“Hashem is helping me. Nathan is one of Hashem’s messengers.”
It became apparent to Shimshon that he wasn’t going to get a fair trial. He was placed in a cell all by himself and told that there were severe punishments coming his way for pushing Sinlar, the pirate, off the cliff. Shimshon protested, but no one wanted to hear the truth.
While Shimshon was languishing in prison, Sylvester, Uncle Nathan, and Baruch were released.
The newly freed prisoners stood outside the castle, blinking in the sunlight.
Uncle Nathan’s eyes bore into Sylvester. “You won’t get away with this!”
“Ha! I’m fairly certain I already have,” Sylvester grinned. “And now, all I need to do is find Shabsi, the only surviving Jewish scholar who wrote the scrolls. With his help, I’m going to create the golem creatures spoken about in the Jewish texts. And I will be the most wealthy, powerful ma—”
“You think he’s still alive?” Uncle Nathan scoffed. “Says who? It’s not likely. And if he is, what makes you think he’s going to be willing to help you?”
“Willing? Willing?” Sylvester chuckled. “Who said anything about being willing?”
As Shimshon miserably sitting in prison, Uncle Nathan and Baruch were hard at work devising a plan to get him out.
It was late at night when Shimshon heard the footsteps of a guard coming down the corridor. He jumped as the guard approached the cell, and watched in amazement as he silently unlocked the heavy lock hanging on the door. The guard looked over his shoulder to make sure he wasn’t being watched before he quickly dropped a dark cloak inside the cell, spun on his heel, and left.
Shimshon nervously crept forward towards the cloak, wondering what news it held, and felt a piece of parchment inside the pocket. It read:
RIGHT OUTSIDE THE CELL, LEFT DOWN THE EASTERN CORRIDOR AND THROUGH THE WATER.
At last, someone was helping him! He quietly slipped on the dark cloak, left the unlocked cell, and made his way stealthily down the eastern corridor. After two minutes, he walked through an archway and found himself standing above a moat. Remembering his instructions, he leaped into the water and swam to the other side. Cold and shivering, he met Uncle Nathan and Baruch waiting for him inside a wagon.
“Well done, Shimshon,” Uncle Nathan nodded in approval. “Now let’s go!”
But his approval was short-lived. As they were moving away from the castle, a group of soldiers began converging on them and throwing arrows at the wagon, forcing them to stop. The horses panicked from the commotion and jerked suddenly to one side of the road as everyone went flying out of the wagon, tumbling across the ground.
“Shimshon! Take one of the horses and stop Sylvester!” Uncle Nathan yelled. He was clearly in pain from the fall, but he rose courageously to his feet and pulled Shimshon up.
He turned to face Shimshon, glancing back to make sure the soldiers hadn’t caught up with them yet. “Baruch and I will buy you some time. Take this road to the Fall Passing, cross the river headed west, and ask for Ivan,” he said, panting, sweat beads sliding down his face. “And here, take this pouch of money to pay him. He’ll take you to the Red Village. There, if rumors are to be believed, you may find Shabsi still alive, though he must be very, very old by now. Get to him before Sylvester does and make sure no one can use him to create anything nefarious! Go, Shimshon, go!”
Shimshon unattached one of the horses and began galloping away just as the group of soldiers started to come into view. He traveled almost nonstop, resting only when he needed to feed the horse and catch some fleeting sleep. Day and night he pushed the horse to its limits, braving thunderstorms, treacherous river currents, and more than one menacing wolf. Finally, he came upon a village where he could inquire about Ivan. He breathed a sigh of relief. For now.
Spotting a man in the distance, he rode up to him. “Do you know a man named Ivan?”
“I’m Ivan,” the large man with a massive axe slung across his back said, eying Shimshon carefully. “Why do you want me?”
Shimshon could barely contain his excitement. “I was sent by a man named Nathan. He said you could take me to the Red Village.”
“I can. But it will cost you.”
“Here,” he said, handing him the pouch of money.
“Nathan pays well, eh? He’s helping you, boy?”
“Hashem is helping me. Nathan is one of Hashem’s messengers.”
Ivan looked at him quizzically. “I have no clue what you’re talking about, but so be it. Follow me to my raft. There’s a river just a bit ahead and I’ll take you where you want to go.”
They crossed the river together on Ivan’s raft and Shimshon bade him farewell as he entered the Red Village by himself. It was a beautiful, sleepy village, with massive trees dropping enormous, bright red leaves all over the ground.
“Do you know where I could find Shabsi? They said he lives here…” he asked the first group of villagers he came upon.
“Shabsi? Yes, he used to live here,” they confirmed, “but he hasn’t lived here for a long time. He’s a bit of a hermit, living by himself in the forests for quite some time. Go look for him there. If he’s still alive, you’ll hear him.”
“Hear him? What do you mean?” Shimshon asked with a strange look.
“He’s always ranting and raving, talking to someone. As far as we know, he’s just screaming at himself, since there’s no one else out there.”
Shimshon set off into the forest. Sure enough, not long after, he could hear an old man’s voice echoing through the forest.
“No, no! How many times do I have to tell you? You’ll break everything in my house soon enough, and then what will I have to sit on? You’re driving me crazy. Crazy, I tell you!”
Was this his man? He followed the voice until he came upon a large hut, which was unusually tall. Shivers running down his spine, he cautiously knocked on the door. After a few seconds, the door opened to a tiny man with an extremely aged face, a wispy white beard flowing down from his face.
“Yes?” he said, in a deep voice.
“Sh-Shabsi? That is, um, Rabbi Sh-Shabsi?”
“That’s me, yes. Who’s asking?”
Shimshon stretched out his arm in greeting. “My name is Shimshon. I’m named after your old best friend, Rabbi Shimshon, and I came to get you out of here because you’re in danger. Actually, the whole world is in danger right now.”
The old man looked at him squarely. “I’m not leaving anywhere. But yes, I see the resemblance now…. You do look like my old friend.”
Shimshon took a deep breath and tried again. “Please… someone stole the scrolls you and Rabbi Shimshon created,” he rambled, “and the evil man who stole them is coming to find you so that you can make him a—”
Crashhhh. A loud noise was heard somewhere in the dimly lit house and Shimshon jumped.
“Ach! He’s driving me crazy! Pinchas, cut it out already!” the old man yelled.
Pinchas? Shimshon turned to Rabbi Shabsi. “Who is in the house with you?”
“Pinchas.” He said nonchalantly.
Shimshon tried again. “Pinchas… a person?”
“No, of course not.” Shabsi frowned.
Shimshon was utterly confused. “If Pinchas isn’t a human, then what is he exactly?”
“Well,” said Shabsi, stepping outside of the hut, as something enormous behind him began to move, “he’s a golem of course.”
to be continued…
Yehuda Bromberg’s website is now live! Check it out for all of his audio stories, including content exclusively offered there! https://www.ybproductions.shop/. Brand new stories are being added to the site!
(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 964)
Oops! We could not locate your form.