The sun was high in the sky now.
"Follow me, lads," the wardrobe lady called. She took them across the
circus grounds to a tent and pulled the flap open. "Hereís a couple of
raccoons for you, Jock. Theyíll be taking the dogs place. Do what you can
with them," she said. "Cheerio for now, lads. Iíll see you in the morning,
bright and early." She petted their heads and left.
Jock stared at the raccoons. "Do you
know how to balance? See those balls over there," he said, pointing to
them. "Your job is to roll around the big tent on them, standing up and no
falling. Do you get that?" Ian and Mac nodded. "Go and practice for a
while. Iíve got some other work to do."
Jock went to the other side of the
tent. Ian and Mac ran over to the big balls. One ball was shocking pink
and bright purple stripes and the other was orange and yellow striped.
"How does he expect us to do that? Look at the size of the balls? Theyíre
huge. I canít roll on them," Ian complained.
"Sure you can, Ian. Just climb up on
it and walk. Put your arms out to the side for balance," Mac said, making
it sound simple. "Here, Iíll show you." He rolled the big purple and pink
ball over next to a table. He climbed on the table and stood on the ball.
It rolled out from under his feet and he fell with a thud to the ground.
"Simple? You nearly broke your
neck," Ian whined. "Iím not doing that, not for all the peanuts and
popcorn in the world."
Mac stood up and tried again. He
fell with a thud. The ball flew a dozen feet away. Ian went and got it.
Mac tried and tried and finally, after ten tries, he stood on the ball. "I
did it! See, I told you it was easy." He started to take little steps and
the ball rolled. "Ooops," he shouted as the ball rolled out from under
him. He fell to the floor again. "Iíll not give up. Iíll try it again," he
said. He climbed on the table stood on the rubbery pink and purple ball.
He started to walk and this time he didnít fall. "Say, this isnít so bad.
All day long Mac practiced and by the time the sun set he was perfect at
Ian, however, didnít fare so well.
He fell and he fell and he fell. By the time the sun set, he had nothing
Jock came over to the raccoons.
"Iíve been watching you lads. You," he said, pointing to Mac, "are great
at that; a natural. You, however," he said, pointing to Ian, "are no good.
Iíve got another job for you. Follow me," he called to Ian. Mac stayed and
practiced. Ian followed Jock. They went out of that tent and into another.
It was filled with huge elephants. Jock walked over to one of them.
"Sheena, this is your partner tomorrow. Show him what heís supposed to
do," Jock said and left Ian with the elephant.
"Iím Sheena. Iím happy to meet you.
Whatís your name?" she asked.
"Ian. What do you want me to do? I
donít have to roll on balls or swing from a trapeze, do I?"
"Not at all. Climb onto my trunk,"
"What? What are you going to do with
me?" Ian asked.
"Just climb on. Iíll not hurt you!"
she assured him. Hesitantly, Ian stood on her trunk. "Hold on tight!" she
called and lifted him high into the air.
"Yikes!" he shouted, grabbing onto
her trunk and holding on for dear life. "Put me down! Put me down!"
Sheena lowered her trunk a little
bit. "Stop that whining. Your job is to do tricks while youíre on my
trunk; things like somersaults and handstands. You can do that, canít
you?" she asked.
"Well, of course, but you lifted me
up so high," Ian complained.
"Weíll start off low then. Now, get
to work. Iíll watch while you practice," Sheena said.
Ian was afraid at first, but after a
while, he got braver and better at it. Sheena lifted her trunk up higher
and higher. "I did it!" Ian shouted, after doing a double somersault
across Sheenaís trunk.
"Thatís enough for tonight," Sheena
said, lowering her trunk. "I need to rest. Come back in the morning and
weíll put on a great show."
Ian waved goodbye and went to find
Mac. He was in the tent, eating a large bag of popcorn. "Come on, Ian.
Come and tell me all about what your trick is and have some popcorn. Jock
gave this to me and said there was a lot more."
Ian told Mac about Sheena and his
handstands and somersaults and they nibbled on the popcorn. That night,
the wardrobe lady let them sleep in the corner of her trailer. Neither of
them was able to sleep much because they were too excited. Tomorrow was
the big dayÖthe day of the circus.