“To be sure they were looking at the pictures upside down, but that made no real difference.”As luck would have it, it was a girl Piccaninny; had it been a boy he would simply have torn it up and made paper darts with it to throw at the other boys, and no harm would have been done. But girls are different!
“Teasing the great, sleepy, round-eyed morepork.”She smoothed it out and looked at it carefully, and then she called the other girls to look at it. And soon there was such a clattering and chattering that the boys came racing that way to see if the girls had found anything good to eat. You know boys! The scrap of paper was a page out of a fashion book, and there were pictures on it of horrid little smug-faced boys in sky-blue suits bowling hoops in a way no real little boy ever bowled a hoop in his life, and simpering little girls in lace frocks holding dolls or sun-shades in un-natural attitudes. But the Piccaninnies were delighted. To be sure they were looking at the pictures upside down, but that made no real difference. They decided they must have clothes too. Of course the boys said pooh they wouldn’t! It’s much easier to slide down a fern-leaf, or jump off the end of a branch if you haven’t any clothes—everyone knows that. But when the girls, after being absent for hours, came back all in darling little crimson kilts made out of blossoms from the Christmas tree, the boys simply couldn’t bear to think the girls had something they hadn’t got. You know what boys are! After laughing at the girls in the hopes they’d throw away their pretty little frocks, the boys went off together. They simply had to think of something, and it would never do to copy the girls. They came back later with the quaintest little breeches, made out of broad flax leaves, stitched together with the points downwards. It was clever of the boys! They had also stuck some of the red-brown flowers in their hair. The girls were vexed that they hadn’t thought of that, but they went one better. They made strings of the scarlet nikau berries and hung them round their necks. (Trust the girls!) And that was how Fashions came to be started in the Bush.