The Story Of A Three-Legged Man Whose Disability Became His Ticket To Success

Inspiration

Three-legged man Francesco Lentini, one of 12 children, was born between July 1884 and May 1889 in Rosolino, Italy. Technically, the family had 12 and a half children, as Frank had a twin conjoined brother, who was partially absorbed by Frank's body in utero.

[caption id="attachment_181850" align="alignnone" width="800"] See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons[/caption]In total, Lentini was born with four feet, three legs (all different in size), sixteen toes and two sets of male genitals. Though Frank was bullied throughout his childhood, he managed to beat the odds, perceiving his extra limb as a liability. Thanks to this, Frank learned how to use his unique nature for entertaining and educating others.

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Childhood Years

As a child, Francesco wanted to get rid of his extra appendages and limbs. However, doctors said it was too risky due to the proximity of the limbs to his spine. Thus, although Frank was ashamed of his body, he had to accept it, as there was simply no choice.

[caption id="attachment_194498" align="alignnone" width="800"] See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons[/caption]A critical thing happened when Francesco enrolled at a home for disabled children. Having seen the condition other children were in, he understood that his disability could actually be a gift of nature. Unlike blind and deaf children, he could walk, run, bicycle, ice skate, and even jump rope. The time he spent with disabled children became his primary motivator, quoted for many years.

The Dramatic Changes

When Frank was just 6 years old, he was occasionally encountered by a famous man Vincenzo Magnano, who was making a tour in Italy with a puppet show. Having seen the boy, Magnano decided he would be a great addition to the Barnum and Bailey Circus, so he made an offer, and the little boy could not help but accept it.

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[caption id="attachment_194497" align="alignnone" width="800"] By unbekannt, Edena Studios (http://www.sideshowworld.com/FL-3leg-6.JPG) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons[/caption]At the age of 8, Frank came to the U.S., full of hope and ambition. Though Francesco's parents knew their son would bring them significant profit, they didn't allow him to tour until the boy finished school. Such a decision helped Frank later in his life, as he could speak four languages by the time he finished school.

Years Of Success

Later on, Frank spent nearly 20 seasons and 40 years with the Barnum and Bailey Circus and the Ringling Brothers Circus. Additionally, he performed in the famous Buffalo Bill's Wild West show and even managed to start his own. In Francesco's sideshow, he demonstrated his abilities, letting viewers ask personal questions. Frank had nothing to hide: his unique nature, perceived by others as a disability, became his ticket to success.

Ileana Fernandez / Youtube

In his family life, Lentini could not have been happier, as he married a beautiful woman, Theresa Murray, with who he had four children.

Francesco Lentini even wrote a book about his life as a three-legged man. Was living such a life difficult? Most probably, it was. But the way to success is always a thorny one, and Francesco Lentini was brave enough to choose a proper life path.

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