| Jolly Solly |

Narrow Escapes!

Mrs. Friedman was a bit surprised when the boys crashed through the front door and ran straight up to their room

Fishel and Faivish were walking home from cheder, feeling sorry for themselves. The van driver refused to take them any longer. This was following a recent incident with a blow pipe and some paint. Now they were forced to figure out their own way.

“Dunno what all the fuss was about,” complained Fishel. “It was just as experiment, that’s all. The science teacher always tells us to have inquiring minds. Well, I was having an inquiring mind. You’d think people would be happy.”

“Exactly.” Faivish agreed with his brother for a change. “And I was helping you with your experiment. Helping’s a good thing, isn’t it? They’re always telling us to be kind and helpful. It wasn’t our fault that paint spattered all over the van. I think the van looked a lot better with paint splotches. Not so plain. You’d think we’d get a thank-you at least.”

Suddenly, Fishel stopped short.

“Look! There’s Tuki!”


“There, in the Rabinowitzes’ window.”

“What in the world is he doing in Raffi’s house?”

“Let’s go and ask.”

The brothers rang Raffi’s doorbell, but there was no reply. Fishel pressed his nose against the open window to attract Tuki’s attention, but was ignored.

“Bet he’ll look at me,” declared Faivish. “Tuki! Coochie-coochie! Look at Faivish!”

The parrot just stared at him.

“Yay! He likes me better!” yelled Faivish.

He reached inside the window, and fiddled with the cage. The door flew open suddenly. In a flash, the parrot stretched its wings, and flew off!

They stared at each other in horror.

“Yikes! Let’s catch him!”

“Oh, my, I hope we find him before anyone notices!”

The parrot hadn’t gone far. He sat on a nearby garden wall, eyeing them.

“Coochie-coochie,” cooed Faivish.

“Good old Tuki, come here,” urged Fishel.

But instead, the parrot flew, chuckling, to the top of a tall tree.

As the brothers looked up, they heard the sound of footsteps. They were coming from the direction of the Rabinowitz house. The boys fled.

Mrs. Friedman was a bit surprised when the boys crashed through the front door and ran straight up to their room. But she thought no more of it. Fishel and Faivish threw themselves under one of the beds.

It was very squashy there.

“Stop pushing me,” Fishel hissed.

“You’re pushing me,” retorted Faivish.

“Well, I can’t help it if you shove your elbow in my face.”

“You mean you’re shoving your face into my elbow.”

They were so busy fighting, that they heard nothing of the goings-on outside. Jolly Solly came out of his house, with Tuki on his shoulder. He was surprised to see the parrot he’d left with the Rabinowitzes up a tree. This parrot wasn’t Tuki. It was staying with the Rabinowitzes because Jolly Solly’s mother did not like the noise from two screeching parrots. Jolly Solly quickly got the parrot back into its cage, and latched it firmly closed.

“Did you open the cage yourself?” he asked in surprise. “You’re getting nearly as clever as old Tuki here!”

At a signal from Jolly Solly, Tuki and the second parrot began a loud song. The excited screeching brought out the neighbors, wondering about the noise. Soon a crowd had gathered. More and more people kept coming to see what was going on. Soon it seemed like half the town was there.

The clown pulled a cloth from his pocket, and waved it in the air. There was a gasp of astonishment, as a flock of yellow canaries appeared. They flew into the air as everyone watched — and then, what a cry of surprise went up!

“They’re writing something!”

“It’s the number 9 — no, 90 — no, 900!”

Indeed, the birds were writing out the number 900. Tuki and the other parrot began their new song:

Happy birthday to you,

Happy birthday to you,

Happy birthday, dear Jr.

On your 900th issue!

What clapping and cheering went up!

Fishel and Faivish, still squashed under the bed, heard the noise, but decided it was safer to lie low.

Mrs. Friedman wondered where they were.

“Just hope they’re not up to one of their birdbrained schemes,” she said to herself.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 900)

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