The Giant Hairy Nose

Hairy Nose Day 2022

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

One morning everyone was sitting at the table eating breakfast. Benson had porridge with stewed plums and almonds, and then he had some toast with mulberry jelly, and he was just drinking his banana smoothie, when Aunt Moss said, “I had the most horrible dream last night. I dreamed I was being chased by a wombat with a giant hairy nose.”

“Cheese,” Aunt Lillibet said. “Eating cheese at bedtime will always give you nightmares.”

“But I didn’t have any cheese,” Aunt Moss said, crunching on her crumpet with avocado and tomato. “I was so frightened. It was so big and brown and hairy, and it kept coming after me.”

Aunt Lillibet said, “It was only a dream, Moss. Don’t make such a fuss.”

“Sometimes dreams are real,” Benson said. “Once I dreamed it was raining tomatoes, and when I woke up, my red bouncy ball had fallen off the shelf onto my pillow.”

“It’s lucky you didn’t try and eat it,” said Aunt Moss. They both had a little giggle about trying to eat a red bouncy ball.

“Dreams are just dreams,” Aunt Lillibet said. “Don’t be so silly.”

Just then there was a low, rumbling sound and a loud ‘flummp’. A whole pile of earth fell onto the table right in front of them. When they looked up, a giant hairy nose was poking through the roof over their heads.

Aunt Lillibet screamed and grabbed her bowl of porridge and held her hat on with her other hand and ran for the front door, pushing Benson and Aunt Moss in front of her. “Get out, get out!” she yelled. “It’s coming for us!”

Benson noticed that his mother hadn’t moved at all. She was staring at the brown, hairy shape that was coming through the ceiling.

He had a terrible thought. He stopped suddenly. Aunt Lillibet ran into him and dropped her porridge bowl. “What are you doing, Benson?” she shouted. “Get out of the way!”

Benson said, “Wait! If that’s the wombat’s nose, what’s outside?”

Aunt Lillibet’s eyes boggled. She threw her hat in the air and ran shrieking into her bedroom and slammed the door.

Aunt Moss said, “Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear,” and ran around in small circles.

Benson’s mother said, “It’s all right, Moss, calm down. It’s not a hairy nose. I think it’s just the root of a big gum tree that’s broken through the ceiling. All those straggly hairs are just little rootlets.”

Benson looked hard at the big lumpy shape. It was easy to see that it was just an old root, covered in lumps of dirt. It actually looked more like an elbow than a nose. “What about my banana smoothie?” he said. There was dirt all over the table, and Benson’s smoothie was a cup of mud.

“Let’s think about making you another smoothie later,” his mother said.

Benson started to get worried again. “Why? Is the tree going to fall down on us?”

“No, this trees must have hundreds of roots holding it up,” his mother said. “This is just one of its arms. But I do think we’re going to have to dig a new kitchen. And we’re going to need help.”

She and Benson went to see Mr Fenn and Shelley to ask them to help, while Aunt Moss went to ask Gordon and Uncle Elmer. Before long they were all pacing around, measuring things with bits of string and talking about complicated things like solar orientation and geo-physical stability. Benson had an apple and waited.

“So we’ll start about here,” Mr Fenn said, “and dig this way,” he pointed with his arms, “and go across that way, and finish about there.”

Benson’s mother nodded. “That way it will connect up to the other rooms but it will be out of the way of the rest of the roots of the tree,” she said. “We’ll block off the old doorway for safety, and make the new front door just here.”

They began digging. Benson and Aunt Moss and Uncle Elmer got everything out of the old kitchen, and when the new kitchen was finished, they moved everything back in again.

“This is lovely!” Benson’s mother exclaimed. “It’s so big and roomy, and there’s so much light from the new front door.” Everyone came in and she started making sandwiches for everyone. “Benson, as soon as you’ve finished, you can make a new sunning spot outside the front door. It will get much more sun than the old one.”

Benson said, with his mouth full of parsley and broccoli sandwiches, “Aunt Lillibet will be happy. It’s a lot closer to her vegetable garden.”

Everyone stopped and stared at him. They had forgotten all about Aunt Lillibet. “Her door is all blocked up with dirt,” Aunt Moss said. “Oh no! She’ll be trapped inside her room!”

“No problem,” Mr Fenn said. “We’ll just go right through that wall there and make her a new door.”

They dug fast and hard, and then Shelley gave a big kick with her back feet and broke a hole in the wall of Aunt Lillibet’s room.

Aunt Lillibet was hiding under her bed, fast asleep, with her biggest knitting needle in her hand.

“You can come out now, Aunt Lillibet,” Benson said.

Aunt Lillibet woke up with a start. “Get away from me, you great big hairy monster! You’re not getting me with your giant hairy nose!”

“Don’t worry, Aunt Lillibet,” he said. “It wasn’t a giant hairy nose at all. It was more like a gum-tree’s hairy elbow.”

They took her out to the lovely new kitchen, and Benson’s mother made banana smoothies for everyone. Aunt Lillibet had a nice cup of camomile tea and felt a lot better.

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