A little boy named Nero

A long time ago, there was a little boy named Nero who lived
just on the outside of a big city.  His father and mother worked very hard
to just to feed the family.  Everyday, the boy’s father went into the big
city to work and only came back when it was dark and time for bed.
They boy’s mother often carried wood for fires to the homes of others.
Nero was too young to carry firewood and, so, he stayed at home.

Nero was alone quite often in the family’s little house.  Often he would
look out the windows and peer off into the distance for something interesting
to look at.  One day, when his father was away working in the city and his
mother had just left carrying firewood for one of the neighbors a few miles
away, Nero was sitting in the window looking down the road.  He noticed an
old man pulling a heavy cart.  Every time he hit a bump, something would
fall off his cart.  The man was so old he had trouble bending down to
pickup what had fallen.  Nero watched the man, and caring for his age,
quickly went outside to help him.

The old man had just hit another bump and was just about to bend down to pick
up a bag of apples that had fallen from the cart when Nero reached him.
“Please Sir, let me help you.”  Nero picked up the bag of apples
and placed them on the cart.  The old man smiled with an old and wrinkled
face.  Nero looked up at him and wondered how old he was.  He looked
to be the oldest person Nero had ever seen.

The man patted Nero’s shoulder and picked up his cart and began pulling it
along the road, towards the city.  “Are you going into the city,
Sir?” Nero asked.  “My father works in the city.”  The
old man nodded his head and plodded along.  The old man was doing all he
could to keep the rickety cart from loosing more of his wares when the road
became very rocky.  As he moved the cart to miss one rock, he hit another
and this time all the bags on the top fell off.  Nero quickly ran over to
help the man put his bags back on his cart.

“You are a very helpful boy.”  The old man said, finally.
“I’m tired and I don’t expect I’ll get my cart much farther down this
rock-ridden road by myself.”  “I can help you!” Nero
interrupted.  “I mean, excuse me Sir.  I can help you if you
like.  I can walk with you to the city walls and pick up whatever falls
off.”  The old man smiled and sat down by the side of the road.

The old man said, “I just might take you up on it, child.  But first,
sit down with me for moment so that I may rest my weary bones.”  Nero
ran to his well and filled a bucket of water and brought it over.  The old
man smiled again and drank the water.  He said, “How old do you think
I am?  I haven’t always been so old.  I was once young like
you.”  Nero asked, “Are you 100?”  “No, I’m much
older.  Much, much older than 100 years old.  I’ve been around for a
very long time, but I’ve never forgotten that I was once very young.” The
old man said.  “My name is Giovanni and I used to be a

Nero was very curious and so asked, “What kind of a performer?”
The old man replied, “I used to swing on a trapeze and fly through the
air.  Why, I could flip from one trapeze to another.  It kept me
quite strong, you know.  I could easily carry this cart into town to sell
my apples without a second thought.”  “Nero, have you ever seen
the circus?”  “No.” Nero said.  “I’ve never
really ever been away from my house.  My father works in the city every
day from sun up to sun down.  My mother is always gathering firewood and
carrying it on her back for the others that live down the road.”

The old man thought about this and felt the boy ought to have a life that was
more interesting.  He needed to know the joys of life.  So the old
man got up and began to rummage through his cart.  He dug down deep to the
bottom and pulled out a book.  It was an illustrated book about the
circus.  He sat down and handed the book to Nero.  It was very
old.  Some of the pages were quite tattered.  Still, it had pictures
of people doing all kinds of tricks.  Every page was filled with strange
and wonderful things that Nero had never ever dreamed of.

The old man began, “Time is a funny thing, Nero.  Right now, you’ve
got a lot of it.  I’m not sure what you do to keep yourself busy there in
your home.  I imagine that soon, you’ll be carrying firewood just like
your mother.  Not long after, I suspect you may work in the city from sun
up to sun down.  Before all of that, take this book.  Look at these
pictures.  They old, but they’re drawn very well.  Try to do what
they do in these pages.  It tells you how to do handstands and
flips.  It tells you how to become strong, much stronger than you’ll ever
get carrying fire wood.  Take this book.  I’ll come by here every now
and again to see how you’re doing.  Now, if you’ll help me push this cart
to the city…”

Nero thanked the old man and helped him push the cart all the way to the city’s
edge.  He thanked the old man and quite excited, ran all the way home to
get a look at the book.

As soon as he was home, he opened the book.  There were pictures of people
doing handstands on top of chairs stacked 10 chairs high.  There were
pictures of people swinging on the trapeze and flipping from one to the
other.  Nero looked and looked and looked.  It was nighttime before
he knew it.  The days seemed to pass more quickly.  Every day after
his mother and father left, he practiced what he saw in the book.  Weeks
passed.  His mother noticed her son was beginning to look quite different,
much stronger.

One day, as she was coming home a bit early and was beginning to think of him
helping her carry firewood, she spied something that startled her.   In
the tree behind their house, there was her son swinging from a trapeze and
flipping onto the ground.  She gasped!  As she was frozen stiff at
the sight of her son flying through the air, she gasped yet again when she saw
him begin to do handsprings and a high back flip.  Frozen, she could not
take her eyes of what he did next.  As he went into a handstand and began
to talk all round the house, perfectly straight.

“Nero!” she yelled.  More startled that his mother, Nero tumbled
right over.  As his mother was in the middle of questioning him as why he
would choose to risk himself in such a way, the boy saw the old man, Giovanni,
coming down the road with his cart.  Nero’s mother was again quite
startled when Nero left her in mid sentence and went running down the road
yelling, “Giovanni, Giovanni!  I’ve been practicing!”

Well, as soon as Giovanni and Nero’s mother were introduced, Giovanni was
invited in and given some water and bread, which was proper treatment for an
old traveler at the time.  He explained he had given Nero the book and as
they went outside to watch him perform his flips and tricks, Giovanni smiled
and clapped.  “You’ve really been practicing!  You know, there’s
a circus inside the city.  You have become quite good just from looking at
the book, you could become even better with the instruction of a proper
instructor.  You never know, they just might let you in.  And a life
of performance can lead you to a life full of joy and comfort.  You’ll be
stronger, livelier, and healthier than you would be otherwise.  Come to
the center of the city where the Circus Theater is tomorrow.  I will meet
you there.”

Nero’s father came home later that evening and heard the whole story.  He
was also quite surprised.  Later the next day, the whole family would take
Nero to the circus school with Giovanni meeting them there.  Nero could
hardly sleep he was so excited.

As morning came, Nero was so excited.  He was the first one awake and
rushed to make breakfast.  Not used to such energy in the house and having
breakfast prepared for them, Nero’s parents sat in bewilderment.  After
breakfast, they made their way to the city.  Nero had never been and was
quite excited to see all the people.  He’d never seen so many at
once.  There were people of all different colors, sizes and age.  Animals
were everywhere they passed.  There were so many things of wonder,
buildings taller than the tallest trees with fine details.  Soon, they
came to the center and there was a large stone building with a large
door.  Above it was the sign, Circus School.  Nero’s
father knocked on the door.

The door opened and the smallest man that anyone had ever seen (about 2 feet
tall) opened the door.  Nero’s father, having never been to the circus,
had never had the chance to see a dwarf.  He was speechless for a
moment.  Finally, he said, “My son Nero has been learning the tricks
of the circus.  He’s become quite good.  We would like to see if he
may get better by studying here.”  The dwarf looked over at Nero, who
couldn’t take his eyes off of the dwarf.  “We’re not taking any new
students.” said the dwarf.  “But we’ve traveled from far outside
the city.” Nero’s father explained.  “Sorry.” said the

Sadly, Nero’s mother and father began to turn away.  “Come on, Nero.
It’s time to go home.”  Just then, Nero jumped on to his father’s
shoulders and balanced himself.  Nero’s father was quite startled as no
one had ever jumped on to his shoulders.  Nero left from the shoulders and
grabbed on to a beam just above the door to the circus school.  He swung
up on to another beam that was rounded and swung around and around in circles
and flipped off on the roof of a nearby shop.  Then, he steadied himself
and flipped to the ground.  He rolled into a handstand and began to walk
all around. As, Nero did a handspring to get back to his feet, Giovanni

The dwarf said, “Giovanni!  You have perfect timing.  I know you
said we weren’t taking anymore students, but have you just seen this boy fly
about as good as a monkey?  He is truly very good.  Surely, we should
consider taking him as a student.”  Giovanni, smiled.  He said,
“Yes, perhaps on a trial basis.”  And with that, he winked to
Nero and his parents.  Nero was overjoyed.  His parents were a bit
confused.  They got no time to discuss as Nero was invited in.  It
was a wonderful place.  There were so many interesting things.  There
were ropes hanging from everywhere.  There were people doing all manner of
balancing and there were even some bending over backwards with their feet to their

And so it was decided that Nero would train to become a great performer.
Nero was very excited.  Nero’s parents were very happy for his
opportunity.  And all three were very thankful to the old man whom Nero
had met upon the road.


3 thoughts on “A little boy named Nero

  1. Bag Boy Reply

    Bag Boy

    Of course, his arm is halfway into my box of Cookie Let\’s hope there is a decent As I am being pul

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