“Um… would you like this?” he asked. He pointed to a 500-piece puzzle
ye bye, Efraim,” said Mrs. Faigelbaum. She waved at her little boy.
“Ba-ba,” said Efraim. He was proud of his new ability to talk. At least in his own opinion.
Mr. Faigelbaum took his son’s hand. “Time for our trip to Tully’s Toyshop.”
Efraim walked as fast as his little legs would carry him. He couldn’t wait to get to the toy store. His father was buying him an afikomen present. Efraim hadn’t actually stolen the afikomen. He fell asleep halfway through the Seder. But his grandmother asked Mr. Faigelbaum to buy him a present anyway.
“Get him something nice from me,” she said. “I don’t care what it is, as long as he likes it.”
On the way to the store, Mr. Faigelbaum stopped near a tree. Efraim pulled his hand impatiently. He wanted to get to the toy store! But his father’s eyes were looking at the upper branches.
“Look at that,” said Mr. Faigelbaum. “A crested woodpecker! I must report this sighting to the National Society of Professional Birdwatchers. I don’t think the crested woodpecker has ever been seen in this area before.”
“Da-ddy,” whined Efraim.
“What— where— oh, right, you want to go to the toy store. Let’s go, come on.”
They crossed a road and turned the corner. Mr. Faigelbaum stopped again. He tilted his head, and listened.
“That’s got to be a chaffinch,” he said. “I’d recognize its song anywhere. There must be a pair nesting somewhere nearby.”
“Hang on, just have to see where the nest is.”
Efraim let himself be led along as his father looked for the nest. Mr. Faigelbaum just stood there, delight on his face. Until he heard a wail from Efraim.
“Ah, right, forgot about that,” his father said. “Come lets go!”
Soon Mr. Faigelbaum thought he saw a blackbird chick. But Efraim let out a piercing shriek and the moment passed.
At last they arrived at Tully’s Toyshop. Efraim’s eyes were big as he looked at all the toys.
Mr. Faigelbaum felt a bit lost.
“Um… would you like this?” he asked. He pointed to a 500-piece puzzle. It was a picture of the sea and seagulls.
Efraim shook his head no.
“Or what about this?” his father asked. He pointed at a book about birds.
Mr. Faigelbaum shrugged. What in the world did toddlers like? He had no idea.
Tully came out from the back. He had been organizing boxes. He smiled at them.
“Can I help you?” he asked.
“I’m looking for an afikomen present for Efraim. I showed him a puzzle and a book, but he said no.”
“I see,” replied Tully. He didn’t mention that the puzzle was clearly marked “for ages 9–90.” Or that the book required advanced reading skills. “Why don’t you look at this section over here?”
Efraim’s mouth dropped open. Teddies in all shapes and sizes! Fire trucks and police cars, with sirens! Construction sets! But how would he ever choose? There were too many choices. He just stood there as Tully pointed to one thing after another.
Suddenly Efraim’s face lit up.
“Lolly Solly!” he said, with a big smile.
“Lolly? They don’t sell lollies in a toy store,” replied his father. “We can go to Gavriel’s Grocery Store instead, if you want.”
But Tully was already taking down something from a shelf.
“I believe he means this clockwork clown,” he said. “It looks just like Jolly Solly, the famous clown.”
He showed them how you turned a key in the clown’s back to make him do flips. Head-over-heels went the clown, as Efraim giggled in delight.
“Is that what you want?” asked Mr. Faigelbaum.
Mr. Faigelbaum shrugged. He thought the puzzle or the book would have been a far better choice. However, Grandma had told him to pick something Efraim liked. The clockwork clown it would have to be.
He took it to the counter to pay. Tully pulled out some pretty wrapping paper. It had silvery birds soaring across a blue sky.
Mr. Faigelbaum’s eyes gleamed.
“Ooh, nice!” he said. He turned to Efraim. “Well, son, you enjoy your clockwork clown, and I’ll have the wrapping paper!”
(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 908)
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