If you happen to have read another book about Christopher Robin, you may remember that he once had a swan (or the swan had Christopher Robin, I don't know which) and that he used to call this swan Pooh. That was a long time ago, and when we said good-bye, we took the name with us, as we didn't think the swan would want it any more. Well, when Edward Bear said that he would like an exciting name all to himself, Christopher Robin said at once, without stopping to think, that he was Winnie-the-Pooh. And he was. So, as I have explained the Pooh part, I will now explain the rest of it.
You can't be in London for long without going to the Zoo. There are some people who begin the Zoo at the beginning, called WAYIN, and walk as quickly as they can past every cage until they get to the one called WAYOUT, but the nicest people go straight to the animal they love the most, and stay there. So when Christopher Robin goes to the Zoo, he goes to where the Polar Bears are, and he whispers something to the third keeper from the left, and doors are unlocked, and we wander through dark passages and up steep stairs, until at last we come to the special cage, and the cage is opened, and out trots something brown and furry, and with a happy cry of “Oh, Bear!” Christopher Robin rushes into its arms. Now this bear's name is Winnie, which shows what a good name for bears it is, but the funny thing is that we can't remember whether Winnie is called after Pooh, or Pooh after Winnie. We did know once, but we have forgotten...
I had written as far as this when Piglet looked up and said in his squeaky voice, “What about Me?” “My dear Piglet,” I said, “the whole book is about you.” “So it is about Pooh,” he squeaked. You see what it is. He is jealous because he thinks Pooh is having a Grand Introduction all to himself. Pooh is the favourite, of course, there's no denying it, but Piglet comes in for a good many things which Pooh misses; because you can't take Pooh to school without everybody knowing it, but Piglet is so small that he slips into a pocket, where it is very comforting to feel him when you are not quite sure whether twice seven is twelve or twenty-two. Sometimes he slips out and has a good look in the ink-pot, and in this way he has got more education than Pooh, but Pooh doesn't mind. Some have brains, and some haven't, he says, and there it is.
And now all the others are saying, “What about Us?” So perhaps the best thing to do is to stop writing Introductions and get on with the book.
A. A. M.
IN WHICH WE ARE INTRODUCED TO
WINNIE-THE-POOH AND SOME BEES, AND THE STORIES BEGIN
HERE is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it.
And then he feels that perhaps there isn't. Anyhow, here he is at the bottom, and ready to be introduced to you. Winnie-the-Pooh.
When I first heard his name, I said, just as you are going to say, “But I thought he was a boy?”
“So did I,” said Christopher Robin.
“Then you can't call him Winnie?”
“But you said—”
“He's Winnie-ther-Pooh. Don't you know what 'ther' means?”
“Ah, yes, now I do,” I said quickly; and I hope you do too, because it is all the explanation you are going to get.
Sometimes Winnie-the-Pooh likes a game of some sort when he comes downstairs, and sometimes he likes to sit quietly in front of the fire and listen to a story. This evening—
“What about a story?” said Christopher Robin.
“What about a story?” I said.
“Could you very sweetly tell Winnie-the-Pooh one?”
“I suppose I could,” I said. “What sort of stories does he like?”
“About himself. Because he's that sort of Bear.”
“Oh, I see.”
“So could you very sweetly?”
“I'll try,” I said.
So I tried.
Once upon a time, a very long time ago now, about last Friday, Winnie-the-Pooh lived in a forest all by himself under the name of Sanders.
(“What does 'under the name' mean?” asked Christopher Robin. “It means he had the name over the door in gold letters, and lived under it.”
“Winnie-the-Pooh wasn't quite sure,” said Christopher Robin.
“Now I am,” said a growly voice.
“Then I will go on,” said I.)
One day when he was out walking, he came to an open place in the middle of the forest, and in the middle of this place was a large oak-tree, and, from the top of the tree, there came a loud buzzing-noise.
Winnie-the-Pooh sat down at the foot of the tree, put his head between his paws and began to think.
First of all he said to himself: “That buzzing-noise means something. You don't get a buzzing-noise like that, just buzzing and buzzing, without its meaning something. If there's a buzzing-noise, somebody's making a buzzing-noise, and the only reason for making a buzzing-noise that I know of is because you're a bee.”
Then he thought another long time, and said: “And the only reason for being a bee that I know of is making honey.”
And then he got up, and said: “And the only reason for making honey is so as I can eat it.” So he began to climb the tree
He climbed and he climbed and he climbed and as he climbed he sang a little song to himself. It went like this:
Isn't it funny
How a bear likes honey?
Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!
I wonder why he does?
Then he climbed a little further.. . and a little further... and then just a little further. By that time he had thought of another song.
It's a very funny thought that, if Bears were Bees,
They'd build their nests at the bottom of trees.
And that being so (if the Bees were Bears),
We shouldn't have to climb up all these stairs.
He was getting rather tired by this time, so that is why he sang a Complaining Song. He was nearly there now, and if he just s t o o d o n t h a t branch...
“Oh, help!” said Pooh, as he dropped ten feet on the branch below him.
“If only I hadn't—“ he said, as he bounced twenty feet on to the next branch.
“You see, what I meant to do,” he explained, as he turned head-over-heels, and crashed on to another branch thirty feet below, “what I meant to do—”
“Of course, it was rather—“ he admitted, as he slithered very quickly through the next six branches.
“It all comes, I suppose,” he decided, as he said good-bye to the last branch, spun round three times, and flew gracefully into a gorse-bush, “it all comes of liking honey so much. Oh, help!”
He crawled out of the gorse-bush, brushed the prickles from his nose, and began to think again. And the first person he thought of was Christopher Robin.
(“Was that me?” said Christopher Robin in an awed voice, hardly daring to believe it.
“That was you.”
Christopher Robin said nothing, but his eyes got larger and larger, and his face got pinker and pinker.)
So Winnie-the-Pooh went round to his friend Christopher Robin, who lived behind a green door in another part of the Forest.
“Good morning, Christopher Robin,” he said.
“Good morning, Winnie-ther-Pooh,” said you.
“I wonder if you've got such a thing as a balloon about you?”
“Yes, I just said to myself coming along: 'I wonder if Christopher Robin has such a thing as a balloon about him?' I just said it to myself, thinking of balloons, and wondering.”
“What do you want a balloon for?” you said.
Winnie-the-Pooh looked round to see that nobody was listening, put his paw to his mouth, and said in a deep whisper: “Honey!”
“But you don't get honey with balloons!”
“I do,” said Pooh.
Well, it just happened that you had been to a party the day before at the house of your friend Piglet, and you had balloons at the party. You had had a big green balloon; and one of Rabbit's relations had had a big blue one, and had left it behind, being really too young to go to a party at all; and so you had brought the green one and the blue one home with you.
“Which one would you like?” you asked Pooh. He put his head between his paws and thought very carefully.
“It's like this,” he said. “When you go after honey with a balloon, the great thing is not to let the bees know you're coming. Now, if you have a green balloon, they might think you were only part of the tree, and not notice you, and if you have a blue balloon, they might think you were only part of the sky, and not notice you, and the question is: Which is most likely?”
“Wouldn't they notice you underneath the balloon?” you asked.
“They might or they might not,” said Winnie-the-Pooh. “You never can tell with bees.” He thought for a moment and said: “I shall try to look like a small black cloud. That will deceive them.”
“Then you had better have the blue balloon,” you said; and so it was decided.
Well, you both went out with the blue balloon, and you took your gun with you, just in case, as you always did, and Winnie-the-Pooh went to a very muddy place that he knew of, and rolled and rolled until he was black all over; and then, when the balloon was blown up as big as big, and you and Pooh were both holding on to the string, you let go suddenly, and Pooh Bear floated gracefully up into the sky, and stayed there—level with the top of the tree and about twenty feet away from it.
“Hooray!” you shouted.
“Isn't that fine?” shouted Winnie-the-Pooh down to you. “What do I look like?”
“Not,” said Pooh anxiously, “—not like a small black cloud in a blue sky?”
“Not very much.”
“Ah, well, perhaps from up here it looks different. And, as I say, you never can tell with bees.”
There was no wind to blow him nearer to the tree, so there he stayed. He could see the honey, he could smell the honey, but he couldn't quite reach the honey.
After a little while he called down to you.
“Christopher Robin!” he said in a loud whisper.
“I think the bees suspect something!”
“What sort of thing?”
“I don't know. But something tells me that they're suspicious!”
“Perhaps they think that you're after their honey?”
“It may be that. You never can tell with bees.”
There was another little silence, and then he called down to you again.
“Have you an umbrella in your house?”
“I think so.”
“I wish you would bring it out here, and walk up and down with it, and look up at me every now and then, and say 'Tut-tut, it looks like rain. ' I think, if you did that, it would help the deception which we are practising on these bees.”
Well, you laughed to yourself, “Silly old Bear !” but you didn't say it aloud because you were so fond of him, and you went home for your umbrella.
“Oh, there you are!” called down Winnie-the-Pooh, as soon as you got back to the tree. “I was beginning to get anxious. I have discovered that the bees are now definitely Suspicious.”
“Shall I put my umbrella up?” you said.
“Yes, but wait a moment. We must be practical. The important bee to deceive is the Queen Bee. Can you see which is the Queen Bee from down there?”
“A pity. Well, now, if you walk up and down with your umbrella, saying, 'Tut-tut, it looks like rain,' I shall do what I can by singing a little Cloud Song, such as a cloud might sing... Go!”
So, while you walked up and down and wondered if it would rain, Winnie-the-Pooh sang this song:
How sweet to be a Cloud
Floating in the Blue!
Every little cloud
Always sings aloud.
“How sweet to be a Cloud
Floating in the Blue!”
It makes him very proud
To be a little cloud.
The bees were still buzzing as suspiciously as ever. Some of them, indeed, left their nests and flew all round the cloud as it began the second verse of this song, and one bee sat down on the nose of the cloud for a moment, and then got up again.
“Christopher—ow!—Robin,” called out the cloud.
“I have just been thinking, and I have come to a very important decision. These are the wrong sort of bees.”
“Quite the wrong sort. So I should think they would make the wrong sort of honey, shouldn't you?”
“Yes. So I think I shall come down.”
“How?” asked you.
Winnie-the-Pooh hadn't thought about this. If he let go of the string, he would fall—bump—and he didn't like the idea of that. So he thought for a long time, and then he said:
“Christopher Robin, you must shoot the balloon with your gun. Have you got your gun?”
“Of course I have,” you said. “But if I do that, it will spoil the balloon,” you said. But if you don't” said Pooh, “I shall have to let go, and that would spoil me.”
When he put it like this, you saw how it was, and you aimed very carefully at the balloon, and fired.
“Ow!” said Pooh.
“Did I miss?” you asked.
“You didn't exactly miss,” said Pooh, “but you missed the balloon.”
“I'm so sorry,” you said, and you fired again, and this time you hit the balloon and the air came slowly out, and Winnie-the-Pooh floated down to the ground.
But his arms were so stiff from holding on to the string of the balloon all that time that they stayed up straight in the air for more than a week, and whenever a fly came and settled on his nose he had to blow it off. And I think—but I am not sure—that that is why he was always called Pooh.
“Is that the end of the story?” asked Christopher Robin.
“That's the end of that one. There are others.”
“About Pooh and Me?”
“And Piglet and Rabbit and all of you. Don't you remember?”
“I do remember, and then when I try to remember, I forget.”
“That day when Pooh and Piglet tried to catch the Heffalump—”
“They didn't catch it, did they?”
“Pooh couldn't, because he hasn't any brain. Did I catch it?”
“Well, that comes into the story.”
Christopher Robin nodded.
“I do remember,” he said, “only Pooh doesn't very well, so that's why he likes having it told to him again. Because then it's a real story and not just a remembering.”
“That's just how I feel,” I said.
Christopher Robin gave a deep sigh, picked his Bear up by the leg, and walked off to the door, trailing Pooh behind him. At the door he turned and said, “Coming to see me have my bath?” “I didn't hurt him when I shot him, did I?” “Not a bit.” He nodded and went out, and in a moment I heard Winnie-the-Pooh—bump, bump, bump—going up the stairs behind him.
IN WHICH POOH GOES VISITING AND GETS INTO A TIGHT PLACE
EDWARD BEAR, known to his friends as Winnie-the-Pooh, or Pooh for short, was walking through the forest one day, humming proudly to himself. He had made up a little hum that very morning, as he was doing his Stoutness Exercises in front of the glass: Tra-la-la, tra-la-la, as he stretched up as high as he could go, and then Tra-la-la, tra-la—oh, help!—la, as he tried to reach his toes. After breakfast he had said it over and over to himself until he had learnt it off by heart, and now he was humming it right through, properly. It went like this:
Well, he was humming this hum to himself, and walking along gaily, wondering what everybody else was doing, and what it felt like, being somebody else, when suddenly he came to a sandy bank, and in the bank was a large hole.
“Aha !” said Pooh. (Rum-tum-tiddle-um-tum.) “If I know anything about anything, that hole means Rabbit,” he said, “and Rabbit means Company,” he said, “and Company means Food and Listening-to-Me-Humming and such like. Rum-tum-tum-tiddle-um.
So he bent down, put his head into the hole, and called out:
“Is anybody at home?”
There was a sudden scuffling noise from inside the hole, and then silence.
“What I said was, 'Is anybody at home?'” called out Pooh very loudly.
“No!” said a voice; and then added, “You needn't shout so loud. I heard you quite well the first time.”
“Bother!” said Pooh. “Isn't there anybody here at all?”
Winnie-the-Pooh took his head out of the hole, and thought for a little, and he thought to himself, “There must be somebody there, because somebody must have said 'Nobody. '” So he put his head back in the hole, and said: “Hallo, Rabbit, isn't that you?”
“No,” said Rabbit, in a different sort of voice this time.
“But isn't that Rabbit's voice?”
“I don't think so,” said Rabbit. “It isn't meant to be.”
“Oh!” said Pooh.
He took his head out of the hole, and had another think, and then he put it back, and said:
“Well, could you very kindly tell me where Rabbit is?”
“He has gone to see his friend Pooh Bear, who is a great friend of his.”
“But this is Me!” said Bear, very much surprised.
“What sort of Me?”
“Are you sure?” said Rabbit, still more surprised.
“You were quite right,” said Rabbit, looking at him all over. “It is you. Glad to see you.”
“Who did you think it was?”
“Well, I wasn't sure. You know how it is in the Forest. One can't have anybody coming into one's house. One has to be careful. What about a mouthful of something?”
Pooh always liked a little something at eleven o'clock in the morning, and he was very glad to see Rabbit getting out the plates and mugs; and when Rabbit said, “Honey or condensed milk with your bread?” he was so excited that he said, “Both,” and then, so as not to seem greedy, he added, “But don't bother about the bread, please.” And for a long time after that he said nothing... until at last, humming to himself in a rather sticky voice, he got up, shook Rabbit lovingly by the paw, and said that he must be going on.
“Must you?” said Rabbit politely
“Well,” said Pooh, “I could stay a little longer if it—if you—“ and he tried very hard to look in the direction of the larder.
“As a matter of fact,” said Rabbit, “I was going out myself directly.”
“Oh well, then, I'll be going on. Good-bye.”
“Well, good-bye, if you're sure you won't have any more.”
“Is there any more?” asked Pooh quickly.
Rabbit took the covers off the dishes, and said, “No, there wasn't.”
“I thought not,” said Pooh, nodding to himself “Well, good-bye. I must be going on.”
So he started to climb out of the hole. He pulled with his front paws, and pushed with his back paws, and in a little while his nose was out in the open again... and then his ears... and then his front paws... and then his shoulders... and then—
“Oh, help!” said Pooh. “I'd better go back.”
“Oh, bother!” said Pooh. “I shall have to go on.”
“I can't do either!” said Pooh. “Oh, help and bother!”
Now, by this time Rabbit wanted to go for a walk too, and finding the front door full, he went out by the back door, and came round to Pooh, and looked at him.
“Hallo, are you stuck?” he asked.
“N-no,” said Pooh carelessly. “Just resting and thinking and humming to myself.”
“Here, give us a paw.”
Pooh Bear stretched out a paw, and Rabbit pulled and pulled and pulled....
“It all comes,” said Rabbit sternly, “of eating too much. I thought at the time,” said Rabbit, “only I didn't like to say anything,” said Rabbit, “that one of us has eating too much,” said Rabbit, “and I knew it wasn't me,” he said. “Well, well, I shall go and fetch Christopher Robin.”
Christopher Robin lived at the other end of the Forest, and when he came back with Rabbit, and saw the front half of Pooh, he said, “Silly old Bear,” in such a loving voice that everybody felt quite hopeful again.
“I was just beginning to think,” said Bear, sniffing slightly, “that Rabbit might never be able to use his front door again. And I should hate that,” he said.
“So should I,” said Rabbit.
“Use his front door again?” said Christopher Robin. “Of course he'll use his front door again. “Good,” said Rabbit.
“If we can't pull you out, Pooh, we might push you back.”
Rabbit scratched his whiskers thoughtfully, and pointed out that, when once Pooh was pushed back, he was back, and of course nobody was more glad to see Pooh than he was, still there it was, some lived in trees and some lived underground, and—
“You mean I'd never get out?” said Pooh.
“I mean,” said Rabbit, “that having got so far, it seems a pity to waste it.”
Christopher Robin nodded.
“Then there's only one thing to be done,” he said. “We shall have to wait for you to get thin again.”
“How long does getting thin take?” asked Pooh anxiously.
“About a week, I should think.”
“But I can't stay here for a week!”
“You can stay here all right, silly old Bear. It's getting you out which is so difficult.”
“We'll read to you,” said Rabbit cheerfully. “And I hope it won't snow,” he added. “And I say, old fellow, you're taking up a good deal of room in my house—do you mind if I use your back legs as a towel-horse? Because, I mean, there they are—doing nothing—and it would be very convenient just to hang the towels on them.”
Bear began to sigh, and then found he couldn't because he was so tightly stuck; and a tear rolled down his eye, as he said:
“Then would you read a Sustaining Book, such as would help and comfort a Wedged Bear in Great Tightness?” So for a week Christopher
Robin read that sort of book at the North end of Pooh, and Rabbit hung his washing on the South end... and in between Bear felt himself getting slenderer and slenderer. And at the end of the week Christopher Robin said, “Now!”
So he took hold of Pooh's front paws and Rabbit took hold of Christopher Robin, and all Rabbit's friends and relations took hold of Rabbit, and they all pulled together....
And for a long time Pooh only said “Ow!”...
And then, all of a sudden, he said “Pop!” just as if a cork were coming out of bottle.
And Christopher Robin and Rabbit and all Rabbit's friends and relations went head-over-heels backwards... and on the top of them came Winnie-the-Pooh—free!
So, with a nod of thanks to his friends, he went on with his walk through the forest, humming proudly to himself. But, Christopher Robin looked after him lovingly, and said to himself, “Silly old Bear!”
IN WHICH POOH AND PIGLET GO HUNTING AND NEARLY CATCH A WOOZLE
THE Piglet lived in a very grand house in the middle of a beech-tree, and the beech-tree was in the middle of the forest, and the Piglet lived in the middle of the house. Next to his house was a piece of broken board which had: “TRESPASSERS W” on it. When Christopher Robin asked the Piglet what it meant, he said it was his grandfather's name, and had been in the family for a long time. Christopher Robin said you couldn't be called Trespassers W, and Piglet said yes, you could, because his grandfather was, and it was short for Trespassers Will, which was short for Trespassers William. And his grandfather had had two names in case he lost one—Trespassers after an uncle, and William after Trespassers.