H istory and Avigayil didn’t get along very well. So while Mrs. Gerson spouted information about old wars and dates, Avigayil reached inside her desk and got busy… doodling. Within minutes, a caricature with a faint resemblance to Mrs. Gerson began to take shape.

But Avigayil knew she had to be careful. Mrs. Gerson held a reputation for being the strictest teacher in the entire school. Shuddering at the thought of being caught in the act, Avigayil partly covered her paper with her history text and fastened her eyes to her teacher, doing her best to assume an interested expression.

When Mrs. Gerson turned to jot something on the board, Shaindy peered curiously at Avigayil’s drawing and grinned. Quick as lightning, she grabbed Avigayil’s paper and added some finishing touches of her own. Without batting an eye she quickly rolled the page onto her pen and “accidentally” dropped it. Avigayil reached for the pen and quietly unrolled the paper. Wow! Avigayil almost laughed out loud. Shaindy had turned her rough sketch into a work of art. Suddenly three frightening words roared over her like a rumble of thunder that was way too close.

“I’ll take that,” Mrs. Gerson declared, marching toward the pale-faced duo.

Uh-oh, Avigayil and Shaindy thought. We’re doomed.

Swallowing the golf ball-sized lump in her throat, Avigayil’s hands trembled as she placed the paper in her teacher’s outstretched hand. She watched Mrs. Gerson’s eyebrows arc to her hairline as she peered at the drawing. And then her lips straightened into a grim line.

“Avigayil, see me after class,” she intoned.

A picture loomed in her mind of a mountain climber stumbling at the edge of a cliff. I know just how he feels, Avigayil thought, her stomach clenching in knots growing tighter by the second. I wish history class would never end! She almost smiled at the irony; when, in her entire ten years of life, had she ever wished history class wouldn’t end?

To her dismay, the clock hands lurched forward, and with a shrill clang, the bell sounded.

“Class dismissed,” Mrs. Gerson announced crisply.

Heart tapping a fast beat in her chest, Avigayil’s feet felt like bricks as she plodded toward her teacher’s desk to face the music.

“Have a seat,” Mrs. Gerson invited.

Dragging a chair in front of the large desk, Avigayil collapsed into it. Would she have to miss recess for a year? Write an essay of thousands of words? What would her ultra-strict teacher possibly dream up as a consequence?

Slowly and deliberately, Mrs. Gerson unrolled a familiar paper and placed it in front of her. Avigayil gulped and looked at the drawing. Then she folded her arms, dropped her head, and her shoulders began to heave.

“Look at me,” Mrs. Gerson commanded. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 686)