Had they been going up hill they might have caught him, for in going up hill dogs always gain on a kangaroo, and no one knew this better than Keesa; therefore it was only to be expected that he should deliberately lead the way to where the land was in his favor.
His leaps down hill were terrific, and the dogs, however much they tried, could not overtake him; and so Keesa always gained the day, and although he had many exciting hunts he was never caught.
Strong and healthy and hardy, he lived on, and lived up to his name of Boomer, and is still living in New South Wales to this day, with a gentle, brown-eyed wife and a little baby kangaroo, who peeps out of his mother’s pouch just as Keesa himself used to do when he was a baby.
The hot, red sun was sinking behind the hard, straight outline of one of the sandy deserts of Arabia. The Arabs had pitched their tents, unloaded and fed their camels, and were now making their evening meal from dried meat and a preparation of camel’s milk, which had been mixed with meal and then allowed to become sour.
Many of the camels were lying down—not that they were tired, for they had been taking their journey by easy stages, and among them were several with baby camels.
Cara was one of the babies, and an extremely ugly baby he was, for a thin body, long, spidery limbs, homely head and funny little tail gave him a curious, unfinished look.
Another baby was Camer. But she was as yet only an hour old, while Cara was a week and a day old, and stood three feet high on his thin legs. He was a sturdy little fellow in spite of his thinness, and had already given proof that he inherited the irritable, morose and grumbling nature of his race to a very marked degree; for from the first hour of his birth Cara had grumbled. Grumbled when his mother rested—as her kind master allowed her to do, for a few days after Cara’s birth; grumbled when the Arabs and camels moved on; grumbled when any one touched him with a pat or caress, and grumbled when let alone. In fact, the only time when Cara did not grumble was when he took his meals, and this was simply because his mouth and tongue were occupied with getting his food.
At the present moment he was feeling very discontented indeed. He had rather enjoyed following the caravan, trotting by his mother’s side, and, except that he had been getting hungry, would have kept on trotting for some time longer, but they had all stopped quite suddenly, and Cara’s mother, instead of giving her baby his evening meal, had sunk down instantly on the sand, and with a series of grunts and groans settled herself comfortably for a good rest.
The Arabs had been very busy with their camels, and it was not until they had pitched their tents and settled to their supper that Cara had noticed with great astonishment that there was another baby camel a little way off. He began to wonder how it was they had not met before, and in his funny, camel-baby talk tried to speak to the newcomer; but Camer did not seem inclined for conversation. Her mother was lying down, and Camer was nestling as closely as possible to her with her odd-shaped little head almost hidden in the shaggy masses of woolly hair which grew on her mother’s forelegs.