The Laughing Hyena had to be put to bed for fear she would laugh herself to death.
The ark goes sailing down the bay
Upon the rushing tide;
And the circus will commence to-day
With the animals safe inside.
This is the song the weathercock sang early the next morning.
Marjorie rubbed her eyes, and then jumped out of bed and looked out of the window.
"Good morning," she said to the merry gilt rooster, "it's a fine day for the circus. That was a pretty verse you just sang. Did you make it up?"
"Oh, yes," said the weathercock proudly. "Just couldn't help it, you know. The circus doesn't come to town every day in the week."
Well, after that, Marjorie hurried down to the breakfast table, where she found Mr. Jonah seated with the rest of the family.
She had forgotten all about him, and so had I and maybe you have too, for you see, Mr. Jonah hadn't been feeling very well and had remained in his cabin since the day he'd left the whale.
"It's certainly a relief to be once more at a breakfast table," he said. "Traveling inside a whale is like sailing in a submarine. Although a whale is supposed to be neutral, nevertheless, I was frightened to death for fear we might be torpedoed!"
"Yes, indeed," sighed Mrs. Noah, "these awful times one isn't safe anywhere."
"That's right," exclaimed Capt. Noah, "we must keep a sharp lookout. There's no telling how soon we may be in the war zone, and I am responsible for the safety of all my passengers!"
And just then the Weathercock shouted something which sounded very much like "Periscope!"
Well, you can imagine how excited everybody was after that.
"Where away?" asked Capt. Noah.
"Dead ahead," screamed the Weathercock.
Instantly all eyes were turned in that direction.
Some distance ahead stretched a long, smooth, sandy beach, on which was a huge billboard with the words "Perry's Slope."
"Bah!" exclaimed Capt. Noah, "Perry's Slope isn't 'Periscope.' Well, I'm glad it isn't."
"Are we going ashore?" asked Mr. Jonah.
"Looks like it," answered Capt. Noah; "the ark is pointed for the beach. Hope we don't bump too hard. Some of the animals might get hurt."
The Ark was going at a fast clip, and as they neared the shore every one clung tightly to the railing.
"Hold fast," shouted the Weathercock, as the bow touched the beach.
In another minute the Ark skimmed gracefully over the sand with as much ease as it had sailed upon the ocean.
"Wonderful boat you have," exclaimed Mr. Jonah, looking at Capt. Noah. "Ought to be proud of her. She's a dandy."
Before the latter had time to reply the Ark stopped, and everyone rushed toward the gang-plank. "Let it down easily," commanded Capt. Noah, "easy, there!"
"Why, the Ark's on wheels," cried Marjorie, as she stepped on the sandy beach, "regular automobile wheels."
"Well, I declare," exclaimed Mrs. Noah, "so it is."
"Let's call it the 'Arkmobile,'" suggested Ham.
"Just the thing," said Shem, "don't you think so, father?"
Capt. Noah did not reply for a moment, for he was busily engaged inspecting the bottom of the Ark.
"I was looking to see if it were built to run on the land," he replied, "or whether it just went this far on account of its momentum."
"What's that noise?" asked Japheth.
"Sounds like the engine of an automobile," answered Shem.
"It's coming from the Ark," cried Ham.
Capt. Noah hurriedly went below.
Presently he returned, smiling with satisfaction.
"There's a regular automobile engine in the hold, way aft," he said. "And it's connected with a shaft, so that it will turn the wheels. We'll have no difficulty in traveling on land."
"Hurrah for the Arkmobile!" shouted Ham.
"On land or on sea,
Wherever we be,
Is the thing for me,"
sang Marjorie, skipping about on the sand.
"Over sand, over foam,
Wherever we roam,
Will carry us home,"
sang the Weathercock, and then he said: "I guess I'll come down from the flagpole if you're going to camp here. If you're not, I'll stay where I am, for it's a pretty good climb, and I'm not much of a sailor as yet."
"Let's stay here and have the circus," said Ham. "We can make a splendid ring in the sand--in fact, we can have three rings if we want to. All we have to do, you know, is to throw up the sand in a circle."
Every one agreed that it was an ideal spot, so the boys set to work at once.
Mrs. Noah made Marjorie a wonderful dress, covered with gold spangles.
"I'm going to ride the big white horse just like a circus rider," cried Marjorie. "And I shall stand up on the saddle and jump through my hoop. Ham can hold it."
"Of course I will," he cried, looking up from his work. "And I'll be jolly glad when this ring is finished. I had no idea it would take so long."
"Hurrah! Mine's finished," cried Japheth.
"And so's mine," shouted Shem.
"Well, I think mine's the biggest of all," said Ham. "It must be, or I'd have finished when you fellows did."
"Father ought to put on his dress suit," said Shem, "and snap the whip when Marjorie rides around the ring. You know just the way they do in the real circus."
"Great Scott!" exclaimed Capt. Noah, overhearing the remark as he descended the gang-plank. "I didn't bargain for this. But I suppose I might as well put it on," and he turned back into the Ark.
The sound of hammering at that moment reached them. "What's going on?" asked Ham.
"Let's see," suggested Shem, but before they reached the gang-plank Mr. Jonah appeared. On his legs were strapped a pair of stilts, which made him at least eight feet high.
"I'm going to be the giant," he said with a laugh, bumping down the gang-plank in a clumsy manner. "I say, Mrs. Noah, could you sew the legs of an old pair of trousers on to mine, so the stilts won't show?"
"Of course I can," replied Mrs. Noah, bursting into laughter. "But I'm afraid they won't match."
In due course of time Marjorie's circus dress was finished and the giant's trousers lengthened, the upper part being blue and the lower part gray, but perfectly satisfactory to the wearer.
Every one was now waiting impatiently for Capt. Noah when, suddenly, his head appeared at one of the port holes. "Mother," he called, "where are my white dress ties? I can't find them anywhere."
So Mrs. Noah laid down her work basket and went into the Ark to find them. And in a few minutes Capt. Noah appeared in full dress, his silk hat upon his head and a long whip in his hand.
As he came down the plank, Japheth led out the big white horse, and after helping Marjorie to mount, led him into the center ring.
Shem then opened the big door in the Ark and all the animals solemnly marched out and arranged themselves about the rings.
Next came Ham, leading his two wrestling monkeys and after him came Shem with his elephant.
THE CIRCUS--MR. NOAH AS RINGMASTER
Mr. Jonah, towering above the heads of the tallest animals, including the giraffe, announced that the circus would commence.
"Ladies and gentlemen," he began, "allow me to introduce to you the most wonderful child rider in the world, Marjorie Hall, on her beautiful white horse, Marshmallow. Marjorie, without doubt, is the most daring bareback rider in the universe."
There was a great clapping of hands, hoofs and paws at this announcement, for she had become a great favorite with the Noah's Ark people.
"Ladies and gentlemen," went on Mr. Noah, "you see before you in Ring No. 2 the most famous wrestlers of the world, Jocko and Monko. In Ring No. 3 is the largest elephant in existence."
While all this was going on the Noah boys had run into the Ark.
Presently they returned, dressed up as clowns, and then the fun commenced.
Ham held up a hoop, which he had carefully covered with tissue paper, and to Mrs. Noah's amazement Marjorie leaped through it as if she had been a circus bareback rider all her life.
The boys performed marvelous feats of tumbling and jumping, and were so funny that half of the animals nearly split their sides with laughing.
The laughing hyena had to be carried into the Ark and put to bed for fear she would laugh herself to death.
"Well, well," exclaimed Mrs. Noah, when it was all over, "I certainly never enjoyed the circus so much in all my life, not even when I was a little girl."
And that night every one slept like a top, let me tell you, for each one was tired out with the day's work. Even the weathercock, I think, tucked his head under his gilt wings and snored!