Newspaper Archive of
The Arlington Times
Marysville, Washington
January 5, 2000     The Arlington Times
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January 5, 2000

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B4 -:o The Arlington Times/The Marysville Globe COMICS & TALE Wednesday, January 5, mp by Dave Coverly by Joe Martin l.rlzooAl Cf114 -to "m.x. i #An" Y J, z ox=ar' o ,~,~' l,lO' ~a~J~, .... ~$~ZlEI) "~ -rl.lo..,Y=,u~ \ voO , : ~ YOJim "/e'l" ? IIPllll I I Tell Me a Story adapted by Amy Friedman and illustrated byJillian G'dliland (an ancient Hebrew tale) 2000, Creators Syndicate, Inc. n another millennium, in a synagogue in prayed within its walls was learned enough to read Jerusalem, there lived a simple man, a and write. And so he questioned all who lived and shammas by trade. The shammas was worked there. the person responsible for cleaning and When he spoke to the shammas, he said, "Please tidying the synagogue, for emptying the bins write your name on this paper for me." and sweeping the floors, for dusting cobwebs from The shammas smiled. He signed an "X" on the corners and making sure candles were fresh, for line to which the rabbi pointed. keeping windows clean and silver polished. He did a "That is how you write your name?" the rabbi good job, for he was careful and attentive to details, asked. He earned only a little money, but this was enough "Yes," answered the shammas. "I never learned for his tastes. And so he was satisfied with his life. to read and write, but as you know, I do my job well, But one day, as the new year turned, a new rabbi and I would be pleased to continue to do this." came to the synagogue. The new rabbi was a very The rabbi frowned. "I'm sorry, but I will have to learned man. He admired learning above all else. He ask you to leave. I believe it is important for everyone believed that this synagogue could serve its congre- in this place to be learned. Go learn to read and gants well only if everyone who lived and worked and write, and then return." The shammas was heartbro- "To do this," said the former shammas, ken. For many days he worried need a banker's loan." about what to do. He did not The bankers, also his customers, have the money to pay for oblige, for they knew that any shop this lessons, and he wanted only to would soon prosper. And so they prepared the earn a living. Still, he was a prac- papers, and invited the former shammas to tical man and knew he must go the bank, where their desks and floors on. And so he thought and "Here," they said, showing the shammas thought, papers. "We have prepared a bank loan. If Soon he realized that he was sign your name here, on this line.. 2' And they very good at one thing. He must ed to the spot. do what he loved, which was to The shammas took the pen they offered, clean, and so he decided he once again he signed his large "X." would open a shop where he "An 'X'?" the bankers said. They were would sell cleaning supplies and at this. "Do you not know how to write your would teach his customers all he sir?" knew about his trade. And he "I'm afraid not," said the shammas. His would learn, too, from his cus- flushed red as he remembered the rabbi. He tomers, for the men to tell him that he would The shammas gathered his loan. meager earnings, and with theseInstead, they smiled. "Ah then," they said, ' he opened a tiny shop, only a mind; An X will do. But just imagine, sir. hole in the wall, for he had little successful and popular and have done so well. with which to begin. Business began slowly, but Imagine what you would be if you could read before long people began to speak admiringly of the write." shammas and his shop. "Ah," said the shammas, "if I "He knows more than any man or woman how to write, I would be the shammas in the clean a lamp," the women agreed among themselves. He understood that misfortune had led "He is an expert window washer," others said. "His fortune, for he had been wise enough to work floors sparkle," still others said. Before long everyone he loved. in the village who wanted to clean a ceiling or a floor, a desk or a tabletop, a shoe or a ship, a bed or baking pan, was visiting the shammas's shop. The second book collection of wonderful tale= Soon the shop was so busy, the shammas could "Tell Me a Story" is available for $14.95, plus $2 afford to expand. Within a year his shop was twice postage and handling. Send ,"The the size it had been. Spectacular Gift," in care t When people of other villages and towns heard P.O. Box 419242, Kansas City, Mo. 64141 about the shammas and his skills, they came to him 642-6480. Be sure to indicate this newspaper's and urged him to open still more shops, your order. Allow three to four weeks for deliverY.