Silver and Pussy-Wee go to the circus

A children’s story, written by their Father when Richard and Julie were small.

“Puss” said Silver, “did you hear what the children said at teatime?”

“Do you mean about the circus?” replied Pussy-Wee.

“Yes, they have been talking about it for days and I think they are going tomorrow.” Silver sighed and lay his head in his paws, “Oh, Puss, would you like to go? Why don’t we go by ourselves?”

Pussy-Wee rolled over on her back, got up, stretched herself and stood looking out through the window.

“I think it is an excellent idea but do you know where this circus is being held?”

“It is in the huge tent in the big field near the Downs. I saw it when we went shopping in the car yesterday,” said Silver, “and if we raced ahead of them we could get in and see the show and when we hear them talking about it we shall be able to smile to ourselves and know what they are saying.”

The next day Silver and Pussy-Wee listened to the children talking at lunchtime and they then knew the children were going to the circus in the after-noon. As soon as they had finished their lunch Pussy-Wee asked Silver if they should start out for the circus. Silver said it would take about half an hour to get there and if they started at once they would be able to crawl under the seats and hide before the crowds of people went in.

Silver didn’t tell Pussy-Wee but he had doubts about how they were going to get in. Somehow he would think of a good way and as cats and dogs didn’t carry any money how could they be expected to pay!

When they arrived at the field there were crowds and crowds of people. Mummies and Daddies with all their children and Uncles and Aunts with nieces and nephews. Silver barked to Pussy-Wee,

“Follow me Puss, don’t get lost or I shall have a hard job finding you “. Pussy-Wee followed him faithfully. She knew, probably better than Silver, how to get into the Big Top tent but being a sensible pussy-cat she allowed Silver to assume command, in fact she encouraged him because it made him very important and a very proud dog.

After darting in and out of peoples’ legs they came at last to the entrance to the Big Top Tent. The band was playing and a huge man in red and green uniform stood guarding the doorway.

“Ppppsssttt” growled Silver to Pussy-Wee, “keep very quiet and follow me.” Puss silently did as she was bidden.

They had not gone very far when they came to an opening in the canvas, a very small opening but big enough for them to wriggle through.

What a sight met their eyes. It was a huge tent, there was large circle in the middle with rows and rows of seats rising up one above the other and different coloured streamers were fastened from the ridge of the tent; they sat under one of the seats and waited, enraptured.

It seemed a long time before the band stopped playing outside and came into the tent. They struck up a marching tune and the people started coming in. A big fat man sat on the seat they were hiding under and they couldn’t see anything. Silver wondered if he should nip the man’s leg so that he would move, but thought better of it. If they were found in the tent they would surely be chased out. So they moved. This time they crawled down to the entrance opposite the band and sat under the nearest seat.

Suddenly the band struck up a fanfare and all the clowns and the animals and the jugglers and the equestrians with their beautiful white horses marched through the circus arena and the show was on!

The clowns and the midgets started a mock fight that Silver thought was real and he wanted to run out and help the little midgets, but Pussy-Wee told him to sit still, they were only pretending. Then a very pretty lady in a marvellous spangled dress rode round the ring on a white horse. Silver looked around for Master Richard and his Mistress Julie and he spotted them sitting on the other side of the circus.

“Look Puss” yapped Silver “there are the children,” let’s go over to them, and he started to move, but Puss told him to stay where he was.

The horses left the ring.

Lots of young men in green jerseys and red trousers ran on with many pieces of equipment which they arranged around the ring. A lady ran from the entrance followed by seven poodles and they raced around her in the ring. Silver’s eyes shone, he leaned forward better to see. Some of the poodles had their hair cut short quite different to Silver who, every one said, looked like a little lamb.

The lady told them to march around on their hind legs. They marched like soldiers. She then told them to run around like dizzy demons. Silver could not hold back any longer. He dashed out on to the ledge and joined in. At first the lady didn’t see him. The other poodles did not seem to mind, after all Silver was a cousin of theirs, although they had never seen him before he was made very welcome and they all started barking a greeting to him. The lady looked very startled but as Silver raced as well as the other dogs she didn’t stop him. Except when she blew a whistle and all the doggies sat down in a row in the centre of the ring; Silver went on racing.

Suddenly he stopped and did not know what to do. The lady called to him and he raced over to her. Just as she was going to get a tight hold of him, Silver realised he was going to be sent out so he switched behind her. And he barked, he held his head up and he barked. He barked a laughing bark. The lady turned round and he raced round the back of her. Each time the lady did this Silver was too quick for her and she became dizzy.

She decided to ignore the naughty little poodle who was spoiling her act. But he wasn’t spoiling the act because people thought he was the clown dog and they were howling with laughter at his antics.

When she next blew the whistle the lady started a large ball rolling and one of the poodles jumped up on the ball and started paddling around and steering the ball up a winding spiral platform. He was a very clever poodle. The other poodles were by now running around the ring on different coloured balls and all the people were clapping. Only Silver wasn’t doing anything. Just then one of the young men in a green jersey and red trousers crept up behind Silver and was ready to pounce on him when Silver saw him out of the corner of his eye.

Silver darted forward and the young man went sailing through he air and fell flat on his face in the sawdust. The crowd yelled with laughter!!

It was a very funny joke. Just then one of the poodles steered the ball on which he was balancing right into Silver: the poodle fell off. Silver saw his chance. He jumped on he ball. Oh, he felt seasick! He was going to fall off! His little legs went chasing round but being a clever dog, he managed to stay on. Or he would if the other poodle hadn’t placed his front paws on the ball and pushed him to a stop. Silver fell off and the poodle jumped back on the ball and started paddling away. Oh, thought Silver, they want to play do they, well I can play too, and he went up to another poodle who was balancing on a huge rubber ball and Silver placed his paws firmly on the ball. The poodle yapped, “Get out of my way you silly sausage” but Silver pushed the ball and the poodle fell down backwards.

Silver jumped on the ball and started to balance, holding his head very high. He was beginning to understand how to balance and keep the ball moving forward at the same time. The young man in the green jersey by this time had struggled to his feet and lunged at Silver, but Silver was too quick for him, he jumped off just as the man landed on his tummy across the huge balloon of a ball. The poodle who had been pushed off started to jump back on the ball almost at the same time as the man jumped at Silver, he landed squarely on the man’s neck and sat there in bewilderment.

The people in the circus thought this was uproariously funny and clapped and shouted. Silver liked this. He raced around the outer circle of the circus ring barking and prancing and ran back into the middle of the ring and stood on his hind legs waving his front paws in the air. The lady who seemed a little dazed with excitement called to the young man and told him to leave the ring; she would deal with this strange intruder. The lady ignored Silver and devoted her attention to the little poodle who was gallantly paddling his huge rubber ball up the spiral platform. At last he reached the top. The lady gave him a piece of sugar. She then gasped in amazement. The silver poodle who looked like a shaggy lamb had jumped on a big yellow ball that was to used for the next trick and was half way up he spiral platform puffing and blowing yet somehow managing to retain his balance and push the ball up the incline.

Silver barked with delight. “Look Puss” he yelled above the roar of the crowd, “I’m an acrobat”… “Cooee!! Look Puss, Look Puss, I can balance!” and then he fell off”.

The ball went racing down the slope and Silver sat there but he thought very quickly. ”I must make it look like a trick’. That is what they like, if I tumble down after the ball they will think it is clowning. Ah! Now I am a clown! So he fell head over hind legs, falling easily down the slope and on reaching the bottom he raced around the ball pretending to bite it.

All the people thought he was very clever and that he must be the star poodle of the show. The lady with the poodles called them all together and lined them up. They trotted round the ring and earned their praise from the audience, but what do you think, Silver not to be outdone weaved in and out of them until he was up front leading them around. The lady bowed to all the people and ran out of the arena followed by Silver and the poodles. When Silver reached the exit he saw all the men in green jerseys and red trousers were ready to catch him. He was clever he dodged under he seat near the entrance where he had been hiding with Pussy-Wee.

“How did you like my act Puss? ” asked Silver bristling with pride.

“Why ask me?” purred Pussy -Wee, “the crowd of people here thought you were a perfect clown!!” Silver looked hard at Pussy-Wee. He wasn’t quite sure which way she had said what she had said. Yet he was so pleased with his escapade that he soon forgot to worry about whether Puss was displeased with him or not.

“Wait until we tell the children what happened, ” barked Silver. “They will never believe it was me in the ring.” They stopped on to watch the lions and the tigers and the elephants and then raced home before the family could get back to the house.

When the children came in they were both pretending to be asleep on the rug by the French window. They listened to the chatter and the talk about the funny dog that was a real clown and Julie said to Richard “Do you know, he looked just like Silver!”

Silver looked at Pussy-Wee and yawned, and I think, winked at her. Puss smiled back at him and began to wash her face. She will always remember how clever Silver was, but she would never tell him so.

Robert E. Hill >>>

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