Dr. Mitzvah was out in the yard fixing his trusty old bicycle.
"It's more rusty than trusty!" he mumbled as he tried to straighten the handlebars.
"I think you should throw it out and buy a new one," said his housekeeper, Mrs. Goldengreen . "A man of your stature shouldn't ride around on an old, broken-down bicycle. In fact, I think you should buy an automobile. Everyone has one!"
"An automobile? What for? My bicycle takes me wherever I want to go and I never have to fill it up with gas," he said.
"But it's so old! You must have been using it since your bar mitzva!"
"Come, come, Mrs. Goldengreen. It's not that old. My Aunt Bertha gave it to me when I began studying medicine and she would not approve of my throwing it away a mere fifty-two years later! But I must find a way of fixing this handlebar. I can't ride it in this condition."
Just then the phone rang – a loud, long, shrill ring. Mrs. Goldengreen hurried to answer.
"Oh dear, yes of course, I'll tell him right now!" she said shaking her head. "Dr. Mitzvah, there's an emergency in the subway at Metropoville. They need you at the subway station."
"Has someone been hurt?" he asked.
"No, but the subway is stalled. In fact, all five subway cars are stalled."
"But I'm not a subway doctor. Why are they calling me?"
"Because your sign says you are Dr. Emanuel J. Mitzva, Doctor of Mostly Everything! They asked you to come immediately so it must be very important!"
"But how will I get to Metropoville without my bicycle?" he asked. He looked around the garden. "I know! I'll take the scooter!"
"Your scooter? That's even worse than your bicycle! Scooting around town is for little boys, not grown-up doctors!"
"Ah, Mrs. Goldengreen, we are as young as we feel and I don't feel a day older than yesterday! Metropoville is only seven minutes away by scooter and I won't be in danger of going over the speed limit!"
Dr. Mitzvah put on his grey bowler hat, grabbed his doctor's kit and scooted off to the subway station in nearby Metropoville. People were standing at the entrance, arguing with an elderly farmer and his wife. All five of Metropoville's trains were stalled on the tracks and the conductors were rushing around the cars trying to catch a dozen big, fat, brown, noisy roosters!
"Thank heaven you've come, Dr. Mitzvah!" said the head conductor. "What a dreadful commotion! Someone let a bag full of roosters loose in a car and the roosters flew out into the tunnel and into the other trains. Now all the trains are stalled and there are feathers scattered over everthing! No one knows how to catch the roosters or what to do, so we decided this was a job for you!"
"Hmm," said Dr. Mitzvah as he viewed the confusion. "The roosters seem lively and well enough, and no one was hurt, but why are all the people shouting and arguing with each other?"
"They are angry at that farmer and his wife," said a policeman. "They're the ones who set the roosters loose. I'm going to arrest them!"
"We didn't set the roosters loose!" cried the farmer. "We tied them up as tight as could be in a big bag. We were bringing them to our cousins in Metropoville. But the birds pecked at the string and it came loose. Just as we were retying it, the train lurched forward and the bag opened up and the roosters flew out. It wasn't our fault at all."
"Oh," said the conductor. "That was my fault. I'm so sorry. The train doesn't usually lurch like that but I thought I saw something on the tracks and I made a sudden stop."
"In that case, I'm sorry too," said the policeman. "If you didn't let the roosters loose on purpose, there's no reason to arrest you."
"Yes there is," said an angry lady. "You aren't supposed to bring roosters on the subway, even if they are tied up in a bag. Didn't you see the sign? NO ANIMALS ALLOWED!"
Everyone looked up. "Look at that!" said a man. "The word NO fell off the sign. Now the sign says ANIMALS ALLOWED. The farmer is from out of town. Maybe he didn't know that animals aren't allowed on the subway."
"Hm," said the angry lady. "That's true. I suppose he might not have known about NO ANIMALS. Well then, excuse me for getting so angry."
"Well then indeed," said Dr. Mitzvah, "instead of standing and arguing, let's try and catch the roosters." He fiddled around in his doctor's bag and took out a small whistle. "It's a hen-whistle," he said. "Let's see if it works."
Sure enough, after several toots, the roosters came flying into the car looking for hens. The farmer promptly caught them and put them back into the bag. His wife tied the bag, the conductor swept the feathers and the people returned to their seats.
"Do you think we can stay on the train with the roosters? We only have one more stop to go," said Mrs. Farmer.
"The bag is tied well," added her husband.
"I think one stop is permissible," said the conductor with a smile. "After all, the sign still says ANIMALS ALLOWED!"
The trains backed up and soon, Metropoville's mini-subway was moving smoothly along the tracks.
The conductor looked at his watch. "We'll be running a little late today, but thank goodness no one was hurt. And it's a good thing those birds were roosters. Hens might have started laying eggs and the subway would have looked like a scrambled feather omelette!"
"It's a good thing the police didn't arrest that poor farmer and his wife," said Dr. Mitzvah. "It just proves what I always say: Most problems are just the result of a mistake. If we gave people a chance to explain we would save everyone a lot of trouble."
"If you were on the police force, the jail would always be empty!" said the policeman.
"And the subway would always run on time!" laughed the conductor.
"And we wouldn't rush to blame people for innocent mishaps," added the angry lady who wasn't angry any more.
"How can we ever thank you?" asked the conductor. "I think you deserve a free lifetime ticket to the subway for your help."
"Oh no," said Dr. Mitzvah. "I much prefer to travel by scooter. Or bicycle. Well, if everything is in good working order again, I think I'll scoot along home. It's time to get back to fixing my handlebars!" He straightened his dotted bow tie and his grey bowler hat, waved goodbye, and scooted out of the subway station on his way back to Cedarville.
JUST PUBLISHED! Now you can read twelve wonderful Dr. Mitzvah stories by Yaffa Ganz, complete with bright, charming, full color illustrations in a brand new book designed just for young readers. Available from Feldheim Publishers.