Third grader “Tiny” Tina wanted to join the circus, or at least watch a few shows. After all, her mother had told her the circus was coming to town to perform in a big tent. Of all the animals, the elephants were supposed to be the largest and the most fun.
Since everyone laughed at Tina for being three inches shorter than she should be at 8 years old, Tina decided if she had an elephant for a pet, then everyone would be nice to her. So, her plan was to befriend the largest elephant in the circus as her new pet. Certainly, her mother would understand, since she was the one who told her the circus was in town.
When the elephants arrived on the train in the train yard, Tina knew it was her big chance. She waited until late the next night, crawled out her window, and headed for the train tracks. As she approached the train yard, she noticed a very small opening in the broken fence. Miraculously, she was able to slip through the tiny opening and run to the elephants.
Most people wouldn’t have been small enough to fit through the opening. Not “Tiny” Tina, she was about as big as a peanut that elephants ate with their curly snouts. She was so tiny that no one even noticed her in the train yard, because she didn’t make a sound. As Tina approached the train car, she saw a purple tail sticking out the door. She climbed up the steps on the train car and tugged at the tail until the elephant woke up.
“Come home with me! I could use a new pillow at night,” Tina whispered to the elephant. “We could go for walks through the fields in the day, and you could lift me to pick apples from the trees.”
“Do you have a big backyard?” the elephant asked in a deep voice.
“Yes, in fact we have a whole acre where we could play!” Tina said.
“I’m tired of riding bicycles for cheering crowds. I don’t like standing on my head,” the elephant said. “I especially don’t like balancing balls or jumping through rings of fire. You’re much nicer than the nasty Circus Trainer who cracks his whip at us.”
The elephant roared and stamped his feet on the train car, shaking the entire train on the tracks.
“Yeah! Hooray!” Tina said, pulling the elephant’s tail again. “I think I will name you Charley, the Magnificent Elephant! We’ll be best friends!”
Charley swung open the train door with his snout and lifted Tina on his back. He stomped out of the train car onto the ground, waking up all the other animals. The purple elephant looked left and then right, and the Circus Trainer was nowhere to be seen.
“Where are you going?” Tina said, grabbing Charley’s flying ears. “My home is three blocks down the street.”
“The rest of the circus animals are coming with us!” Charley said. “I can’t leave them here alone.”
One by one, Charley shook loose the rest of the animals on the train, and Tina held on tight. By the end of the night, the circus animals were behind Charley in a straight line. The circus marched two-by-two down the street: unicorns, horses, lions, giraffes, and tigers.
Then came the camels, kangaroos, monkeys, seals, ostriches, leopards, llamas, and grizzly bears. When the circus reached Tina’s house, all the animals except Charley crept quietly into the backyard.
Instead, Charley slipped through the window of Tina’s bedroom and landed right on her bed. Then Tina crawled through the window and climbed on Charley’s back—he was softer than a pillow. Two seconds later, the entire bed crumbled onto the floor, causing a crack in the wall.
“What’s going on in here?” Tina’s mother ran into the bedroom crying. “Oh my gosh! There’s an elephant in the room! Where did he come from?”
“I just set him free from the circus. All the other circus animals are in the backyard, too!” Tina said. Tina’s mother peered out the bedroom window to find the animals munching on her vegetable garden.
“Can we keep the circus animals? Please! They really need a home with a nice family,” Tina said.
“Oh, I suppose . . . I should have never told you the circus was coming to town . . .” Tina’s mother sighed. “Maybe we could sell tickets and get our money back because it’s going to be a very large grocery bill.”
Copyright 2015 Jennifer Waters