Pete the Pirate

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

Benson had a friend called Pete who wanted to be a pirate. He had a pirate shirt, with red and white stripes on it, and a pirate sword called a cutlass, which was really a stick, and he even had his own green and blue parrot that said, ‘Peet, peet.’

Whenever he came over to Benson’s place, he wanted to play pirates and dig for buried treasure, which was okay with Benson because he would rather dig than do anything else. If it rained and they couldn’t dig, they played pirates inside, and drew treasure maps and had sword fights until Benson’s mother said it was time for covert surveillance which meant they had to see who could be the quietest for the longest.

One day when Pete came over to play, he brought something special that he had made himself. “It’s a pirate flag!” he said. It was a piece of cardboard with a skull and crossbones painted on it. “But I really need a pirate ship to put the flag on,” he said.

Benson started to imagine a pirate ship with sails and decks and masts and ropes and mermaids and huge waves and cannon, and his eyes got bigger and bigger. He said, “We can’t make a pirate ship. We haven’t got any oceans, not even a small sea.”

Pete looked really sad, so Benson said, “We could build a raft on the creek.”

Pete got really excited. “Let’s get some wood!” he said.

They collected up branches and old bits of wood and carried them down to the creek. By lunchtime they had a big pile.

Benson’s mother made them pirate stew with pirate dumplings for lunch that were really just stew and dumplings but she knew that Pete wouldn’t eat them unless he thought they were real pirate food.

When they went back to the creek after lunch, their huge pile of wood was just a little pile of sticks.

“Someone’s stealing our wood!” said Pete. “Let’s hide, and when they come back, we’ll grab them and tie them up and make them walk the plank!”

Benson said they didn’t actually have a plank because someone had taken all their wood, but Pete said that didn’t matter.

They hid behind a tree and waited very, very quietly.

After a while when Benson had nearly gone to sleep, they heard someone at their woodpile. Pete sprang out from behind the tree and yelled, “Got you!”

There was a young rock wallaby picking up the wood. She dropped it with a clatter.

Pete said, “You took our wood!”

“No, I didn’t,” said the wallaby.

Pete said, “What’s that in your pouch, then?”

The wallaby hung her head. She took a piece of wood out of her pouch.

Pete said, “You stole our wood! Give it back!”

Benson noticed something odd about the wallaby’s face. She had a black eye-patch over one eye. He asked her, “What did you want the wood for?”

The wallaby said, “I needed it for my pirate ship. I didn’t know it was anyone’s wood. I thought it was just a pile.”

Pete said, “A pirate ship? Have you got a pirate ship?”

The wallaby said, “It’s not a pirate ship yet, but it will be when I’ve finished making it. It’s not really a ship exactly, it’s more of a rock that looks like a ship, but I made a plank for walking the plank, and there’s a mast and I was going to make a deck with all this wood.”

Pete said, “No way! A real pirate ship! Look what I’ve got!” He showed her his flag.

“Wow!” said the wallaby. “A pirate flag! That would be perfect for my pirate ship.”

She looked at Pete, and Pete looked at her. She said, “Do you want to help me build my pirate ship? We could build it together.”

Pete jumped up and down with excitement. “I know all about pirates. I could build a really great pirate ship,” he said.

Benson said, “He’s got his own cutlass. He’s even got his own parrot that says, ‘Peet, peet.’”

“Wow!” said the wallaby. “I like your cutlass.”

“I can make you one if you want,” said Pete. “My name’s Pete. ”

The wallaby said, “That’s a great name for a pirate: Pete the Pirate. My name’s Apara.”

“That’s a good name for a pirate too,” said Pete. “Apara the Pirate.”

Pete got his flag and his cutlass and Benson gathered up all the rest of the wood and they went off together to build the pirate ship.

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