MARK AND THE OLD CLOWN
Short Story for Kids, written by: Fernando Mansilla
The old clown would do his performance at the same time every day, in a park full of pine trees. He always wore the same threadbare costume, faded because of the passing years. Although the colors would have been wonderful in his time.
When Mark and his friends saw him coming, they went with him shouting, jumping and waving their hands full of happiness, walking with him until they came to a small square with the fountain in the middle and the four elms at the corners.
The old clown began his performance as usual, jumping, gesticulating and playing different musical instruments like the drum, the trumpet and the saxophone. The kids smiled and gazed at him, held attentive by his mime. Suddenly, the old clown turned pale, went rigid and staggered and he fell to the dusty ground. The kids went to see him scared. The old clown gasped, he could barely breath or talk. Mark, his best friend, pushed all the kids away, screaming – “Move! he can not breath!” Mark ran to a phone box and dialed the emergency number with a trembling hand, and asked for an ambulance.
On their way to the hospital, the old clown said to him:
– “I need to tell you something. I was once a circus clown. It was a big circus and we travelled all over the world. I was very happy there, because everybody thought the same as us, that this Blue planet could live in harmony with no wars, and all the inhabitants would try to achieve it. But one day, the circus was burned to the ground and, unfortunately, almost everybody died. I was one of the survivors. I decided to continue being a clown to do my little to make the world a bit happier each day“.
Mark whispered with his eyes in tears:
– “I thought your were only an old clown to make children burst out laughing. I will follow you, dear clown; your red nose, your big shoes, your old clothes, your jokes, your falls that make everybody laugh. I will follow you, dear clown, as now I understand you. You conduct yourself and people follow you. I will follow you dear clown”.
The doctor explained that the clown had fainted because his heart was tired. So Mark took action while the old clown was recovering. After telling the story to his friends they all met in the park. They agreed a plan to create a group of circus artists, each with a different speciality. One was going to be a juggler, another was going to be a lion tamer, another one a tightrope walker, another one a muscleman, etc. Mark chose to be a clown as he could not take the old clown´s image from out of his head, and hear his voice at each step.
The kids took colourful fabrics from home and sewed them to make a kind of sack with a hole to pass the head through. They painted their faces with colourful chalks and face paintings, and went to the hospital playing different musical instruments.
Inside the hospital they stood in silence beside the old clown´s door. Mark counted to three excitedly and opened the door noisily.
When they burst into the room, nobody was there. The kids were shocked. They ran to look for the nurse but nobody had seen the old clown that day and they searched the whole hospital. Finally, they went to the garden, and there he was, making his performance to a group of ill children. Mark and his friends joined him, he looked at them proud and smiled. From that moment, the old clown and the kids travelled all around the world to show children how they could live in a better planet if they believed in it.
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