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j '1VILDE1WESS j
The Story Of [
( Chut, I
The Kangaroo. j
1 BY !
i Dorothy Cottrell !
I A SPLENDID ANIMAL STORY, j
I Chut fell upon hie little round back
into the tangle oí fleshy wild lily leaves, too astonished for further pro- test against life. Instead, he crept
j away into thc shadows, twittering with
bewilderment. And just then the night was split and shattered by fire and 'sound !
I The young male who had been lead-
ing the mob fell dead. The young I female who had scuffed Chut so ruth ¡ lessly also fell. There was thudding
flight, confusion, and then three men I ran up.
I They made sure that the fallen kan- garoos were dead, and «et busily to work at their skinning. Just as they were finishing thc task- one of them dropped his knife and flashed his torch to And it, and the beam illumined
"Jove!" said" the man. "There's a
little fellow I"
He pounced upon Chut, who shrank as small as he could and waited for the last spasm of terror which was death,
"He's a little beauty,» said the man. "I'm goinjr to take him home to the wife." He held Chut up ridiculously hy the Bcruff of the neck. Then he I looked perplexed. " He's all scratched
and he's been cut across the back
[ looks like an eagle's had him. Say, I : guess he must have belonged to the doe that got away last night! Poor 'little nipper.'»
Thc other two men crowded round. "Let's take him and give him a drink." They gathered up the skins and moved off around the head of the dam, Chut hanging limp and hopeless under the
big man's arra. At last they reached the camp, over the ridge.
After some discussion as to how thc baby should be fed, and whether they should send for a book on "infant feeding," the first man said: "He won't drink unless he's upside down."
So they got an old pair of trousers and tied a knot in one leg at about the knee, and hung the trousers to a tree limb by the back-strap.
"Better let him get in himself," said the big man.
Chut grasped the edge of the trous- ers, lowered his head and, bracing his hoppers against the big man's stomach,
turned his dexterous somersault into the warm depths of the leg. Once again he was swinging as a little kangaroo Bbould swing. He was safe, enclosed. He gave a feeble twittering dritter.
One of the men stepped forward std presented him with the end of a bit of insulating rubber from which the wire had been withdrawn, and whose other end was in a tin of milk. Chut sucked, sucked again. Milk was in his mouth. He gave little ticking soundB of bliss and fell asleep in the maternal embrace of Tom Henton's old trouser leg.
A month later Tom Henton rode home and Chut went with him, swinging securely in one leg of the old trousers attached to the saddle. Chut, by the way, had not been named " Chut "-it had so far been merely his staple of
When Tom arrived at the small, tree set homestead, he was net hy his young wife. He smiled down at her from the saddle.
. "-I've brought you home a baby.''
As she stared at him between laugh- ter-crinkled eyelids, he untied the old trousers from the pommel. She took the garment, peered in at the top, per- ceived Chut waiting in bright-eyed, velvet-furred minuteness, and exclaimed: "Oh, the darling, sweet, tiny thing!"
The man looked at her flushed face, dismounted, and stepped up to her.
"He is so little!" she said.
"Don't I get something for bringing
"And so soft.*»
"Well, here I am-if anyone want« to kiss mel"
"And so fat."
At that th» man took her in bis arms. "What," she said, "shall we call him?''
But between two young people who have not been so very long married is a bad place for a little kangaroo to be. Chut gave a surprisingly loud and in- dignant cry of protest: "Chut! Chut! Chut-ch-ch-ch-ch!" So he was officially
From the first day he followed the girl like a little dog. At night he slept in the trousers which swung by the big outside fireplace and were known as "Chut's pants." He would come hopping when his mistress called him, and somersault neatly into her lap There, lying on his back, he took his supper to the accompaniment of small
kick» of pleasure. He waB also pro- moted to the dignity of a real baby's
The dogs were Introduced to him one by one, it being forcefully explained
to them that he was taboo.
There was soft green grass to roi! j in, and trailing pepper-trees beneath which to play. In short, his world wss eminently satisfactory-save for one thing.
There was at the homestead an ex-
cessively humptiouB lamb, hy name Wil- liam Mutton. To William had belonged the baby's bottle before Chut took it over, and William harboured a dark resentment at its l06s. "
Chut hod been eager to he friendly. Upon one of thc first occasions when he had ventured on a walk by himself, he had come upon the lamb around a trailing pepper branch. Chut drew himself np to his full twenty-flvc-inch height. Standing poised upon the arch of his lower tail and the tips of his tncR, he gave a few stiff, bouncing little side-hops-thc kangaroo's invitation to play.
"Chut."* he remarked. "Chut! Ch-ch!''
William's head dropped lower; he focussed evilly upon Chut's stomach. Then, with a malevolent "Baa!" hs charged. Hi» round woolly head met Chut's silk-furred stomach with a re- sonant plop. Chut chirruped and went down for the rount. William Btrollcd triumphantly about his business with- out, deigning to look hack. But after that he took paine to make the kan- pa rnn'e life wretched.
Persistent perserulmn will, of course, develop wariness in the most confiding, and ns Chut grew older he became lianler tn catch. Still, if William's butts became less frequent, they also became more direful: for William was
frernroinjj n hefty young sheep, and in addition was growing horns-enif buds
as yet but distinctly uncomfortable when applied to Chut's person.
Then, about-thc time that, greatly to his own surprise, Chut outgrew his pants, Tom Heeton brought in two little does-a shade smaller than Chut had been at the time of his capture.
Mrs Henton christened them Zodie and Blue Baby, and installed them in the legs of the vacated trousers. And Chut adopted and bullied and loved them both. When they were old enough to play he romped with them endlessly.
He obviously regarded them both as his property, but, of the two. Blue Baby was his darling. As gentlemen allegedly prefer blondes, even so male kangaroos seem melted hy a blue tone in a lady's fur.
Blue Baby was furred in an exquisite shade of smoke blne, and her Klonisch and chest were clear creara. Her
little tail, hoppers, and bands were dark, her eyes dark «nd dewy-soft. But for soma reason she was slightly lame.
She could travel all right on ber hoppers and hnnds, but when she at- tempted to hop swiftly, she stumbled and fell. Hence elie was always left behind in the races, and Chut' would always circle back fer ber. When she, too, outgrew the trousers and slept on the mat before thc fire sbo would put an arm trustingly about Chut's neck, I ur hold his hand.