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.
Benson’s friend Mick had an uncle who could do magic. He could make a rabbit come out of a hat, Mick said. Benson thought that wasn’t very magic. The hard part would be getting a rabbit into a hat.
He thought about it for a while, and then he made a plan. He got some chopped apple and he put it inside his bike helmet, and he left his bike helmet outside all night.
For the first two nights nothing happened, but on the third night, his plan worked. In the morning after breakfast he said to his mother and Aunt Lillibet and Aunt Moss, “I’m going to be doing magic this morning. Do you want to come and watch?”
“Magic!” said Aunt Moss. She clapped her hands. “I love magic!”
Benson’s mother said, “That’s a very good idea, Benson. Zali and her mother are coming over for morning tea. I’m sure Zali will love it.”
Benson thought she would too.
He got everything ready. He took a small table outside and put it in a shady spot under a tree, where the branches made interesting shadows on the ground. He got his bike helmet, and he put it carefully under the table.
Benson’s mother and Zali and Zali’s mother and Aunt Lillibet and Aunt Moss came and sat in front of the table.
Benson started. “This is the magic,” he said. He put his bike helmet carefully on the table. Straight away a small dunnart ran up and jumped into it.
Benson said, “No, that wasn’t it.” Everyone stopped clapping. He put his hand into the helmet and took the dunnart out. Everyone clapped again. “That wasn’t it either,” Benson said. He put the little dunnart on the ground and it ran off after a beetle.
Benson said, “Now I will say the magic word.” He waved his hands over the helmet and said, “Government-subsidy!” in a loud voice. He didn’t know what it meant, but he liked the sound of it. Nothing happened.
He said the magic word again, a bit louder. “Government-subsidy!!” Still nothing happened. Benson had thought this might happen, and he had a plan. He held some rose petals over the helmet and rubbed them together and rustled them a bit.
A sleepy possum head came out of the helmet. Two sleepy paws reached up and took the rose petals. Then a baby possum climbed out of the helmet and sat on the table, nibbling the rose petals.
Everyone clapped and clapped. The possum woke up suddenly and scampered off, and disappeared into the bush. Benson bowed to everyone, and put the helmet on his head.
His mother stood up and said, “Thank you, Benson, that was lovely. Time for a cup of eucalyptus tea and oatmeal and raisin cookies.” Everyone got up and went inside.
Benson’s mother said to him, “That was pretty magical, Benson. You did an excellent job.”
“Thank you,” Benson said.
His mother said, “You know, I can do magic too.”
“Can you?” said Benson.
She nodded. “I can make a wombat come out of a hat,” she said, “like this.”
She took Benson’s helmet off.
Benson smiled. “I think you’re pretty magical, too,” he said to his mother.
“I’ve always thought so,” she said.