Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/73

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49
FREAKS AND FAKES

score of other negroes, who posed as representatives of any foreign races the side-show proprietor wished to exhibit.

MISSING LINKS AND DANCING TURKEYS

Krao, the "missing link," as she was called, was simply a hairy child, and almost exactly like Annie Jones, who was exhibited by Barnum as the "Esau Child." A great card for museums at one time was the "human-faced chicken." The first one placed on exhibition was purchased in good faith by an acquaintance of mine, and proved a good attraction. A visiting farmer, however, declared that it was nothing but an ordinary chicken which had had its bill frozen off, and so it proved.

Dancing turkeys were then introduced and caused great amusement. The awkward birds would walk onto their exhibition stage and go through a decidedly grotesque dance, their mode of lifting their feet being highly laughable. The truth was that the stage on which they danced was a piece of sheet-iron covered with a cloth. The iron was heated to an uncomfortable degree by gas jets underneath. What the public accepted as dancing was really the efforts made by the birds to prevent their feet from being burned.