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Have You Lost Your Jingle?

The Jester and Pharley

When Jonathan, my 4-year old grandson, was big enough to sit on my lap and listen, we started reading together (well, I read and he listened).  One book in particular became his very favorite and he would ask for it over and over.  It’s entitled, “The Jester Has Lost His Jingle.”  Jonathan was born in Maine and has lived in Florida for several years, so he’s never lived close to me.  We decided to leave the book at my house, in order for it to be a special treat when he visits.  However, on our many phone calls, Jonathan began asking if I would read the book to him on the phone.  Of course, I would!  It’s the first thing we do together when he comes to visit or when I go to see him – we get alone, pull out the book, cuddle up and read his precious “Jester Book,” as he calls it.  We’ve read it so many times, that now the fun for him is that I will let him complete the rhyming sentences.  It’s a fairly lengthy book for a little guy, and he’s almost got it memorized.  I dread the day we ever lose or misplace it.  I think it’s out of print, and the used copies are selling for close to $1000.

I know, you’re thinking  — A thousand dollars!!  For a kid’s book?  But this isn’t just any book.  You see, it was written by a young man, David Saltzman, who graduated Yale University magna cum laude as an English and art major in 1989. He died March 2, 1990 of Hodgkin’s disease.  After his diagnosis, he began journaling his thoughts along with drawings (he was also a cartoonist), and eventually published this book, “The Jester Has Lost His Jingle.”  It was a message to himself.

I’ll tell you briefly about it and then let you connect the dots in your own life.

The Jester had a friend named Pharley, a talking piece of wood.  One day the King decided the Jester wasn’t funny anymore and banished him (and Pharley) from the Kingdom.  At first the Jester believed what the King said, but Pharley (as any good friend would) convinced him it most certainly wasn’t true.  So, they set off on a journey to discover where laughter was hiding, and bring it back. I won’t tell of  the whole journey, but I will let you know that the Jester and Pharley found laughter, brought it back to the King, and convinced him it was really hiding inside of him the whole time.

And that’s where all of us will find laughter — hiding inside of us — no matter the circumstances.

It’s a great story, with a great message, and I hope Jonathan never tires of it.  Next, I’ll probably start reading it to Drew, his little brother.

But for now, it’s just for me and Jonathan, and that’s ok with me.

Here’s the final page:

“So when you’re feeling lonely

Or sad, or bad or blue,

Remember where laughter’s hiding…

It’s hiding inside of YOU!”

(I can hear Jonathan’s voice just typing these words!)

I hope you have enjoyed the story of The Jester and you’ll always be in touch with laughter.