Mary Jo (my lovely mum-in-law) gave me the COOLEST folding table that rolls. Perfect for the portable photo studio! I set up my foam-core board, drape it with fabric...but I digress.
Anyway. Taking pictures of the dolls. So it seems, after getting to know him, that this little street urchin we call Joseph, is animal crazy. The animals all seem to like him too--cats, birds, mice, dogs, you name it, he has a way with them.
One day he was traveling around and looking for marks--er, ways to earn his next meal--when he came across a traveling side show. He wandered around, seeing what there was to see, picking likely contributors, until he heard the most horrible, plaintive cries. Following the noise, he came around to the back of the big show tent. There, parked in the shadows between side show trailers, was an iron cage with the saddest little bear cub Joe had ever seen! Lonely, cold, clearly confused as to what he'd done wrong. The tiny cub was apparently too small to impress anyone with his ferocity, since all the show-gawkers had gathered around the lion's cage.
Little Joe was so moved by the bear's plight, he couldn't stand it. Having come from a cold dark place himself, he'd gotten on the wrong side of the law a few times--and narrowly escaped the snatching hands of the policeman who'd spied him. He understood what a horrible thing it is to be locked up.
So he climbed up near the cage door, determined to comfort the wee bruin with company and soothing words, while he tried to figure out how to get enough money to buy the bear away from the side show. But the bear had a different idea.
"Can you pick this lock and get me out of here?" asked the bear. "I don't like oatmeal, and that's all they feed me here. They call it 'porrich" or something, but I know oatmeal when I taste it."
Well, Joseph's skills lie more in the direction of picking pockets, not locks, but he decided this little bear needed rescuing in the worst way. Really--oatmeal? Yuck! So he went to work, using a tiny pocket knife he'd lifted off of a...never mind. He was able to pick the lock, and get the little bear out of that dreadful iron cage. Bear was shivering with cold, so Joe loaned him his coat, and they sat for a while, deciding whether their Boy and Bear act would make more money performing at the London Street Fair...or the Traveling Circus. Either way, there would be no more cages, and no more oatmeal.