There was one sad day when Keesa and his mother, with some kangaroo friends with whom they had become acquainted, were chased by men on horses. But the horses were not particularly good ones, and with their long, swift leaps the kangaroos got safely away.
All, alas! but Keesa’s mother. She, like all of her tribe, was addicted to a habit of looking backward, still, she would have got safely away now, if, while running at her swiftest speed, she had not looked behind her to see how close the hunters were. As it was she leaped violently against a tree stump and killed herself.
Keesa had been very fond of his mother, and her death was a great grief to him, but he dared not stay, and so leaped on and on. Remembering her experience, he never once looked back or stopped until he had reached a place of safety.
After this Keesa had to shift for himself, but he was now a hardy animal and got on remarkably well.
His beautiful, light, tawny coat changed, as the cold weather came on, to a thick and woolly fur, which was very comfortable during the damp, cold weather. But, when the summer came again, the thick, woolly fur began to drop off and he resumed his summer coat once more.
By this time Keesa was a fully grown kangaroo, and very handsome. His coat was a beautiful, tawny brown mingled with grey; the tawny part predominating on the upper portions of his body, and the grey on the under part; his clean, well shaped, little forefeet were quite black, as also was the tip of his tail; and his small, well shaped head, with its bright eyes and quick, sensitive ears, not to speak of the mobile little mouth showing its occasional glimpses of white teeth, and his newly sprouted little whiskers, made him a typical specimen of a well-grown, well-built, male kangaroo.
He was a regular Boomer[Footnote: A Boomer is the only kangaroo which provides really good sport, and is much sought after and hunted for this reason. He is a dangerous foe to man and dog, and generally proves more than a match for them both. A boomer at bay is one of the most dangerous of animals, for he will not only attack the dogs, but the very hunter himself; oftentimes nearly cutting him to pieces with the terrible claws in his hind feet.—Author.] now, and prided himself on it. He had no fear of man or beast, and, although he had already afforded good sport in one or two hunts, he always had the best of it.
At one time he ran for fourteen miles at one stretch, and, although he hated swimming, on coming to a little stretch of sea, and being pressed by the hunters, in went Keesa, and, notwithstanding a fresh breeze, he got safely over, shook himself, and then fell into his long leaps again as though nothing had happened.
Altogether he covered nearly twenty miles that day, and, as he still seemed as fresh as ever and the land began to slope down, the hunters gave up the chase.