Adventures Into Weird Worlds #6: "The Old Man's Secret!"

Adventures Into Weird Worlds #6
"The Old Man's Secret!"
May, 1953

Script: Unknown
Art: Jay Scott Pike

Perhaps the leap from errand boy to master carver is too much. Perhaps
it would be best for the flunky if he never learned... "The Old Man's
Secret!" The wealthy matron admires the exquisite "weather house" made
by Mr. Abel. She sees how the "old lady" is chasing after "the thief"
and compliments the artist on the end result.

The matron remembers how as a little girl, her father had a "weather
house" in the parlor. She was impressed by its ability to predict the
weather. When the old lady ran out of the house, the child knew that it
would be fair weather. When the old man emerged, it would mean foul
weather. Jakob Abel listens to his customer's words, while in the rear
workroom, his apprentice watches the transaction. The matron is
impressed by the exquisite craftsmanship, but is put off by the grotesque
scene of the "weather house" itself. This is his most recent work, and
Jakob has been having difficulties finding the proper materials. When he
asks her if she'd rather not buy it, the wealthy matron is more than
happy to pay the steep price. As she hands Jakob the money, the
apprentice is also impressed by how much money the small house has

The germ of a thought has begun its work in the mind of Hans. As the old
man counts out the three hundred and twenty-five dollars, the apprentice
decides to have a word with his master. Hans would like to learn how to
carve the houses and the little people, too. Jakob Abel knows how well
his apprentice's hands and head work. Although he is good enough to be a
flunky and errand boy, Hans will be only be able to handle some basic
carving. The apprentice knows that he could do such work if he only knew
the secret. The old man could teach him how to do statues, but not the
little people. It is a method that Jakob Abel will never trust with
anyone else. Hans believes that his master doesn't want him to have more
money, but he will find out the old man's secret ... any way possible.

Jakob Abel's secret is an idea which find itself taking up space in the
mind of the apprentice. He barely hears when the old man tells him to
stay out of his private workshop. Hans figures that the secret must be
kept there, but Jakob has the key to the locked room. In order for the
flunky to realize his fortune, Hans must head for the workshop. As he
heads down the back alley, the errand boy notices for the first time how
scary things look at night. Entering through an unlocked window, Hans is
already having second thoughts about stealing the old man's key. He
cannot turn back now, then opens the door, and enters into an empty room.
The apprentice has only found an empty "weather house," but no little
people in sight.

In anger, Hans searches through everything, and figures that Jakob Abel
had lied to him. When the errand boy decides to try feeling the walls in
hopes of uncovering a secret panel, he hears the voice behind him telling
him that there's nothing left to find. Seeing the apprentice in his
secret workshop, the old man has decided to reveal his secret. A tearful
Hans tries to tells his master that he doesn't want to learn anything,
but it is too late. There is a scream that evening, then all is silent.
The next morning finds another customer searching for a "weather house"
even better than that of Mrs. Van Kuyper. Jakob Abel admits that she has
had much luck in acquiring such a piece. Although the proper materials
are hard to find, the old man sees that the matron will be quite taking
by the "windmill" and the little person that comes out of it. Its human
features and expression makes her wonder if it shouldn't be breathing.

I wonder if "Jay Scott Pike" was a pseudonym for "Gary Michaels," a.k.a.
Jack Abel?

The old man resembles an elderly Stan Lee with an eye patch.

Hans the hapless apprentice looks like a cross between Melvin the "Mole"
and Goofy.

"Gee whillikens!" and "Gwarsh!" are exclamations used by Hans which fit
like a signal watch for Jimmy Olsen.

Since Jakob Abel wears an eye patch, I'm guessing that he is able to turn
living beings into little people by revealing his left eye.

Steve Chung
"The Old Man's Review!"