Once there was a young wombat named Benson, who lived in a nice, roomy wombat hole with his mother and his two aunts, Lillibet and Moss.
One morning Benson woke up and there was a song stuck in his head.
He went out to see his mother. “There’s something stuck in my head,” he said.
“Did you put something in your ear?” she said sharply.
“No,” he said.
“Did you put something up your nose?” she said.
“No,” he said. “It’s music. There’s a song stuck in my head.”
His mother relaxed. “Is that all?” she said. “That’s all right, then.”
“It won’t stop playing,” Benson said. “It just goes round and round and round, like this: ‘If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands….”
“That’s enough,” his mother said. “I don’t want it stuck in my head, thankyou.”
“I can even hear the ‘clap clap’ at the end,” Benson said.
“It’ll probably be gone after breakfast,” his mother said.
It wasn’t gone after breakfast. “It’s still there,” Benson said. He stood on one leg and tipped his head over to one side and hopped.
“What are you doing?” his mother said.
“That’s what I do if I get water in my ear,” he said.
“Is it helping?” she asked.
He stopped hopping and checked. The song was still playing in his head. “No,” he said.
He blocked one nostril and blew hard through the other one.
“What are you doing now?” his mother asked.
“That’s what you tell me to do when I get something in my eye,” Benson said.
“Is it working?” she asked.
Benson stopped blowing his nose and listened inside his head. “No,” he said.
“Why don’t you go and read a book? The music will probably stop as soon as you forget about it and stop paying attention to it,” she said.
Benson went to his room and read his library book which was all about a bunyip who didn’t know he was a bunyip. The song in his head kept playing all the time he was reading, and when he finished the book, the song was still going. He closed the book with a sigh and went out to see his mother.
“It’s still there,” he said.
“What if you try playing the saxophone?” she suggested. “Playing music must stop music playing in your head, don’t you think?”
Benson got out his saxophone and played for a bit. The song in his head stopped. He breathed a sigh of relief. While he was putting the saxophone away, the song in his head started up again, exactly where it had left off before.
He went out to see his mother.
“Is it still there?” she asked.
“It went away for a bit but it came back,” Benson said.
Aunt Lillibet asked, “What’s the matter?”
“Benson has a song stuck in his head,” his mother said.
“Is it something nice?” asked Aunt Moss. “I always seem to have some music or other playing in my head. I don’t know where it comes from. Sometimes even two things at the same time.”
Aunt Lillibet said, “If it was anyone else, it would drive them crazy, but not you, Moss.”
Benson started to say, “It’s…” but Aunt Lillibet clapped her hands over her ears.
“Don’t say it!” she said. “I don’t want it stuck in my head!”
“I know,” said Benson’s mother. “Sing something that you really like, until that gets stuck in your head instead.”
“Okay,” Benson said. He thought of his favourite song and he started to sing it. His mother joined in, and Aunt Moss. When he got to the end, he checked inside his head again.
“You were right,” he told his mother. “It’s gone!” He went off to his room, humming his favourite song. “That’s much better,” he said.
“Anything would be better than ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It’,” his mother said.
“Oh no! Why did you have to say that?” Aunt Lillibet said. She quickly stood on one leg and hopped and blew her nose. “It’s no use,” she groaned. “Now it’s stuck in MY head.”