THERE are almost as many kinds of fleas as there are kinds of beasts.  Nearly every variety of animal has its own variety of flea and the abilities of the fleas seen to vary quite proportionately with those of their hosts.  The human flea excels all others in endurance, length of life and intelligence.


I am often asked if fleas are not "carriers of diseases".  Of course they are.  They carry the disease germs which adhere to their body and when they feed upon their host, they inoculate him.  But the flea is not an incubator of germ life.  The flea itself is never sickly, for when one becomes ill, it loses its surface gloss.  This turnished surface is the flea's protection and when it is lost, the flea dies.  An ill flea will not feed.


Contrary to the prevailing opinion, the flea is a seeker of cleanlines and health.  It seldom feeds upon a sick host.  They are very sensitive as to taste and smell.  They will not remain on a host after any taint is in the blood.  They abhor strong odors.  If you wish to get rid of fleas, treat them to strong odors.  The flea prospers best in humid or moist air, and hot dry air is fatal to it.


Most people will not believe that fleas can be taught.  Only seeing is believing.  But why should they not accept teaching?  Because they are tiny is no criterion of their intelligence.  If their mental and physical strength varied in proportion to the size of human beings they would be too weak to exist, but they are a thousand times stronger both physically and mentally then humans compared to their size.  They hear by means of vibrators instead of ears.  They feed solely upon living blood.


Fleas seem to have as much individuality as humans and probably vary more in their individual abilities than do humans.  It is necessary to put them through a sort of psychological test to separate the intellectually capable from the dumb. If a flea passes this test, he can usually be taught some particular stunt in which he becomes more and more proficient.  He learns to enjoy doing his trick and really does it better before an appreciative audience then he will for me alone.


One must understand fleas to train them, must know their habits of thought and action, must know their biology thoroughly, and above all must have infinite patience and perseverance.  The first step in training a flea is to fasten a collar around his neck;  thereafter he always wears it and "dies in the harness".


The training of fleas is not a new profession.  Centuries ago the royal courts of Europe were entertained by the "Flea Theatre" and the royal trainer was hooked upon as one of the wise men of the court and highly respected.  Flea training has become almost extinct, not because of the lack of fleas, but from lack of patience and understanding.


Many people have tried to train fleas, but have not learned to handle them properly.  It is said that one of the late Rothchilds spent a small fortune and years of time in the attempt but finally gave up in despair.  That I am successful is due largely to my sympathetic understanding of the fleas. While their training is in no sense hypnotic, it is mental more than physical.  I know fleas as you should know your children.  I will be glad to always answer intelligent questions concerning my work and my interesting performers.


When you came here you were incredulous.  You have seen that the "Flea Circus" is not a fake, but an educational performance which caused you o marvel.  If you have enjoyed my humble showing.  I would be happy to have you send other unbelievers to be convinced.




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