Little Pink Dress
Young Beth sat in the dirt in front of her family’s house. She was idly drawing patterns in the dirt with her chubby small fingers. She was very bored. Her mummy was sick and was having a sleep so Beth had to be very quiet her eldest sister had said so. Beth’s short brown hair wasn’t braided like it normally was because Mary, who usually looked after her hair, was too busy making breakfast. Letting out a bored sighed Beth noticed her daddy walking over to his saddled horse. She knew he was going to check on the fences because of the storm from the night before. Looking behind her she made sure mummy was still asleep and her sisters were still busy. Knowing she’d be very bored if she stayed Beth decided to go for a ride with her daddy.
Scrambling to her feet she careful dusted off her favourite pink dress and started to walk over to the big brown horse her daddy was sitting on. She become aware of her daddy turning his horse towards the paddock he was heading towards so she broke into a run. But her daddy hadn’t noticed her and urged his mount into an easy trot. Beth went to call out but some dust blew up her nose making her pause to sneeze. By the time she was ready to call out her daddy had left.
Pouting in annoyance Beth decided to follow her daddy until he notices her or stopped so she could catch up. With her mind made up the young toddler started forward, following her oblivious father into the large Australian bush.
As Beth stumbled along behind her daddy she failed to notice how far behind she was falling. She was too busy staring at her surroundings with wide innocent eyes. The white barked trees seemed so tall; it was as if they didn’t stop. The hard uneven ground beneath her bare feet made it difficult to walk and the soles of her feet felt sore. Making the decision to have a rest she dropped to the ground and lent back against a warm rock.
The sun had risen quite a bit since she’d set out and the sounds of birds and small scurrying creatures had become more obvious. Trailing her hand along the smooth white bark of the tree near her, her attention was caught by a trail of small black hands steadily making their way up towards a small hole in the trunk. Beth giggled as she placed her finger in their path and watched them scamper to the sides. But that got boring after a while and she once again stood up to follow her daddy.
Again making sure her special pink dress wasn’t too dusty she searched between the spaced white gums, rocks and scraggly bushes for a sign of her daddy and his horse. When she found nothing her naïve young brain begun to signal that she was lost and in danger. Beth couldn’t count the amounts of time her mummy and daddy had told her to never wonder into the bush alone. But she hadn’t been alone; she’d been with daddy she reasoned.
Feeling her fear creeping up onto her she turned and started back downhill, in the direction of her home, or at least she thought it was. As the fun neared the middle of the sky Beth’s tummy was grumbling a lot and sending her sharp painful messages of hunger. She was also feeling a little light headed and really thirsty. Hearing the faint sound of running water Beth changed direction to try and find it.
As she dragged her aching feet, bruised feet along the dry unforgiving ground their hairs on her arm started to stand up. Stopping to scan her surroundings she felt the hairs on the back of her neck prickle before the terrifying sound of a deadly hiss reached her ears. Her small body trembled as she whimpered in fear. Her eyes darted around trying to find the source of the dangerous hiss.
She gasped and felt her young heart spike in terror. A meter long brown snake lay curled on a flat rock not thirty centimetres from where Beth stood shaking. Her youthful face was pale and her blue eyes were wide with fright. Beth clearly remembered all the horror stories the creature in front of her involved. So, doing what she normally did when frightened Beth sprinted forward bushing scratching branches out of her way as she tripped over little sharp rocks.
Panic had taken over and her surroundings tunnelled until all she could see was the obstacle in front of her. Her mind numbly noticed the area in front of her clearing just as the ground disappeared from under her. With an alarmed scream Beth dropped through the air at a rapid pace. Then everything went black.
As dinner drew closer ten-year-old Mary went out to greet her returning father. She paused in confusion when she noticed that her youngest sibling Elizabeth was not with him. Beth had been missing all day but they had just shrugged it off saying their father had taken her with him like he sometimes did. But with him returning empty-handed Mary felt uneasiness wash over her.
She ran over to her father and rapidly asked him where Beth was. He looked at her in confusion and replied with “At the house.” Finding it difficult to breath Mary turned and sprinted back inside to find her older sister and two brothers sitting around the table eating dinner. She quickly informed them of the problem and they all jumped to their feet and rushed outside.
For the next year the searched for an hour everyday for their lost sibling, never giving up hope. They asked neighbours and passing Aboriginals to keep an eye out for a little white girl. But everyday they came up with the same result. Nothing. Until almost a year later a group of Aboriginals arrived on the property with news. But only the mother and children were at home and she refused to come outside to talk with them without her husband present. So the Aboriginals waited at the bottom of the property for the husband to arrive back from a two weeklong business trip.
When he finally arrived the family heard the hope crushing news. They had found Beth’s body at the bottom of a cliff about three hours from the property clothed in her little pink dress.
This is based on a true story. A young girl named Elizabeth went missing in the Suggan Buggan area of the Alpine Rangers in the 1800’s. A year later passing Aboriginals found her body and they then waited two weeks to inform the family because the mother wanted her husband present. Elizabeth was wearing a little pink dress.