Down to the River to Swim

Once there was a young wombat whose name was Benson, and he lived in a nice hole in the ground with his mother and his two aunts, Lillibet and Moss.

One day Aunt Lillibet said, “Benson, I’m going to take you down to the river, and you can practise your swimming.”

Benson put on his swimmers and his swimming t-shirt. He got his goggles and his flippers and his face-mask and his snorkel. He put his sun-screen on.

“Ready?” said Aunt Lillibet.

Benson thought for a minute, then he went back inside for his hat, and a sandwich. “I’m ready,” he said.

They went down to the river. It took a long time. Flippers are slow to walk in.

When they got to the river, Benson stopped. It was a dry riverbed. There was no water at all in the river, only sand, and some small rocks.

“Off you go,” said Aunt Lillibet. She sat under a tree and read a book.

Benson stomped into the river and sat down in the sand. He dug a hole with his flippers and then he used them to smooth the sand out and make giant frog footprints. He put his face-mask on and peered at the ants and the beetles and the bugs that were busy catching things and eating things in the river bed. He dug a long tunnel and pretended he was in a submarine, with his snorkel for a periscope.

Aunt Lillibet said, “It’s nearly time to go, Benson.”

Benson said, “I haven’t had my sandwich yet.” He climbed along a dead tree and ate his sandwich at the very top. Then he lay down in the river bed and made sand-angels with his arms. He collected pebbles and filled up his goggles with them.

Aunt Lillibet said, “Time to go home.”

“Already?” said Benson. He picked up his flippers and his face-mask and his snorkel and his goggles and his pebbles and they went home.

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