Benson and the Flag

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

On Australia Day there was always a big parade and everyone went in it. Everyone wore their uniforms and marched with their groups, the Boy Scouts, the Girl Guides, the Irish dancers, the karate club and the chess club, and every group had a flag.

Early in the morning, Benson’s mother went to wake him up.

“Come on, Benson, we have to have breakfast and get down to the Town Hall for the start of the parade.”

Benson pulled the sheet over his head. “I’m not going,” he said.

“What? We’re all going. Of course you’re going.”

Benson stayed under the sheet. “I’m not going. You go without me.”

His mother sat down on the bed. “What’s the matter, Benson? You love going in the parade.”

Benson sat up. “It’s the flags. Look.”

He picked up a flag. “I have to take the Australian flag because it’s Australia Day.” He picked up another flag. “I have to carry our school flag because I belong to the school.” He picked up two more flags. “Then there’s the Library Lovers’ flag, and the Diggers and Excavators Club.” He picked up another flag, and another one and another one. “There’s the Butterfly Watchers’ Club, and the Junior Gardeners’ Group, and the Saxophone Ensemble.” There were so many flags you couldn’t see Benson at all.

“And Aunt Moss wants me to carry the Turtle Protection Society flag as well.” Benson flopped back on his pillow. “I can’t do it. I’m not going.”

Benson’s mother said, “I see the problem.” She thought about it. “I’ve got an idea,” she said.

She went out and came back with Aunt Lillibet, who was wearing her Turnip and Swede Fanciers’ outfit.

“What do you think?” Benson’s mother asked her.

Aunt Lillibet picked up the pile of flags. “I think was can manage something.”

“I’ll give you a hand,” Benson’s mother said. “Benson, have your breakfast and get dressed. Don’t give up.”

Benson had his cereal and a nectarine and got dressed. By the time he was finished, Aunt Lillibet was finished too. “There you are,” she said, “your own flag.”

Aunt Lillibet had made a flag just for Benson. She had divided the front into nine sections and painted all the other flags in a section each. In the middle section she had painted Benson, smiling and waving.

“It’s perfect,” said Benson, “it’s exactly perfect! It’s beautiful!” And it was beautiful, red and blue and brown and green and all colours, with turtles and wombats and butterflies and books.

He said, “Thankyou, Aunt Lillibet, you’re so clever!” He gave her a big hug.

Aunt Lillibet said, “All right, that’s enough, you’re wrinkling my uniform. We’d better get going or we’ll be late for the parade.”

They all went down to the Town Hall and they all went in the parade and Benson had the best time.

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