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Mr. Papadilly and Willy

Click to return to index    Author:  Florence Slobodkin
Copyright Date:  1964
Publisher:  Vanguard
Pagination:  36 p.

     Mr. Papadilly, a quiet, gentle man, became a Lion Tamer quite by accident.
     A friend who lived far away sent him a Lion Cub. Never having had a Lion Cub before, Mr. Papadilly did not know what to do with him. So he did nothing. He just kept him and fed him and named him Willy.
     Mr. Papadilly grew quite fond of Willy. He never spoke harshly to him because that was not necessary. Willy was gentle, too, and as he grew fond of Mr. Papadilly, he was always obedient and tried to please.
     Every day Mr. Papadilly sat on his front porch and watched his neighbors peeking through the fence around his house.
     “See the baby lion,” they would say to their children. “No, it is not a little dog. It’s a lion ... a gentle baby lion.”
     Of course, as Willy grew older he grew bigger. And since the neighbors had known him as a baby, they were not afraid of him. They knew he was kindhearted and gentle.
     One day a Circus Man came to Mr. Papadilly’s house and asked him to sell his lion to the circus.
     But Mr. Papadilly said he could not part with him. Willy was a very nice pet, much more interesting than a cat or a dog or a canary.
     “Then you come along, too,” said the man. “You can be the Lion Tamer in the circus.”
     “Me ... a Lion Tamer in the circus!” exclaimed Mr. Papadilly. “That is ridiculous!”
     But he could see that Willy liked the idea of being a Circus Lion. So, after a while, Mr. Papadilly said, “All right” and he and Willy joined the circus.
     It was in the circus that Mr. Papadilly came to be called Papadilly. His name was really Mr. Ernest Dilly. But the circus people always spoke of him as Papa Dilly because he was like a papa or daddy to Willy. Soon people thought of him only as Papadilly. Nobody remembered that he was really Mr. Ernest Dilly.
     And the same thing happened to Willy, the lion. At first everyone in the circus called him Mr. Dilly Willy, but soon people forgot why they were calling the lion Mr. Dilly’s Willy and he was known only as Dillywilly.
     When the Ringmaster announced their circus act he always shouted,
“And now here are Dillywilly,
  the Most Ferocious Lion
  in the World, and Mr.
  Papadilly, the Bravest
  and Most Courageous
  Lion Tamer.”

  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


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