Lilly Pillies

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

One morning when Benson’s mother was washing up the breakfast dishes, she said, “The lilly pilly trees on top of the big hill will be covered in fruit by now.”

Benson started thinking about lilly pillies. He loved their purple popping fruit, and he loved lilly pilly jam and he especially loved lilly pilly jelly.

“I think I’ll go up the big hill,” he said.

“You can try, but it’s a very big hill. More like a mountain,” Lillibet said.

Benson went anyway. The big hill was so steep that people had made steps in the sides to make it easier to climb up. The trouble was, they were very big people-sized steps. Benson was not a big wombat. If it had been just a hill, he could have scrambled up, holding on with his strong claws, but the steps were so big, he couldn’t even pull himself up.

He stared at the steps and he felt disappointed. No lilly pillies. No lilly pilly jelly. He sat down and he folded his arms and he stared at the steps and he thought.

He got up and went home and got a bucket.

“Is there any rope?” he asked his mother.

“There’s Aunt Moss’s dressing-gown cord. You could ask if you could borrow it.”

Aunt Moss said yes, of course. He tied the cord to the handle of the bucket. He dragged the bucket behind him all the way back to the hill.

He put the bucket at the bottom of the first step and climbed on top. Then he could pull himself up to the first step. He climbed onto the step and then he pulled the bucket up after him with the cord.

Getting up all the steps was easy. At the top, the lilly pilly trees were covered in fruit. Benson ate heaps and heaps. Then he lay down in the sun with his head on his bucket and thought about things until he didn’t feel so full.

Then he got up and filled up the bucket with heaps and heaps of fruit. It was heavy carrying it back to the steps, but not that heavy.

At the top step, he used the cord to lower the bucket down to the next step. Then he jumped down after it. Getting down the steps was easy. He carried the bucket home.

“Perfect!” his mother said.

Aunt Lillibet said, “Where did you get all those lilly pillies?”

“At the top of the big hill,” Benson said.

Benson’s mother said, “We’re going to make lilly pilly jelly, Lillibet. Do you want to help?”

She did, and they did, and it was the best lilly pilly jelly ever.

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