Once there was a young wombat named Benson, who lived in a nice wombat hole with his mother and his two aunts, Lillibet and Moss.
One afternoon Benson was playing outside. He dug a hole in the ground in the shape of a boat and he made a flag out of a stick and a hanky, and he got an old piece of wood he could use for a ship’s wheel, then he stood in the middle of the boat, shouting “Land ho!” and “Batten down the hatches!”
He was just thinking that he needed some oars, when an insect flew up and stung him on the nose.
“Ow!” he said. The insect darted away. Benson’s nose started to hurt.
“Oww!” he said. His nose really hurt. “Oww!”
The hurt was getting worse and worse. “OWW!” he said. It was so bad he started to cry. He ran inside crying and yelling, “Owww, owww!”
His mother stopped folding the washing and said, “What’s the matter?”
“Owww! Owww! Something stung me!” he cried.
His mother took a look at his nose, and then she went straight to the medicine cupboard. She got out a small tube of white ointment and squeezed some onto Benson’s nose.
“It will be all right in a minute,” she said. “Try to take some deep breaths.”
Benson didn’t want to take deep breaths. His nose really really really hurt. It hurt so much it made his whole face hurt. His whole head hurt.
He tried really hard, and took one deep breath and stopped crying. The pain in his nose was getting less and less. In a minute or so, it started to feel better.
“Is it feeling better?” his mother asked.
Benson nodded. It still hurt, but not so much now.
“I’ll make you some warm milk and we’ll sit quietly and I’ll read to you for a while” his mother said.
They sat quietly and after a while his nose didn’t hurt much at all, except when he felt it to see if it still hurt.
“It was probably a wasp,” his mother said. “There might be a nest somewhere in the yard. I’ll have a look tomorrow.”
The next morning, Benson thought about going outside to play, then he thought about wasps and he decided not to. He shut the front door firmly so no wasps could get inside.
Aunt Lillibet came inside from the garden and left the door open. Benson thought about a wasp coming into the house and buzzing around, looking for someone to sting. He ran into his room and shut the door.
He didn’t have to go outside, he thought. He could stay in his room and read a book, or do some drawing, or play his saxophone. There were heaps of things he could do.
Then he started to imagine what would happen if his mother opened the door to see if he was all right and a wasp flew in. He started to feel worried.
The door opened and his mother put her head in. “Are you all right, Benson?” she said.
Benson’s stomach suddenly felt extremely worried. He jumped into the bed and pulled the covers up over his head. “Shut the door!” he said in a muffled way through the blankets.
Benson’s mother came in and shut the door. “Benson,” she said, “you can’t hide under the blankets all day.”
Benson didn’t say anything. He felt safe inside the blankets.
His mother stood there and thought. “All right,” she said. “I’ll have to do something about this.”
She went out and left the door open. Benson started to feel worried again. He peeped out through a tiny gap in the blankets. He could see his mother putting on a long shirt with long sleeves. She put on long pants, and then she put on long socks that came up over the legs of the pants. She put on a balaclava and then she put on long gloves that came up over the long sleeves of the shirt. Then she put on a hat with an insect screen on it.
“That should do it!” she said.
She went into the kitchen and got the insect spray and the broom, and some tongs and an egg flipper and the mop.
Benson peeped over the edge of the blankets. “What are you going to do?” he said.
“I’m going to go outside and deal with the wasps’ nest,” she said.
She picked up all the things, the mop and the broom and the insect spray and everything.
Benson could see that she probably needed a hand to carry everything. He took a deep breath. “Do you need me to help?” he said in a small wobbly voice.
His mother helped him put on long pants and socks and a long-sleeved shirt and his dressing gown over the top in case, and his gumboots and a scarf pulled up over his face, and a pair of washing-up gloves and a hat with an insect net and then they were ready.
They went outside. Benson’s mother found the wasps’ nest underneath the wheelbarrow. She sprayed it a fair bit and then they ran back inside while the wasps flew away.
They waited till the very last wasp had flown away.
Benson’s mother said, “A wasp can give you a very nasty sting.”
“Yes,” said Benson, feeling his nose.
They had some pomegranate and molasses tea, and then Benson went to see what he could use to make some oars with.