The Present That Nobody Wanted

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

Aunt Lillibet’s cousin Ruby sent her a present. Aunt Lillibet was very excited until she opened it up. “Oh, it’s an apron,” she said, disappointed.

“That’s nice,” Benson’s mother said. “That will keep your clothes clean when you’re cooking.”

Aunt Lillibet was frowning. She put the apron on. “Look at this,” she said. The apron had a smiling cow right in the middle of Aunt Lillibet’s chest. Benson fell off his chair laughing.

“Have you ever seen such a dopey cow?” Aunt Lillibet said. Then she had an idea. “I know! I’ll give it to Elton. He’ll love it!” She wrapped the present up again and took it over to Uncle Elton’s place.

“I’ve brought you a present,” she said to Uncle Elton.

“A present? For me? Thank you!” Uncle Elton said. He was very excited. He unwrapped the present. “An apron, with a nice, happy cow on the front! I can wear it when I’m working in my workshop! Thank you very much, Lillibet!”

When Aunt Lillibet had gone, he put on the apron and went straight to his workshop. He was building a desk for his son, Elmer, with wheels so that he could take it outside, and six different cup-holders. He starting sawing a piece of wood, and then zazz! He slipped and sawed right across the apron.

“Oh no!” he said. “I’ve ruined my new apron!” Then he had an idea. “I know! I’ll cut off the ripped part and make it into a nice wrap for Polly’s new baby.” He got his scissors and made a nice square for wrapping the baby up in. Then he took it over to Polly’s place.

“I’ve brought a present for baby Rosie,” he said.

“A present?” Polly said. “Oh, it’s lovely,” she said. “A wrap with an adorable cow on it! Thank you, Elton!”

She wrapped Rosie up in it. “There! Aren’t you the cutest little wombat?” she said.

Rosie sicked up her milk all over the wrap. “Oh no!” Polly said. She popped the wrap into the washing machine. Unfortunately there was a pair of purple socks in the wash, too. When Polly took the wrap out, it was a murky purple colour, and it had shrunk, too.

“Yuck!” she said. “That colour will look awful on Rosie! Besides, it’s too small now.” Then she had an idea. “I know, I’ll give it to Shelley to use as a duster.”

She wrapped it up and took it to Shelley’s. “A present? For me?” Shelley said. “Thank you, Polly! But it’s much too nice to use as a duster.” Then she had an idea. “I know! It would make a beautiful quilt for a doll.”

Shelley got another piece of fabric for the back, and folded the sides over and put some stuffing inside to make it thick and soft, then she sewed it all together. She wrapped it up and took it to Bonnie Lou’s house.

Bonnie Lou was very excited to get a present. “What is it?” she asked.

“It’s a quilt for a doll,” Shelley said. “I made it myself.”

Bonnie Lou said thank you very nicely because she knew it was polite to say thank you when someone gave you a present even if you didn’t like it, but as soon as Shelley was gone, she let her face look as disappointed as she felt. “I don’t play with dolls any more! I’m not a baby,” she said. Then she had an idea. “I know! I’ll make a pin-cushion for Aunt Lillibet. She’ll love it!”

She hunted around in the recycling until she found a small, round tin. It used to have tea-leaves in it, until her brother Mick played frisbees with the lid and bent it in half. She stuffed the quilt into the tin really tightly, so that only a bit stuck out at the top. Then she wrapped it up and took it to Aunt Lillibet’s.

“I’ve made something for you,” she said. “It’s a pin-cushion.”

“A pin-cushion?” said Aunt Lillibet. She unwrapped the present and smiled. “Thank you, Bonnie Lou, it’s just what I wanted! Look, it has that dopey cow right in the middle, just where you stick the pins. I love it!”

“I thought you would,” Bonnie Lou said. And they smiled at each other.

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