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The Adventures of Trevor and the Tiger
By Bonnie Bale - Seidon
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2012 Bonnie Bale - Seidon
All right reserved.
Chapter OneUNBELIEVABLE CIRCUMSTANCES
Trevor was sitting on the steps shining his father's shoes. It was early morning on June 15, 1923, in a small town named Dublin, Ireland. It was just two days after Trevor's tenth birthday, and shining his father's shoes was just one of his daily chores.
Every day he would sit and daydream, but today was different, for Trevor was wondering what he really wanted to do when he grew up. You see, Trevor wasn't just any boy; he was born in the circus. His family had been circus performers for over three hundred years, and even at the age of ten, he had already been performing for seven years with his mother, father, brother, and sister, doing all kinds of tricks and acrobatics on bicycles and unicycles. It was fun, but he still wanted to do something more—something that would make him famous. He wanted to see the world. He wanted to do something exciting, daring, and much more interesting than cycling, but what?
He loved animals, and his mother performed as a ballerina on horseback. She actually danced on the back of a horse while the horse would run around the circus ring; she also rode side-saddle on a horse while the horse would dance and rear up on his hind legs and bow for applause. Then there were her performing dogs that she had trained. They had eight horses and six dogs altogether that Trevor loved! Still, this wasn't enough for Trevor.
At that moment, his mother called, "Trevor! Come and eat your breakfast, and hurry now. We have a lot to do today. You know we have to get the animals cleaned and ready for the show. Your father has already fed all the animals, and you still have to get the bicycles ready too! Trevor! Have you been daydreaming again?"
"No," said Trevor, "I was just cleaning Papa's shoes." He tried not to look at his mother because he knew she didn't really believe him. Trevor was always thinking of some new idea he wanted to try or somewhere else he wanted to be. Shaking her head, Mama left to go back to the wagon, and Trevor finished cleaning Papa's shoes. He had his breakfast and then went about doing the other jobs his mother had told him to do; he got all the bikes ready and checked on the animals. He then went into the tent to check on the trapeze rigging and to make sure everything was ready for the performance.
Trevor's father taught him to always check everything for safety. Nothing was more important than that! Trevor always got excited when it got close to showtime. It was about two hours before the show, and he would get something to eat and take a bath and dress for the show. While dressing, he could hear people talking and children squealing and laughing with delight. As they got closer to the animals, Trevor's heart started pounding; it was a sound he loved. They had been in Dublin for two weeks, and tonight was their last night. Tomorrow they would move to another town; it was never too far, but Papa never really told him where they were going, and Trevor never asked.
The show started, and they had a full house, which meant that there wasn't an empty seat anywhere! For circus people, that was a good thing. The show ran smoothly, and the public applauded loudly and even whistled. That always made Trevor happy. They finished the performance, and now it was time to tear everything down and pack for the trip. It would usually take them about five hours to get everything done and ready to go. With all the animals fed for the night, Trevor's dad said, "Let's all get some sleep."
The next morning, Trevor jumped out of bed to get an early start because today was travel day, and Trevor would drive the team of horses that pulled the wagon that he, his brother Charlie, sister Daisy, and his mother and father all lived in. The circus his parents owned was small, but they still had four wagons. One carried the circus tent, seats, and props; one sold tickets, candy, drinks, and the programs, and one carried water for them and the animals, with a separate area for the dogs in the back.
Trevor loved sitting up on top of the wagon, driving the team of horses because he had all day to think about what he wanted to do. He would see himself on a high wire in spotlights, and there would be a big announcement: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, we proudly present the greatest high-wire artist in the world balancing on the silver strand, performing death-defying feats. The one, the only—Treeeeevor!"
Then he would see himself with ten huge elephants that stood over eleven feet high with legs so round they looked like trees. When they walked, the ground would shake with thundering sounds, and they would listen to everything that Trevor would command them to do. They would lift Trevor up on their enormous trunks and carry him around the ring. Yes, he was the master who everybody would think was so brave. Trevor loved everything about the circus. One thing he knew for sure, he would always be in the circus!
Just at that moment, his father came over and said, "Come on, Son, let's water the horses and take care of the rest of the animals. Then we'll get something to eat, and the animals can have a rest before we move on. We still have a long way to go."
"Papa, why is it so far this time?" Trevor asked. "Where are we going?"
His father looked at him, and Trevor, for the first time, saw a troubled look in his father's eyes—a very sad look. Papa took a deep breath and said, "Well, Trevor, I didn't want to tell you this, but things with our circus have been very hard, and well, you see, we've had to sell the circus." Trevor couldn't believe what he had heard.
"No! Papa, no!" he yelled. "You can't! You can't sell our circus! You just can't. I love our circus. I never ever want to leave the circus!"
With all the ruckus going on, his mother, Meta, brother, Charlie, and half-sister, Daisy, came running over. "Trevor, what on earth are you yelling about?" his mother asked. Trevor just stood there still, looking at his father, his face all red with anger. Charlie's and Daisy's eyes were wide open with terror! What was so wrong that Trevor would put himself in a position that could land him a good spanking?
"Eddie!" his mother said. "What's going on?" (His father's name was Edwin, but she always called him Eddie.)
"I'm sorry, Meta. I had to tell him."
"Oh, I really wish you hadn't," said Mama.
She shook her head, turned around, and walked away, calling back over her shoulder, "Trevor, Charlie, Daisy, let's go to the wagon. We'll eat something and rest for a while. Then we'll have to get going. We still have a long way to go. I don't want to hear a word out of anyone!" "But" and before Trevor could say anything, Mama gave him one of her looks that said "Don't you dare say a word! We can talk later, and I'll try to explain things to you next time we stop." As the hours went by when everyone was resting, Trevor paced back and forth shaking his head and repeating, "I can't believe this! How can Papa do this to me? How!"
Papa was starting to get the horses hooked up to the wagons and ready to start on their way again. Trevor got back up on his wagon, not saying a word to anybody. Charlie and Daisy looked at Trevor but never said a word. They knew how he felt as they too were upset, and they knew there was nothing that would help him feel better. They all started out on the road once again. The next couple of hours seemed to drag by now. Trevor just didn't understand how this was possible. The circus was all he'd ever known. After all, he was practically born in the ring. His mother had been riding her horse in the circus ring only about an hour before she went into labour and Trevor was born. They were in Copenhagen, Denmark, at the time. After several weeks, they travelled back to England.
Trevor's elder half-brother Harder was a young man at the time, and he had started training bears. His other half-sister, Inga, was a prima ballerina and performed in the theatre in London, and after all, his great-great-great-grandfather was a circus performer, so it only made sense that Trevor should live his life in the circus! Nothing would take him away from the circus. He had plans, big plans. He was going to be a famous animal trainer he had decided, no matter what it took.
The wagons started to come to a stop. Trevor could see a sign that read "Belfast, Ireland, 20 miles." He also noticed about six more wagons, and then he heard his father laugh and say, "Hello, my old friend, Jackson!"
"Hello, Edwin, how have you been?" It was Jackson, the tiger trainer! He was a really good friend.
"It's so good to see you. Are you headed back to England?" he asked.
"Yes, we've sold our show to the Rollings Circus," said Trevor's father.
"Oh, that's too bad. I'm sorry to hear that. You had such a wonderful circus," said Jackson.
Trevor was still mad but was really so excited to see Jackson that he jumped off the wagon and ran right over to him. "Hey, Trevor, you have grown since I last saw you. You must be a great performer by now if I know your father." Trevor wanted to know everything about Jackson.
"How are your tigers?" he asked.
"They are as fierce and mean as ever!" said Jackson. "Why? They've nearly killed me twice, this year."
"Oh really! Tell me more, Jackson. Tell me more."
"Well, maybe later."
Just then, Eddie said, "Let's pull all the wagons into a circle so we can let the horses loose to eat the grass, and we'll have a nice get-together—eat, sing, and dance."
"Oh, I know that Daisy is a great dancer, and she must be getting so excited about her upcoming wedding to her nice fellow Fred," said Jackson.
"Oh I am," said Daisy, as she came walking up behind them, her eyes bright and a glow to her cheeks with the biggest smile on her pretty face. That was the first time Trevor had seen her so happy. At least she'll still be in the circus, he thought. Her fiance Fred was a wonderful juggler, and with Daisy's talent, they would go far in the circus business.
With all the wagons around, the women started to cook the meals for their party. There was Mrs. Blaney who did a wire act with her husband, and Mr. and Mrs. Wallace who had four older children—Bill, James, Kathy, and Alice—who performed on the flying trapeze. Trevor had been up there with them flying a couple of times two years ago when they had last worked together in England. There were the Petersons, who had performing sea lions, and the Reynolds, who were clowns and played musical instruments for their act, and of course, there was Jackson. That was really his last name. His first name was Harold, but everyone called him Jackson.
Trevor, Charlie, and his father made sure the dogs and horses were fed and watered, but Trevor couldn't wait until he would get the chance to sit and talk to Jackson about the tigers. Meanwhile, Charlie wanted to hear all about the Reynolds' clowning stories, as his passion was clowning. He was also good at playing instruments and could play the saxophone, flute, and the bagpipes, which were very hard to play. At the age of eight, everyone thought he was great.
The wagon door opened, and Daisy stuck her head out and yelled, "Trevor! Charlie! Come in and clean up for dinner." Both boys ran as fast as their feet would take them. This was going to be a wonderful night!
Everyone gathered around the fire where pots were hanging, filled with the aroma of steaming Irish stew, hot boiled potatoes, and crusty bread. The men were drinking ale, and the women drank sweet lemonade. Everyone was having a good time. They ate, then danced, and all sang their traditional song: "We're circus people through and through. We love every single thing we do, with animals, acrobats, and clowning, too. We're circus people through and through."
It was quite late now. Trevor and Charlie were pretty tired after all the stories they had heard from Jackson and the Reynolds. They both felt that they had learned a lot tonight and knew they would have wonderful dreams. It was very dark now, and the mist started drifting in. The owls were hooting and making all kinds of noises. Mostly everyone had gone off to bed except for Trevor and his father who were just checking the horses who seemed to be very spooked for some reason. That was very unusual. As a rule, they stood or lay down and went to sleep. Trevor's father said, "You better go to bed. I'll just keep an eye on them, OK?"
"Good night, Papa," said Trevor.
THE BANSHEE WITCH
Trevor had just started to climb the steps of the wagon when he turned and saw the horses started rearing up on their hind legs, their eyes open wide and snorting with their nostril flared out—they started whining. It was really starting to get foggy now, and he could hardly see his father or the horses. Then all of a sudden, he saw a strange glow and a form of something. He didn't know if Papa had seen it or not. Trevor could see a little because he was standing on the steps; he could hear Papa trying to calm the horses. And then all of a sudden, Trevor saw it—Was it a woman? Yes, it was. She was standing there right in the middle of the horses. The fog had cleared a little, and he could see a women wearing a long black robe. She had long fingernails. Her face was pale, and she had a long, crooked nose with a big wart right on the end of it. Her long, pure white hair hung all the way down her back.
She was so frightful; just then, Trevor's father yelled at him, "Trevor, go to the wagon. Get inside. Make sure Charlie and Daisy are in with Mama and lock the door! Hurry, it's the Banshee Witch. Run, Trevor, run." At that moment, she screamed a terrible screeching sound, and while she screamed, she combed through her hair and then threw the comb on the ground. As she did this, lighting struck and a loud thundering sound shook the ground. All the horses took off running in all directions. Trevor's papa couldn't stop them. The horses squeezed through wagons, jumped over the fences, and stampeded completely out of sight.
Everyone came running out. "What was that? Oh my god," said Trevor's mother, "Where are the horses, Eddie? We must get them back, and where is Trevor?" Charlie started looking around. When he spotted Trevor behind one of the wagons, he said, "There he is, Mama." Charlie took off running over to him.
"Are you OK, Trevor? What happened? We were sitting in the wagon and heard a screaming sound. Mama and Daisy jumped up and went to the door, but Mama wouldn't let me come out. I wanted to help you, but mama wouldn't let me. I'm sorry!"
"It's all right, Charlie."
Trevor grabbed his arm and whispered, "It was absolutely incredible! You should have seen it!" Charlie was about to ask what he was talking about when Papa yelled, "We have to get the horses. We'll need everyone's help. Let's go!" All the performers took off in different directions to gather what horses they could catch. It took about an hour or so to get all the horses back, and settled with that done, everyone went to bed. Trevor and Charlie lay in the dark. After a few minutes, Trevor reached over and tugged on Charlie's pyjama top and whispered, "Charlie, are you awake?"
"Of course, I am. It's kind of hard to sleep after all that commotion!"
"Charlie, if I show you something, will you promise not to tell Mama and Papa?"
"Promise." Trevor lit a candle and then grabbed his pants, put his hand in his pocket, and pulled out this silver comb. "Look!"
"What is that?" said Charlie.
"It's from the Banshee."
"The Banshee, the witch!" said Trevor.
"What are you going to do with it?" asked Charlie.
"Well," said Trevor, "I thought it might come in handy."
"Come in handy!" said Charlie. Trevor smiled and said, "Well, I was thinking one day, I might be in the cage with a big group of tigers, and if they should all jump on me at the same time, I could throw down the comb, and the lighting would really scare them!"
"Well, that's a good thought," said Charlie, "but—"
"But what?" said Trevor.
"Well, what if she wants it back? What if she comes after us?" said Charlie.
"Oh, I didn't think of that!" said Trevor, "Not that I'm scared of the Banshee. No, it's Mama and Papa, we have to worry about!" Both boys laughed themselves to sleep.
Early morning was approaching. The sun had not come up, and it was still foggy out. You could hardly see lights on in the distant farmhouses, but you could hear the roosters saying, "cock-a-doodle-doo!" which meant it was time to get up. Trevor and Charlie heard their father's footsteps and knew exactly what he was going to say: "Come on, boys, let's get the horses harnessed and hooked up to the wagons while your mother and Daisy cook breakfast. Then we'll eat and start out." They finished their chores and went to clean up for breakfast.
Excerpted from The Adventures of Trevor and the Tiger by Bonnie Bale - Seidon Copyright © 2012 by Bonnie Bale - Seidon. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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