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The Autobiography of a Maori

My First Circus

My First Circus

Before I close this account of my days at the Gisborne Central School, I must say something about my first circus, which was St. Leone's. I was dumbfounded to see two horses with a man standing with one leg on the rump of each horse, galloping around the ring with more horses in front. I was in a seventh heaven. I did not know that anything could be so grand. I was spell-bound and felt that I would give anything to be that gorgeously-clad rider. Then there was the dog race—real dogs ridden by real monkeys decked in bright robes. I looked on, amazed. The clowns playing the fool in page 72their quaint costumes delighted me immensely. I was so excited that I felt I was in another world altogether.

Many years passed and then a circus came to Te Araroa. My daughter and her little brother went to see it, taking with them sufficient money for one night only, and with the strict injunction that they should come home the next day. The children did not turn up the next day and when they did come home the girl explained that she could not get her little brother away from the circus grounds. When I asked how they fared in regard to money, she said that she did not go to the circus on the second night but that her brother stood outside the tent while the fun was on. I fully sympathised with my son, understanding his feelings. Then the boy tried hard to persuade his mother and me to buy Silver Mane, the performing pony, as a birthday present to him.