| Jolly Solly |

Pick a Chair, Any Chair

“Yum! A juicy pear, freshly picked off the tree! I get first dibs, of course, once it’s washed. It was my idea, after all”

“Take a look at that,” observed Fishel. “A ripe, yellow pear, on Mr. Krankowitz’s tree — at this time of year, too! Wonder if he’d let us have it for Tu B’Shevat.”

“Let’s ask him,” Faivish replied promptly. “It looks really juicy and delicious.”

The brothers went to ring Mr. Krankowitz’s doorbell. It took three tries. The third time they pressed the bell for a whole minute, as the old man was rather hard of hearing.

“No need to keep your finger on the bell for so long!” the old man grumbled as he opened the door. “Just give a short ring, that’s all.”

“Er — sorry,” stammered Fishel.

“We apologize,” echoed Faivish with an ingratiating smile. “Um… there’s a yellow pear on the tree in your back garden. Do you think we could have it?”

“Yeah, it would be perfect for Tu B’Shevat,” said Fishel eagerly. “Unless you want it for yourself, of course.”

The old man thought for a moment. Instead of “pear,” he thought they’d said “chair.” He had indeed put an old, rickety yellow chair in the garden some time ago. He was intending to chop it up for firewood. But he supposed there was no harm in giving it to Fishel and Faivish. It would save him the bother of chopping it up.

“All right,” he replied. “Come back in half an hour, and I’ll have it ready for you to collect.”

“Wow, thank you!” exclaimed Fishel.

“So nice of you,” declared Faivish.

“Sure you don’t want us to get it down for you?” asked Fishel. “We’re good climbers!”

Mr. Krankowitz looked at him oddly.

“No, thank you,” he replied firmly. “I’ll get it myself.”

The brothers skipped off happily down the path.

“Yum! A juicy pear, freshly picked off the tree! I get first dibs, of course, once it’s washed. It was my idea, after all.”

“Hey, not fair! It was me that thought of asking him!”

“So what! Anyway, I’m older than you!”

“Older doesn’t mean smarter!”

Just then Mr. Friedman appeared, and the brothers quickly stopped squabbling.

They waited impatiently for half an hour to pass, and then went to get the pear. They rang the doorbell together. Then they jostled each other, each trying to be in front.

They rang once, twice, three times, keeping the rings short so as not to annoy the old man. Suddenly the door flew open. Mr. Krankowitz stared at them in surprise.

“I was just coming out to see where you were. Why didn’t you ring the bell?” he asked.

Fishel was about to protest that they had, but thought better of it. Faivish shuffled his feet and mumbled something.

“Anyway, here’s your chair,” declared Mr. Krankowitz, pointing to an old, scratched piece of furniture.

The troublesome two gaped in astonishment.

“Um — we don’t actually need a chair,” commented Fishel politely.

“We came to get a pear,” added Faivish.

The old man scowled angrily at them.

“What do you mean by telling me you need a chair, and then coming up with some story about pears? I brought this chair inside just for you. Now take it and go!”

He shook his fist at them. Fishel and Faivish hastily grabbed the chair and staggered down the path with it. The old man slammed his door shut.

The brothers put the chair down, eying it in dismay. What in the world would they do with a broken, battered chair? Mrs. Friedman would have a fit if they brought it into the house.

“Yoo-hoo!” came a cheerful voice. “Is everything all right? You look a little blue.”

The brothers explained their problem. Jolly Solly was entirely unfazed.

“Well, it turns out that I have just the use for this chair,” he announced.

“Really? What do you need it for?” asked Fishel and Faivish curiously.

Jolly Solly explained that the little wooden cart Gimpel sometimes pulled around had broken beyond repair. He’d crashed it into a wall after Manny the monkey leaped onto his back one day.

“This old thing will make a perfect new cart for Gimpel, once I take it apart,” said the clown, bending down to examine it. “And it’s a nice cheerful yellow, too.”

Fishel and Faivish brightened immediately.

“Oh, and one more thing,” added the clown. Reaching under his hat, he pulled out two of his popular crackle-popper candies.

“Here’s a nice pair,” he said with a wink.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 894)

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