| Jolly Solly |

Raised Right

"Going to the show would be an act of kindness — to ourselves”

The manager of the Children’s Home slammed down the phone.

Another bus company had just told him they’d raised their prices. They said it was because the price of gas had gone up. It looked like there’d be no outings for the children this year. They simply couldn’t afford to pay such high costs. It was a great pity, as the children loved going on outings, and always looked forward to them.

Then an idea struck him. Maybe Jolly Solly, the kind clown who often visited the Home, could help! He would call him right away.

In no time at all, the manager and Jolly Solly had a plan. Eli would bring his animals to do a show for the public. Jolly Solly would do some of his clever tricks as well. The show was sure to bring in a nice sum of money.

Soon there were colorful posters all over the town. They did look exciting! Much to Fishel and Faivish’s annoyance, however, the show was taking place during school hours.

“I vote we go home early that day,” said Fishel that evening.

“Yeah.” Faivish agreed with his brother for a change. “After all, Rebbi’s always telling us to do acts of kindness. Well, going to the show would be an act of kindness — to ourselves.”

“Um, I think he means we should do acts of kindness for others,” said Fishel doubtfully.

“Hmm. Well, the money’s going to a good cause, isn’t it? And I just thought of something else. The afternoon teacher always complains that I drive him up the wall. It would be an act of kindness if I wasn’t there to bother him,” said Faivish piously.

Fishel thought this made sense. Why, just yesterday, the history teacher had turned purple and accused him of “colossal ignorance.” All because he’d mixed up a few old dates. Yes, Mr. Harris would surely be a lot more relaxed without him.

Unfortunately, Mr. Friedman overheard their plans. He let them know in no uncertain terms that they would most definitely not be skipping school.

The next day, the troublesome two went about with glum faces. It simply wasn’t fair! Here they were, ready and willing to do acts of kindness, and they simply weren’t allowed to.

It was Fishel who thought of an idea.

“Got it!” he shouted.

“Got what?” asked Faivish.

“We’ll make our own animal show,” announced Fishel. “We’ll make more money for the Home than the real show! We’ll be heroes!”

“But we don’t have any animals,” pointed out Faivish.

“We’ll get our own,” replied Fishel airily. “We can borrow the ginger cat that lives around the corner, can’t we? We’ll teach him some tricks.”

“And Raffi has a goldfish,” mused Faivish. “It just swims round and round, but I’m sure we can train it to do somersaults and stuff.”

Fishel and Faivish decided to get started with their preparations right away. Fishel went around the corner, and returned a few minutes later with the cat.

He met Faivish coming toward him with Raffi’s pet goldfish in a bowl. The boys had a very confused impression of what happened next. The cat saw the fish, and sprang. Faivish whirled away, clutching the bowl for dear life. Fishel tripped over him and went flying, straight into Mr. Krankowitz’s front yard.

“Help!” shrieked Fishel, who’d landed in a rosebush.

“Quiet! He’ll hear you,” hissed his brother.

But it was too late. The old man had flung open the door, and was marching furiously toward Fishel.

“Sorry! It was a mistake! We’re trying to raise money for the Children’s Home, and it all went wrong,” pleaded Faivish.

Mr. Krankowitz stopped short and stared at the rosebush. Fishel thought the old man was going to yell, but instead he picked up a green plastic piece, dislodged when he fell.

“Look at that!” cried Mr. Krankowitz. “It’s the missing piece from my favorite watering can. I’ve been hunting everywhere for it!”

Feeling unusually generous, the old man reached into his pocket. He pulled out a handful of bills.

“Didn’t you say you’re collecting for some Home or other? Here you are.”

Fishel and Faivish’s mouths dropped open in astonishment.

“Wow!” they cried.

The cat, still lurking nearby, was not to be outdone. It opened its mouth, too.

“Meeeeeeeeeeeeow!” it screeched.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 880)

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