- The little "sweep-'em-up-boy" -
by - John McBride 30/5/2007
Once upon a time there was a little boy who worked at a circus, he was known as the "little sweep'em up boy," for it was his job to go around at night & sweep up all the rubbish, after the people had left the circus, all the toy hats, & lolly papers & straw. So he didn't have a very interesting job at all really. Also I should point out that he did not have a Mother or a Father, for he was just a little orphan boy, and the manager of the circus took pity on him, & gave him his job, as "little sweep'em up boy."
Anyway at night he would go around like a good little boy & sweep up all the rubbish & left over things. He was really very lonely & quite sad & all alone in the world, all except for his circus friends who took pity upon him. Well during the course of time he made friends with the Lion, he used to sit at night by his cage & pat
the Lion through the bars of the Lion Cage. He would talk to the Lion & the Lion would often lick his hand, and appeared to weep, as they were both so sad, & found comfort in their sorrow.
You see the poor Lion was being so abused, & mistreated by the Lion Tamer, who had a nasty whip, & would crack his whip & make the Lion perform all theses tricks. Every night when the circus was filled with people the proud, nasty Lion Tamer would come out with a red jacket on, white trousers, armed with a pistol on his belt & holding a chair in his left hand to frighten the poor bewildered Lion, and make him jump through rings of fire, roll on the floor & jump through hoops & loops & paw & count on the straw.
So you see after everybody had gone home, & all was quiet the little sweep'em up boy would always talk to the Lion, because really that was his only friend. And as I said, the Lion, who was so very depressed & sad, loved the little boy as well. In their sadness & loneliness they had each other. For they were friends.
And as time passed the Lion Tamer became worse & worse, always cracking his whip & whirling his chair, really frightening the poor depressed, sad Lion. O it was all getting too much & the Lion, although he loved the little boy, he really just wanted to run away & hide.
Well wouldn't you believe it! .. One night, the Lion tamer who had been drinking, forgot to put the latch on the Lion's Cage. Well here was his Golden Opportunity, & the Lion pushed the cage door open with his paw & ran away, into the darkness of the night. And off he ran, far, far, away up into the hills, & he hid in some bushes. He was so glad to have run away. No more whips & shouting of commands, & general bad behaviour from that drunken Lion Tamer.
Then the next day the Manager of the circus found that the Lion had escaped from his cage. Goodness me! What can be done he thought,??? without the Lion we won't have a Grand Act. So he went to the Lion Tamer's caravan & found him there with a hangover.
"WHERE IS THE LION?" ... shouted the Manager of the circus. Well the bewildered Lion Tamer said: "I don't know where he is?"
"WELL YOU GO AND FIND HIM!" shouted the Manager.
"O I couldn't do that," replied the lion tamer, "for he will eat me."
Well the little boy with the broom stepped forward & meekly said,
"Sir, I think I know where the Lion is, & I shall try to find him for you."
This seemed to please the Manager, who smiled & went on his way.
That night the little
boy went out into the darkness alone looking for his Lion Friend. He went right up into the hills, which was a long way for a little boy,
and he was calling out for him, crying ... "Lion, Lion, Lion ..... where are you???"
After awhile he was so tired, when he noticed some eyes peering out of a bush. He said: "Is that you Lion?"... "Yes!" said the Lion who was very frightened, but still pleased to hear the friendly soft voice of the little boy. "O do come back to the circus dear Lion," said the little boy, "We won't have an act without you & we shall all go poor."
"O no said the Lion, I can't ever go back there, you know how frightened I am of the Lion Tamer who cracks his whip & frightens me every night."
Well the little boy did not know what to do, so he pleaded with the Lion to come back to the circus with him, & as a result of this, the Lion thought this little boy loves me, I can't let him down, so reluctantly he followed the little boy back to the circus, feeling very sad, & depressed about his prospects.
When he arrived back at the circus the little sweep'em up boy gently put
the Lion back into his cage & closed the latch on his door, so that he would not run away again.
Well! when the Manager of the Circus saw this he was Astonished! ... Amazed!
"What a good little boy you are for finding the Lion, & bringing him back to the circus, I am so proud of you for being such a Good Boy, I have decided that you are no longer to be the little sweep'em up boy, you are to be the NEW LION TAMER! & the old lion tamer is to be the sweep'em up man!" And with that he thrust the broom into the old lion tamer's hands.
What a joy it was for the little boy & the Lion at night when all the children & their mothers & fathers came to the circus; there they saw the little boy who used to sweep up the straw, & who was previously so sad & lonely, become the New Star Act at the Circus; with no pistol, whip, or chair, & the Lion lovingly doing all tricks which now he enjoyed to do, to please the children. And above all to please the little Boy who he really loved. And as with all stories they have an end, but this story went on, as
the little boy who loved the Lion, lived happily ever after. And they never, ever, ever parted company again.
~ * ~
- John McBride - S.A.