Dot and the Kangaroo
by Ethel C. Pedley (1860 - 1898)
. . . the story continues . . .
Then Dot opened her eyes very wide and looked round, and saw a funny native Bear on the tree trunk behind her. He was quite clearly to be seen in the moonlight. His thick, grey fur, that looked as if he was wrapped up to keep out the most terribly cold weather; his short, stumpy, big legs, and little sharp face with big bushy ears, could be seen as distinctly as in daylight. Dot had never seen one so near before, and she loved it at once, it looked so innocent and kind.
"You dear little native Bear!" she exclaimed, at once stroking its head.
"Am I a native Bear?" asked the animal in a meek voice. "I never heard that before. I thought I was a Koala. I've always been told so, but of course one never knows oneself. What are you? Do you know?"
"I'm a little girl," replied Dot, proudly.
The Koala saw that Dot was proud, but as it didn't see any reason why she should be, it was not a bit afraid of her.
"I never heard of one or saw one before," it said, simply. "Do you burrow, or live in a tree?"
"I live at home," said Dot; but, wishing to be quite correct, she added, "that is, when I am there."
"Then, where are you now?" asked the Koala, rather perplexed.
"I'm not at home," replied Dot, not knowing how to make her position clear to the little animal.
"Then you live where you don't live?" said the Koala; "Where is it?" and the little Bear looked quite unhappy in its attempt to understand what Dot meant.
"I've lost it," said Dot. "I don't know where it is."
"You make my head feel empty," said the Koala, sadly. "I live in the gum tree over there. Do you eat gum leaves?"
"No. When I'm at home I have milk, and bread, and eggs, and meat."
"Dear me!" said the Koala. "They're all new to one. Is it far? I should like to see the trees they grow on. Please show me the way."
"But I can't," said Dot; "they don't grow on trees, and I don't know my way home. It's lost, you see."
"I don't see," said the native Bear. "I never can see far at night, and not at all in daylight. That is why I came here. I saw your fur shining in the moonlight, and I couldn't make out what it was, so I came to see. If there is anything new to be seen, I must get a near view of it. I don't feel happy if I don't know all about it. Aren't you cold?"
"Yes, I am, a little, since my Kangaroo left me," Dot said.
"Now you make my head feel empty again," said the Koala, plaintively. "What has a Kangaroo got to do with your feeling cold? What have you done with your fur?"