He Had To!

 

Illustration_to_The_Sing-Song_of_Old_Man_Kangaroo_(Doubleday_ed.)

 

I read this one to the kids this morning.  It’s always tempting to add, to describe, to explain.  But God knows when, once you start, it ever stops.  Accusers never explain, do they?  Only the accused explain.

 

Still ran Dingo—Tired-Dog Dingo—hungrier and hungrier, very much bewildered, and wondering when in the world or out of it would Old Man Kangaroo stop.

Then came Nqong from his bath in the salt-pans, and said, ‘It’s five o’clock.’

Down sat Dingo—Poor Dog Dingo—always hungry, dusky in the sunshine; hung out his tongue and howled.

Down sat Kangaroo—Old Man Kangaroo—stuck out his tail like a milking-stool behind him, and said, ‘Thank goodness that’s finished!’

Then said Nqong, who is always a gentleman, ‘Why aren’t you grateful to Yellow-Dog Dingo? Why don’t you thank him for all he has done for you?’

Then said Kangaroo—Tired Old Kangaroo—He’s chased me out of the homes of my childhood; he’s chased me out of my regular meal-times; he’s altered my shape so I’ll never get it back; and he’s played Old Scratch with my legs.’

Then said Nqong, ‘Perhaps I’m mistaken, but didn’t you ask me to make you different from all other animals, as well as to make you very truly sought after? And now it is five o’clock.’

Well, it’s almost always five o’clock, and my legs are nubs.  The hummingbirds are hiding from the woodpeckers, the jasmine is running from the shade of the cherry tree, the pea-vines are running from their roots.  Excuse me for a moment while I go and feed Yellow-Dog Dingo.

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