Saturday, November 8, 2008

How the Kangaroo got her Pouch, Quilt by Maris Azevedo

Long ago the kangaroo was grooming her joey on the bank of a brook. On this day, an old wombat, who is va god in disguise, staggered toward them. “Oh dear”, the kangaroo whispered to her baby. This wombat is old and sick. As the kangaroo and her joey neared she heard him say “useless and worthless, worthless and useless. “What’s the trouble, friend wombat?” she asked. “I’m blind,” the wombat replied. “Nobody wants me around, they’ve abandoned me, all of them.” The kangaroo, who had a tender heart, said, “It’s not as bad as all that. I’ll be your friend. My joey and I will show you where the tastiest grass grows.” She let the wombat hold her tail. Then, slowly, she led him over to the juiciest grass and cleanest water. The old wombat sighed with pleasure. It made the kangaroo happy to see him feeling better.

Suddenly, she remembered her Joey! She had told him to stay close, but he had wandered off again. She found her joey asleep under a gum tree. She remembered the wombat and went to check on him. An aboriginal hunter, silently stalking the wombat! The kangaroo froze. She couldn’t even breathe. She wanted to run, but the wombat was like her joey, she had to protect him! She warned the wombat to run and he did. The hunter didn’t care. Now all he wanted was the kangaroo!

She hopped as hard and fast as she could into the bush, away, away from where she had left her joey asleep. She ran for her life. At last she came to a cave. The hunter ran past the mouth of the cave! The kangaroo stayed inside, listening for his return. Finally, she saw him walk past the mouth of the cave again, his boomerang hanging from his hand. She waited until it was safe, then ran as fast as she could back to the gum tree, where she found her joey. 
Together they went to look for the wombat, but he had gone. What the kangaroo mother didn’t know was that the wombat wasn’t a wombat. He was actually the great god Byamee who had put on a disguise. Byamee had descended from the sky world to find out which of his creatures had the kindest heart. Now he had an answer that pleased him greatly: the kangaroo. Byamee wanted to give her the gift that would help her most of all. So he called the sky spirits together and said, “Go down below to where the eucalyptus grow tall. Peel the long strips of bark and make a dilly bag apron: give it to the kangaroo mother and explain that she must tie it around her waist.”

The kangaroo mother was very happy with her gift. But because she was the kindest creature of all, she didn’t want to keep it only for herself. She thought about the other marsupials. Byamee loved the kangaroo’s generous heart. So he decided to make pouches for all the other marsupial mothers.

No comments: