He had joined the circus!

But would his new life be happier than the old? had he jumped from
the frying-pan into the fire, or were there days ahead when he could
enjoy life once more without the fear of being beaten for every little
mistake? he didn’t know, but he slept soundly and peacefully that night
even if he was a prisoner in an iron cage

The cage in which Buster was kept was rather small, but it was clean
and fresh, with plenty of straw on the bottom, and a blanket stretched
on one side to shield him from the draft On his right there was an old Lion, who had lost most of his teeth and

much of his hair When morning

dawned he asked the Old Lion if he always snored like that ” To Buster’s surprise he opened his mouth and let out a roar that shook

the whole place and started every animal crying and snarling But the Old Lion
sat back on his haunches and roared with laughter “Just to show you how I snore in the day time,” was the retort ” “Well, if you say so, I won’t,” replied the Old Lion It breaks up the

monotony Heigh-o! it’s a dull life!” He yawned and stretched himself He was
interested in this new-comer, and he continued to stare so long that

Buster finally smiled back at him and nodded his head

“With a rope,” replied Buster ” Spot spit and snarled again to show his temper

“They wouldn’t have caught me if I was full grown Every time my trainer comes in I snarl and
snap at her But I’m not! I’m just waiting my chance

“What sort of a trainer have you?” asked Buster “You can see for yourself There was a fearless look in the
dark eyes, and when she strode up to Buster’s cage she surveyed him
quite calmly “He doesn’t look so ugly,” the woman said finally, addressing one of
the attendants

But of course you can’t tell

His name is Buster, you say?”

She walked up to the cage and stuck a hand between the bars and patted
the shaggy head

“Which is it?”

Buster couldn’t reply right away, so surprised was he, but
unconsciously he stuck out his tongue and licked the hand Then she smiled We’re going to be friends I’m
going inside “Don’t do it, Chiquita,” he said in alarm He’s a vicious brute “Do I need your advice, Billy,” she said, “when it comes to training
animals? Now please open the door ” “No, I’m going in now Buster watched
her with eyes of admiration and surprise This
dainty little creature could not hurt him She came up to him and rubbed his nose Then
she patted his head and talked to him in a low, sweet voice She touseled
his head, opened his mouth and stuck a hand in it, and finally patted
him again, and said: “He’s all right, Billy, as harmless as a kitten ” Billy, the attendant, wasn’t convinced of the wisdom of this course,
and shook his head, but Chiquita laughed and walked out of the cage He was wheeled into a brilliantly lighted place and stopped alongside
of a big circular cage containing nearly a dozen other animals His coming started up a commotion among the animals, for just like
people they were curious and inquisitive But without noticing them he waddled across the big
cage and took a vacant place near the Old Lion The curtain around the big
circular cage disappeared, and a sea of human faces were visible on
every side The next moment Chiquita entered the cage, holding her whip in one
hand and a flag in the other It was all new to Buster
and a little confusing, but he tried to follow and imitate the others This made him mind,
but it didn’t improve his temper any “You, Spot,” cried Chiquita, “I’ll punish you if you don’t behave It stung and
enraged Spot, who cowered back a moment, and then crouched for a leap She snapped the
whip in his face again, but this time the trick didn’t work Attendants ran to the cage with long irons and sticks in their
hands, but Chiquita was penned against the iron bars, vainly trying to
hold Spot off at arms’ length In the midst of the confusion, Buster suddenly came to life He would not stand by idly while the Leopard tore
and scratched the white flesh of his friend The other
animals stood aside to let him pass, but Spot was snapping and
snarling at Chiquita so that he did not see him 
Spot the Leopard had attacked Chiquita so suddenly that she had little
chance of defending herself, and the other animals, excited by the
commotion, were ready to join in the attack against their fair trainer Chiquita had been kind to him, and after the cruel
treatment from his former masters it seemed as if the dainty young
trainer was more than a friend to him Buster resolved, as he crossed the cage in a few long strides, to
protect Chiquita, and if necessary to fight Spot the Leopard 
It was only when he got close and saw the deep scratch on Chiquita’s
arm where the Leopard’s claws had laid the flesh open, that his anger
flared up to white heat

By Tyler Garrett