Saddleworth Chatter by GH
YOUNG BILL was a Greenfield lad who was due to leave school.
He was certainly not an academic but was cheerful and willing with a love of animals. His mother wrote to Belle Vue’s zoo manager and asked if they could find a place for Bill.
Happily she received a positive answer and with his sandwiches and flask packed in his old school satchel Bill set off for his first day of ‘grown up work’.
The foreman explained Bill’s first job would be to sweep out some of the cages as they wanted them all clean because tomorrow they would receive a new lion.
So with brush and shovel in hand Bill was ushered in to the aviary with its large collection of exotic birds, including many finches of all colours.
Looking for the light switch Bill found a multitude of switch like knobs. He tried them all until finally the place was lit up and cleaning could commence.
Then he moved on to the next cage unaware that he had turned the aviary heaters up to maximum while looking for the light switch.
Soon the majority of the birds were overcome by the excessive heat and the floor was littered with their little lifeless bodies.
When the foreman keeper discovered this, he said they must hide this tragic accident so sweep up the dead birds and throw them into the lion enclosure.
When he had done this he told him to go to the Monkey House and sweep that out – but not to touch any switches!
Bill was fascinated by the chimpanzees as they performed high above his head on the swings, platforms and rope ladders.
“I wonder what would happen if I untied this rope while I cleaned around it,” Bill thought. He unhitched the rope and there was a sickening crash as a platform 30 feet above him crashed down, killing two chimps.
The foreman reappeared and was badly shaken. He said: “Put them also into the lion enclosure and they will eat them so nothing will be wasted!”
This Bill did and as he was running back to the monkey house he came across a truck loaded with bricks and heavy building materials ready for some extensions.
Bill accidently caught his arm on the handbrake and it released, setting the heavy truck off.
It crashed into a beehive, reducing it to firewood with thousands of dead bees mixed up with their honey. Bill shovelled up the squashed bees and honey and threw it into the lion enclosure.
The following day everyone was excited as the lorry carrying the new lion arrived. Out walked a beautiful lion and he began to explore his new home.
An old lion approached him and said “I am Leo, who are you?”
The newcomer replied “My name is Simba, what’s it like here?”
“Oh, it’s not a bad place at all – and the food’s good,” said Leo. “Why, only yesterday we had finch, chimps and mushy bees!”