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¡ WILDERNESS [
The Story Of | j Chut, j j The Kangaroo.
\ Dorothy Cottrell \
] A SPLENDID ANIMAL STORY. j
Only tlie young mother was le because she could not get Chut ha into the pouch. He was frighten out of his wits. He grabbed at I mother's fur, trying to find the pou
The men were running up. T mother made a last frantic effort
get Joey into her pouch. He miss it and slipped chitting to the grout Terror got the better of her and s bolted, only to halt fifty yards awi and call loudly for Chut. But Cb was too little to come. He call back: "Chitt Chut!"
The men were bending over the o
The doe began to come back, hei tating, trembling. Chut made a wo hiing dash for her, and she grabb him up, and this time he found tl pouch and was back in the musl
One of the men shouted: "Jov There's .another!"
The doe cleared the baT of fall timber in a terrific leap-and wi away. Then the joey felt a paralysii shock, and instead of coming to groin with clastic tase, they came down wit
' a crushing, crashing fall. At once tl doe was up again, on again, with
wild, erratic, «tumbling flight. Chi could feel the trembling pound of hi heart. Then her speed slackened, fa!
He fell that danger waa over and b gan tc. re-settle himself in the pout preparatory to his evening meal. 1 his surprise the doe'gave a shrill ci of pain and clutched him out to tl earth. Even as she did so she fell. B saw that her side was strangely dari He was frightened and held to h< fur, but ehe made no effort to carei him. Instead, her hands clutched t her side. Then she became quite still.
Chut was frightened by the silenci He wanted to go back into the despise pouch. He wanted food. He called an called, protesting at her callousnesi Presently he even nubbled at her nosi and as he did so something told hin
that she was dead.
He had no definite thought for it, bu he knew that this was the end of warn softness and warm food, of nuhblei noses and mutual chitting. A weaV small, furry thing, with great deer' eyes and quivering ears, he sat up holding his little hands as a email doj does when it begs. He had no know ledge of the world in which he sat, bu something told him that it was aa wei to show a brave face towards it. Hi chitted with all the energy of hil minute voice. Then he slept, holdinj tightly to the fur of his dead mother.
The motherless joey woke with ar overwhelming shock of panic. Light euch as he had never known was beat- ing upon and blinding him. He tried futilely to hide from it, but there wai
Last night he had been safe in thc warm, musky darkness of his mother's pouch, where after the manner of thc kangaroos tho would have carried hin for many weeks to come. He would have been fed abundantly with sweet, thick milk. A rifle shot in the moon- light had ended all that. For Chut there was neither shelter nor food. And his long legs were still wobbly with babyhood, his little black infantinely
uncertain of their movements.
As he sat, unhappy and shelterless, in the flood of light, a great shadow swept across the dust as a big wedge tailed eagle passed overhead.
Chut called to it tentatively-at least it was life. For a moment the great bird hung almost motionless, its eyes sharply golden, its burnished neck feathers sweeping down to the cruel
black head with its curved beak.
The little kangaroo looked back at the bird of prey ^without fear; apart from the shock and fright of the shot last night, Chut had found the world wholly kind.
The big bird half closed its wings, tilted forward and dropped with the hurtling velocity of a missile towards the furry baby at the edge of thc grass. As the missile neared its mark the great taloned legs shot from their feathery sheaths, tensely clutching for the small fat bark. Chut tried to hop, lost his balance, and fell ignominiously upon his stomach.
The eagle's wings opened; he clutched at Chut, leaving a knift-likc cut across
the russet fur. missed his hold and
rocketed up. Every wing feather 6anp sibilantly as he wheeled and plunged again st the terrified joey. And as he did so another eagle, which had come up unobserved, struck him with a n'cid wing which had the force of a fivc hundred-foot plunge behind it!
Both hirds «ere thrown off their balance and smote the air with heavy Soppings. It took them pome momcntB to recover thc even pureness of their flipht.
Before they did so, another eagle settled upon thc carcass of the dead doc. Thc two first arrivals werp out- raced. For a moment they wheeled undecidedly between the dead motlier and the living bahv; then laziness and greed got the better of them. They alighted on the earth near thc body and flopped and hopped grotesquely towards it. Chut fled wobhlinply into thc grasp. He had learned one lesson: to place no unobservant trust In thc
For a while he sat trembling in the grass; then an idea began to luke .?dupe. He believed that if he could lind thc dara apat'tt lie wouM bc all right.
He had been happy there lust ui^lit, and, more important, there had b*-en many m"on-pilvcred fi-rms like hi* mother's fcedinp among the lilies on the bank. Stumblingly he n-t ont. ! guided bv a blind, inherent sensu of ! direction.
The pa'- tripped him np. and barb cd leaf edge., cut bis tender » civet skin n,Tn.. tlie Vt,rU "nd thish«. Tiwg ]..|.,-d Iiiru. Ile jumped at sliadi.v-s. lui'l. nd «iib fear nt the k..i,n,I, ..f
. 'bc wind. ' TII. M be st limited iip.<n a
little dl>ly ]..d Un-ugh tb., pres
Something t-.ld Omi that this pa'l
led to the dam. He travelled on and on, making absurdly small hopper
marks in the dust as he went He was exhausted now, but hunger and fright
drove him forward.
Noon and afternoon passed; it waa almost dusk before he got within scent of the dam, and his sides were pinched with thirst and his fur dust-draggled from falls. But he hung on to his pur-
And presently the earth began to slope towards the glimmer of evening pinkened water, and lie smelled the overpowering scent of the lilies. The cool short herbage was grateful to his small bruised feet, and, led by some ob- scure instinct, he who had never tasted water hurried on hands and hoppers towards the dam.
But at the water's edge he did not know what to do. He was thirsty but he had never drunk anything savo milk, and to do this he had wriggled upon his back in the pouch and grasp- ed one ot his motlier'* teats in his little clutching hands.
Now, the Bomcthinj; told him that tho water might soothe the torture ot his thirst, but he never dreamed of stooping his lips to it. Instead, after looking warily about, he placed little hands on thc sod, lowered his head be- tween them and turned a quite dexter ouB somersalt 1 Once on his back, he renched hi» li.inds np hopefully-but there was no friendly source of food and drink waiting for them.
Ho called, but there was Filence and emptiness.
Far up, little pink, curdled clouds moved over on amber and green sky. Then from down thc dam a shrieking cloud of rose-breasted cockatoos went home to bcd. and the nnisc pent. Chut ícuttline; beneath a bush. Hut be wi« so liunpry now that he soon came out awaiti. And then lie saw the shadowy inrms of kangaroos enminp down to tho water thmuph thc dusk.
For a minute he was so excited tbat lie sat still. '1 lien lie i-liittcd and dart- ed out towards them, movins swiftly, bop. hiip. linp, bis little hands hell out as if li" were renchinc: fur something.
He was «n driven 1>y hi« desperata urpeney flint bc ru'hcd to the nearest om- ri lim sbaST?- forms which bis instinct told him w-ns n ni"ther. Here wai sheltrr. warm f^oj, small too.-hes in tile dart. '.
HP rliitihrd nt her fur. tiulihlinj; it ?with his 1 itt lo "mp. rlinrinj: arni rbit
linjr 'iVilantlv. The d..c. wli^e mm
;....y va« in'brr ]i..ii.li. h.mW down
for a ni.irni'tit in HStonMniU'iit. T1.'-TI. «iib ii huid -i.iMm: of rai.-, -h.- Ml upi.ii 1hv inlrii'ler. Mi:ikini; him. ^ niti-h in~ liiin. ami Hnilh V." kin- him in thc
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