"Come, Warreen, sleep outside with me" said
Mirram. "It's much better to look up at the stars at night and listen
to the fresh wind in the trees."
"It's too cold outside" snuffled Warreen, "and sometimes
it rains. I might get wet! I like sleeping in my hut with a nice fire
to keep me warm."
Mirram the Kangaroo would not accept this. "Your bark hut is dark
and smelly. It is much better to sleep out in the clean air under the
bright stars!" "No, thank you" said Warreen. "I will
stay in my hut where I am comfortable."
Mirram was impatient. "You are too scared to sleep outside with
me. You are frightened to feel a little wind." "I'm not frightened"
snuffled Warreen. "I just like sleeping in my bark hut!"
Mirram kept on taunting Warreen, until one night the wombat agreed to
sleep outside. During the night he got really cold and waddled back inside
the hut. Kangaroo laughed at him.
All summer they played together as friends, but Mirram sometimes still
made fun of Warreen's hut.
Things changed when winter came. The wind became colder at night while
Mirram slept outside. At first he didn't mind. He snuggled up to a tree
to protect himself, and laughed at the thought of Warreen in his smelly
hut. "Wombat would not brave the wind like me" he said to himself.
The wind became stronger and colder. Mirram curled himself into a tight
ball, hugging his tree.
He told himself that the wind couldn't hurt him - he wasn't afraid. When
it began to rain, he muttered "a little wind and rain won't hurt
me. I'm not afraid."
One night, blasts of wind lashed the kangaroo with raindrops that felt
like icy needles. Mirram was so wet and cold, he couldn't take it any
longer. He struggled onto his hind legs and blown by the wind, hopped
slowly towards the bark hut.
Wet leaves"It is me!" screamed Mirram, banging on the door.
"Now, let me in!" "No!" yelled Wombat. "There
isn't enough room."
Mirram's teeth were chattering. He became very angry and pushed hard
at the door until it opened. "I'm inside now - and you aren't big
enough to throw me out!"
"H'mmph" snorted Warreen. "Well, sleep over there - in
the corner. You're all wet and I don't want cold rainwater dripping on
me." Wombat stretched out near the fire again and went back to sleep.
Mirram lay down in the corner, but there was a hole in the wall of the
hut and the wind and rain came in. He couldn't dry himself or get warm.
The fire went out, but Warreen didn't notice. He snored as he slept and
laughed every now and again, enjoying a nice dream. This made Mirram more
In the morning his body was stiff and sore. He hobbled outside and picked
up a large rock. When he came back, Warreen was stretching and yawning
as he woke up. Mirram dropped the rock on Warreen's head, flattening his
forehead and making his nose curl around
"This is for not helping me get warm and dry" said Mirram.
"And from now on, you will always live in a damp hole. Your flattened
forehead and cold home will remind you of last night."
After that, Warreen and Mirram didn't speak to each other or play together
and Warreen planned revenge.
He made a big spear and waited until Mirram was busy washing himself.
Then he threw the spear with all his strength and it hit the kangaroo
at the base of his spine. Mirram yelled in pain and tried to pull the
spear out, but it was stuck.
"From now on, that will be your long tail" yelled Warreen,
"and you'll never have a home to live in!"
That is why wombats now have flat foreheads and live in dark, damp burrows
underground and why kangaroos have long tails and always sleep outside,
under the stars.