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The Boston Globe

Opinion

Opinion | Joan Wickersham

Schoolyard roulette

When I was a kid, I loved Isaac Bashevis Singer’s stories. My favorite was a tale called “The Snow in Chelm.” In the village of Chelm, it snows one night, and the snow-covered ground glitters like diamonds, silver, and pearls. The town elders, meeting during the snowfall, agree that the snow is a precious treasure that must be protected from the trampling feet of the townspeople.

Now, Chelm is a village populated entirely by fools, and the elders are the biggest fools of all. After much solemn discussion, they decide to send a boy around the village with a hammer, to tap on every window and tell the occupants of each house to stay inside, so that the snow will remain pristine and untrampled.

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