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I "WILDERNESS I 'l ORPHAN"
¡ The Story Of Chut, j
¡I The Kangaroo.
I BY !
Dorothy Cottrell j
Tile leader, a length ahead of Ole rest sprang straight at Cliut'a throat. Tin big kangaroo caught the dog in his em brace, brought up bia reaping-hook toe und burled thc hound away, ripped anc bleeding. But another dog had him bj thc (lank, white teeth tearing througl fur and hide. Another was springin! for his shoulder, and the others surgee yapping and «napping about him.
Chut struck left and right, clutching kicking. He tore off the dog on hil 'flank-and another «lashed his forearm
jopen, so that a red gush of blood leaped I out. He disembowelled another of hil
tormentors, and another bounding liver and-white body Btruck him from tilt
AB fast as he repelled one attacker another was upon him, and their noise and their surging insistence confused him. He was surrounded by leaping¡ slavering, frantic dogs. It seemed only
a matter of moments now until he must be horne to the ground, buried in a seething mass of dogs, suffocated under hot bodies, his life ripped out by the white fai.gs !
Ho was weak from long effort and loss of blood. His ears drooped. He repelled the doge ICBB strongly. And then the sense of his nearness to all he had sought came to him again. Home!
He shook himself free for a moment. He gathered himself in a great leap above the snapping, startled hounds. With the laBt of his mighty strength bc sought to leave them behind. Twenty feet ut a bound he moved, taking the fallen timber in his leap, seeming barely to touch thc ground, but rather to wing in undulant flight,
But the dogs, too, had been seized by a new frenzy of energy. Tiley had tasted blood. They were hot and quiv- ering, and mad to kill 1 They follow- ed, a leap behind, too eager even to give tongue now, and the more deadly
for their silence.
Then, immediately before pursuers and pursued, there rose into view a seven-foot barb-topped fence. Chut saw it and increased his speed, exhibiting one of the marvel« of motion-the I supreme might of a hunted kangaroo.
Straight for the fence he went. Meas- ured it, gathered momentum, braced his vast body, and twenty feet from the barrier bc hurled himself into the air. Up I Up I And over the fence top I And down twenty feet upon its inner side. Then on to safety, as the dogs reared, raging and thwarted, without.
Several of the hounds climbed half- way up the netting, only to fall back. One actually reached the top, to be de- feated by the barbs.
Chut stumbled into the tall amber kangaroo grass ; leaped on until he could no longer hear the dogs. Then he
slept . . .
For days he slept almost uninterrupt- edly, going down to a little artesian stream to drink in the evenings and pick thc rich green couch grass along the drain edge.
At last, fully rested, he began to (ravel once more. But he travelled
more slowly now, casting about for familiar things ; and one evening un- der a rosy sky he came out upon a wondering path running down to the iong waters of a dam . . . Suddenly he ki'tw that it was the dam where his mother had lifted Lim from thc pi.U'ch for the first time.
In the sharp-scented herbage along the banks thc broad green leaves ano thin-petallcd white flowers of the lilies poked up. This was his place. This was what he had sought. He moved down to the water, travelling majes- tically upon hoppers and hands. Thc water was cool, and very sweet.
But presently he found that it was not all as satisfying as he had expected it to bc. He was lonely. Through all the hundreds of milea of his journey there had always been this objective be- fore him. . Now thc objective was at- tained-and he was lonely. Bc wanted another of his kind. He wanted a
He eat up and called shrilly-a small sound of remarkable carrying power. Ile hopped back and forth along thc liam edge, thudding his tail to prove his size and worth . . . And as the ¡¡old edge of thc moon began to poke up he heard a modest answer. Out of the shadows came a sturdy, plump, mouse-coloured kangaroo doe, glossy of coat, with great limpid eyes upon which thc moon struck-. He went to her and suddenly he knew her. It was
They twittered and chitted with joy. Tliey touched noses. They chutted and chitted moro loudly. But to him Bbc was not simply the playmate of his babyhood, she WBB a female of his kind, thc satisfaction of thc hunger of lone- liness growing within him.
He was delighted with her but, as he wooed, she grew more coy. She re- treated, doubling in and out among thc trees, pausing until he almost touched her, and then fleeing tantalisingly.
lt was a game such as they had play- ed a thousand times in the past. Yet it was different-as, in his eyes, little
fat Zodie was different.
The moon lost the gold of its first rising, and sailed slowly up in white, still splendour. The lilies poured out their scent-and thc game went on and
on and on.
And then thc little doe doubled into an angle formed by some fallen treeB. Kilo might perhaps have jumped them, but she pretended that this was impos- sible, and so he caught ber at last.
Some months later. Tom Henton and his wife were camped by the dam, and in thc dusk a little fat kangaroo came
up to chit at the tent door-followed by n rcd-furrcd giant with a braBs collar gleaming upon his neck.
Tom Henton whispered : " Chut, by all that's marvellous ! And with Zodie ¡ "
His wife said, "I knew he would come back ! I always knew it ! ... I asked you to make this place a kan enroo sanctuary because I wanted it to bc safe-when he came back. I knew he would come back to where he'd been born, even if he couldn't forgive men enough to come bark to the house-to us. AVhen I turned little Zodie loose I boped they might somehow find each other. Ob, Tom, it's a romance ! "
They were interrupted by a peevish, resentful chitting issuing from a little doc who apparently wished she had run faster and farther. Sitting pro- testingly before them, Zodie held open her pouch with indignant email hands, displaying n bright-eyed joey. Com- bing bitterly, she lifted him out and
revealed the fact that, through some mis adventure, he had got into the hin dee-eye burrs-which in turn had got in large quantities into the outraged Zodie'a pocket (thereby demonstrating that it. ie not merely man's romance which hat its tbornB).
. . . And now, each still evening just al dusk, a great red kangaroo leads his ever-growing harem down to wafer : and among thc does are many vivid red joeys. But sometimes the "old man" exhibits a strange impatience, and breaks away from all his flock, and goes ranging and calling alone through the
Mentone wife believes that he is looking for Blue Baby,