As the morning sun burst over the
horizon, the bush was set ablaze with color. The red sand absorbed the
heat and soon the animals were feeling it. "This is going to be a hot day.
Itís only sunrise and already Iím parched," Kiah complained. "Iím heading
for the billabong. Iím going to have a long soak." The platypus waddled
towards the water.
"Sheís right. Itís going to be a
warm one. Weíd better have a splash about and then a long drink before we
try to find our way back," Wandi, the kangaroo suggested.
They spent the next few hours
playing in the cool water. "Are we ready?" Yinki laughed. "I have a
craving for a wichetty grub. I canít wait to get back to my tree," the
"Me too," Banjori agreed. "My
mouthís watering for a delicious eucalyptus leaf," the koala said, licking
his lips and patting his round, furry tummy.
"Thereís no use in complaining. If
youíre all ready, climb into my pouch with Boomerang and weíll try to
retrace our steps," Wandi urged. One by one the animals squeezed into the
"This is not comfortable," Jiba
"What are you complaining about?
Youíre an echidna, with sharp spikes that poke everyone," Daku, the wombat
"I canít feel my legs," Tinka cried.
"Boomerang, move your tail."
"Youíve got a tail too," the joey
complained to the skink.
"I canít feel my legs either," Nimu
said, "and Iíve got eight of them."
"Mum, Nimuís hairy legs are tickling
my tummy," Boomerang giggled.
"Iím a trap-door spider. What do you
expect me to do with my legs?" Nimu growled.
"Is everyone settled? Iím ready to
hop now," Wandi said to the unruly crowd of animals.
She leapt toward the trees, leaving
the cool waters of the billabong behind. The sun beat down on them all.
"Iím hot, mum," Boomerang complained. "Itís crowded in here."
Wandi looked at her joey. "Patience,
After an hour on hopping, they all
dozed off. Wandi was grateful. At least she didnít have to listen to their
complaining for a while. She spotted some boulders in the distance and
headed for them. "They look familiar," she muttered to herself. "Maybe Iím
heading in the right direction after all." As she neared the sandstone
rocks her ears began to twitch. "Whatís that noise?"
Banjori woke up and yawned. "Why
have we stopped?" he asked. The others woke up as he spoke.
"Whatís the matter?" Daku asked.
"Shhhhh. We might have some trouble.
Itís Boomer and Old Man," Wandi whispered.
"Who is Boomer?" Tinka asked.
"Whoís Old Man?" Yindi wondered.
"Theyíre two male kangaroos. Theyíre
known as the ĎBullies of the Bushí. If they spot us, theyíll surely give
us a hard time," Wandi sighed.
"Iím not afraid of an old man. Iíll
poke him with my spikes," Jiba, the echidna threatened.
"His name is Old Man. Heís not an
old man. Heís a powerful kangaroo and Iím afraid heís a bit nasty and
mean," Boomerang replied.
"Oh. Why donít we go that way then?"
Jiba asked, pointing to the left.
"I say we go that way," Kiah said,
pointing to the right.
"I say we go back to the billabong.
At least itís safe there," Yindi chimed in.
Just then the two male kangaroos
looked their way. "Oh no, theyíve heard us. Here they come," Wandi cried.
"Stay in the pouch!" she warned.
Within seconds Old Man and Boomer
were standing in front of Wandi and the others. "What have we here? Look
at this will you, Boomer. Itís a flyer with a pouch full of bush animals.
Have you ever seen anything so funny in your life?" Old Man laughed.
Boomer reached over and grabbed Kiah
by her bill and pulled her out. "Well, well. If it isnít a platypus.
Whatís a duck-bill doing out of the water?" He tossed Kiah into the sand.
She landed on her back."What else have we in there?" Boomer stuck his hand
in and pulled Tinka out. "Itís a skink. Show me your blue tongue," he
"I donít want to," Tinka shivered in
"If you donít show it to me, Iíll
have to yank it out of your mouth," Boomer laughed.
"Leave her alone. You two are
bullies. Why donít you go and jump off Ayerís Rock?" Boomerang said.
"Look, Boomer. The joeyís the
bravest of them all," Old Man chuckled, pulling him out by his tail.
Wandi had enough. "Leave them alone!
Tinka and Kiah, climb back into my pouch. Boomerang, inside," she
The platypus struggled to roll over.
She and the skink climbed back in. The joey followed.
"Youíre awfully brave for a doe,
arenít you?" Old Man snarled.
Once the rest of them were safely in
her pouch, Wandi lifted her legs and kicked Boomer as hard as she could.
He went flying through the air. "Letís get out of here!" Banjori shouted.
Wandi hopped away as fast as she could.
"Boomer stood up and brushed the
dirt off his fur. "Weíll get you. You canít run from us," he shouted. He
and Old Man hopped after the flyer.
"Hurry, Wandi. Theyíre coming after
us," Nimu said.
Wandi hopped as fast as she could.
She didnít stop until she was back at the billabong. "Quick everyone,
climb out and hide," she said.
Kiah ran into the pond. Banjori
climbed to the top of the nearest tree. The wombat and trap door spider
found a small cave and squeezed inside. Jiba rolled into a ball and hid
herself in the tall grass. Tinki slithered under a rock and Yindi flew
into the branches of a tree. "Where are we going to hide?" Boomerang asked
"Stay in the pouch," Wandi said. She
hopped down to a stream and hid behind a tree. It didnít take long for
Boomer and Old Man to arrive at the billabong. "You think you can hide
from us? Weíll get all of you!" Boomer shouted.
The two kangaroos searched high and
low, but couldnít find any of them. Just then Old Man spotted Wandi.
"Sheís down by the stream," he whispered to Boomer. "Letís get her!" They
hopped towards her.
"Stay away," Wandi cried, as the two
kangaroos moved in on her.
"Weíll teach you to run away from
us," the bullies sneered.
Boomer was about to give Wandi a
kick when out of the stream crawled a huge crocodile. It must have been
fifteen feet long with huge teeth. "You two bullies giving this doe a hard
time?" It opened its mouth wide and ran after Boomer and Old Man.
"A croc!" screamed Old Man. "Run!"
The two of them hopped away as
quickly as they could.
"Youíre safe now," Rando said. He
could see that Wandi was nervous. "Donít worry, I wonít eat you. Iíve had
my fill for the day." Seeing that the croc wasnít going to harm them, the
others came down to the stream. "If thereís one thing I canít stand, itís
a bully! Two of them is even worse."
"Thanks for saving us," Wandi
smiled. "I donít suppose you know the way back to the baobab forest, do
you?" she asked.
"Canít say that I do. I donít wander
too far away from here," Rando said, looking at the stream. "Keeps me
cool. Itís home," he laughed.
They spent another night at the
billabong with their new friend, the croc. "Tomorrowís another day," Wandi
told them. "Weíll try another way then." They feasted on barramundi, bugs,
and eucalyptus leaves, and slept soundly, knowing the bullies were gone,
for now at least.