voices from the past


Dot and the Kangaroo

by Ethel C. Pedley (1860 - 1898)

. . . the story continues . . .

Presently the Kangaroo had reached the last bushes of the scrub, behind which she crouched.

"There's not a smell or a sound," she said. "Get out, Dot, and wait here until I return, and the Bronze-Wings have had their drink; for, did they see you, they would be too frightened to come down, and would have to wait another night and day."

Dot got out of the pouch, and she was very sorry when she saw how terrified her friend looked. She could see the fur on the Kangaroo's chest moving with the frightened beating of her heart; and her beautiful brown eyes looked wild and strange with fear.

Instantly, the Kangaroo leaped into the open. For a second she paused erect, sniffing and listening, and then she hastened to the water. As she stooped to drink, Dot heard a "whrr, whrr, whrr," and, like falling leaves, down swept the Bronze-Wings. It was a wonderful sight. The water-hole shone in the dim light, with the great black darkness of the trees surrounding it, and from all parts came the thirsty creatures of the bush. The Bronze-Wings were all together. Hundreds of little heads bobbed by the edge of the pool, as the little bills were filled, and the precious water was swallowed; then, together, a minute afterwards, "whrr, whrr, whrr," up they flew, and in one great sweeping circle they regained their tree tops. Like the bush creatures, Dot also was frightened, and running to the water, hurriedly drank, and fled back to the shelter of the bush, where the Kangaroo was waiting for her.

"Jump in!" said the Kangaroo, "it's never safe by the water," and, a minute after, Dot was again in the cosy pouch, and was hurrying away, like all the others, from the water where men are wont to camp, and kill with their guns the poor creatures that come to drink.

That evening the Kangaroo tried to persuade Dot to eat some grass, but as Dot said she had never eaten grass, it got some roots from a friendly Bandicoot, which the little girl ate because she was hungry; but she thought she wouldn't like to be a Bandicoot always to eat such food. Then in a nice dry cave she nestled into the fur of the gentle Kangaroo, and was so tired that she slept immediately.

She only woke up once. She had been dreaming that she was at home, and was playing with the new little Calf that had come the day before she was lost, and she couldn't remember, at first waking, what had happened, or where she was. It was dark in the cave, and outside the bushes and trees looked quite black for there was but little light in that place from the starry sky. It seemed terribly lonesome and wild. When the Kangaroo spoke she remembered every thing, and they both sat up and talked a little.

Chapter 2 pages:   one   two   three   four
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