The Greedy Goanna

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

Benson’s mother was making lemon myrtle and macadamia muffins, but when she looked in the cupboard but there were no macadamias left.

“Come on, Benson,” she said, “we’ll go down to the big macadamia tree and look for some.”

They took their hats and their water bottles and a bag for the macadamias and they set off. They found a tree full of macadamia nuts and they filled the bag up. On the way home, they saw two bush turkeys, scratching up some worms in a patch of dirt.

“It’s Ken and Kenny,” Benson said. He waved to them, but they just kept on scratching. Then a big old goanna with nasty yellow teeth and a long, powerful tail came sneaking up behind the turkeys. He grabbed one of the them by the neck with his nasty yellow teeth and started trotting away.

“Hey!” Benson’s mother yelled. The goanna stopped and looked at her. “Put that turkey down!” she said.

The turkey gave a nasty smile and started off again.

“I think you’ve got the wrong turkey,” Benson’s mother called out.

“Hunh?” said the goanna. He couldn’t say much with the turkey in his mouth.

“You picked the wrong turkey,” she said. “Don’t you think the other one is much fatter and juicier?”

The goanna looked at the other turkey, who was still scratching around in the dirt, then he tried to look at the one in his mouth but he couldn’t turn his head around because of the turkey in his mouth.

Benson’s mother said, “Look at that other turkey’s legs. Don’t they look plumper and juicier to you?”

Benson thought the turkeys looked exactly the same, but the goanna started to think he was missing out on a nicer, fatter turkey. He dropped the one in his mouth and started to go after the other one.

Benson’s mother clapped her hands and shouted, “Ken! Kenny! Run! Quick, run!”

Ken and Kenny saw the goanna and they ran off as fast as their skinny legs would go.

The goanna was angry. “They won’t get far,” he said. “That was a sneaky trick, but you won’t fool me again.” He trotted off into the bush.

Benson’s mother said, “I think we should follow him.”

Benson asked, “Do you think he’ll try and grab them again?”

“He’s still hungry, isn’t he?” his mother said.

They followed the goanna’s tracks until they came to a clearing, where Ken and Kenny were pecking at some wattle seeds. Benson whispered to his mother, “There’s the goanna, hiding behind the bushes.”

The goanna made a funny noise in this throat, like a turkey gobbling. Ken and Kenny looked up. “Did you hear a turkey?” Ken said.

“I don’t know,” Kenny said. “Let’s go and have a look.” They started wandering towards the bushes.

Benson’s mother said, “We’ve got to do something.” She strolled up behind the goanna and said, “Oh, was that you making a noise like a turkey? That was clever.”

The goanna grinned. He made the turkey noise again. Ken and Kenny came closer.

Benson’s mother said, “Can you make other noises? Can you make a noise like a chicken?”

“Easy!” said the goanna. “Cluck, cluck, cluck!”

Ken said to Kenny, “That turkey sounds like a chicken.”

Kenny said, “It must be a turkey chick, then.” They went closer to the bushes.

Benson’s mother said to the goanna, “I bet you can’t do something difficult, like an elephant.”

“Yes, I can!” said the goanna. He took a deep breath and made a long, loud trumpeting noise.

Ken said, “Look out! There’s an elephant in the bushes, Kenny!”

“Let’s get out of here!” Kenny said. They ran away, squawking and flapping.

The goanna was very angry. He hissed and growled at Benson’s mother. “You’ve fooled me twice but you won’t fool me again. That’s my dinner that just ran away.”

Benson said, “Why don’t you go and eat some snails, or a dead fish?”

The goanna hissed and swung his powerful tail at Benson, but Benson jumped out of the way just in time.

“Next time,” the goanna growled, “it might not be stringy, tough old turkeys that I go after. It might just be a fat young wombat!” He stalked away and disappeared into the bushes.

Benson’s mother said, “I don’t like the sound of that. Come on, I’ve got an idea.”

They hurried home and started making the muffins. Benson helped chop up the macadamias while his mother stirred and mixed. When she was finished, she said, “Go and ask Aunt Lillibet if we can have some of those little bells that she uses to make Christmas decorations.”

Aunt Lillibet gave Benson nearly a whole bag of little bells. Benson gave them to his mother, and she tipped them into the muffin mixture.

“Hey, what did you do that for?” Benson said.

“Sorry, Benson,” she said, “these muffins are not for eating. Not for us, anyway.”

When the muffins came out of the oven, they smelled wonderful. Benson’s mother wrapped them in a tea towel and they set off to find the old goanna.

They went back to the bush where they had left him, and Benson’s mother unfolded the tea towel. The goanna came out, sniffing greedily. “What have you got there?” he said.

“I knew you were hungry, ” she said, “so I made these, especially for you.”

The goanna turned his nasty yellow eye on her. “What’s in them?” he asked.

“Macadamia nuts and lemon myrtle,” she said.

That’s not ALL that’s in them, Benson thought, but he didn’t say anything.

The goanna gulped down every single muffin in just three gulps. “Mmmmm, delicious!” he said. “But if you thought that would stop me hunting turkeys, you were wrong! Now it’s turkey time!”

He smiled his nasty smile and started off, but as soon as he took a single step, there was a tinkling sound, like the sound of dozens of tiny bells inside a goanna’s tummy. “What’s that?” he said. He took another step and the tinkling happened again. “What have you done?” he shouted angrily.

“No more sneaking and hiding for you!” Benson’s mother said. “Now everyone will hear you creeping up behind them.”

The goanna hissed and ran up a tree, and sat there sulking and eating snails for the rest of the day.

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