voices from the past


Dot and the Kangaroo

by Ethel C. Pedley (1860 - 1898)

. . . the story continues . . .

Dot kept crying out with pleasure at all she saw, especially when little Parrakeets, with feathers as green as the ferns, and gorgeous red breasts, came in flocks, and welcomed her to their favourite haunt; and, as she had eaten the berries of understanding, and was the friend of the Kangaroo, they were not frightened, but perched on her shoulders and hands, and chatted their merry talk all together. The Kangaroo did not share Dot's enthusiasm for the beauties of the gully. She said it was pretty, certainly, but a bad place for Kangaroos, because there was no grass. For her part, she didn't think any sight in nature so lovely as a big plain, green with the little blades of new spring grass. The gully was very showy, but not to her mind so beautiful as the other.

Then they came to a stream that gurgled melodiously as it rippled over stones in its shallow course, or crept round big grey boulders that were wrapped in thick mosses, in which were mingled flowers of the pink and red wild fuchsia, or the creamy great blossoms of the rock lily. Dot ran down the stream with bare feet, laughing as she paddled in and out among the rocks and ferns, and the sun shone down on the gleaming foam of the water, and made golden lights in Dot's wild curls. The Kangaroo, too, was very merry, and bounded from rock to rock over the stream, showing what wonderful things she could do in that way; and sometimes they paused, side by side, and peeped down upon some still pool that showed their two reflections as in a mirror; and that seemed so funny to Dot, that her silvery laugh woke the silence in happy peals, until more green-and-red Parrakeets flew out of the bush to join in the fun.

When they had followed the stream some distance, the gully opened out into bush scrub. The little Parrakeets then said "Good-bye," and flew back to their favourite tree-ferns and bush growth; and the Kangaroo said, that as they were nearing the home of the Platypus, they must not play in the stream any more; to do so might warn the creature of their approach and frighten it. "We shall have to be very careful," she said, "so that the Platypus will neither hear nor smell you. We will therefore walk on the opposite shore, as the wind will then blow away from its home."

The stream no longer chattered over rocky beds, but slid between soft banks of earth, under tufts of tall rushes, grasses, and ferns, and soon it opened into a broad pool, which was smooth as glass. The clouds in the sky, the tall surrounding trees, and the graceful ferns and rushes of the banks, were all reflected in the water, so that it looked to Dot like a strange upside-down picture. This, then, was the home of that wonderful animal; and Dot felt quite frightened, because she thought she was going to see something terrible.

At the Kangaroo's bidding, she hid a little way from the edge of the pool, but she was able to see all that happened.

The Kangaroo evidently did not enjoy the prospect of conversing with the Platypus. She kept on fidgeting about, putting off calling to the Platypus by one excuse and another: she was decidedly ill at ease.

"Are you frightened of the Platypus?" asked Dot.

Chapter 4 pages:   one   two   three   four   five   six   seven   eight
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