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Shimshon and the Golem, Part 2: Chapter 8

An arrow slammed into the side of the wagon, burying itself inches from Shimshon’s face


The sun was beginning to rise, casting magnificent colors across the vast river. But to Shimshon, the rays of red and gold resembled blood, as his heart raced in panic. He was being taken back to the castle, to who knew what punishment they would administer for his brazen escape.

“Why are you doing this?” Shimshon pleaded with Jorin. “You had compassion on me back there, and now you’re going to throw me away for money?”

“What choice do I have?” Jorin kept his gaze on the river ahead. “You don’t know what it’s like living in the wild, always worried about where you’ll get your next coin to survive another day. You come from a nice Jewish home, a village where people took care of each other. But I haven’t lived in such a place for many years. My life runs on different principles from yours.  In my world, you’re either the hunter or the prey. If I have mercy on you, I’ll be hurting myself and making my clan lose money.”

“I suppose I understand that, if you take Hashem out of the picture.” Shimshon shook his head.

They rounded a corner in the river, and Jorin’s expert steering kept them from hitting the branches sticking out of the bank.

“But Hashem is in the picture, whether you like it or not, Jorin. No one loses by doing the right thing, and following Hashem’s will. Hashem decrees everything that will happen to a person during the year on—”

“Rosh Hashanah. I’m not totally ignorant, you know!” Jorin snapped.

“Right. And a person’s livelihood is also decided on Rosh Hashanah. Do you think Hashem decreed that you’ll only be able to survive or make money if you lie or sin? Does that make sense to you? Obviously, Hashem decreed that you’ll get whatever you need without you having to go against His will!”

Shimshon could see Jorin beginning to look guilty.

“That thing back there… what is it? What connection do you have with it?”

“I wouldn’t say I have a strong connection with it.”

“What was it?”

“A golem.”

“I thought those were the stuff of legends.”

“They’re very real, I assure you. And more are coming, ones created for evil purposes, if you don’t help me stop the man plotting to capture the sage traveling with that golem.”

“Help you? How?”

“By letting me go, Jorin.”

“I… I can’t do that.”

“You can. And you must.”


Jorin pulled them closer to shore and grounded the raft.

“Out. Let’s go! Stop shuffling your feet. We need to move quickly!”

Shimshon followed Jorin down a muddy path until they could see a village up ahead.

“We’re getting a carriage, and then we’re off to the castle.”

And that’s exactly what happened.

On the way to the castle, they were besieged by a sudden torrential downpour. It soon became impossible to travel any further, and they were forced to stop on the side of the road. They sat in the wagon, listening to the rain slamming into the wooden roof above their hands, watching the rain falling outside.

As they waited, they heard an approaching wagon. A moment later, the other wagon pulled alongside theirs.

“Another traveler seeking shelter,” Jorin sniffed, with an indifferent expression as he stared at his fingernails.

And then an arrow slammed into the side of the wagon, burying itself inches from Shimshon’s face.

“Out. Now. Or there will be more.”

Jorin and Shimshon looked at each other. Jorin reached for his axe.

“And don’t come out swinging, or it’ll be the last thing you do. We have many men, many weapons, and little patience.”

Jorin slid his axe back into its sheath and stepped out of the wagon, Shimshon following close behind.

The wind and rain raged around them as leaves swirled through the air from the force of the storm. In front of them were several men in armor, all with weapons drawn.

“We don’t want any trouble.” Jorin spoke slowly, but loud enough to be heard over the storm.

“Me neither.” A solider with a crossbow stepped forward. “But we’re starving. Give us whatever you have, and any money, and we’ll be on our way.”

“Thieves, eh?” Jorin grimaced. “Too bad the king’s soldiers don’t patrol here enough.”

The men in armor laughed heartily.

“We are the king’s soldiers.”

“Dishonorable men—”

“Call us what you’d like. We’re tired and hungry and have been searching in these lands with no respite for much too long. Give us your goods and cease talking.”

“I have no goods. No food, no money. Just my axe.”

“That’s too bad for you.”

“What are you searching for?”

A tall man with a pale face alighted from the soldiers’ wagon.

“Searching for a giant creature and a tiny, old man.”

Shimshon gasped.

Sylvester’s eyes slid in his direction.

“Wait… it cannot be… can it?”

Sylvester pointed a long, crooked finger at Shimshon.

“Soldiers! That’s him! The boy who escaped from the castle. The one with the scrolls!”

Shimshon cried out in pain as the soldiers seized him roughly and dragged him to Sylvester.

“Our fortune has just taken a turn for the better!” Sylvester smiled, his eyes flashing. “We’ve got the boy, which means….”

Sylvester thrust his hand into the satchel around Shimshon’s neck and took out the scrolls.

“Now all we need is to find the old man, Shabsi, and then all will be complete! We will create a new breed of golem, one that will help us rule the world!”

Several things happened in that moment.

The rain stopped falling, almost suddenly.

The ground shook and the trees seemed to jump as something enormous moved through the forest toward them.

And somewhere not too far from them, a young man named Baruch was galloping through the muddied forest roads, calling out until his voice was hoarse,

“Shimshon? Where are you?!”

To be continued in Part Three!


(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 973)

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