Circus of Talents

by Ciri Perlstein, age 11
Circus of Talents Ciri is eleven years old, and she likes to read and write. She also likes to do gymnastics and soccer. Her favorite colors are blue and green.

“My name is Haven Shelly Dean. I’m thirteen years old. My father sold me for a new house and a flock of sheep. Now I live as a servant for the Queen of England.”

I was in the garden of the Queen of England’s palace when it happened. Let me explain. My name is Haven Shelly Dean. I’m thirteen years old. My father sold me for a new house and a flock of sheep. Now I live as a servant for the Queen of England. I work in the kitchen. Now, from 2 pm to 3 pm is my only off-hour.

I was walking next to the pond, when I saw a duck. And that’s when I found out my magical powers.

The duck said, “Quack quaaaack!” But to me, it sounded like, “Hello Haaaaven!”

I blinked. Then I blinked again. Then twice more. Then again. I was sure I had heard wrong.

“How do you know my name?” I asked. 

Except my voice sounded more like, “Quack quack quick honk quaaack.”

I ran back to the palace to start cooking early. I volunteered to make the salad, which was a hated thing to make at the kitchen. I did that so I wouldn’t have to help with the duck.

***

It must have been a coincidence. It must have. Because, two days later, on Lesson Day (Lesson Day is the day that all servants under the age of 15 have off to learn math, writing, and reading) I saw a notice. The notice said, 

Do you think you have a talent?

Servants, come to the Library on May 2nd to show off your talent. You will be viewed privately, and the winner will join the Circus of Talents. Sign up on the sheet below!

I was the third one to sign up.

***

May 2nd was the next day, and since so many servants were trying out, the Queen’s Advisor gave us the day off. We gathered in the library. 

A man with important looking clothing on was standing on a table.

“Hello,” he said. “My name is Carter Marlon. I am the director of the Circus of Talents. You will be viewed one at a time, and then I will announce the winner. You will be viewed in the order that you signed up in.”

“First up: Benny Dennis.”

Benny stepped forwards. He was a skinny kid who worked with the laundry. He went into the next room. A few minutes later, he came out practically crying. He ran out of the room. 

“Next up: Matilda Scott.” 

A girl who I didn’t recognize walked up. She walked into the room and came out with a worried face. She sat at a table in the back. 

“Haven Dean.” 

I walked into the room.

“Hello, Haven,” said Carter. “What is your talent?”

“Umm… I think I may be able to talk to ducks?” I said. 

Carter looked so happy, I thought he was going to explode. “Yes, yes! This is exactly the talent!”

Carter snapped his fingers. A duck, the duck I had seen in the garden, appeared. “Yeah, that’s my talent. I can summon things.” 

“Um, hello?” I said.

“I heard quack!” said Carter. “Perfect! You’re hired! But I still need to test everyone else, just to be fair. But go sit at the table across from Matilda.” 

I nodded and left the room. My head was exploding with thoughts. How did this happen? Am I really actually leaving the palace? Wow! This is crazy! Is Carter always this way? Wow!

About thirty minutes later, Carter got back up onto the table. “The winner is… ” he paused for dramatic effect. “Haven Dean!” The whole room clapped and cheered.

***

I got into the back of Carter’s van. He said we were driving a little to the real site of the Circus. Almost everyone had come to see me off. Even the Queen of England was there. After the palace had disappeared, I turned around to face Carter.

“Are you ready?” he asked. 

I nodded my head. Yes, I thought. I’m ready.


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