| Jolly Solly |

The Escape

“Thank you! Thank you!” she cried. She picked him up. “I was so worried about him!”


was still early in the morning, but Sunny Lane was already busy. The children were getting ready for their first day back at school.

Chavi Morris was the first to leave the house, carrying a bag of heavy books. Next came Raffi Rabinowitz and his younger brother Shimmy, backpacks over their shoulders, holding hands. Leah Morris followed with her briefcase — a big Sem girl — after which Moishy’s van arrived to take him to cheder. He got on, and the van drove off.

Then came a loud honking outside the Friedmans’ house.

Honk, honk! Honk, honk!

Uh-oh. Fishel and Faivish’s van was waiting for them, but the troublesome two were not ready. The van driver prepared to drive off. Then the front door burst open. The pair came running out, climbing aboard just in the nick of time.

There were some children in Sunny Lane who weren’t going anywhere that day. Little Yoni Rabinowitz stayed home with Mommy as usual, happy to crawl around with his pacifier. Miriam Morris, whose playgroup started only the next day, was enjoying dressing her dollies.

There was one unhappy kid in the street, though: Efraim Faigelbaum. The toddler watched all the goings-on from a window. Everyone seemed to have somewhere to go and something to do, except him. It wasn’t fair! Why couldn’t he go to school, too? After all, he was a big boy who even knew how to talk. He had learned to say “Bye Bye,” instead of “Ba-Ba” and was very proud of himself. Surely a big boy shouldn’t be staying at home with Mommy, like a baby?

Then Efraim had an idea. Why not go to school by himself? If everybody else could go, so could he!

He found an old backpack lying around. He wasn’t sure what kids put in their backpacks, but they always looked heavy. So, he took some blocks and put them in. To his delight, the mailman rang the doorbell just then with a package. As the mailman carried it into the house, Efraim slipped outside without anybody noticing.

He passed Mr. Krankowitz’s house carrying the backpack. Just then, there came a shout. The old man had spotted him.

Efraim didn’t like the cranky fellow. He tried to run off. But Mr. Krankowitz held out his cane, blocking Efraim’s way. The little boy was forced to stop.

“Where are you going all by yourself?” demanded the old man.

Efraim didn’t know what to say. He said nothing.

“Lost your tongue?” growled Mr. Krankowitz. “A young child like you shouldn’t be allowed out on his own. I’m going to tell your mother.”

Efraim didn’t like that at all. He suddenly remembered he wasn’t allowed outside alone. Mommy would not be pleased.

He tried to slip away, but the old man grabbed his hand.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Faigelbaum had finished with the mailman. She looked around for Efraim. She couldn’t understand where he had gone.

She looked in all the rooms. There was no sign of him.

Mrs. Faigelbaum started to worry. Had he somehow managed to leave the house? She had told him a hundred times not to go out by himself. But Efraim always wanted to go “Bye Bye.”

Mrs. Faigelbaum flung the front door open. She looked up and down the road worriedly. She almost fainted when she saw Mr. Krankowitz holding Efraim’s hand.

“Thank you! Thank you!” she cried. She picked him up. “I was so worried about him!”

“Humph. Don’t you know it’s not safe to let little boys out alone?”

Mrs. Faigelbaum decided now was not the time for explanations. Efraim would need a good scolding. Just then, a car drove past. It slowed down at the sight of the little group. A clown’s head poked out of the window.

“Is everything okay?” called Jolly Solly.

“It is now, thanks to Mr. Krankowitz.” Mrs Faigelbaum said. “He saved my little boy!”

Suddenly, Manny the monkey jumped out of the car. He snatched Jolly Solly’s hat off, and tried to put it on his own head. The clown grabbed the hat back.

“Stop that, Manny! Get back in the car,” he ordered. He turned to the old man, and smiled. “But I do take my hat off to you, sir,” he said.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 926)

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