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