...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
"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.
"What about a story?"
said Christopher Robin.
"What about a story?"
"Could you very sweetly tell
"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
"Then I will go on," said
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
"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
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,"
"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
"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
"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?"
"You look like a Bear holding
on to a balloon," you said.
"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
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
"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
"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?"
"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
"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
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
"Yes. So I think I shall come
"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
"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
"Pooh couldn't, because he
hasn't any brain. Did I catch it?"
"Well, that comes into the
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
"That's just how I feel,"
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.