Sidney Snail, Ripple the Rabbit and Frankie Frog had not been out for quite a while on any adventures. They were getting bored and wanted to do something very different.
They met, as usual, by the pond but could not think of any good ideas and just spent their time watching the different coloured fish swimming in the pond. Round and round went the fish, never seeming to get tired.
“If only I could swim,” said Sidney “I could swim to the other side of the world.” Ripple looked at Sidney and said “Did you know the world is round?” “No” said Sidney, “in that case if I could swim it would take me twice as long.” After talking for a while the three friends said goodbye and arranged to meet the next day.
Sidney was not tired and decided to go for a walk. As he got half way along a footpath near the road he saw a big red box and the door was open. “I wonder what that is,” said Sidney to himself. “It looks warm so I will go and have a look.” Sidney climbed up to the open door and into the box. There was lots of paper in the box. “This looks good,” said Sidney to himself, and snuggling down he fell fast asleep.
Sidney Snail woke up very suddenly. “Where am I; what is happening? he said to himself. He seemed to be inside something that was moving and he was frightened. “I want to go home,” he said to himself. He could do nothing for the moment and knew he had to stay where he was until whatever he was in stopped moving. He crept out of the box he seemed to have fallen into and looked around him. Moving towards a small window, he climbed up and looked out. “My goodness,” said Sidney “ I am up in the sky in a machine. How did I get here and where am I going?”
Sidney fell asleep again and when he woke up everything was very still and quiet. He very slowly came out of his shell and saw he was in a big building. Slowly he walked forward until he came to an open door. Going through the door he looked around him and ran towards a fence and some trees. He reached the trees. They all had leaves on and he could see lots of grass and Samantha Sun was shining. “ How had she got here?” he asked himself. All at once a small animal hopped towards Sidney.
“Hello little snail what is your name?” “I am Sidney Snail,” replied Sidney. “ I have traveled a long way. Who are you and what is your name?” he asked. “ I am Wobbly the Wallaby,” said his new friend. “But Ripple the Rabbit told me wallabies lived a long way away in Australia,” said Sidney. “Well” said Wobbly, “you are in Australia.” “But I can’t be” said Sidney. “I live in England.” “Well” said Wobbly, “how did you get here?” Sidney looked at him and said, “I came in a rocket in the sky.”
Wobbly the Wallaby laughed “I think you mean an airplane” he said. “You are a very brave snail.” Sidney did not feel very brave. He was in a strange country and how was he going to get back home?
“Before you go back to England you must come and meet some of my friends in the woods.” “Sit on my back and I will carry you,” said Wobbly. The unlikely pair traveled a short way and Wobbly called out to his friends, “come and meet Sidney Snail, all the way from England.”
Out of the woods came the strangest animals Sidney had ever seen. There was a possum, a kangaroo, grey furry koala bears, an echidna with prickles, which looked like a large hedgehog and a brown furry wombat. Wobbly took Sidney to meet them all. “We only live here in Australia and nowhere else in the world,” said Wobbly. “It is our summer here.” Sidney could not understand. “In England it is very cold and dark now. Why is that?” Wobbly replied, “when it is night in Australia it is daytime in England. When it is winter in England it is summer here.” The seasons are the other way round. Sidney was very impressed.
The new friends and Sidney walked to the beach. The sand was so white and soft and the sea the bluest blue Sidney had ever seen. Wobbly showed Sidney how to throw a boomerang and make it come back again. It was great fun.
“I would like to bring my friends Ripple the Rabbit and Frankie Frog to visit Australia,” said Sidney Snail. “They are very welcome to come,” said Wobbly, “but we have to think how we can get you home.”
The friends sat and chatted and Wobbly said “we will sleep here for tonight because Sidney will be very tired and we will try to get him back to England tomorrow.”
When Sidney woke in the morning he was very hungry. He liked his new friends but he missed Ripple the Rabbit and Frankie the Frog. He wanted to go home.
Wobbly came hopping towards him with a big juicy green lettuce. It tasted so good and he ate one whole leaf to himself.
“How am I going to get back home Wobbly?” asked Sidney. “We will think of something,” replied Wobbly. Kipper the Koala joined them and they sat and thought and thought “I know” said Wobbly, “Sidney arrived on an airplane so he can go back on an airplane.” “Oh, why didn’t I think of that?” replied Sidney.
The three friends walked to the big shed where Sidney had woken up in a box when he arrived in Australia. All the boxes had gone but there were lots of parcels being loaded onto an airplane. The friends said their good-byes and Sidney promised to come to see them again bringing Ripple and Frankie with him. Wobbly gave Sidney the boomerang as a present.
Sidney found a large parcel which was very soft and had lots of red ribbon on it. He climbed onto the parcel and hid under the ribbon and fell fast asleep.
When Sidney woke up he thought it had all been a dream. He was lying under the big tree in the garden.
Suddenly he saw Ripple and called out to him. Frankie came hopping up the garden at the same time. Sidney had never been so glad to see them.
“Where have you been Sidney?” asked Ripple and Frankie. “I,” said Sidney, “have been to Australia. I met Wobbly the Wallaby; Kipper the Koala, and some other animals, which only live in Australia.”
Ripple and Frankie laughed. “Oh Sidney,” said Ripple, “you do tell some fine tales.” “But it is true,” said Sidney, “I really did go to Australia.” “In your dreams,” said his friends. They stayed and chatted for a while and Sidney said goodbye, as he wanted to go home.
After Sidney had left, Ripple and Frankie laughed about Sidney and his stories and said goodnight to each other.
Just as they were leaving Ripple saw something under the tree. He picked it up. “ What is it?” asked Frankie. “It is a boomerang,” said Ripple who knew everything. “You throw it and it comes back to you?” Frankie had never seen a boomerang before. “Where did it come from do you think?” he asked.
“There is only one place it could have come from,” said Ripple “and that is Australia.”
Ripple and Frankie left each other deep in thought. “Had Sidney really been to Australia after all?” “But that was not possible, was it? Only Sidney knew the answer.
Written By Barbara Brewin ©
Illustrated by Lenard Eccles