Before we got to town a wind came up so strong that we had to walk edgewise to go against it, and finally we met the tent coming out to meet us, ’cause a cyclone had taken it bodily and was blowing it all over the prairie. And when we got to town the animals in the cages, that can’t eat grass, were having an indignation meeting, and howling awful.
Pa was the first man to get back to the lot, and he asked me what I thought he better do, and I told him he better get in the porcupine cage, ’cause he looked, with the cactus thorns sticking out of him, like the father of all porcupines. He said I thought I was smart, and he asked me if I was hurt any, and I told him all I could find was a stone bruise on my spine where I struck a prairie dog house.
Well, we got the animals into a livery barn, and it took us almost the whole week to have the tent hauled back and sewed together, and we had to pay the cowboys and Indians more than the animals were worth to bring them back, and let them into the show free. The managers had a meeting and resolved to get out of the Indian Territory and into Kansas just as quick as possible.
Pa Is Sent to a Hospital to
Recuperate—The Bad Boy Discourages
Other Boys from Running Away with the Circus—He Makes Them Water
the Camels, Curry the Hyenas and Put Insect Powder on the Buffaloes.
This is the first time since we started out with the circus in the spring that pa and I have not been two “Johnnies on the spot,” ready for anything that the managers told us to do. Oklahoma, though, and the Indian Territory, have been too much for pa, and they sent him on to Kansas City to recuperate in a hospital for a week, while the show does Kansas to a finish, and makes a triumphal entry into Missouri.
I wonder how the show will get along without us for a week, ’cause they sentenced me to go along with pa, so I could be handy to hold his hands when the doctors are pulling cactus needles out of his hide. I guess pa was willing enough to jump Kansas in the night from what he told us once.
He said when he was a young man he and a railroad brakeman got busted at Topeka, and they had an order book printed, and went all over Kansas taking orders for Osier willows, which they warranted to grow so high in two years they would make fences for the farms that no animals or blizzards could get over or through, and make shade for the houses and the whole farm. It was the year when the Osier willow craze was on and every farmer on the plains wanted to transform his prairie into a forest. Pa says the farmers fought with each other to sign orders, and some paid in advance, so as to get the willow cuttings in a hurry. Well, pa and the railroad man canvassed Kansas, and sold more than forty thousand millions of Osier willow cuttings, and put in the whole winter. In the spring, when it was time to deliver the goods, they