Once there was a young wombat named Benson, who lived in a warm, comfortable wombat hole in the ground with his mother and his two aunts, Lillibet and Moss.
It was a beautiful warm, sunny day and Benson and his mother went to the playground. His friend Zali was there, sitting in the sandpit, and Benson went over and said hi and started playing with her. Benson’s mother and Zali’s mother sat down on one of the parent seats and started talking.
Benson always liked playing with Zali because she didn’t really talk, so he could say anything he liked, and she didn’t really dig so he could do everything the way he wanted. He dug a hole all around her, and then he made a wall around her and pretended she was a lion trapped in a cage and he was coming to rescue her. He swooshed the wall over with his feet and Zali laughed.
Then he built a really big wall and poked his fingers through one at a time like monster fingers, and Zali laughed and laughed.
Benson’s friend, Mick, came riding up on his bike. “Hi Benson,” he said. “Let’s go play on the slippery-slide.”
Benson was in the middle of building the biggest wall ever. “I’m doing something right now,” he said. “I’ll come in a minute.”
Mick said, “Why do you want to play with that big baby?”
Benson said, “Zali’s not a baby.”
Mick said, “She acts like one.”
Benson suddenly got really angry. He gave Mick a big push and shouted at him.
Mick pushed him back and they both fell over, and starting rolling around on the ground fighting.
The mothers came running over.
“Benson! Stop that right now!” his mother said.
Benson didn’t stop. He pushed Mick’s head down on the ground and sat on it.
His mother grabbed him and pulled him away. “Stop it!’ she said very firmly.
Zali was crying, and Mick was crying and his glasses were crooked.
Benson felt really bad. He was still feeling angry at Mick, and he was angry that now he was in trouble and it wasn’t his fault, and he was angry because he had hurt his friend Mick.
His mother said, “Say sorry to Mick at once!”
“I’m not sorry!” Benson yelled, and stomped off to the other end of the playground.
Zali’s mother looked after Zali, and Benson’s mother made sure Mick wasn’t hurt, and gave him a drink of water and straightened his glasses out. Mick got back on his bike and went home. Zali’s mother took her home too.
Benson’s mother went over to where he was sitting. She sat down beside him and said, “Tell me what happened.”
Benson told her everything that had happened. He felt angry and upset, and he felt terrible about fighting with his friend Mick.
His mother said, “You shouldn’t have hit Mick,”
Benson said, “He was mean to Zali, and she’s my friend.”
“Mick’s your friend, too,” his mother said, “and Zali was frightened and upset.”
Benson felt more and more terrible. “What should I do?” he said.
“Well the first thing you should do is say sorry to Mick for hitting him. Hurting someone is a very bad way of making them do what you want. And you have to make sure Zali is okay.”
Benson didn’t say anything. He didn’t want to say sorry to someone when he didn’t feel sorry.
On the way home they went to Zali’s place and he gave Zali a hug and said sorry to her for making her upset. Zali hugged him back. She liked hugging.
When they got home, Benson went to his room and lay down on his bed, but that didn’t help. He went outside and did some digging. Digging always made him feel better, and helped him think.
At dinner time he still didn’t know what to do. After dinner he got out his pencils and started drawing. He drew a picture of himself and Zali holding hands, and then he drew Mick holding his other hand. Then he drew a picture of Mick and Zali holding hands. Then he knew what to do.
The next day he rode his bike over the Mick’s house. “I’m sorry about fighting yesterday.”
Mick looked at the ground and didn’t say anything.
Benson said, “You shouldn’t have said that about Zali, but I shouldn’t have punched you anyway.”
Mick still looked at the ground. Benson kept trying. “My friend Zali is coming over to my place to play. Do you want to come and play too? My mum’s making jelly-bean cupcakes.”
Mick nodded. He said, “Sorry about what I said yesterday.”
Benson said, “That’s okay.”
They both rode their bikes back to Benson’s place and ate jelly-bean cupcakes and played with Zali all afternoon.