THE $30,000 BEQUEST and Other Stories by Mark Twain

I have set a dozen traps, but they do no good. I catch all small

animals except that one; animals that merely go into the trap out

of curiosity, I think, to see what the milk is there for. They never

drink it.

THREE MONTHS LATER.–The Kangaroo still continues to grow, which is

very strange and perplexing. I never knew one to be so long getting

its growth. It has fur on its head now; not like kangaroo fur,

but exactly like our hair except that it is much finer and softer,

and instead of being black is red. I am like to lose my mind over

the capricious and harassing developments of this unclassifiable

zoological freak. If I could catch another one–but that is hopeless;

it is a new variety, and the only sample; this is plain. But I

caught a true kangaroo and brought it in, thinking that this one,

being lonesome, would rather have that for company than have no kin

at all, or any animal it could feel a nearness to or get sympathy

from in its forlorn condition here among strangers who do not

know its ways or habits, or what to do to make it feel that it

is among friends; but it was a mistake–it went into such fits at

the sight of the kangaroo that I was convinced it had never seen

one before. I pity the poor noisy little animal, but there is

nothing I can do to make it happy. If I could tame it–but that is

out of the question; the more I try the worse I seem to make it.

It grieves me to the heart to see it in its little storms of sorrow

and passion. I wanted to let it go, but she wouldn’t hear of it.

That seemed cruel and not like her; and yet she may be right.

It might be lonelier than ever; for since I cannot find another one,

how could IT?

FIVE MONTHS LATER.–It is not a kangaroo. No, for it supports

itself by holding to her finger, and thus goes a few steps on its

hind legs, and then falls down. It is probably some kind of a bear;

and yet it has no tail–as yet–and no fur, except upon its head.

It still keeps on growing–that is a curious circumstance,

for bears get their growth earlier than this. Bears are dangerous–

since our catastrophe–and I shall not be satisfied to have this

one prowling about the place much longer without a muzzle on.

I have offered to get her a kangaroo if she would let this one go,

but it did no good–she is determined to run us into all sorts

of foolish risks, I think. She was not like this before she lost

her mind.

A FORTNIGHT LATER.–I examined its mouth. There is no danger yet:

it has only one tooth. It has no tail yet. It makes more noise

now than it ever did before–and mainly at night. I have moved out.

But I shall go over, mornings, to breakfast, and see if it has

more teeth. If it gets a mouthful of teeth it will be time for it

to go, tail or no tail, for a bear does not need a tail in order to

be dangerous.

FOUR MONTHS LATER.–I have been off hunting and fishing a month,

up in the region that she calls Buffalo; I don’t know why, unless it

is because there are not any buffaloes there. Meantime the bear

has learned to paddle around all by itself on its hind legs,

and says “poppa” and “momma.” It is certainly a new species.

This resemblance to words may be purely accidental, of course,

and may have no purpose or meaning; but even in that case it is

still extraordinary, and is a thing which no other bear can do.

This imitation of speech, taken together with general absence of fur

and entire absence of tail, sufficiently indicates that this is a new

kind of bear. The further study of it will be exceedingly interesting.

Meantime I will go off on a far expedition among the forests of

the north and make an exhaustive search. There must certainly be

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Categories: Twain, Mark