The Story of Calico Clown by Laura Lee Hope
Chapter II. A Broken Leg
Sam and Pete hurried with Archibald to his back yard. Archibald carried the red and yellow Calico Clown in his hands. Now and then the boy would punch the gay fellow in the chest, making the cymbals clang together with a bang. Again Archibald would pull the strings, causing the Calico Clown to jiggle his arms and legs.
"You're a nice toy, all right," said Archibald. "I like my Clown!"
"But wait until I make him do the giant's swing!" exclaimed Pete. "That will be worth seeing!"
When the boys reached a tree in Archibald's yard, Pete found a piece of broken broom handle for the bar of the trapeze. From his pocket he took some strong pieces of string. With these the broomstick was tied to the limb of a tree, so that it hung down and swung to and fro like a swing.
"Now well put the Clown on," Pete called to Archibald, when the trapeze was finished.
"How are you going to make him stay on?" asked Sam.
"Oh, I can tie him on with another piece of string," Pete answered.
"That's easy!" yelled Archibald.
It did not take Pete long to tie the Calico Clown on the swinging trapeze. It was quite high from the ground, and as the little toy man looked down and saw how far below him the green grass was, his knees seemed to shake and his cymbals to tremble.
"Oh, if I should fall now I would be broken to pieces!" said the Calico Clown to himself, for of course he dared not speak aloud now, and he dared not move by himself. "This is much higher than when I climbed the string in the toy store and caught fire at the gas jet. This is much higher than I ever was up before," sighed the Clown.
"Is he ready to do the giant's swing now?" asked Sam.
"In a minute," answered Pete.
Once the Clown was tied on, Pete began to swing the trapeze to and fro. Farther and farther swung the Calico Clown, and, as he moved to and fro, his cymbals clanged together. His arms and legs also jiggled and jumped, as they had done when Archibald pulled the strings.
Pete stood behind the trapeze and gave it little pushes with his hands every now and then. This made it swing farther and farther.
"Oh, it almost turned all the way over!" suddenly cried Archibald.
"That's what I want it to do," said Pete. "When the trapeze goes all the way over and around and around, that's the giant's swing I was telling you about. Watch!"
Archibald and Sam watched, and in another moment the trapeze swung up and over so hard that it turned around and around in a regular circle.
"Hurray! There she goes!" cried Pete.
"Oh, look!" exclaimed Sam.
"Say, that's great!" yelled Archibald. "I didn't know my Calico Clown could do that!"
As for the Calico Clown himself, he did not know it either, and he felt very bad that he was made to do the giant's swing.
"Oh, how dizzy it makes me feel!" he said to himself. "I know I'm going to fall!"
He could feel the strings that tied him to the broomstick bar beginning to loosen. The Calico Clown shut his eyes, thinking that if he did not see the green grass whirling around beneath him he would not feel so dizzy. Around and around he went in the giant's swing.
And then, all of a sudden, something broke. It was the string holding the Calico Clown to the broomstick. And when the string broke off flew the Clown!
He flew off just when the trapeze was at the highest point, and away through the air sailed the red and yellow toy, as if he had been shot from a cannon.
"Oh, look at that!" cried Archibald, "Now you've gone and done it, Pete!"
"He busted loose!" shouted Sam.
"If he falls and breaks, you've got to get me another," cried Archibald.
"I'm going to fall, all right," thought the poor Clown to himself, "and I shouldn't be a bit surprised if I broke into bits!"
One can not go sailing through the air forever, even if one is a Calico Clown. And, after being flung off the trapeze and shooting along high above the green grass, the Calico Clown felt himself falling down.
Once more he shut his eyes, as he could do this without the boys seeing him. His arms and legs jiggled and joggled about, and his cymbals clanged with a tinkling sound.
"Oh, dear!" sighed the Calico Clown.
There came a soft, dull thud on the grass. That was the Calico Clown falling down. He felt a sudden, sharp pain go through him, and then he seemed to faint away.
For a time the Calico Clown knew nothing of what happened. Archibald, Sam and Pete ran over to where the toy had fallen. Archibald was the first to pick it up. The cymbals were still fast to the Clown's hands, and so were the jiggling strings attached to his arms and legs. But something was wrong.
"Oh, one of his legs is broken!" cried Archibald. "My Calico Clown is spoiled! Pete, you've broken one of his legs!"
And that was what had happened. In his fall from the trapeze the poor red and yellow toy had cracked one of his wooden legs. It was the one on which he wore the red half of his trousers.
"I--I didn't mean to do that," said Pete.
"Well, you did it; and now you have to get me another toy!" exclaimed Archibald. "If you don't I'll tell my mother on you."
"Oh, Arch!" exclaimed Sam.
"Oh, all right. I'll get you another," said Pete quickly. "You can come over to my house now, and I'll give you anything I have in place of your Calico Clown. I didn't think his leg would break so easily."
The three boys, with Archibald carrying the poor, broken-legged Clown, hurried out of the yard. As they were going to Pete's house they met a boy named Sidney, who was a brother of Herbert and Madeline. Madeline owned the Candy Rabbit, and Herbert had a Monkey on a Stick--both of them toys that had once lived in the same store with the Calico Clown.
"What have you?" asked Sidney of Archibald.
"A Calico Clown," was the answer. "He was new a little while ago, but Pete put him on a trapeze and made him do the giant's swing and now he's done for--he's got a broken leg."
"What are you going to do with him?" asked Sidney.
"He's going to make me give him one of my toys in place of the Clown," answered Pete. "Of course it was my fault he broke--I guess I didn't tie him on tight enough. And I'm willing to give Archie another toy for him, but--"
Sidney suddenly thrust his hand into his pocket and pulled out a gaily painted top that hummed and made music when you spun it.
"I'll trade you that for your Calico Clown," said Sidney to Archibald.
"But the Clown has a broken leg," explained Pete.
"I don't care. Maybe I can mend it," Sidney answered. "Once I fixed a Jumping Jack that had lost his head."
"Well, if you did that, you can fix a Clown that has only a broken leg," said Sam. "Go on and trade with him, Archie."
"All right, I will," decided Archibald. He held out the broken Clown and in trade took the musical top.
"Now I don't have to give you any of my toys, do I, Archie?" asked Pete.
"Nope," Archibald answered. "I'd rather have this top than a broken Calico Clown."
While he was being traded for the top the Calico Clown came out of his faint. His broken leg did not hurt so much now. He felt more like himself.
"Oh, ho!" he thought. "I am to have a new master, it seems. Well, I hope it will not be one who makes me do the giant's swing. Once is enough for that!"
Archibald went off with Sam and Pete to try the musical top. Sidney carried the Calico Clown toward the house where Madeline and Herbert lived.
"I'll fix you as good as new," said Sidney, looking at the dangling, broken leg.
And, as Sidney walked along, all of a sudden he heard his sister calling.
"Oh, quick, somebody! Somebody come quick! He's fallen into the water!"