| Jolly Solly |

Sitting Ducks

“Duckies!” he said. “Tatty duck! Mommy duck! Baby ducks!”

MR. Faigelbaum had just come back from a faraway country. He’d gone to advise the government how to protect the birds in the rainforest. At the same time, he’d healed their president’s sick parrot.

The president had given the bird expert a certificate for this, which Mr. Faigelbaum packed in his suitcase. He was actually more excited about the plastic ducks he’d found in the airport shop for young Efraim. There were two large ducks and six small ones.

Efraim hated when his father went away. When he saw him, he jumped into his arms. Mrs. Faigelbaum watched with a smile. For the rest of the day, he followed his father around the house. He watched as his father unpacked his suitcase.

There were  brochures about birds and bird illnesses. These didn’t interest Efraim. The certificate earned only a passing look. But then Efraim saw the ducks, and his face lit up.

“Duckies!” he said. “Tatty duck! Mommy duck! Baby ducks!”

He immediately set them out in a row. He chatted to them happily.

The next day, the little boy was very busy with his new ducks. They came down to breakfast in the morning. Then Efraim loaded them into his stroller. He took them for walks around the house. That night, they went into bed with him.

A few days later, Mr. and Mrs. Faigelbaum sat down for a cup of coffee while Efraim napped.

“Is he still enjoying his ducks?” asked Mr. Faigelbaum.

“Oh, yes, he loves them. Although he doesn’t play with them quite as much now,” said Mrs. Faigelbaum. “He keeps them upstairs in his bedroom. They’re nice and quiet, not like that fire truck he used to have.”

“Good to hear,” said Mr. Faigelbaum. He got up. “I’ll bring down that last sack of birdseed from upstairs. Eli asked me to bring it to the animal center tomorrow.”

A few minutes later, he could be heard shouting something. Mrs. Faigelbaum went to see what he wanted.

“It’s gone!” cried Mr. Faigelbaum. “My last sack of birdseed. I can’t understand it, it was on the landing. You haven’t moved it, have you?”

“Of course not,” replied Mrs. Faigelbaum. She knew her husband didn’t like his bird stuff touched. “How strange! You’re sure you still had a sack left?”

“Definitely! A small one, made of thick fabric. I remember exactly where I put it. And now it’s vanished into thin air. I simply can’t understand it!”

“Do you think we should call Jolly Solly?” wondered his wife.

“I doubt there’s anything he can do. He’s a clown, not a magician.”

“Still, he’s always so helpful and has such great ideas. Let’s try.”

Jolly Solly came over to the Faigelbaums’ after supper.

Efraim greeted him happily, for he loved the clown. He started telling him all about his Tatty duck, Mommy duck, and baby ducks.

Mr. Faigelbaum impatiently took the clown by the arm. He led him upstairs to show him where the sack had been before it vanished.

“Is it okay if I look around the bedrooms?” asked Jolly Solly.

“Of course, although I don’t see how it could have gotten there, unless it grew legs and walked,” said Mr. Faigelbaum.

The clown peeked into Efraim’s room. He went straight to the little boy’s bed and looked underneath.

“Aha! I think I have your sack,” he announced, pulling something out.

Indeed, there was the sack! Efraim had turned it into a pillow for his ducks, who were resting comfortably on top. The little boy tried to grab the sack back.

“Duckies sleeping!” he protested.

The clown bent down, eye to eye with the little boy.

“Would you like a proper pillow for your duckies? They’ll be a lot more comfortable.”

Mrs. Faigelbaum found a spare pillow. Jolly Solly pretended to pull a cheerful yellow pillowcase out of his sleeve, although it was really one of the Faigelbaums’ own. Efraim resettled his duckies on the new pillow.

Mr. and Mrs. Faigelbaum escorted the clown downstairs.

“How did you guess?” asked Mr. Faigelbaum.

“What made you think of looking under the bed?” asked Mrs. Faigelbaum.

The clown winked.

“Some little ducks told me,” he replied.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 942)

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