JOEL the SLEEPWALKER:

                                             CLOWNS BRING JOY

                                                              Sister Margaret Sutton, RSM

 

(To enjoy this story more it is necessary to read

                    Joel the Sleepwalker: At the Circus  first.)

                                                                               

“Whee!  This is fun!  I’m sure glad, Mom, that you made me this clown suit”, said Joel as he bounced up and down on shoes-with-springs.     I wonder how high I can bounce, he thought as he began bouncing in earnest.

  “Better bounce outside,” said his mother, never dreaming of the results to come.

          Out on the driveway Joel bounced and bounced.  He pretended to be brave and tried hard to bounce higher and faster.  Noticing that every bounce was higher than the one before, he took one long, high bounce, trying to beat his record.  He did.

          To his surprise he went so high that nothing but light air pushed against him.  He opened the umbrella on his hat by pulling a string and the breeze helped him to go even higher.  His umbrella was keeping him afloat.  But more than that, a young eagle flew near and offered help.

          “I notice you are just learning to fly,” he said.

          “Well, I am only playing.  I can’t fly,” Joel responded.

          “Flying is play, too.  Want to try it?” the eagle asked as he flew under Joel to catch him if he started to go down.

          “Okay!  Sounds great!” Joel said with zeal.

          “Just sit on my back and we will fly together, but close together. Close your umbrella or it will slow us down.”

          So he sat on the eagle’s back being careful to keep his springs away from the eagle’s wings which flapped up and down.

          “Don’t land in a tree, please.  I may get tangled up in branches.  And, don’t go too far,” Joel added.  “I may lose my way.”

          “You won’t lose your way,” answered the eagle.  “I never get lost.  We birds have a built-in compass.”

          “Yeah.  You know your directions all right.  Maybe I better go back now,” Joel suggested, wondering if mother had missed him.

          “Let’s make this exciting before you go,” the eagle said.  “Lean forward over my head and hold on tight.”

          “Whee!” Joel screamed as the eagle pretended he was putting on an air show.  Flip flop, over and under, back and forth, up and down.  Joel had to hang on with all his might, but he was not afraid.  He trusted that the eagle would help if there was a problem. 

          “That was fun,” Joel said as the eagle began to slow down.  “I got this clown suit to make others happy and I am having all the fun.”

          “Having a heart that thinks of others is always repaid,” answered the eagle.  “And sometimes with surprises.  Let’s twirl a bit.”

          Round and round like a spinning top the eagle twirled.   Joel laughed so hard he could not speak.  Then saying that it was really time to stop, the eagle slowed down, wobbling like a top does.  He came to a halt, and landed right on Joel’s garage roof.  Leaning over, the eagle gave a quick jerk.  Joel did a flip-flop and landed on his springs.

          “Now you can bounce up and down—whatever you choose from here on.  Just be careful not to risk more than you can handle.  When I first saw you with an opened umbrella, I knew you were in deep trouble in case you didn’t know it.”

          “I was?” asked Joel.  “But I was having fun.”

          “Well, it’s one thing to play safely and it’s another to risk and get hurt.  Better bounce lightly.  Have fun, but don’t overdo it next time.”

          “Thanks for the advice 'cause I thought clowns could do anything.”

          The eagle had said enough.  “Bye,” was his reply as he flapped his wings as though waving.  “I’m going south so you won’t have me around.  Take care.”

          “You bet I will. You’ve been a life saver.  Thanks a lot,” Joel called as he waved to his friend, feeling sorry that he was leaving.

          I better bounce where Mom can see me, Joel thought. 

So he quickly took one leap and landed safely on the driveway.

          Hearing Joel’s dog Sparky, mother glanced out of the window.  Sparky was running and turning, back and forth, getting up on his hind legs and trying to catch Joel with his front paws.  He was so excited to be in on the fun, as Joel bounced to tease him.

          This makes me happy, too, mother thought.  Joel said that a clown would bring joy to others.  He is soooo  right!

 

   

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