Once upon a time, Joel ben Izzy worked as a mime -- until he injured his hip in a car crash.
Then he became a storyteller who lost his voice.
"If I could market irony, I'd be rich," said the wry, rueful performer.
Ben Izzy -- who eventually regained his speech -- recounts the journey in a moving new book, "The Beggar King and the Secret of Happiness" (Algonquin, $22.95). Woven into the memoir are 15 multicultural folk tales, including the Talmudic legend of how King Solomon achieved wisdom after temporarily losing his empire.