Dot and the Kangaroo
by Ethel C. Pedley (1860 - 1898)
. . . the story continues . . .
The next instant the Kangaroo bounded out of the Bush into the open paddock. Swift as lightning up went the cruel gun, but, as it exploded with a terrible report, the man, Jack, struck it upwards, and the fatal bullet lodged in the branch of a tall gum tree.
"Great Scott!" exclaimed Jack, pointing at the Kangaroo.
"Dot!" cried her father, dropping his gun, and stumbling blindly forward with outstretched arms, towards his little girl, who had just tumbled out of the Kangaroo's pouch in her hurry to reach her father.
"Hoo! hoo! ho! ho! he! he! ha! ha! ha! ha!" laughed a Kookooburra on a tree, as he saw Dot clasped in her father's great strong arms, and the little face hidden in his big brown beard.
"Wife! wife!" shouted Dot's father, "Dot's come back! Dot's come back!"
"Dot's here!" yelled the young man, as he ran like mad to the house. And all the time the good Kangaroo sat up on her haunches, still panting with fear from the sound of the gun, and a little afraid to stay, yet so interested in all the excitement and delight, that she couldn't make up her mind to hop away.
"Dadda," said Dot, "You nearly killed Dot and her Kangaroo! Oh if you killed my Kangaroo, I'd never have been happy any more!"
"But I don't understand," said her father. "How did you come to be in the Kangaroo's pouch?"
"Oh! I've got lots and lots to tell you!" said Dot; "but come and stroke dear Kangaroo, who saved little Dot and brought her home."
"That I will!" said Dot's father, "and never more will I hurt a Kangaroo!"
"Nor any of the Bush creatures," said Dot. "Promise, Dadda!"
"I promise," said the big man, in a queer-sounding voice, as he kissed Dot over and over again, and walked towards the frightened animal.
Dot wriggled down from her father's arms, and said to the Kangaroo, "It's all right; no one's ever going to be shot or hurt here again!" and the Kangaroo looked delighted at the good news.
"Dadda," said Dot, holding her father's hand, and, with her disengaged hand touching the Kangaroo's little paw. "This is my own dear Kangaroo." Dot's father, not knowing quite how to show his gratitude, stroked the Kangaroo's head, and said, "How do you do?" which, when he came to think of it afterwards, seemed rather a foolish thing to say. But he wasn't used, like Dot, to talking to Bush creatures, and had not eaten the berries of understanding.