Jolly Solly: Bright Sides

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F ishel tried to hide a yawn. The math lesson seemed to be going on forever. Who had originally invented math and what on earth for? Fishel wished he could give that person a piece of his mind.
He looked around the classroom. Everyone else was busy working through a list of math problems but Fishel had zero interest in calculating the angles of a triangle. He rummaged around in his desk and dug out a pocket puzzle book he’d once tucked away there. Ha! This was more like it. He turned to a maze where you had to draw a line guiding an explorer to a treasure chest bursting with jewels.
Fishel loved mazes and this one was a real doozy.
“Hey you! What do you think you are doing?”
Fishel jumped. It was Mr. Hardcastle the math teacher and he did not look happy.
Fishel tried to hide the puzzle book but the teacher wasn’t having any of that and snatched it away.
“Aha! Playing around instead of doing our work are we?” he growled. “Well your puzzle book is hereby confiscated. And you’ll make up the work you missed by staying after school for detention tomorrow.”
Fishel protested strenuously. It wasn’t fair he claimed. Why puzzles were a type of math just in a different format. After all what was a maze if not a kind of problem? The teacher should be pleased that he was sharpening his brain which would make him extra good at solving textbook problems in the future.
Unfortunately none of this had the slightest effect on Mr. Hardcastle. Many years of teaching reluctant schoolboys had inured him to any pleas for compassion.
Fishel trudged home from school with bent shoulders looking as though the world were coming to an end.
“Why so gloomy?” asked his brother Faivish walking alongside him.
“I’m not gloomy. I’m glum ” said Fishel.
“Gloomy glum — same thing ” pointed out Faivish. “The point is you’re not your usual self today. What’s up?”


“Nothing only that teacher took away my puzzle book and gave me detention tomorrow on top of that” replied Fishel bitterly.
“Ooh. No wonder you’re feeling low ” sympathized Faivish.
And for once Fishel had nothing to say in return. The brothers turned into Sunny Lane the expressions on their faces as unsunny as can be.
“Yoo-hoo!” a cheerful voice hailed them.
It was Jolly Solly.
Faivish greeted him enthusiastically but Fishel could barely muster a smile. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr. Issue 688)

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