voices from the past


Dot and the Kangaroo

by Ethel C. Pedley (1860 - 1898)

. . . the story continues . . .

"To think of all the poor things I have killed," said Dot's father sadly, "I'll never do it again."

"No," said his wife, "we must try and get everyone to be kind to the bush creatures, and protect them all we can."

This book would never come to an end if it told all that passed that day. How Dot explained the wonderful power of the berries of understanding, and how she told the Kangaroos all that her parents wanted her to say on their behalf, and what kind things the Kangaroo said in return.

All day long the Kangaroo stayed near Dot's home, and the little girl persuaded her to eat bread, which she said was "most delicious, but one would get tired of it sooner than grass."

Every effort was made by Dot and her parents to get the Kangaroo to live on their selection, so that they might protect her from harm. But she said that she liked her own free life best, only she would never go far away and would come often to see Dot. At sunset she said good-bye to Dot, a little sadly, and the child stood in the rosy light of the after-glow, waving her hand, as she saw her kind animal friend hop away and disappear into the dark shadow of the Bush.

She wandered about for some time listening to the voices of birds and creatures, who came to tell her how glad everyone was that her way had been found, and that no harm was to befall them in future. The news of her safe return, and of the Kangaroo's finding her Joey, had been spread far and near, by Willy Wagtail and the Kookooburra; and she could hear the shouts of laughter from kookooburras telling the story until nearly dark.

Quite late at night she was visited by the Opossum, the Native Bear, and the Nightjar, who entered by the open window, and, sitting in the moonlight, conversed about the day's events. They said that their whole rest and sleep had been disturbed by the noise and excitement of the day creatures spreading the news through the Bush. The Mo-poke wished to sing a sad song because Dot was feeling happy, but the Opossum warned it that it was sitting in a draught on the window sill and might spoil its beautiful voice, so it flew away and only sang in the distance. The Native Bear said that the story of Dot's return and the finding of Kangaroo's Joey was so strange that it made its head feel quite empty. The Opossum inspected everything in Dot's room, and tried to fight itself in the looking glass. It then got the Koala to look into the mirror also, and said it would get an idea into its little empty head if it did. When the Koala had taken a timid peep at itself, the Opossum said that the Koala now had an idea of how stupid it looked, and the little bear went off to get used to having an idea in its head. The Opossum was so pleased with its spiteful joke that it hastily said good night, and hurried away to tell it to the other possums.

Gradually the voices of the creatures outside became more and more faint and indistinct; and then Dot slept in the grey light of the dawn.

Chapter 13 pages:  one   two   three   four   five
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