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Hurrah for the Circus!, Page 2

Enid Blyton

  “I shall be able to get my caravan painted again,” said Stanley the clown, “and I’ll get myself a new suit too. One with a tail sewn on.”

  “A tail?” said Lotta. “Whatever do you want a tail for? I’ve never heard of a clown with a tail before.”

  “That’s just why I thought I’d have one,” said Sticky Stanley, with a grin. “Think what fun you’ll all have in the ring, trying to pull my tail! I’ll be Sticky Stanley, the only clown in the world with a tail!”

  “He sticks to his work and his friends stick to him!” said Lotta, giving the smiling little man a hug, for she was very fond of him. “You get your tail, Stanley, and we’ll do plenty of pulling!”

  So Stanley bought himself a marvellous new suit, and it had a long tail like a cow’s that dragged along behind him, and was always tripping him up when he turned round to go another way. Lucky thought the tail was great fun, and one night in the ring she ran after Stanley and worried his tail as if it were a rat. Stanley jumped about, and yelled, and shouted, for he really was afraid that the dog would bite it off!

  Of course all the watching people thought that it was part of the show, and they laughed till they cried. So the clown thought he had better let Lucky do it again each night.

  “But mind you, Jimmy, you’ll have to buy me a new tail if Lucky does happen to bite it off one night!” said the clown. “Or else she’ll have to give me her own. I wouldn’t mind a tail like Lucky’s, with a fine wag in it!”

  Mr. Galliano paid Jimmy quite a lot of money that week, and the little boy was overjoyed. It was wonderful to think that he and his clever little dog could earn so much. He saved half of it, and bought his mother a new dress, his father a new saw, and Lotta a fine pair of shoes, which she wore to please Jimmy, though she really preferred to run barefoot.

  Mr. Galliano began to think of engaging some new performers for the circus.

  Lotta’s mother and father had taken their performing terriers with them, and they would not be back for some time. The circus was doing so well that it would be a good idea to make it even better.

  “What shall we have next?” he asked his wife, fat and kindly Mrs. Galliano. “We have monkeys, an elephant, a chimpanzee, Lucky the dog, and our dancing horses. We might get some performing seals, perhaps—yes?”

  “Yes,” said Mrs. Galliano. “Write to Philippo and see if he will join our circus with his six performing seals. They are wonderful. They can balance long poles on their noses, they can play catch-ball, and they sit on stools and sway themselves in time to the music in a very marvellous way.”

  When Jimmy and Lotta heard that perhaps the six performing seals might join the circus, they were most excited.

  “I saw them once!” said Lotta. “They are nice creatures, Jimmy, and they love doing tricks, just as the monkeys and Lucky do, and just as the horses love waltzing to the music!”

  “I’ve never found out yet how those horses manage to dance round in time to the music,” said Jimmy seriously. “Sometimes the music goes slow, and sometimes it goes fast—however do the horses follow it?”

  “Jimmy!” cried Lotta, in surprise. “Have you been with the circus all these months, and don’t know that little trick yet?”

  “What little trick?” asked Jimmy, astonished. “Is there a trick?”

  “Of course there is!” said Lotta, laughing. “The horses don’t dance in time to the music! The music keeps in time with them! That’s why it sometimes goes slow and sometimes fast, silly! It keeps in time with the horses, the horses don’t keep in time with the music!”

  “Well, I never!” said Jimmy, amazed. “I didn’t know that before.”

  “I do hope those seals come,” said Lotta, dancing about. “We’ll have fun with them, Jimmy.”

  But it was most disappointing; they didn’t come. Mr. Philippo had joined another circus, and was not free to come to Mr. Galliano. The children were sorry.

  “I wonder what he will get,” said Lotta.

  “Cats, perhaps,” said Jimmy.

  “Pooh, cats!” said Lotta scornfully. “Don’t you know that cats can’t perform? At least, they won’t perform—not unless they’re big cats, anyway.”

  “Big cats?” said Jimmy. “What sort of big cats? Fat ones, do you mean?’ Lotta went off into peals of laughter, and rolled on the grass.

  “You are funny, Jimmy,” she said, as she sat up again. “Don’t you know that big cats are tigers, or panthers, or some animal of that family? They are all cats. They purr like cats too. Haven’t you heard them?”

  “No,” said Jimmy. “I’ve never even seen a real tiger or lion, except in pictures. But I’d like to. They look such great, magnificent creatures.”

  Well, Jimmy was soon to see some real big cats, for Mr. Galliano heard from two people called Roma and Fric, who owned six great tigers.

  He showed the letter to Mrs. Galliano, and he called Mr. Tonks, Jumbo’s keeper, into the caravan, and Lilliput, who owned the four monkeys, and Mr. Wally, who owned Sammy the chimpanzee.

  “I have a letter here, yes,” said Mr. Galliano. “It is from Roma and Fric, who have six tigers. They can sit on stools, jump through hoops, and play follow-my-leader. You have heard of them—yes?”

  “I don’t like trained cats, whether they are tigers, lions, leopards, or lynxes,” said Mr. Wally. “It isn’t natural for cats to act.”

  “They don’t like it,” said Lilliput. “They’re not like monkeys, who act all the time, nor yet like Jumbo, who was bred and born in a circus.”

  “It’s a job to have travelling tigers,” said Mr. Tonks, scratching his head. “For one thing, we’ve got to have a mighty strong cage built each night in the ring before the tigers can do their turn, and that takes time.”

  “Brownie can help with that—yes?” said Mr. Galliano. “We are going next to Liverpool, and Roma and Fric can join us there. Of course, people like to see performing tigers—it looks dangerous, yes!”

  “I don’t like trained cats, big or little,” said Mr. Wally again. “But if people want to see them, I suppose circuses have got to have them. Give me animals that enjoy learning—tigers don’t! It hurts their feelings.”

  Very soon the news went round the camp. Performing tigers were to join the circus at Liverpool. Lotta and Jimmy were thrilled. “Now I shall get to know tigers too,” said Jimmy happily, for he was a boy who loved and welcomed any animal, big or small. “I wish I knew all the animals in the world!”

  “You’re a funny fellow, Jimmy,” said Mr. Tonks, pulling the boy’s ear gently. “I believe you would even love performing fleas! It’s wonderful how all the animals take to you.”

  Jimmy went red with pride. “I shall make friends with the tigers too,” he said.

  “Don’t be too sure about that,” said Mr. Tonks. “Tigers are funny things, and not to be trusted. I reckon they ought never to be in a circus. They won’t make friends with any one—not real friends, like old Jumbo there, or Sammy the chimp.”

  “Well, we’ll see, Tonky,” said Jimmy, and he ran off to give Lucky a bath before her turn in the circus that night.

  The show at Westsea finished that weekend and soon the circus was on the move again, travelling towards Liverpool. It poured with rain as they went, and the children sat inside their caravan, and looked out on the dreary surroundings. They did not like the look of Liverpool very much, after the freedom and beauty of Westsea.

  “But never mind, Lotta!” said Jimmy, jigging in joy. “We shall meet the tigers at Liverpool! That will be a big treat, won’t it?”


  THE circus camped before it got into Liverpool itself. The field was wet and muddy. It was hard work getting the tents up, and dragging the cages and caravans to their right places. Jumbo was very useful, but even his big feet slipped in the mud.

  “The tigers aren’t here yet,” said Jimmy to Lotta, in disappointment.

  “No, they are coming tomorrow,” said Lotta. “Mrs. Galliano to
ld me.”

  The children were wet through when at last everything was in order that night. They went into their cosy caravan, and Mrs. Brown made them take off their wet things and get into dry ones.

  Jimmy rubbed Lucky dry too, but Lulu the spaniel did not need to be dried, for she had kept in the caravan in her basket all the time. She loved Mrs. Brown very much and liked to be near her.

  Mrs. Brown had a fine-smelling stew in a pan on the stove. The children sniffed hungrily. Mr. Brown was pleased to smell it too when he came up the caravan steps to his supper.

  He took off his wet coat, washed his hands and face, and sat down at the little table. Soon everyone was enjoying the delicious stew, the chunks of pineapple that followed, and the hot cocoa.

  “Ooh, isn’t it cosy here,” said Jimmy. “Who would live in a house when they could live in a caravan!”

  “Well, I’ve never really got used to a caravan,” said Mrs. Brown, pouring out the cocoa. “It still seems funny to me not to have an upstairs and a downstairs. But I must say this is a very fine roomy caravan, Jimmy, almost as good as Mr. Galliano’s.”

  “I love it,” said Lotta, sipping her cocoa. “I miss my father and mother, Lal and Laddo, but I do love living with you and Brownie and Jimmy, Mrs. Brown.”

  “And we love having you, Lotta,” said Mrs. Brown, smiling at the dark-haired little girl. “You are very useful to me in lots of ways—but you still haven’t learnt that your hair looks nicer when it is properly brushed, and that tooth-brushes are meant to be used!”

  “Even Sammy the chimpanzee knows that,” said Jimmy, grinning. “You’d better take a lesson from him, Lotta.”

  Lotta made a dreadful face at Jimmy, and gave him such a pinch that the little boy yelled and dropped a piece of pineapple out of his open mouth.

  “And you’d better go and learn manners from Sammy,” said Lotta rudely. “Spitting out that nice pineapple!”

  “I didn’t!” cried Jimmy indignantly. “You made me yell and it fell out of my mouth. I wonder where it went.”

  “Lulu ate it,” said Mrs. Brown. “Now, no more faces and no more pinching, Lotta. You know I don’t like it.”

  “I’ve had to get a lot of new bars and bolts,” said Mr. Brown. “Mr. Galliano wants me to make the tigers’ cage as strong as I can—the one they’ll perform in, I mean.”

  “Ooh, the tigers!” said Jimmy eagerly. “I am longing to see them!”

  The next day, as the children were practising in the ring with Lucky, ready for that night, they heard a strange new sound.

  Lucky pricked up her ears and listened, then put her tail down and crept between Jimmy’s legs. Lulu ran out of the big tent and tore back to Mrs. Brown for safety. Jumbo pricked his big ears at the bellowing noise, and the four monkeys and Sammy sat still and listened.

  “The tigers!” yelled Jimmy in delight. “I can hear them roaring! Come on, Lotta, let’s go and meet them!”

  The two children rushed into the wet field. At the gate was a great travelling-box, shut in on all sides, but with air-holes in the roof. It was a powerful motor-van, and its wheels churned up the mud of the field.

  “It’s stuck!” cried Jimmy. “No wonder the tigers are bellowing! They can’t understand what’s happening! Let’s go and tell Tonky, and perhaps old Jumbo will help to pull the van out of the mud. Hi, Mr. Tonks! Mr. Tonks!”

  Mr. Tonks was already undoing Jumbo’s rope. Jumbo did not want to go near the van, for he disliked tigers, but he would do anything in the world for Mr. Tonks. So he followed his keeper, and easily pulled the travelling cage from the deep mud.

  The cage, full of roaring tigers, was hauled to its place in the field. Two people were with the cage, one a great powerful man with strange eyes, and the other a boy about Jimmy’s age.

  “Hallo,” said Jimmy. “What’s your name?”

  “Fric,” said the boy, eyeing Jimmy carefully. “And that’s Roma over there, my uncle. I travel with him, and we manage the tigers together. What do you do?”

  “I’m Jimmy, and I have a performing dog called Lucky,” said Jimmy proudly.

  The boy looked interested. “I’ve heard of her,” he said. “She can walk the tight-rope and spell and count, can’t she? All a trick, I suppose?”

  “No, she’s really very, very clever,” said Jimmy. “What do your tigers do? Can I make friends with them, do you think?”

  “Don’t talk rubbish,” said the boy scornfully. “Nobody makes friends with tigers. They won’t let you. I advise you not to go near them. I’d like to see that dog of yours, though. I like dogs.”

  Jimmy was pleased. It would be fun for him and Lotta to have another boy in the camp. They could do lots of things together. Lotta stood staring at the boy, but Fric took no notice of her.

  “I’ve got to go and help feed the tigers now,” said Fric. “See you later!”

  He went off. Lotta made a face. “I don’t like him,” she said.

  “Why, you don’t even know him yet,” said Jimmy. “He says he likes dogs. It will be fun to have someone else to play with.”

  “I don’t want anyone else,” said Lotta sulkily. “I don’t like Fric.”

  She went off by herself, but Jimmy waited about by the tigers’ van, wondering if he might see inside.

  Soon one side was opened, and Jimmy saw the tigers. They were magnificent creatures, like enormous cats, with great white whiskers, beautiful gleaming eyes and shining coats. They were well-fed now, and lay peacefully against one another, two in each partition of the big cage. They blinked at Jimmy in silence.

  “You lovely things,” said Jimmy, looking at their great green eyes. “I’d like to feel your furry coats!”

  “Don’t you have anything to do with tigers,” said a warning voice nearby. “They are not to be trusted. A chimpanzee’s all right, and so is an elephant, and even a bear knows its friends—but tigers hate this circus life and won’t be friends.”

  It was Mr. Wally, who had come up to see the tigers too. The two gazed through the bars at the quiet creatures. One tiger got up and paced to and fro on big silent paws.

  “Just like the cat we used to have at home,” said Jimmy. “I’d like to go and pet it!”

  “Aren’t you afraid of those great creatures?” asked Mr. Wally, in astonishment.

  “No,” said Jimmy. “I’m not afraid of any animal, Mr. Wally. It’s not that I’m brave—it’s just that I seem to understand them and their feelings, and I want them to be friends with me.”

  “Well, don’t try being friends with tigers, that’s all!” said Mr. Wally, and he went off to his caravan, thinking that Jimmy was the strangest boy he had ever known. All the animals in the circus loved that boy-ah, he was lucky, for that was a great gift, to be friends with animals of all kinds, wild or tame! Mr. Wally would like to have had Jimmy’s gift of friendliness—he could manage chimpanzees, but dogs he didn’t understand, and as for tigers, why, he didn’t even like the feel of them in the circus!

  Jimmy stayed looking at the tigers. They looked back at him. One of them began to purr gently, just like a great cat.

  “You’ll be friends of mine before long,” said the little boy in the low, gentle voice he kept for animals. “You just see! I’ll be feeding you soon—yes, and brushing those lovely coats of yours! You just see!”


  THE six new tigers soon settled down in Mr. Galliano’s circus. They roared when they were hungry, but not very often at other times.

  “How do you manage to tame tigers, Fric?” asked Jimmy, as he saw the small boy going to feed his six great cats one morning.

  “We had all these when they were cubs,” said Fric. “They were just like playful kittens then. It is not very difficult to train them when they are young—and the tricks they learn then they always remember when they are grown tigers. And they are afraid of me and of Roma, just as they were afraid when they were cubs. If I shout at them they cower down.”

  “Afraid of you!” cried
Jimmy. “I think that’s wrong, Fric. I don’t think we should ever make animals afraid of us when we take them to live with us. Mr. Galliano says that the finest trainers work by kindness.”

  “Pooh!” said Fric scornfully. “He doesn’t know anything about tigers then. No one could be kind to tigers for long!”

  Jimmy said nothing. He felt sure that Fric was wrong. The little boy looked at the slanting green eyes of the six beautiful animals. One of them began to purr as she looked at Jimmy.

  “Hear that!” said Fric, astonished. “That’s Queenie, purring. She hardly ever does. She must like you, Jimmy. It’s a funny thing, too, but whenever you’re near their cage, they always seem to lie peaceful and quiet.”

  Fric went into the tigers’ cage to feed them. There was a double gate, and one was always shut if the other was open, so that no tiger could ever get out. Fric was not afraid of the tigers. He had lived all his life with Roma, his uncle, and knew all about the great animals.

  With loud roars the tigers fell upon their enormous hunks of meat. They took no notice of Fric.

  “Watch what happens when I shout at Queenie, and thump my fist into my hand!” shouted Fric. And before Jimmy could stop him, Fric had yelled angrily at Queenie and banged his fist into the palm of his left hand.

  Queenie crouched down, her ears drooping, and her tail swinging slowly. She looked scared.

  “Don’t do that, Fric,” said Jimmy. “Why should you yell at Queenie like that when she’s done nothing wrong at all? That’s the wrong way to treat animals!”

  Fric looked cross. He threw the last piece of meat to the tigers.

  “You may know all about dogs and elephants and chimpanzees,” he said sulkily, “but you don’t know a thing about tigers!”

  Jimmy did not want to quarrel with Fric, for he badly wanted something—he wanted to go into the tigers’ cage with Fric! Jimmy was not afraid of any animal; no, not even of a fierce tiger. But Lucky was afraid. Little dog Lucky wouldn’t go near the cage, and Jimmy was glad. He did not want Lucky to slip between the bars. She would make a nice little dinner for six hungry tigers!