Blinky Bill: The Quaint Little Australian by Dorothy Wall
Chapter 1 - The New Arrival. Extract 1

Chapter 1 - The New Arrival. Extract 1

Выбери правильное слово из списка и впиши в пробел в тексте:
  • hops and leaps,
  • a savage peck,
  • gazed at,
  • beak,
  • In the fork,
  • flew off,
  • burrows,
  • pouch,
  • wildfire,
  • the peck
The bush was alive with excitement. Mrs Koala had a brand new baby, and the news spread like . The kookaburras in the highest gum-trees heard of it, and laughed and chuckled at the idea. In and out of their the rabbits came scuttling, their big brown eyes opening wide with wonder as they heard the news. Over the grass the message went where Mrs Kangaroo was quietly hopping towards her home. She fairly leapt in the air with joy. "I must tell Mr Kangaroo!" she cried and bounded away in great . Even Mrs Snake, who was having a nap, awoke, gave a wriggle, and blinked her wicked little eyes. The whole bushland was twittering with the news, for a baby bear was a great event. Mrs Koala had a baby every two years, and as Mrs Rabbit had very, very many during that time, you can just imagine how surprised everyone was. of a gum-tree, far above the ground, Mrs Koala nursed her baby, peeping every now and then at the tiny creature in her . This little baby was the funniest wee creature. He was only about an inch long and covered with soft baby fur, had two big ears, compared to the size of the rest of him, a tiny black nose, and two beady eyes. His mother and father always had a surprised look on their faces, but they looked more surprised than ever now as they their baby. He peeped at them and blinked, as much as to say, "Aren't you glad I'm here?"

Mr Koala puffed out his cheeks with pride, and his wife (hugged) her baby tighter than ever.

There had been quite a lot of quarrelling and jealousy among the bush folk as to who should be the baby's nurse.

Mrs Kookaburra was the first to offer her services, and she came flying over to the tree where the Koalas lived. Knocking on the tree with her strong she asked if she might come in.

"Certainly," said Mrs Bear, "if you don't laugh and wake the baby up."

"Do you want a nurse for him?" Mrs Kookaburra anxiously inquired.

"Yes, I do," Mrs Bear replied.

"Will I do?" Mrs Kookaburra asked.

"Oh, no!" said Mrs Bear. "Your laugh is so loud and you chuckle so long that you'd wake the baby up."

Poor Mrs Kookaburra was very disappointed and to tell Mrs Magpie about it.

"I'll go over and see if I can be the nurse," said Mrs Magpie. "Mrs Bear is very particular and I'm sure I will suit." She gave her feathers a fluff and sharpened her beak, then straight to the Koalas' home she flew.

"Come in," called Mrs Bear on hearing at the tree.

"Good morning, Mrs Koala. I hear you are wanting a nurse for the baby. I'm sure I could keep the young scamp in order as I've had a few dozen myself."

"Thank you, Mrs Magpie," said Mrs Bear very politely, "but I don't like the look of your beak. You could give a very nasty peck with it."

"They all want a peck sometimes," said Mrs Magpie in a very cross tone. At this the baby bear popped his head right out of his mother's pouch and blinked very hard.

"If you are so particular, I'll send along a friend of mine who will suit you very well." And saying this Mrs Magpie gave the tree and flew off.
Chapter 1 - The New Arrival. Extract 2

Chapter 1 - The New Arrival. Extract 2

Выбери правильное слово из списка и впиши в пробел в тексте:
  • peeped down,
  • gazed in wonderment at,
  • coiled,
  • muzzly nose,
  • cleverly,
  • slyly,
  • rude,
  • wriggling,
  • to recover from this fright,
  • to nurse the baby
Imagine Mrs Koala's surprise when she peeped down the tree later on and saw Mrs Snake slowly … her way upwards. Oh, she was frightened!

"Go away, Mrs Snake!" she called in a loud voice.

"I've come … ; Mrs Magpie sent me." And Mrs Snake wriggled higher up the tree. Right on to the branch where Mrs Koala sat she came, and … herself round the fork.

"I don't want a nurse." And poor frightened Mrs Bear tried to push the baby's head back in the pouch. But he would peep out.

"He's a nice little fellow, and like his daddy," said Mrs Snake … . "I can take him along on my back for such lovely rides up and down trees and in and out big black holes."

Hearing this Mrs Bear nearly fell off the tree with fright, and began to cry.

Now Mr Koala had been listening to Mrs Snake as he sat on a branch just round the corner. Slowly he climbed over to Mrs Snake and caught her in his claws. Before anyone had time to see what was happening he pushed her off the branch and she went tumbling to the ground below. Two very frightened bears … from the tree, and there they saw Mrs Snake slowly crawling away in the grass.

They were just beginning … this fright when a thump, thump, thump, was heard on the ground at the foot of the tree.

"Who's there?" called Mrs Bear in a very frightened voice.

"It's just me!" came the reply.

"Who's me?" growled Mr Bear.

"Angelina Wallaby," called a very soft voice.

"Come up, come up," Mrs Bear replied.

"I can't climb; my tail is all wrong," said Angelina.

"Well, I'll come down, if Mrs Snake is nowhere about," said Mrs Bear. And she slowly started to scramble down the tree. Very carefully she went, always grasping the tree with her strong claws, her back showing all the time, while she … cleverly looked over her shoulder now and then to see that all was safe below. It took her quite a time to reach the ground and she felt very nervous.

Angelina Wallaby hopped over to her and … the baby.

"What a dear little fellow!" she said, her great brown eyes rounding with excitement. At the same time she put out her paws to touch him.

"Oh, don't!" cried Mrs Bear. "He is so small and your nails might hurt him."

"I've been all the morning blunting them on a stone so that I could pat him," said Angelina in a disappointed voice.

"Oh, I'm sorry," said Mrs Bear. "I did not mean to be … , but Mrs Snake gave me such a fright."

"I'll be ever so gentle," said Angelina, "if you let me pat him just this once."

"Very well," smiled Mrs Bear as she opened her pouch.

Angelina Wallaby patted him twice, then sniffed him all over with her soft … . Now her eyelashes caught in his little toes: but Angelina did not mind, as she had had babies herself and knew just what to do.

"I wish I could mind him for you sometimes, Mrs Bear. I'd be so gentle with him."

"I'm sure you would be the very kindest nurse," replied Mrs Bear. "But what could you do for him?"

"I would come along in the evenings, and take him out for a walk. I've got a pouch just like yours, and I'd tuck him in it and hop along very gently, so he wouldn't feel the bumps."

"I think that is a good idea," said Mrs Bear.
Chapter 1 - The New Arrival. Extract 3

Chapter 1 - The New Arrival. Extract 3

Выбери правильное слово из списка и впиши в пробел в тексте:
  • startled,
  • thumped,
  • burst into tears,
  • Bidding,
  • was setting,
  • to the bottom of the tree,
  • front paws,
  • sew it on with,
  • her pathway,
  • out of the burrow
So it was arranged that Mrs Bear should climb down the tree every evening and meet Angelina Wallaby who would take the baby for a walk in the bush.

Imagine how proud Angelina felt! She hopped home very quickly that evening to tell her friends the news.

Next day, just as the sun … , she came to the foot of the gum-tree and … three times on the ground with her tail. Mrs Bear peeped around the corner of her home and, seeing Angelina at the foot of the tree, called out:

"I'm coming down with the baby, so watch for Mrs Snake." Then she carefully and slowly climbed … .

"Is the coast clear?" she anxiously asked.

"Yes, Mrs Bear. I passed Mrs Snake on the road a mile away."

"Well, do be careful, Angelina; and bring him back before the day breaks. Is your pouch warm?" And Mrs Bear inspected Angelina's pouch.

"Yes, Mrs Bear. It may be a trifle large, so I padded it well with grass; but it's very warm and not a bit draughty."

So the baby was carefully taken from his mother's pouch and gently placed in Angelina's.

Waving a paw to Mrs Bear she took a hop and then peeped down at the baby to see what he thought of it. Taking several more hops she soon started away for the bush track and in no time came to Mrs Rabbit's home. Thumping her tail on the ground, she waited a moment. Mrs Rabbit popped her head … .

"Good evening, Mrs Rab. I've brought the baby to show you."

"Good gracious, how lovely!" said Mrs Rabbit as Angelina gently drew the baby bear from her pouch. Several more bunnies came round to inspect the new arrival.

"Just look at his ears!" cried Mrs Rabbit. "I'm sure I'd never hear with those furry things. And, oh dear, no tail!—Well, well! Take care he does not catch cold. I really think he should have a tail to keep him warm. I have a spare one hanging on the wall of the burrow. Poor Mr Rabbit was shot, and I found his skin near by; but I managed to bite off the tail and bring it home." Here poor Mrs Rabbit … .

"Never mind, my dear," said Angelina soothingly. "If it will please you, we will tie it on the baby."

Mrs Rabbit dried her eyes with her paw and went sniffling down into the burrow.

"I won't be a moment," she called from somewhere down under the ground.

Up she came in a very short time carrying the tail in her two … .

"What can we … ?" inquired Angelina.

"We'll tie it on with a piece of grass." And Mrs Rabbit hopped round until she found a nice long piece.

"Here's just the thing!" she cried, and came hopping back with it in her teeth.

Angelina excitedly pulled the baby out of her pouch, and together they fastened the tail on. It did look funny, as it was almost as long as the baby; but it certainly would keep him warm.

… her friend good night she hopped on her way. The moon was now shining brightly and all the bush was hushed, except for the sound of those little animals who are always busy at night-time. Angelina sniffed the night air with delight and felt very happy as she thought of the baby in her pouch. Hopping along between the great grey gum-trees she was suddenly … to see Mrs Snake lying right across … .

"Ha, ha, Mrs Wallaby," called the wicked Mrs Snake, "so you're the baby's nurse. Well, I want to have a look at him."

"Oh, you can't!" cried Angelina. "He'll catch cold if I take him out of my pouch."

"No, he won't, the night is warm," said Mrs Snake. "Show him to me at once."

Angelina thought very quickly, and darting her paws into her pouch she untied the rabbit's tail and pulled it out.

"There you are, Mrs Snake," she cried. "Isn't he beautiful?"

Mrs Snake did not stop to look. She sprang at the tail and bit it savagely.

"Ha, ha, ha," she laughed, "there will be no baby to take home now."

Poor Angelina got such a fright she did not waste a moment, but hopped away as fast as her legs could carry her. On and on she went, breathless with fear, not daring to look behind. She reached the foot of the gum-tree and thumped wildly with her tail. Mrs Bear came scurrying down the tree and listened to the story. Then grabbing her baby she quickly climbed to safety. Angelina waited at the foot of the tree until she saw Mrs Bear safely home, then hopped away to the bushland.
Chapter 1 - The New Arrival. Extract 4

Chapter 1 - The New Arrival. Extract 4

Выбери правильное слово из списка и впиши в пробел в тексте:
  • perform the ceremony,
  • to cling,
  • godmother,
  • cunning,
  • the tenderest leaves,
  • knickerbockers,
  • bells and flannel flowers
After that, Mrs Koala decided to keep her baby at home. Every day he grew bigger and stronger, until he was six months old. Then his mother thought it quite time he learnt to ride on her back, as the pouch was getting too small to hold such a big baby. So with Mr Bear's help they taught the baby … to the long fur of her back and only during the cold nights was he allowed to climb into her pouch. He was now growing very big. When eight months old he could no longer crawl into the snug pouch at all. So his baby days were over. He became very … too. When his mother was feeding, he learnt to stretch out his arms and pull … into his mouth. He soon reached the age of one year, and measured ten inches, while his weight was about three pounds. Strange as it may seem, Mrs Koala had not thought of a name for her baby. Now, she thought it quite time he was christened; so one day she talked the matter over with his father. "Shall we call him 'Walter' or 'Bluegum'?" she inquired.

"No," grunted Mr Koala. "Let's call him 'Blinky Bill'." So Blinky Bill he became from that moment.

"Well, my dear, I'll arrange about the christening," said Mrs Koala. "My cousin the Reverend Fluffy Ears will … . And, of course, we must choose his godfather and godmother."

"Jacko Kookaburra will be his godfather," said Mr Bear. "We will send him a message over the wireless, as he is so well known; and Angelina Wallaby would be sure to jump with joy if we asked her to be … ."

So that night when all was quiet Mr Koala tapped out a message on the gum-leaves calling the Gippsland bush folk.

"Will Mr Jacko Kookaburra speak, please—Koala senior is calling."

Rat-a-tat-tat—came the reply on the leaves.

"Jacko here. What can I do for you?"

"Will you be Blinky Bill's godfather?" Mr Koala tapped back.

"Only too pleased," came the quick reply.

"I'll be along next week. Sorry I'm broadcasting every night this week."

Angelina, who seldom uttered a sound, purred with pleasure when she was asked to be godmother, and hurried home to make a present for the christening.

The great day arrived. In a quiet corner of the bush, down by a little stream surrounded with … , everyone came from far and near to see young Bill christened.

The Reverend Fluffy Ears looked very important with a white collar made from the bark of the paper-tree. He also held in his paws a book of gum-leaves, from which he read.

Mr and Mrs Koala smiled at everyone, and everyone smiled at Blinky Bill. Jacko looked spick and span, and of course, being a widely travelled gentleman, he took things very quietly. At the same time, he gave a dig in the ground with his beak every now and then and swallowed a fat worm. Angelina looked sweet in her nut-brown coat, and her large eyes watched Blinky Bill all the time. She had made a ball of fur for him to play with, and he cuddled and hugged it closely all the time.

Mrs Rabbit rang the bells and everyone sat down or perched.

The Reverend Fluffy Ears spoke as he took Blinky Bill in his arms.

"What shall I name this young bear?" he asked.

"Blinky Bill," said Mr Koala.

At once the bush was filled with laughter. Wild kookaburras who were no relation to Jacko had flown into a nearby tree, and they made a terrible din, chuckling and laughing at the top of their voices. Nobody could speak for the noise.

"Silence!" roared the Reverend Fluffy Ears. But it was useless. They took no notice.

"I'll speak to the young larrikins," said Jacko, and he gave the call for all to listen.

Immediately the laughter ceased.

"I'm Jacko," he said, "and if you birds up in that tree don't keep quiet I'll tell everyone over the radio what rude kookaburras you are and that you are no relation to me."

Hearing this, the wild kookaburras became very quiet, as they wanted everyone to think they were related to Jacko. He was such a wonderful bird that if they were asked in turn who was their cousin or uncle all would reply—"Jacko". So you see, they had good reason to keep quiet. Blinky Bill had water from the stream sprinkled on his head, much to his surprise, and the ceremony ended without any more interruptions. He was carried home again on his mother's back, feeling very important after all the fuss and petting. That night up in the fork of the white gum-tree Mrs Koala told him that he was now a youth and that if he were a human being he would be put in … .
Chapter 2 - Tragedy. Extract 5

Chapter 2 - Tragedy. Extract 5

Выбери правильное слово из списка и впиши в пробел в тексте:
  • thinking of harm,
  • on a limb of a tree,
  • a suitable home,
  • sheltering them,
  • guns
The Koala family lived so happily; never … , or that anything could happen to disturb their little home, as all they asked for were plenty of fresh gum-leaves and the warm sun. They had no idea such things as … were in the world or that a human being had a heart so cruel that he would take a pleasure in seeing a poor little body riddled with bullets hanging helplessly from the tree-top. And they had no idea this same being would walk away, after shooting a bear, content to see him dead, no matter if he fell to the ground or not. That same being might just as well take his gun and shoot baby kookaburras, so helpless were they all and so trusting.

Poor Mr Koala one day was curled up asleep in his favourite corner, when the terrible thing happened. Bang! He opened his eyes in wonder. What was that? Did the limb of the tree snap where that young cub of his was skylarking? He moved very slowly to take a look and, bang! again. This time he felt a stinging pain in his leg. What could it be? And peering over the bough of the tree he saw a man on the ground with something long and black in his arms. He gazed down in wonderment. Whatever was that, and how his little leg hurt. Another bang and his ear began to hurt. Suddenly a great fear seized him, he slowly turned and tried to hide round the tree, peering at the ground as he did so. Bang! again, and now his poor little body was stinging all over. He grunted loudly and slowly climbed up the tree, calling Mrs Koala and Blinky as he went. He managed to reach the topmost branch and now turned to see where his family were. Tears were pouring down his poor little face. He brushed them away with his front paws and cried just like a baby. Fortunately Mrs Koala and Blinky Bill were hiding in the leaves, quite motionless, and the shadows of the tree made them appear as part of it. The man with the gun stood and waited a long time, then walked away, whistling as he went—the only sound to be heard in the bush except the cries of a little bear far up in the tree.

All that day and night the little family lay huddled together, not daring to move, or to think of the sweet gum-leaves that hung from the tree inviting them to supper. As the sun rose the birds woke with a great chattering, the earth stirred with the feet of small animals running backwards and forwards; but up in the gum-tree a mother bear and her baby sat staring in surprise at another bear who did not move. They grunted and cried, and even felt him with their soft paws, but he still did not move. All that day and the next night they sat patiently waiting for him to wake, then at last Mrs Bear seemed to understand that her husband was dead. She climbed down the tree, with Blinky following close behind, and went to another tree where they had a good meal of young leaves and tender shoots.

"Why are we eating so much?" Blinky inquired.

"We are going away, dear," Mrs Bear replied. "We must find a tree farther in the bush where those men with guns can't come, and as we may be a long time in finding … , these leaves will keep us from feeling hungry."

Together the mother and her cub slowly climbed down the tree, and great was their surprise to find Angelina Wallaby waiting for them.

"Where are you going, Mrs Bear?" she asked.

"Far into the bush with Blinky, away from the man with his gun," Mrs Bear replied.

"What will I do?" asked Angelina. "I shall miss Blinky terribly." And her big eyes filled with tears.

"Come with us," grunted Blinky.

"Oh, that will be splendid," said Angelina. "I know a gum-tree far away with a baby in it just like Blinky. Blinky can crawl up on to my back when his legs are tired, and I'll carry him along—you too, Mrs Bear, if you feel the journey too long."

Thanking her the three started away. Mrs Bear turned and gave one sorrowful look at the tree that had been their home for so long. It had been a kind tree, … through all weathers and feeding them every day of the year, but not strong enough to protect them from tragedy.

After travelling for a mile or more the bears began to feel very tired, as they were not used to walking along the ground. Very rarely they leave the branches of the trees; occasionally one will climb down to feed on some vegetation in the grass; but they feel very strange having to use their four legs to walk with. It is so different to sitting … , hind paws firmly grasping the branch while the two front paws are busily pulling down tender leaves to their mouths. So it was no wonder when Mrs Koala and Blinky began to limp.
Chapter 2 - Tragedy. Extract 6

Chapter 2 - Tragedy. Extract 6

Выбери правильное слово из списка и впиши в пробел в тексте:
  • munched,
  • the strange sight,
  • in the moonlight,
  • sore little toes,
  • a thick scrubby tree,
  • climbed a sapling,
  • a relation
"Let us rest here under this bush," said Angelina, hopping up to … . "We can have a sleep, and when the moon is up we will go on."

"I think you are wonderful," said Mrs Koala, and all three lay at the foot of the bush, the two little Koalas were glad to rest … and tired little legs.

In the cool shade they slept until the sun went down, then waking up, and feeling very hungry, Mrs Koala and Blinky … . Blinky rushed ahead as they neared the top and stuffed his mouth as full as possible.

"Don't gobble," said Mrs Bear, cuffing his ear.

"They're so juicy," said young Blinky, as he peered over the branch and threw a few leaves down to Angelina.

"They are nice," said Angelina, as she …them ever so gently, "I have never tasted these leaves before; but we must not stop here any longer. This is strange country, and we have a long way to go."

"I don't want to go," wailed Blinky, "I'm tired."

"Both of you hop on my back and we'll be there in no time. I can leap along … like a kangaroo."

After some arguing over the matter, Mrs Bear and Blinky climbed on her back, and away they went. It was great fun. Flop, flop, flop, through the grass, ducking their heads to miss the branches and twigs of low-growing trees, and then racing along through open country.

Many a rabbit looked up in surprise from his supper-table to see …, and possums screeched in the branches as they looked down at some new kind of wallaby, as they thought. At last, breathless and tired Angelina stopped at the foot of a tall, straight gum-tree. Silver white it stood in the moonlight with branches spread far up in the sky.

"Here is your new home," said Angelina.

"How beautiful," murmured Mrs Bear, as she and Blinky crawled down from their friend's back.

"It is safe, and you will be very happy here, and Blinky will have a playmate." Angelina flopped on the grass, her long legs sprawled out, and she panted loudly.

"Where are you going to live?" Mrs Bear inquired. "We want you near us, please."

"I'm going to live just round the corner," said Angelina. "I have a friend who is waiting for me."

"Is she … ?" asked Mrs Bear kindly. "No!" replied Angelina. "She is a he!" And, blushing, she looked very slowly down at her paws; then suddenly turned and hopped away.

"Dear, dear," grunted Mrs Bear, "the world is full of surprises."

"Now, you young scamp, come here and climb this tree with me," and Blinky scrambled on to his mother's back.

"I think it's quite time you used your own legs," said Mrs Bear. But she made no attempt to shake him off.
Chapter 2 - Tragedy. Extract 7

Chapter 2 - Tragedy. Extract 7

Выбери правильное слово из списка и впиши в пробел в тексте:
  • other tenants,
  • to nibble,
  • a ten-bob note,
  • two limbs higher up,
  • a good cub,
  • the boughs,
  • eventually,
  • snorted,
  • by the roadside,
  • Queensland
Slowly she crawled up. A new tree was no joke, and this one was ever so high and straight. With many grunts she … reached a fork in the branches and stopped to take in her surroundings.

Everything seemed very quiet, but her eyes glistened as she looked at the young gum-tips. A young cub to feed was a matter of no light concern, and he was so particular. Only the youngest leaves he ate.

Blinky was the first to discover … in the tree. "Look, mother," he whispered. "There's a little bear, just like me."

Sure enough, peeping at them from between leaves above their heads, two funny eyes and a small black nose could be seen.

"Now, no quarrelling!" said Mrs Bear sternly. "I've had enough for one day, and I want peace."

Another climb and they came to a branch where sat Master Bear.

"Hulloa," called Blinky.

"Hullo," replied the other.

"Where's your mother?" Mrs Bear asked. "Tell her I would like to speak with her."

He crawled up the tree slowly. Then many grunts were heard to come from that direction until Mother Bear looked down and called in high-pitched grunts:

"Come up, and bring your son to tea."

It did not take Mrs Koala and Blinky long to find the way, and there all night the little bears ate and gossiped. Mrs Koala told her story, and it was agreed that she and Blinky should have the branch … for their new home. Very carefully she told Blinky he must behave as a good little cub should: "Don't rush about; lift your feet when you walk; don't slide down … ; and don't drop your food over the side of the tree as Mrs Bear below us might object."

"I'll be … ," said Blinky very seriously, and straightaway started … some young leaves.

During the evening Mrs Koala's friend came up to see how she and Blinky liked their new home. She brought her young son, Snubby, with her, and a dear little chap he was. About the same age as Blinky, and in fact so like him that it was hard to tell the two apart.

"Now you two young eucalyptus pots, run off and have a game," said Snubby's mother. "I want to talk to Mrs Koala."

Blinky and Snubby needed no second bidding, and were up the branches playing and climbing in the most dangerous corners in no time.

"You have not told me your name," said Mrs Koala to her friend.

"My name is Mrs Grunty."

"Oh, what a nice name. I'm sure you must be proud of it," said Mrs Koala.

"Well, no—not exactly," said Mrs Grunty. "I got the name while I was in … ."

"Good gracious! Where is that?" asked Mrs Koala.

"Have you never heard of it? Is it possible?" said Mrs Grunty. And she looked more surprised than ever. "Well, I must tell you my experiences. I was taken from my mother when I was about six months old, by a man who was trapping bears. I don't know how I escaped from being killed like all my relations; but I heard the man say to his friend as he caught me and popped me in a sack: 'This little fellow's a pretty one and I've been promised … for a baby'. The sack was very dark inside and I felt very frightened as I was slung over a horse's side and carried for many miles in this manner. I knew when we left the bush track, because the smell of the gum-trees faded away; and all I could smell for many miles after seemed to be horse. Sometimes he … and I could have jumped out of the sack with fright if there had been a hole to jump through. After many hours we stopped, and I was taken out of the sack and handed to a lady and a little girl who were waiting outside a big house … ."

"Isn't he a darling!" said the little girl as she patted me. "None of them seemed to think I might be a little girl. They all called me 'he'. I was squeezed and hugged and petted; and needless to tell you Mrs Koala, I scrambled up her arm and on to her shoulder. It was the nearest thing to a gum-tree I could see; but, alas, no gum-leaves grew there—only funny stuff all round me called hair. The little girl's mother and father said I looked 'so surprised'. Well now, Mrs Koala, wouldn't any bear be surprised to find herself up a gum-tree that talked?"

Mrs Koala was too amazed to reply. She just grunted.

"The next thing that happened," continued Mrs Grunty, "was to place me on a thing they called a cushion. It certainly was soft and cosy—but where was my snug tree-corner I wondered, and I also felt very hungry."
Chapter 2 - Tragedy. Extract 8

Chapter 2 - Tragedy. Extract 8

Выбери правильное слово из списка и впиши в пробел в тексте:
  • the trapper,
  • made my body ache,
  • lollies,
  • her perch,
  • scarcely,
  • the worst kind of kindness,
  • alarmed
"Oh, I forgot to ask … for leaves for the pet," said the lady.

"Give him some cake" said the man.

"They offered me some dreadful looking stuff, and of course I could not eat it, and I began to cry for my gum-tips. Then the little girl said perhaps I would like bread and milk, and she ran away to get it. I was so hungry that I ate a little and then fell asleep, as the jogging about on the horse had … and I felt very tired. They placed me in a box with a bear just like me, only he didn't breathe and his eyes didn't blink, and he had no smell of eucalyptus; but he was soft and cuddly like my mother. I woke in the morning, and what do you think they brought me for breakfast? Bananas!"

"How shocking!" gasped Mrs Koala. "And still no leaves?"

"No leaves," sighed Mrs Grunty. "And as the day went by they became concerned about me. They offered me cheese, lollies, and even pudding to add to my sorrowful plight. I heard the little girl's father talking about something he read in a paper in which it said: 'During the year 1920 to 1921, two hundred and five thousand six hundred and seventy-nine koalas were killed and their skins sold to the fur market, under the name of wombat'."

Hearing this Mrs Koala gave a jump with fright and nearly fell off … .

"Oh! how dreadful! It is only a short time ago that my husband was shot. And we are supposed to be protected and allowed to live. What will I do if Blinky is killed?"

"You need not worry," said Mrs Grunty, patting her paw in a comforting way. "We are safe here. No man ever comes into this part of the bush. But I must tell you the rest of my story. These people were really trying to be kind to me. They did not wish to lose me, but it was … . As you know, I would die very quickly if I had no gum-leaves to feed on. After two more days of tempting me with everything they could think of, they became … and decided I must go back to the bush."

"We would never forgive ourselves, if the dear wee thing died," the mother and father said. "But the little girl began to cry. She brought me her best dolly and put it in my arms to try and comfort me, but I felt too sick and hungry to take any notice of it."

"That night when she was asleep, her father put me in the sack again and once more I was on a horse's back, but he rode with me this time and rode all through the night. Just as day was breaking I smelled the bush and, oh, the gum-trees! Already I felt better, for I knew I was home again. Very soon the horse stopped and once more I was taken from the sack. I blinked my eyes, … able to believe that I was in my own world again."

"The little girl's father put me down on the ground at the foot of a tall gum."

"'There you are, little fellow!' he said. 'I hope you are happy now. And I'll do my best to see no more of you are trapped. So long!' And staying just long enough to see me on my way up the tree, he turned on his horse and rode through the bush."

"And how did you find your way home?" asked Mrs Koala.

"It took me a long time, as I was very weak," said Mrs Grunty, "and I had to find our own white gum-tree, as you know. But I travelled gradually, at night-time, and went on travelling until I found this very tree, which I liked so much that I stayed here. And besides," she gave a little giggle, "Mr Grunty happened to be in the branches."