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Title: P. T. Barnum's Menagerie
Author: Barnum, P. T. (Phineas Taylor), 1810-1891, Burke, Sarah J.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: P. T. BARNUM'S MENAGERIE]

The Publishers take pleasure in acknowledging the courtesy and aid
extended them by the Strobridge Lithographing Co.


Text and Illustrations Arranged for Little People by





New York & London
White & Allen

Copyright, 1888, by White & Allen.

Lith. By G. H. Buek & Co. N. Y.



My dear children, unless you have been fortunate enough to be taken to
the menagerie by some grown-up friend, somebody who would patiently
answer all your questions, and tell you all about the bewitchingly
horrible animals in the cages, and into whose arms you might run when
they growled and looked fierce, I do not think you can know the joy of
Tom, Trixie and Gay as they entered the menagerie with Mr. Barnum.

Trixie hugged his right arm tight, as usual, Gay kept fast hold of his
left hand, while Tom was so anxious to miss no part of the show that
he did not know that he was walking so clumsily as to put Mr. Barnum's
toes in danger; and, notwithstanding they were such old chums, I fancy
he was more than once tempted to say to the boy, "Tom, you are as
awkward as a grizzly bear!"


At the sight of the zebra, Gay laughed aloud. "He is knitted all in
stripes--he is made of garters!" she said; and she thought the gnu
looked like a wild bull "in front," but when he turned round she said
he was a horse.

And oh! you should have heard the buffalo snort at Gay! "He wants
to make a meal of baby," said Tom, but the truth was a man had been
teasing him with a cane, and when a buffalo is angry, he is not a very
pleasant play-fellow.

"I mean to hunt the buffalo, out West, when I am a man," said Tom.

"Then you must hurry and grow up," said Mr. Barnum, "for the animal, in
our own country, is being rapidly exterminated."

"What is the meaning of exterminated?" asked Tom.


"Killed off," said Mr. Barnum; and Tom thought that a much better way
of saying it.

"Does a buffalo grow up out of a buffalo bug?" asked Gay. Then they all
laughed at her till she pouted, and Trixie thought, "I must remember to
tell that to mama."

The reindeer, the antelope, and the moose were all somewhat
alike--"cousins," the children called them; and Gay had a very pretty
name for two reindeer that she thought especially beautiful--she said
they were "Santa Claus's ponies;" and I am sure that even Santa Claus
would have been delighted to drive them.

Elephants! Just what Tom had been longing for, and it was strange to
see how frisky the great clumsy creatures could be. They stood on one
another's backs, they tried to waltz, and then two of them, after much
floundering and capering, jumped over a bar; but not even Mr. Barnum
himself could say they did it gracefully.

"See those two play see-saw!" cried Trixie, laughing till her little
sides shook, "and that little fellow is grinding a hand-organ!"



Others, dressed like clowns, were as full of tricks as so many monkeys.
The very largest elephant thrust his trunk forward, and Tom whispered
to a boy who stood near, "You pull his front tail, and hear him roar!"
But the elephant rolled his eyes toward Tom as if to say, "Better
try it yourself, young man," and Tom moved back.



"Mr. Barnum and I remember Jumbo," said he.

"Who was Jumbo?" asked Trixie.

"Oh, a tremendous elephant, as big as six of these rolled into one! He
went to Canada, and there a locomotive smashed into his brain, and he
turned over and died. But first he wrapped his trunk around the baby
elephant and flung him safe off the track."

"Good Jumbo!" said Gay with a smile; but there were tears in Trixie's

"Yes, baby; and that's the way we would jump for you in any danger,"
added Tom.

Gay smiled sweetly again, but Trixie squeezed her old friend's hand
so hard that he bent down and kissed her, saying, "But there _is_ no
danger, Toodles!"


The children were now quite ready to leave the elephants to look at
the ostriches and the storks. I think that Trixie expected to see the
ostriches wholly covered with long, dangling feathers, such as those
she wore on her hat; and she was a little disappointed. The storks were
old friends of hers, because mama had a screen at home, upon which
storks were embroidered; and some of these birds, like those on the
screen, were resting upon one foot.

Tom was very much interested in the sea birds,--the albatross, the
penguin, and the auk, but there was such a crowd around their cage that
he came away grumbling.

"Never mind, Tom," said Mr. Barnum: "come and see the fisherman that
carries his basket under his chin!"

Tom did not understand this joke at first, but Mr. Barnum explained
that he meant the pelican, which has a pouch under its beak in which it
carries home the fish to feed its young.


"Look out, Trixie!" cried Tom, when they saw the whale. "He swallowed a
man once."

"Did this _very whale_ swallow a man?" asked Trixie, solemnly; "and did
you _know_ the man?"

"Well, no--not exactly; but I knew _of_ him."

"What was his name?"


"O, Tom Van Tassel! That was as much as fifty years ago, and Jonah
was a bible man. The whale looks kind and I'm not afraid of him," and
Trixie went up very close. "But what makes him so floppy? I should
think the whalebones in him would stiffen him."

And then Mr. Barnum explained that what we call whalebone is something
that grows in the mouth of a whale, and is used as a strainer, to
separate the water from the food.

They thought the shark a mean-looking creature, and they were surprised
to learn that it turns on its back to bite.




"I'm tired of fish--let us find something furious!" said Tom; so they
started toward the lion's cage. The great, grand king of them all was
taking his afternoon rest, and he opened his eyes and looked at them
once, as if to say, "Behold and admire! I am the King of Beasts, and
you are only little human Yankees! I had these bars put up to keep off
the crowd. Kings must be neither pushed nor hustled." Then he waved his
paw with a flourish which meant, "Begone!" and Mr. Barnum, seeing the
roar coming, said, "Come on, Toodles."


But Tom staid, and he was glad that he did so. The keeper of the lions
entered the cage, and the excitement began. The poor beasts were all
hungry, but the lioness and the little cubs were fed first; and when
King Lion seemed ready to tear the bars down in his fury, the keeper
fired off a pistol, and the angry creature leaped into the air. I think
even his own little baby cubs were afraid of him. When he grew quieter,
he, too, was fed, and Tom ran to tell Trixie all about it.

"I am glad I did not stay," she said, "and I have had a very good
time, myself. I have been looking at the giraffes in harness, and I do
think they make such funny looking horses. They look very much like
ostriches--_in the neck_," she added, and Mr. Barnum laughed.

The giraffe is so tall that it can take its food from high trees, and
it very seldom stoops to eat. But when a piece of sugar was put on the
ground, the temptation was so great that it bent its head down between
its fore feet, placed near together, and gobbled with a half-glide. Oh,
how the people laughed at its awkwardness.


"What would mama say if we ate like that, Trixie?" said Tom.

"You could'nt do it," said the boy who had refused to pull the
elephants "front tail."

Far off, in one corner, the children saw something which they thought,
at first, was a dog, but as they came closer, it sat up like a monkey.

"That is a baboon," said Mr. Barnum. "It is so cross that I don't
believe it has a friend in the world; while the bright-looking baby
ourang-outang there, is always sure of a petting. That gray old
grandfather ourang-outang, however, can be very ugly; but we must
always be patient with old people," said he, smiling.

The Happy Family, they all declared, was less exciting, but quite as
interesting, as the lions' cage. They had enjoyed seeing the monkeys
alone, but a monkey isn't half a monkey until you see him with other
animals. Two solemn, old owls sat perched in one corner, and, when a
monkey flung an orange into the face of one of them, the other wouldn't
even wink. A funny old gray fellow put his paw through the bars and
pulled off Tom's cap, and it was only by the offer of a handful of nuts
that the owner got it back.

Another took a guinea-pig in her lap, and rocked it as if it were her
baby; but the sly chance of pulling a rabbit's ear was too much for
mother monkey, so she was off again, tossing a nut at a squirrel as she

White mice, little and pink-eyed, nibbled and squeaked, while the
friendly cats lapped their milk close by; and even the parrots seemed
to love the monkeys--a thing never heard of before.



But how could they all fail to be happy together, living as they did,
in a menagerie! Oh! how the boys and girls envied them, feeling that
they would almost be willing to give up quarreling with their dear
brothers and sisters to enjoy such a life!


"Trixie," cried Tom, when they had wandered away from the Happy Family,
"come and see this queer big pin-cushion!"

"What is it?" she asked, starting back.

"A porcupine," said Tom, laughing loudly. He had startled the strange
animal, which, fearing some danger near, had rolled itself into a ball,
and thrust out the quills with which it protects itself.

"Would you like to pet and smooth it, Gay?" asked Mr. Barnum.


"No, no! I'd rather smooth that little animal," said she, pointing to
the chinchilla. "It looks like a sister of my little muff."

"O, Gay! you are a funny baby," said Trixie, laughing, and speaking as
though she, herself, were quite an elderly person.

"Do you want to see the kangaroo do the high running jump?" Tom asked.
But the kangaroo refused to jump for them. Mr. Barnum then told them
how, like the opossum, the mother carries her babies snugly tucked in
her pocket.

"We haven't seen any bears yet," said Trixie.

"No, but you _shall_ see them, Toodles," said Mr. Barnum. "Who ever
heard of a menagerie without its bears? And here they are!"

Up on their hind legs they stood, waiting a minute till the music
began, and then, at the first note of the fiddle, off they went--slowly
at first, then faster and faster, until really they were almost
graceful! Even the baby bears danced! But a grey old grizzly sat
gossiping with a polar bear in a corner, while they too watched the
dancing, like old ladies at a ball. Afterward, at a sign from the
master, the same old grizzly took the fiddle himself, and played for
the young people's dancing. Then the bears marched up and down, singly
and in pairs, "cooling off," Tom said.

Trixie heard a lady say to her friend, "The _camels_ are coming!" and
then they both laughed, but Trixie could not see why. Sure enough, the
camels _were_ coming, and racing camels are even more awkward than
dancing bears.

"Their backs are all broken," said Gay.

"No," said Tom, "they were born all humps and bumps--they are camels."

"Oh, yes!" said Gay. "I know--mama has got a shawl made out of one."

"And," added Tom, "he can drink enough at one time to last him a
hundred years."

"Don't stretch it, sir," said Mr. Barnum, shaking his head at the boy;
but Tom went on--"and he will carry you across the desert quicker than

The snakes, and especially the boa-constrictor, made Gay shiver, and
she refused to look at them after the first glance. But the others
enjoyed seeing them. "Nothing that is quiet frightens me," said Trixie,
"and I love to see the snakes twist and wriggle."

"I like the big green frogs," said Gay--"Ker-chong! ker-chong!" She had
learned the whole frog language in an instant!

Then she straggled away with Tom, to listen to wonderful stories about
the beaver, and how he builds his curious log hut; "But," added Tom,
"his roof always leaks."

"Gay, here is an animal with a name longer than you are yourself!" said
Mr. Barnum.

"What is it?" she asked, as they paused before a creature with a
tremendous mouth.

"The Hippopotamus."

"Hip-po-pot-a-mus!" baby tried to say after him, adding, "he is not
pretty, and I do not like him."


Tom was still less polite, and called the animal "beastly ugly;" though
he seemed to admire the one-horned rhinoceros, which Gay thought still
more frightful. "But how wallopy his skin is!" said Tom.


"Yes," said Mr. Barnum, "but he has a thinner skin under his heavy
hide, which is only what Trixie would call his 'upper skirt'--eh,
Toodles?" and the little girl laughed to think that he should know
anything about such drapery.

When she saw the alligator she wished for his scaly skin, that she
might have it made into slippers for papa.


But what had become of Gay? She had left the others, and they found her
trying to stroke a downy little yellow chicken, which was just beyond
her reach.

"Why this is like being in the country!" cried the delighted Trixie,
looking around at the horses and the cattle, the pigs and the chickens.
"Where's Tom?"

But a barn-yard scene was quite too tame for that young gentleman,
who was chattering away to a funny little squat Esquimau, who did not
understand a word he said. Near him were a fat seal and a walrus with
two great tusks which seemed to say, "The better to eat you, my dear!"

The Esquimau and his pets had come from a faraway, cold country, where
there were very few people, and I do not think they liked the crowd and
the noise.


"Where are the tigers?" Tom asked, suddenly remembering that he had set
his heart on being half-scared to death by the glance from a tiger's

"They certainly would never forgive us if we forgot to present
ourselves," said Mr. Barnum, bowing low before a cage, against the bars
of which the Royal Bengal Tiger was rubbing his glossy sides, as he
marched angrily backward and forward.

"Come away!" cried Trixie, trying to clasp her three friends in her
tiny arms.

"You go, Toodles, if you are afraid," said Mr. Barnum.

"No, no!" she cried, "I will not go without you!" and she became still
more frightened when she saw a beautiful, fierce-eyed leopard, and a
hyena whose horrible grin showed three rows of teeth.

"The little goose!" said Tom. "See! Gay enjoys it all." And so she
did, afterward going with him to look at the wolves, the wildcats, and
the dainty little red foxes, while Mr. Barnum took his pet to see the
brilliant birds which had been brought from their own homes in the hot
countries to our town of the little brown sparrow.


Great green parrots, gold and silver pheasants, white cockatoos, and
the flaming red flamingo! Trixie was wild with joy, but, oh! she could
not half enjoy them without Gay and Tom; so she scampered off after
them, not noticing in her joy that she passed once again very near the
tiger's cage.


The little Bird of Paradise, with its long train of plumage which
showed all the colors of the rainbow, was more beautiful than anything
they had ever imagined. "Let us stay here all the rest of the day!" Gay


"All the rest of the day, darling!" repeated Mr. Barnum, looking at his
watch, "Why it is almost time for my own birds to be in their nest."


Yes, the sun was fast sinking in the west, and the time had come for
tired little feet to turn toward home. Mama was watching for them at
the parlor window, and she lifted baby in her arms as she opened the

"O, mama! I want my supper, and I want to go to bed!"


But in the middle of the night she awoke with a laugh, crying--"Oh, how
funny! I dreamed that the little Chinese dwarf was waltzing with the

"Hush, darling!" said Trixie, softly, sitting up in her little crib.
"You'll wake mama, baby!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's note:

One missing closing quotation mark was added to the text after: "He
swallowed a man once."

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