Dot and the Kangaroo
by Ethel C. Pedley (1860 - 1898)
. . . the story continues . . .
But the Kangaroo sadly shook her head, and said, "White Humans are cruel, and love to murder. We must all die. But about your lost way," she continued in a brisk tone, by way of changing this painful subject; "I've been asking about it, and no one has seen it anywhere. Of course someone must know where it is, but the difficulty is to find the right one to ask." Then she dropped her voice, and came a little, nearer to Dot, and stooping down until her little black hands hung close to the ground, she whispered in Dot's ear, "They say I ought to consult the Platypus."
"Could the Platypus help, do you think?" Dot asked.
"I NEVER think," said the Kangaroo, "but as the Platypus never goes anywhere, never associates with any other creature, and is hardly ever seen, I conclude it knows everything — it must, you know."
"Of course," said Dot, with some doubt in her tone.
"The only thing is," continued the Kangaroo, once more sitting up and pensively scratching her nose. "The only thing is, I can't bear the Platypus; the sight of it gives me the creeps: it's such a queer creature!"
"I've never seen a Platypus," said Dot, "do tell me what it is like!"
"I couldn't describe it," said the Kangaroo, with a shudder, "it seems made up of parts of two or three different sorts of creatures. None of us can account for it. It must have been an experiment, when all the rest of us were made; or else it was made up of the odds and ends of the birds and beasts that were left over after we were all finished."
Little Dot clapped her hands. "Oh, dear Kangaroo," she said, "do take me to see the Platypus! there was nothing like that in my Noah's ark."
"I should say not!" remarked the Kangaroo. "The animals in the ark said they were each to be of its kind, and every sort of bird and beast refused to admit the Platypus, because it was of so many kinds; and at last Noah turned it out to swim for itself, because there was such a row. That's why the Platypus is so secluded. Ever since then no Platypus is friendly with any other creature, and no animal or bird is more than just polite to it. They couldn't be, you see, because of that trouble in the ark."
"But that was so long ago," said Dot, filled with compassion for the lonely Platypus; "and, after all, this is not the same Platypus, nor are all the bush creatures the same now as then."
"No," returned the Kangaroo, "and some say there was no ark, and no fuss over the matter, but that, of course, doesn't make any difference, for it's a very ancient quarrel, so it must be kept up. But if we are to go to the Platypus we had better start now; it is a good time to see it — so come along, little Dot," said the Kangaroo.