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FOREWORD

This is the story of a boy—and a Circus.

Beyond the great cities, where boys do not really have a chance to do exciting things, the boys of America and those of Australia are very much alike—especially in the days of this story, when there were no motors, no airplanes and no picture-theaters, and a boy knew very little of what went on twenty miles from his home. He did not care, either, that boy of the 'nineties, for he had so many other things—ponies and dogs, the wild life of animals, the free open spaces, the joy of lakes and streams, the deep silent woods where a boy—or a girl—could explore, and find adventures, and lie in grassy hollows to dream great dreams. I think a boy's brains created better dreams when his adventures were not served up to him ready-made, on movie-screens.

Whether in America or Australia, the country boy had a great life. He was not taken out for walks, dressed in polite clothes—in Australia, where the climate is very kind to boys, he wore as few clothes as possible, and every mother was an expert at patching them. He made his own games—such games as cannot be made in towns, for there is no playmate like the country. He shared in all the work, too, learning the lessons of animal life and woodcraft and common sense: sharing things with Father, which is the greatest game of all.

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