Dot and the Kangaroo
by Ethel C. Pedley (1860 - 1898)
. . . the story continues . . .
"This is Dot," said the Kangaroo a little anxiously, and rather breathless with the speed she had made.
"Just as I had expected!" exclaimed Willy Wagtail, with a jerk of the tail which nearly sent him headlong off the rail. "I should know you anywhere, little Human, though you do look a bit different. You want preening," he added.
This last remark was in allusion to Dot's appearance, which certainly was most untidy and dirty, for, beyond an occasional lick from the Kangaroo, she had been five days without being tidied and cleaned.
"I couldn't do it better," said the Kangaroo apologetically.
"It doesn't matter at all," said Dot, putting her tangled curls back from her eyes.
"Well! I know where you live," gabbled off the Wagtail. "It's the second big paddock from here, if you follow the belt of the she-oak trees over there. It's a house just like those things in Gabblebabble township. There's a yellow sheep dog, who's very good tempered, and a black one that made a snap at my tail the other day. There is an old grey cart horse, an honest fellow, but rather dull; and a bay mare who is much better company. There is a little red cow who is a great friend of mine, and she had a calf a few days before you were lost. Dear me!" exclaimed the gossiping bird, "what a fuss there has been these five days over trying to find you! I've been over there every day to see the sight. Such a lot of Humans! And such horses. I enjoyed myself immensely, and made a lot of friends amongst the horses, but I didn't care so much for the dogs; I thought them a nasty quarrelsome lot.
"I went a couple of days with the whole turn out to see the search. Goodness, the distances they went, and the noise and the big fires they made. It WAS exciting fun! They brought over some black Humans — 'Trackers' is what they are called, at least the Mounted Troopers' horses told me so (my word the Troopers' horses are jolly fellows!) Well, these black trackers went in front of each party just like dogs, with their heads to the ground, and they turned over every leaf and twig, and said if a Human, a horse or a Kangaroo had broken it or been that way, they would have found your track fast enough, but one evening it came to an end quite suddenly, and weren't they all surprised! I heard from a Trooper's horse — (such a nice horse he was!) — that the trackers and white Humans said it was just as if you had disappeared into the sky! There was just a bit of your fur on a bush, and nothing anywhere else but a Kangaroo's trail. No one could make it out."