Benson and the Pumpkin

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

Benson’s mother was in the kitchen one morning, and Aunt Lillibet came in with a pumpkin that she had grown in her garden. It was a great big pumpkin, with shiny bluey-greeny skin, and it was really really heavy.

Benson’s mother said, “Lillibet! What an amazing pumpkin! It’s enormous!”

They both lifted it up onto the bench. Aunt Lillibet said, “I was thinking of pumpkin soup, what do you think?”

Benson’s mother got her biggest knife and started to cut the pumpkin up, but the knife wouldn’t go into the skin. She stabbed and poked, but the skin was way too hard. The knife just bounced off.

“Here, let me,” Aunt Lillibet said. She got the knife in both hands and jabbed it as hard as she could. The knife sprang off and bounced across the room.

“I don’t think that’s safe, Lillibet,” Benson’s mother said. She took the knife and put it away. They both looked at the pumpkin. “I know, we’ll roast it whole, and we can have roast pumpkin for lunch and I’ll make the rest into soup for dinner.”

“Good idea,” Lillibet said. They opened the oven door and lifted the pumpkin up together to put it inside, but it was too big to fit into the oven. They put it back on the bench, and looked at it.

“I know,” Lillibet said. She went outside, and came back with an axe. “Stand back,” she said, and lifted up the axe.

“No, Lillibet! I don’t think that’s a good idea!”

Aunt Moss came in, and gave a little scream. “Lillibet, what are you doing?”

“Oh, don’t fuss,” Lillibet said. She lifted the axe up halfway and gave the pumpkin a tap. The axe cut into the pumpkin and stopped. Lillibet tried to pull the axe out of the pumpkin but it was stuck. She pulled harder and harder but it was really stuck.

“Oh, be careful!” Aunt Moss said. Benson’s mother took hold of the axe handle with Aunt Lillibet and they pulled together. The axe came out and they both fell over.

Benson came and saw them lying on the floor with an axe and a pumpkin. “What are you doing?” he said. “Can I do it too?”

“Benson, I think you’d better take this pumpkin out to the compost heap. I don’t think it would make good eating, anyway, do you, Lillibet?”

“No,” Lillibet agreed. “It’s too tough. Probably too old. Take it out to the compost, Benson.”

Benson picked up the pumpkin and staggered to the door. He got it through the doorway but it slipped out of his hands and fell on the steps. It broke into pieces, and seeds and bits of pumpkin went everywhere.

Lillibet said, “Well that’s done it.”

“Perfect,” said Benson’s mother. She and Benson collected the pieces. “Roast pumpkin for lunch, and pumpkin soup for dinner.”

And they were both delicious.

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