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A retired clown (The Man) tells a girl, whom he meets at a well, that he is looking for a circus, and he goes on to recount the story of his life since leaving the circus with his wife (The Woman): Things go smoothly for a time; The Boy (The Woman's son by a previous marriage) and The Shadow also leave the circus to live with the couple. But the call of the circus is too strong, and first The Shadow, then The Boy, return. Soon afterward, The Man rescues a young girl (The Girl) from an accident and falls in love with her. Realizing what is happening, The Woman leaves after sending for The Boy, and, as she has anticipated, The Boy and The Girl fall in love. The Man finally recognizes his "love" as merely an attraction to The Girl's youth, he finds The Woman and makes amends, and they return to the circus together.