| Jolly Solly |

The Safari Surprise

An animal show actually sounded like a lot of fun. It definitely beat being bored all day.

Fishel and Faivish Friedman were extremely bored. They walked miserably along Sunny Lane on the way back from the store, meeting only the ginger cat from around the corner, who sprinted past them with its nose in the air. They felt like the only people in the world who hadn’t gone away on vacation.

The Faigelbaums next door had flown off to a fascinating faraway land, where Mr. Faigelbaum was going to be doing studies of parrots in the rainforest.

The Rabinowitzes had gone to Switzerland, along with Jolly Solly and his mother, to spend time in the clean mountain air.

Even Mr. Krankowitz had gone away for a few days with his senior friends.

“It’s not fair,” complained Fishel. “Everyone went away, except us. Why can’t we fly to Bubby in Miami?”

“You know why. Bubby’s going with her friends on a trip to a safari in Africa after Tishah B’Av.”

“I don’t see why she can’t take us, too.”

“Well, it’s only for old people.”

“I bet I could dress up as an old person,” declared Fishel, his eyes gleaming. “I’ll put on a white beard, and —”

“Yeah, yeah. And who would pay for your trip? Bubby said it’s very expensive.”

Fishel gave a deep sigh. “Can you just imagine being able to see real lions and tigers?”

“And elephants. And hippopoppotamuses.”

“You don’t say it like that.”

“Oh yeah? How d’you say it?”

“Hipp — hopp — happ—”

“Yah,” said Fishel rudely.

A window from their house flung open, and an upset voice called out, “Quiet down kids! I’m on the phone.”

Uh oh. It was their father, working from home with their mother for a few days to wrap up a deal. This meant that on top of all their troubles, there was nobody even available to take the troublesome two on a trip. Their mother had offered to send them to day camp. Day camp! They weren’t going to day camp while the rest of the world was away!

“Fishel! Faivish!”

It was Moishy Morris, calling to them from across the road.

“You’re staying home, too? Why don’t you come to day camp with me? Eli’s putting on an animal show this week.”

An animal show actually sounded like a lot of fun. It definitely beat being bored all day.

“We’ll ask our mother,” said Fishel, secretly beaming to himself.

“Yeah,” echoed Faivish.

Mrs. Friedman was surprised when the pair asked to go to day camp. She’d tried to convince them to go before the summer started, and now, here they were, asking on their own.

She quickly registered them before they changed their minds. Fishel and Faivish were now signed up to join Moishy Morris’s day camp.

That afternoon, Eli’s show was on the program.

There were posters about the show everywhere, showing a grinning Manny the monkey, with Tuki the parrot and Gimpel the goat.

Fishel and Faivish looked at the poster.

“Where’s Eli’s elephant?”

“Guess he’s too big to take around to shows.”

At the thought of elephants, and the African safari they were missing out on, Fishel and Faivish started getting gloomy.

Meanwhile, the counselors brought everybody into an open area with benches where the show was going to take place.

Moishy noticed the camp director checking his watch, looking worried. Suddenly, there was the sound of yelling and honking in the distance. Everybody looked around. Eli appeared, hurrying toward them, looking hot and bothered.

“Sorry for the delay. The van’s stuck outside the camp in a muddy patch, with the animals in it,” he explained. “We can’t get it out.”

“I’ll help you,” called out Fishel.

“Me, too!” echoed Faivish, showing off his muscles.

Eli shook his head. “Thanks boys, but it’s way too heavy for you. It would need a giant… Hey! I’ve got an idea!”

He made some calls on his phone.

As the counselors started singing some songs to keep the campers entertained, there was a strange noise. Harrumph! Everybody looked up — and gasped in astonishment! Eli’s elephant was marching in, pulling the van with the animals behind him as easily as if it were a feather.

Everyone clapped and cheered! Fishel and Faivish high-fived each other, as the elephant waved his trunk at everyone as a friendly hello. Who needed African safaris?

Tuki saw the happy, excited children, and decided only one song fit the bill.

“Happy birthday!” he screeched.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 968)

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