One day, a circus came to the village. Such excitement! But Amaru had no money, so all he could do was watch the others. Early in the morning, Amaru went to the big treeless field where men were shouting and laughing and pulling at ropes, to see what he could see.
Right away Amaru noticed an enormous wheel, with baskets placed at intervals around the rim. He wondered about this, and finally sat down in the dust some distance away from it.
The villagers began to arrive, and before long his question was answered. People climbed into the baskets. An old man with a small monkey on his shoulder started the engine and the wheel jerked slowly around to present a new, empty basket. Soon all the baskets had people sitting in them, each holding tightly to the bar in front of him. Then the engine was started again and they were transported high above the plain!
Amaru’s eyes shone. He felt a great lifting of the heart. To be so high! To see so far!
He sat there all day, in the hot sun, watching, pondering. From time to time he moved a little closer, but his eyes never left the top of the wheel. Flies crawled on him unnoticed.
The sun began to go down and people started to go home, but still Amaru sat. The wheel was stopped now. Amaru finally got up and rubbed the cramp from his legs. He was now aware of being hungry and thirsty. He turned to go.
Just then, the old man of the wheel called out, “You, Little One, come here!”
Amaru stopped and looked around, then smiled shyly at the old fellow. The man gestured to him to come. He went.
“Child, I have been watching you all day, watching this wheel. Perhaps you may learn something from it.” And he picked Amaru up, set him in the bottommost basket, and started the engine.
Slowly Amaru was raised to a gigantic height above the world. His heart raced. He was certain he was going to faint, or perhaps to die. But when he reached the top he felt a great ecstasy. He could see for miles and miles. He had arrived at last.
But then, the basket started immediately to descend! What was wrong? Had he somehow offended the old man? In misery he reached the bottom. He was terribly disappointed. Tears were tracing shiny tracks down his cheeks.
But just as he was expecting to be lifted out of the basket and sent away, it began to rise again! It appeared he was being given a second chance! This time, as he rose to his great height, he exerted the whole force of his will. This time he would stay on top of the world for a long time!
But again, the basket descended, and with its descent Amaru became a small, limp bundle of dejection.
When finally the old man lifted him out and set him down on unsteady legs, he observed Amaru’s tear-streaked face and said, “Yes, I thought you might learn something. My friend here learned it very early.” He pointed to his little monkey, who had found a comfortable spot in the centre of the hub of the wheel. The wheel was so large that even from there, one could see for miles.
But Amaru was in those days only a very little boy, and little boys quite often forget.