Benson and the Stick-Insect

(based on a True Story)

Once there was a young wombat named Benson, who lived in a wombat hole with his mother and his two aunts, Lillibet and Moss.

One day Benson was playing with his friend Tucker. They played throwing a ball and kicking a ball, and they played seeing who could climb furthest up a tree, and they played jumping off a hill and flapping their arms and pretending to fly.

After a while they lay down on the grass and looked up at the trees.

Tucker sat up suddenly. ‘There’s something on my head,’ he said. He brushed the top of his head.

Benson sat up and looked. ‘It’s a brown thing, with legs. Brush it off.’

Tucker stood up quickly and brushed his head. ‘I think it’s off now,’ he said.

Benson said, ‘It’s on your arm!’

Tucker got upset. ‘Get it off!’ he said. He brushed at it with his hand, and Benson brushed it too.

‘I think it’s gone,’ Benson said.

Tucker felt better. Then he squealed. ‘It’s on my tummy! Get it off me, get it off me!’

Benson brushed it off Tucker’s tummy, but it stuck itself onto Benson’s arm. He shook his arm as hard as he could but it didn’t come off. ‘It won’t come off!’ he shouted.

Tucker got a stick and was going to hit it.

‘Don’t!’ Benson said. ‘You’ll hit me!’ He brushed it off his arm and it landed on the ground.

Tucker was just about to step on it when Aunt Moss came along. ‘What are you boys doing?’ she said. ‘Oh, it’s a little stick insect!’ She picked it up carefully in her fingers. It was long and brown and looked exactly like a stick with legs. Even the legs looked like sticks.

Moss held the stick-insect for them to look at. Tucker didn’t like it, but Benson thought it was interesting. He even held it for a minute with his fingers. It waved its legs a bit. He couldn’t tell which was the head end and which was the tail.

They put it back on a tree, and when they looked, Benson and Tucker couldn’t tell which was stick-insect and which was tree.

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