Once there was a young wombat named Benson, who lived in a very nice wombat hole with his mother and his two aunts, Lillibet and Moss.
One day Benson came into the kitchen, and Aunt Moss was sitting at the table, with a pile of jelly beans. Benson went and sat down beside her.
“What are you doing with all these jelly beans?” Benson asked.
“They’re left over from a birthday party I had for the ducks. They didn’t like them as much as the worm patties I made.”
“That’s funny. I’m sure I’d like jelly beans better than worm patties,” Benson said.
“Did someone say jelly beans?”Aunt Lillibet said, coming out of her room. “Oh, Moss, you’ve got a great pile of jelly beans. Surely you’re not going to eat them all yourself?”
“Oh no,” Aunt Moss said. “There’s plenty for everyone. Would you like one?”
“I like the black ones,” Lillibet said. “Black jelly beans are the best by far.”
“I’ve never liked the black ones,” Aunt Moss said. “The white ones are nice, like lemonade, and the green ones taste like lime, or green apples. Which ones are your favourites, Benson?”
“The red ones,” Benson said. Red jelly beans tasted like strawberries and raspberries and all sorts of sweet things, and besides, you could pretend they were lipstick and smear them all over your lips.
“I’ll make a pile of the red ones for you, Benson, and Lillibet, you can have all the black ones. Nobody likes the black ones.” She picked out all the black ones and put them in a pile near Lillibet, and she got all the red ones and put them in another pile in front of Benson. She made a little heap of green ones, and a heap of white ones. That just left the yellow ones.
Just then Benson’s mother came in from doing the shopping. She put all the bags on the floor in the kitchen and came over to the table. “Jelly beans!” she said. “I haven’t had a jelly bean in ages!”
“Oh, would you like some?” Aunt Moss said. “What colour?”
“Oh, any colour,” said Benson’s mother. “Red ones, or green or white. But not black – they taste like aniseed.”
Aunt Lillibet put her hands over her pile of black ones. Benson didn’t do anything. He’d already eaten all the red ones.
“You and I can have the green ones and the white ones together,” Aunt Moss said. Benson’s mother said down beside Aunt Moss and before long there were no jelly beans left. Except the yellow ones. They sat in a pile in the middle of the table.
Aunt Moss said, “I’ve never been partial to yellow ones. They remind me of bananas mixed with washing-up liquid.”
“I think they taste like old mushrooms,” said Lillibet, “or rhubarb before it’s ripe enough.”
“They make me think of plastic lemons,” Benson’s mother said.
Benson looked at the yellow jelly beans. They were jelly beans, after all. “Maybe they’re pineapple flavoured,” he said hopefully, “or custard-flavoured?”
Custard-flavoured? Everyone looked at the yellow jelly beans. “I’ll try one if you like,” Benson said.
“I don’t mind trying them,” Lillibet said.
Benson’s mother said, “They might be fine.”
Aunt Moss carefully divided the pile of yellow jelly beans. Exactly two for each person.
Benson ate his. “Hmm, plastic pineapple. Not bad.”
Everyone else ate theirs. Aunt Moss said sadly, “Nothing like custard, really.”
Benson’s mother said, “Sort of banana-lime washing-up liquid. Not the best.”
Lillibet said, “Interesting. Mushroomy-rhubarb with a hint of minty lemon. But not as nice as black, of course.”
“I suppose you’ve got to take the bad with the good,” Aunt Moss said.
“No wonder the ducks didn’t like them,” said Benson.