“So… the boy I thought I killed because of my creation survived after all.” Shabsi stared at Sylvester
resently, Shabsi looked up for the first time since he began relating his story. His eyes were flowing freely with tears.
“I caused someone to be killed, don’t you see…” Shabsi croaked. “I was selfish, foolish, and I resolved to live alone for the rest of my life.”
Suddenly, a figure emerged from behind the boulder. It was Sylvester.
“Sorry for eavesdropping. It’s a nasty habit I have… ever since I was a child.” Sylvester grinned. “Thank you for that incredible story, old man. You are quite the orator. Now, you don’t mind if I fill you in on some details, do you?”
Sylvester stepped closer — so close that for the first time, Shimshon could see just how old the evil man was. He hid his wrinkles well on his ghostly face, but Sylvester must have been at least 80 years old….
“See these scars?” Sylvester pointed to his neck and arms. “I still bear the marks from your golem, Shabsi. Nobody thought I could survive my wounds, but I beat the odds, and have been doing just that ever since that fateful night… You changed my life, old man. Changed it forever. But not for the worse — oh, no! — only for the better. You see, once I witnessed, quite personally, I may add, just how powerful the golem creatures are, I knew that one day I would build myself an army of golems that would help me rule the world.”
“So… the boy I thought I killed because of my creation survived after all,” Shabsi stared at Sylvester. “And now I see quite clearly — it would have been better if Pinchas had finished you off then and there.”
“I’m still standing.” Sylvester shrugged. “But you won’t be for long if you don’t cooperate.”
“The truth is,” Shabsi struggled to his feet, his eyes never leaving Sylvester’s, “I could never pull off the feat again. I don’t have the strength, neither emotionally nor physically. To create a golem requires more mental exertion than almost any human being is capable of.”
“Well, that’s too bad,” Sylvester sneered. “Hopefully, our backup plan will work then. The sorcerer is using his grasp of black magic to create something on his own. He’s corrupting some of the material from your scrolls and is hard at work building our own little creation, utilizing the forces of evil.”
Hours later, as nighttime fell and the captives at last had some relief from the oppressive heat, the entire mountain seemed to vibrate. Black smoke blasted out of the sorcerer’s cave and a roar filled the air.
Out of the cave emerged a golem, but not one remotely like Pinchas. This one barely resembled a human being, and it was much, much bigger.
Sylvester and the sorcerer followed their enormous creation, cackling with glee.
“At long last, my dream has come true!” Sylvester howled.
“But don’t forget who the true master of this creature is!” The sorcerer warned.
“Right, of course….” Sylvester’s face fell.
And then he turned swiftly and pushed the sorcerer off the mountaintop.
Sylvester looked up at the golem.
“Creature of darkness, you will obey only me! I am your master, an—”
The golem let loose a loud roar and swept downward toward Sylvester. Sylvester watched in horror as the golem lifted a giant finger and, incredibly, did the same thing Pinchas had done to him years earlier by the river.
It flicked him.
But this time, he was a much older man. And this golem was much stronger.
Sylvester flew, turning over and over like a wheel, until he smashed into the mountain side, above the heads of the captives.
“That was… unexpected,” Shimshon said.
The golem then turned its gaze in his direction.
“And now it’s our turn, I’m afraid,” Baruch gulped.
The golem stormed over and shot out its arm toward them….
Another roar shook the air, and out of the inky darkness, Pinchas, Shabsi’s golem, emerged. He caught the golem’s hand just before it collided with the captives. The golem roared and tackled Pinchas, and the two giants began to battle. In the process, they snapped right through the boulder and the chains imprisoning everyone.
“Time to go!” Jorin yelled, lifting Shabsi onto his shoulders. “Follow me!”
They followed Jorin as he expertly led them down the mountainside. Rocks tumbled all around them as the battle on the mountaintop intensified.
Finally, they made it to the bottom. High above, Shimshon could see Pinchas and the other golem locking arms, each bent over, trying to shove the other one off the cliff. They went back and forth, Pinchas making up for his smaller size in perseverance. Finally, with a triumphant roar, Pinchas sent the other creature hurtling off the mountain.
Pinchas made his way down the mountain. He was panting heavily and had several scratches on his arms and face.
“Well done, Pinchas.” Shabsi patted the golem. “Now it’s time to take us home.”
Shimshon stirred at the word.
It had been so long. The idea of retiring to his own house, his own warm bed at night, seemed so foreign at this point. He had been on the run for so long.
“That man won’t be chasing anyone anymore, Shimshon,” Shabsi said softly. “No more running….”
Pinchas carried all of them, as he ran through the forest, all the way back to Uncle Nathan’s home. After a tearful reunion, Uncle Nathan had a long talk with the newcomer, Jorin, and convinced him to stay and work for him. Not only would he make a good parnassah, but Uncle Nathan would teach him Torah.
“What will you do now, Shabsi?” Shimshon asked the elderly man as he and Baruch stood at the shipping port, ready to sail back home.
“That remains to be seen. Something tells me more adventures lie ahead. One chapter is closing in my life, but I sense another one is opening. Pinchas and I have yet more journeys ahead of us. And I suspect the same for the two of you as well.”
The boys bid their farewells and headed back home.
As they sailed through the calm, blue waters, Shimshon reflected on all that had occurred. What Shabsi had said was true: One chapter was closing, but somewhere else, opportunity was calling — Hashem’s plan for each person, playing out with precision. For all our roads are guided by the Master of All. And though some roads may seem dark and difficult, Hashem only does good.
The knowledge that, “Everything is good, and all is for the good,” as often said by Rebbe Nachman Horedenker ztz”l, kept Shimshon feeling secure, even though the future was uncertain.
“Stop thinking so much,” Baruch laughed, looking at Shimshon’s expression. “You’ve been through a lot. It’s okay to just relax for a bit.”
Shimshon nodded. He sat down on the deck and soaked in the glorious, warm rays of sunlight. Ah, yes. It did feel good to finally relax.
If only for a bit.
This is my last chapter of the Storytime column. Together, we have explored stories from the past, legends that had never been translated into English, as well as some of my own original stories. From seforim such as Osei Phela, Otzar Hamaasiyos, Ahavas Chaim, and more, I have strived to present stories that are not only entertaining, but that contain meaningful Torah lessons, and Torah hashkafos. Please continue to be in touch. I can be contacted through Mishpacha.
(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 979)
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