My name is Yaakov Kehas and I live near the most beautiful wildlife reserve. My family loves nature and our little house at the edge of a beautiful forest couldn’t suit us better. On Sundays we go fishing by the small river snaking its way through the forest, and whenever my father is off from kollel he takes us on hikes. He utilizes all of his encyclopedic knowledge of Chazal to teach us about the wonders of nature.

Our pleasant lives changed when the Man in Black came to the neighborhood.

“Where’s River Crossroads at, boy?” a massive man dressed in black overalls and a black cap asked me one day as he rolled down the front window of his rusted pickup truck.

“Just keep going straight,” I answered nervously, pointing to the nearby tree line. “There should be a dirt path and a little sign near it that we put up.”

“Thanks, kid,” the Man in Black sneered, rolling his window back up.

“What does he think he’s doing, Yaakov?” my twin sister Basya asked me as we watched the pickup truck speeding into the forest amid a huge cloud of kicked-up dust.

A few minutes later the pickup truck came roaring back out of the forest and disappeared down the road. Basya and I ran into the woods and stared in shock at what the Man in Black had done. He had dumped a huge load of garbage, old tires, and rusted metal parts into the pristine blue waters of the river!

Later that night, after my father returned from kollel, I asked him if what the man had done was legal.

“It would seem not,” my father replied, strapping on his hiking boots and a pair of gloves. “I’m going to check it out before Maariv starts!”

I watched as my father marched off into the night with nothing more than a flashlight to guide him. He reappeared 20 minutes later.

“Try to get his license plate number next time, Yaakov,” he said. “It looks pretty bad down there...”

“Next time we’ll catch him!” Basya whispered to me confidently.

A few days later the Man in Black was back. His license plate was covered with black tape and I couldn’t read a thing on it! He sped over the speed limit, flew into the forest, dumped his trash into the river, and then bolted out of there before I could even get my father.

This scene repeated itself numerous times over the next few weeks. Our beautiful forest began looking like a massive garbage dump. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 657)