voices from the past


Dot and the Kangaroo

by Ethel C. Pedley (1860 - 1898)

. . . the story continues . . .

"ORNITHORHYNCHUS Paradoxus, if you please," insisted the little creature. "How would you like it if your name was Jones-Smith-Jones, and I called you one Jones, or one Smith, and did not say both the Joneses and the Smiths? You have no idea how sensitive our race is. You Humans have no feelings at all compared with ours. Why, my fifth pair of nerves are larger than a man's! Humans get on my nerves dreadfully!" it ended in disgusted accents.

"She did not mean to hurt you," said the gentle Kangaroo, soothingly. "Is there anything we can do to make you feel comfortable again?"

"There is nothing you can do," Sighed the Platypus, now mournful and depressed. "I must sing. Only music can quiet my nerves. I will sing a little threnody composed by myself, about the good old days of this world before the Flood." And as it spoke, the Platypus moved into an upright position amongst the tussock grass, and after a little cough opened its bill to sing.

The Kangaroo kept very close to Dot, and warned her to be very attentive to the song, and not to interrupt it on any account. Almost before the Kangaroo had ceased to whisper in her ear, Dot heard this strange song, sung to the most peculiar tune she had ever heard, and in the funniest of little squeaky voices.

The fairest Iguanodon reposed upon the shore
Extended lay her beauteous form, a hundred feet and more.
The sun, with rays flammivomous, beat on the blue-black sand;
And sportive little Saurians disported on the strand
But oft the Iguanodon reproved them in their glee,
And said, "Alas! this Saurian Age is not what it should be!"

Then, forth from that archaic sea, the Ichthyosaurus
Uprose upon his finny wings, with neocomian fuss,
"Oh, Iguanodon!" he cried, as he approached the shore,
"Why art thou thus dysthynic, love? Come, rise with me, and soar,
Or leave these estuarian seas, and wander in the grove;
Behold! a bird-like reptile fish is dying for thy love!"

Then, through the dark coniferous grove they wandered side by side,
The tender Iguanodon and Ichthyosaurian bride
And through the enubilious air, the carboniferous breeze,
Awoke, with their amphibious sighs, the silence in the trees.
"To think," they cried, botaurus-toned, "when ages intervene,
Our osseous fossil forms will be in some museum seen!"

Bemoaning thus, by dumous path, they crushed the cycad's growth,
And many a crash, and thunder, marked the progress of them both.
And when they reached the estuary, the excandescent sun
Was setting o'er the hefted sea; their saurian day was done.
Then raised they paraseline eyes unto the flaming moon,
And wept the Neocomian Age was passing all too soon!
Oh, Iguanodon! oh, earth! oh, Ichthyosaurus
Oh, Melanocephalous saurians! Oh! oh! oh!

(Here the Platypus was sobbing)

Oh, Troglyodites obscure oh! oh!

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