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Dot and the Kangaroo

by Ethel C. Pedley (1860 - 1898)

. . . the story continues . . .

I hopped up to the stony rise that fringed the plain, and I thought as I did so that I could hear a new sound on the breeze. Joey hid in the grass, but I went boldly into the open on the hillside to see where the danger was. I saw, far off, Humans on their big animals that go so quickly, and directly I hopped into the open, they raised a great noise like the blacks did last night, and I could see by the movement in the grass that they had those dreadful dogs they teach to kill us: they are far worse than dingoes. Joey heard the shouting and bounded into my pouch, and I went off as fast as I could. It was a worse hunt than last night, for it was longer, and there was no darkness to help me. I gradually got ahead in the chase, and I knew if I were alone I could distance them all; for we had seen them a long way off. But little Joey was heavy, though not so heavy as you are, and in the long distance I began to feel weak, as I did last night.

"I knew if I tried to go on as we were, that those cruel Humans (doing nothing but sit quietly on those big beasts, which have four legs and never get tired) would overtake us, and their dogs (which carry no weight and go so fast) would tear me down before their masters even arrived, for I was going gradually slower. So I asked Joey if I dropped him into a soft bush whether he would hide until I came back for him. It was our only chance. I had an idea that if I did that he would be safe even if I got killed; as they would be more likely to follow me, and never think I had parted from my little Joey. So we did this, and I crossed a creek, which put the hounds off the scent, and I got away. In the dusk I came back again to find Joey, but he had gone, and I could not find a trace of him. All night and all day I searched, but I've never seen my Joey since," said the Kangaroo sadly, and Dot saw the tears dim her eyes.

Dot could not speak all she felt. She was so sorry for the Kangaroo, and so ashamed of being a Human. She realised too, how good and forgiving this dear animal was; how she had cared for her, and nearly died to save her life, in spite of the wrongs done to her by human beings.

"When I grow up," she said, "I will never let anyone hurt a bush creature. They shall all be happy where I am."

"But there are so many Humans. They're getting to be as many as Kangaroos." said the animal reflectively, and shook her head.

Chapter 9 pages:  one   two
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