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Circus of Life
by Mary C Legg
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In the beginning when the world was still very young, the animals gathered together and decided at a town council to have a talent show in the Garden. Life was still amicable before the Flood. The lion and lamb were great friends and the leopard and the hare played hide-and-seek together. The only one who seemed aristocratic and a bit snobby was man, who insisted on giving everybody names which they didn't want. The badger didn't particularly like being associated with the skunk and pointed out that although they both had stripes, he didn't have the scent. He turned up his snout when called "Meles meles" insisting that Latin was after all a dead language and pray, why should anyone be stuck with a redundant name. Editorially, wasn't one "Meles" sufficient?

And the raven and crow are still muddled to this day whether they are "corvus " or "corax" incurring confusion among orinthologists across the Atlantic. Never mind the dachshund who was told he should to badger the badger. He retorted being a Wienerhund was better because he looked like ballpark sausages in Yankee Stadium. And because man wished to act superior, they found him boorish, while reassuring the boar to be not insulted.

He walked on two legs with his nose in the air, disdaining their games and labelling names. So they decided to show him what's what by putting on a first-class talent show, demonstrating the amazing variety of talent, beauty and wits they had. Naturally, since he went around telling them all that he was a unique creature given to new inventions, they dared him to compete so they could see where he stood.

A general call for audtions went out through the Garden with immediate response. There are those who can never resist a challenge to participate in spite of their lacking of wit. The Secretary Bird became the Emcee, taking down newly received names along with the complaints. The hippo really didn't like being compared to a horse and the horse charged there was no likeness at all, stamping off insulted. The rooster came, wagging his waddle and shaking his comb to crow about his skill as a musical alarm clock causing the hens to break down cackling. The chimpanzee came with his friends to sign up for an aerial exhibition and the sloth enlisted for a slack wire act.

Naturally with the candidate list swelling like a zoological encyclopedia, it became imperative that auditions were held to preview the merit of each entry. Man, ever ubiquitous, inserted himself and volunteered in supervision.

"No," said the owl who was always known for its wisdom, "those who can't --judge." Whereupon the animals agreed. If he wanted to partake, all well and fine, but he had to meet them on equal ground.

Since he was made with his nose in the air, man immediately concurred. After all he reasoned, "Isn't it written that I am just a little lower than the angels, but higher than the animals? Aren't I created in the image of God?" And therefore he was agreeable with their terms, convinced that he was superior in all matters. After all, he was entrusted with stewardship of the Garden and given the task of naming the animals. Surely, he was vastly above them.

The Secretary Bird, looking at the long list, decided that the best way to eliminate excess talent was through comparative studies. She called first the peacock who began to strut, flaring his feathers out in grandeur greater than the sunrise.

"Can you do that?" she called to man, scanning him askance because because he lacked the necessary plummage. The pheasants joined in, demonstrating a majestic quadrille, creating a wondrous display with the showy decadence of the white peacocks. Missing his cue, man grabbed the pintail feathers from a squatting mallard who squawked his objections and pranced in. Needless to say, he looked ridiculous with a handful of feathers tied to his gluteus maximus and stepped on a curious gander, who hissing, goosed him on the leg.

The Secretary noted the disaster and toldhim perhaps he had some other talent.

Adamant that he was still superior to the animals, he claimed he could sing.

"Indeed," said the Secretary Bird, "you can try," putting him in the line-up between the ass and the nightingale. The linnet, sparrow and blackbird joined in a chamber ensemble, while the bullfrog, cricket, coot and woodcock formed an orchestra. The coot presented a bassoon concerto by Hummel, while the chamber group worked on a subtle piece by Ravel. The nightingale, unruffled by its overbearing competition, embarked on Mozart Sonata, emphasizing mastery on the trills, arpeggios and elaborate cadenzas.

The ass insisted it was a soloist and brayed a cappella.

Unable to compete with any and all of it, man once again, dropped out.

Next on the list came the troupe of spider monkeys who did complicated acrobatics while the chimps engaged in an aerial act incorporating the flying squirrels. Undeterred, man asserted that he was certainly good at that for he noted that even the sloth could cross a slack wire with ease.

We all learn by imitation, but some more than others. After a few minutes, it was discovered that man wasn't gifted with a prehensile tail, but still willing to make the best of nothing, he tried to hang on the vine by his toes and within seconds he landed on his head, smashing up his nose.

Which all goes to say that all creatures created by God are divine, but only man is divinely inane.

929 words

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Member Comments
Member Date
Dian Moore 27 Apr 2004
I LOVE this! Your plays on words are unique and comedic. Very nicely done!


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