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.
At Easter time everyone got chocolate Easter eggs, but Philip’s mother’s cousin sent him a chocolate fairy. The fairy had fine delicate wings, and a little chocolate dress that stuck out for dancing, and a tiny little chocolate crown. Everyone ate their chocolate Easter eggs straight away, but Philip thought the fairy was so beautiful he couldn’t bear to eat her.
He brought it to the playground and everyone gathered round.
“Isn’t she beautiful?” Philip breathed.
“Can I have the legs?” Mick asked.
“No! Don’t touch her!” Philip said. “If you break the legs off, she can’t dance.”
“The legs are all wrong anyway,” said Alejandro. “If she were really doing a pirouette, her hand would be like so.” He put his hands up and did a perfect spin. “Let’s just eat her,” he said.
“No!” said Philip.
“Aren’t you going to share her?” Mick asked.
“I’m never going to eat her,” Philip said. “I’m going to keep her on the shelf in my room.”
“You’ll have to eat her some time,” Benson said. “The use-by date is September.”
Alejandro said, “If she gets too old she’ll go all white and weird. My mother had some chocolate once that she kept in the fridge and it got all white spots on it.”
Mick said, “What if Kendall finds her and slimes all over her?” Kendall was Philip’s friend who was a snail. “I think we should just eat her now,” he said and made a grab for the fairy.
Philip swished it out of the way just in time. He gave her to Zali to hold and gave Mick a smack. Mick hit him back and suddenly they were rolling on the ground fighting. Zali looked at the fairy and opened her mouth to take a big bite. Benson shouted, “No, Zali!”
Philip stopped fighting and looked up. “Don’t do it, Zali!” he shouted and grabbed for the fairy. There was a tussle between Philip and Mick and Zali, and Philip came out on top, holding the fairy out of reach of the others.
“I’m taking my fairy home right now!” he shouted and stamped off. He waited for a minute beside Benson’s bike, and when Benson came up he whispered to him. “I think Mick might try and grab her on the way home. Can you take her to your place, just for a while? I’ll come and get her later on.”
Benson rode home very carefully, carrying the fairy.
Aunt Moss thought she was lovely. “Look at those tiny wings, and those beautiful little dancing slippers!” she said.
Aunt Lillibet said, “You should be very careful holding her like that, Benson. Those legs are very fragile. They could easily break.”
Benson said, “I am being careful,” and at that exact same moment, the fairy’s legs snapped off.
Benson gasped. The fairy’s body was in one hand and her legs were in his other hand.
He thought of how Philip was going to feel when he saw the fairy with its legs snapped off. He would be really upset. He might be really sad. He could be really angry.
“What am I going to do?” he said.
“Write him a letter,” Aunt Lillibet said. “’Dear Philip, I snapped the legs off your fairy. Sorry. Love, Benson.’”
“Maybe I can glue them back on,” Benson said.
“I don’t think so,” his mother said. “I think if he was eating the fairy, he wouldn’t want a mouthful of glue when he was expecting chocolate.”
Aunt Lillibet said, “I’ve got some licorice in my room. We could make some new legs out of that and join them on.”
Benson’s mother looked at her. “Lillibet,” she said, “There are two kinds of people in the world, people who like chocolate, and the other ones, who like licorice. Let’s leave it at that.”
Aunt Moss said, “What if we melted the top of the legs and the bottom of the dress? Then they might stick back together again.”
They decided to try it. Benson’s mother warmed up a bowl over hot water and they melted the top of the legs a little bit and the bottom of the dress a little bit. Then they carefully squooshed them together. The legs squooshed just a little bit too far, and the dress smeared out just a bit too much. The legs stuck on, but they definitely didn’t look right. There was a dip where Benson’s thumb had been.
They all looked at the fairy, who looked like an unusual spoon.
“Maybe Philip won’t notice,” Benson said.
Just then there was a knock at the door. It was Philip.
“Thanks for minding my fairy,” he said. “I’ll take her home now.”
Benson gave Philip the fairy. Philip looked at her and his face fell.
Benson said, “The legs kind of snapped off. Sorry. But we fixed them again, see?”
Philip put the fairy down. He didn’t feel the same about her any more, now that she wasn’t perfect. “You can have her if you want,” he said.
“Really?” Benson said, getting excited. “You mean it?”
“If you want,” Philip said. He felt upset and disappointed and empty all at the same time.
“Which part do you want?” Benson said, getting ready to break the fairy into pieces.
Philip said, “I don’t want any. I don’t really like chocolate, anyway.”
“You don’t like chocolate?” Benson said.
Aunt Lillibet said, “Would you like some of my licorice, Philip?”
“Licorice?” Philip said, brightening up. Suddenly he felt a lot happier. “Yes, please! I love licorice.”
Benson and his mother and Aunt Moss shared out the chocolate fairy together, and kept a piece for Mick and a piece for Zali. Philip and Aunt Lillibet ate licorice together. Everyone was happy.