Once there was a young wombat named Benson who lived in a nice, comfortable wombat hole with his mother and his two aunts, Lillibet and Moss.
Aunt Lillibet was washing the dishes after dinner. Benson’s mother had made two kinds of pasta, one with tomatoes and eggplants and mushrooms, and one with fried zucchini, and Benson had helped Aunt Moss make a lemon butter raspberry cake for dessert, so there was a lot of washing up.
Aunt Lillibet called Benson to come and help her and Aunt Moss. “I’ll wash the dishes and you two dry them and put them away,” she said.
Benson had had both kinds of pasta and two pieces of cake, and he felt like sitting down and never moving again, but he got up and went and got the tea towel. He picked up the very biggest saucepan to dry it, but it slipped out of his fingers and clanged onto the floor.
“Butterfingers!” said Aunt Lillibet.
“Did you say butter fingers?” Benson said. He giggled so much he had to sit down on the floor. “Butter fingers?”
He looked at his short brown fingers with their strong claws for digging and tried to imagine they were made out of butter. “That would never work,” he said. “You couldn’t have a bath, because your fingers would melt away. You couldn’t dig because they’d squoosh up in the dirt. You couldn’t do your buttons up. You couldn’t even tie your shoelaces.”
Aunt Lillibet said, “I just meant that you should take more care with the dishes and not let them slip through your fingers.”
Aunt Moss said, “It’s not very nice to call people names, Lillibet dear. You know sometimes the name sticks! What if Benson’s fingers really did turn into butter?”
Benson imagined having soft yellow fingers that he could nibble on any time he was hungry.
Aunt Lillibet banged the frying pan into the sink. “Really, Moss, it’s nothing to do with you! Don’t be such a sticky-beak!”
Aunt Moss said, “That wasn’t a nice thing to say, Lillibet! Now look what you’ve done!”
Aunt Lillibet looked around at Aunt Moss. There was a piece of cake sticking to the end of her nose.
Aunt Lillibet started to get cross. “Take that off at once, Moss! You’re just a greedy pig!”
Aunt Moss’s nose twitched and she started to snuffle and grunt. “Oink, oink! Oink, oink!” she said, trotting around the kitchen with cake on the end of her nose.
Benson rolled around the kitchen floor laughing.
Aunt Lillibet said loudly, “That’s enough! Stop it, both of you!” She pulled the plug out with an angry pop.
“Oh, you’re such a silly sausage, Lillibet,” Aunt Moss laughed.
Aunt Lillibet wasn’t listening. She was pulling at something in the sink.
“What’s the matter?” asked Aunt Moss.
“My finger!” said Aunt Lillibet. “It’s stuck in the plughole! I can’t get it out!”
Benson and Aunt Moss peered into the sink. Aunt Lillibet’s finger was stuck in one of the holes in the plughole.
“Here, let me help,” Aunt Moss said. She grabbed Aunt Lillibet’s hand and pulled hard.
“Ow! Stop – that hurts!” said Aunt Lillibet.
Aunt Moss stopped pulling. Benson stopped laughing. Aunt Lillibet was getting quite upset.
“You know,” Benson said, “if your finger was really made of butter, it would just slide right out.”
Aunt Moss said, “Benson, this is no time for being silly.”
Aunt Lillibet said, “No, Moss, I think he’s right. Get the butter.”
Aunt Moss smeared butter all over Lillibet’s finger, until it was so slippery it slid right out of the hole.
Aunt Lillibet held her finger up, and wriggled it a bit and bent it over. “It seems fine,” she said.
Aunt Moss said, “Thank goodness! How did you come to get your finger stuck, Lillibet?”
Aunt Lillibet said, “I don’t know. My finger just seemed a bit fatter than usual, and it got stuck in the hole.”
Aunt Moss put her hand over her mouth. “Was that after I called you a silly sausage? I’m so sorry, Lillibet! “ Her eyes filled with tears.
Aunt Lillibet said, “That had nothing to do with it, Moss. Don’t be such a silly goose!”
Aunt Moss took out her handkerchief and blew her nose with a loud, “Hooonk!”
Benson’s mother came into the kitchen. “Oh, you’ve finished all those dishes!” she said. “You’re all angels!”
Aunt Moss and Aunt Lillibet beamed. Benson peeped around behind them to see if any of them had grown wings. They hadn’t, but he had hopes.