CIRCUS MEMOIRS
Animal Anecdotes -
2

 

I remember a trained monkey we had called "Pete." We used to put him on quite a high pedestal so the audience could see him, but always confined with a chain. We would put a pipe in his mouth, a pair of spectacles over his eyes and give him a tin fiddle and a bow. On some days he was very docile, on other days he would fight, and he would fight hard. I remember a boy we had by the name of "Jake" Reilly. We were showing at Allentown, Pennsylvania, on the Fourth of July. Before we opened Reilly had celebrated a little by taking a few drinks. He was dressed in a white linen suit. We had pitched our tents right next to a coal dump, from which the rain had washed down like ink. Pete must have known that Reilly was half full, for about the second trick that Reilly wanted him to do Pete made a jump for him and they had it out right there; first one on top and then the other. When they got through Reilly looked as though he had been rolled in an ink barrel.


Prof. James Howell, who was quite a trainer of animals, was with me for several seasons. This particular season he had an educated pig. I always insisted on his having a small pig, because every pound of weight we could save going over the road meant a great deal, and we utilized the pig's box for a seat. Naturally, he had to have some bars in it so the pig could get plenty of air. A Mrs. Berriman, the mother of two nice Albino boys that I had in the side show, was always playing tricks on Howell. On one occasion while riding over the road they were eating some lunch as they went along and at every opportunity Mrs. Berriman would slip the pig some lunch. The consequence was that when we reached town and Howell had made his grand speech about the wonderful pig, his intelligence, how he could tell the time of day, how he could multiply, subtract and divide, doing all these wonderful things by card, and commenced by asking him the time of day, the pig just looked at him and grunted "Ooff!" And when Howell would throw down a card of course the pig would not notice it but would only repeat his "Ooff!" So the performance wound up by being a great failure. The reason the pig was a failure that day was that Mrs. Berriman had stuffed him so full that he wouldn't work, and Howell had to rack his brain to find out what was the matter by rehearsing him again and again. The truth is that pigs nor any other animals will not work unless they are hungry. I sometimes think this is the case with a great many people, too.


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