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Alexander Milne >> Winnie-the-Pooh and all,all,all (page 9)


“Have you seen Pooh?”

“No. At any moment—”

“I hope he's all right,” said Christopher Robin. “I've been wondering about him. I expect Piglet's with him. Do you think they're all right, Owl?”

“I expect so. You see, at any moment—”

“Do go and see, Owl. Because Pooh hasn't got very much brain, and he might do something silly, and I do love him so, Owl. Do you see, Owl?”

“That's all right,” said Owl. “I'll go. Back directly.” And he flew off.

In a little while he was back again. Pooh isn't there,” he said.

“Not there?”

“He's been there. He's been sitting on a branch of his tree outside his house with nine pots of honey. But he isn't there now.”

“Oh, Pooh!” cried Christopher Robin. “Where are you?”

“Here I am,” said a growly voice behind him.

“Pooh!”

They rushed into each other's arms.

“How did you get here, Pooh?” asked Christopher Robin, when he was ready to talk again.

“On my boat,” said Pooh proudly. “I had a Very Important Missage sent me in a bottle, and owing to having got some water in my eyes, I couldn't read it, so I brought it to you. On my boat.”

With these proud words he gave Christopher Robin the missage.

“But it's from Piglet!” cried Christopher Robin when he had read it.

“Isn't there anything about Pooh in it?” asked Bear, looking over his shoulder.

Christopher Robin read the message aloud.

“Oh, are those 'P's' piglets? I thought they were poohs.”

“We must rescue him at once! I thought he was with you, Pooh. Owl, could you rescue him on your back?”

“I don't think so,” said Owl, after grave thought. “It is doubtful if the necessary dorsal muscles ”

“Then would you fly to him at once and say that Rescue is Coming? And Pooh and I will think of a Rescue and come as quick as ever we can. Oh, don't talk, Owl, go on quick!” And, still thinking of something to say, Owl flew off.

“Now then, Pooh,” said Christopher Robin, “where's your boat?”

“I ought to say,” explained Pooh as they walked down to the shore of the island, “that it isn't just an ordinary sort of boat. Sometimes it's a Boat, and sometimes it's more of an Accident. It all depends.”

“Depends on what?”

“On whether I'm on top of it or underneath it.”

“Oh! Well, where is it?”

“There!” said Pooh, pointing proudly to The Floating Bear.

It wasn't what Christopher Robin expected, and the more he looked at it, the more he thought what a Brave and Clever Bear Pooh was, and the more Christopher Robin thought this, the more Pooh looked modestly down his nose and tried to pretend he wasn't.

“But it's too small for two of us,” said Christopher Robin sadly.

“Three of us with Piglet.”

“That makes it smaller still Oh, Pooh Bear, what shall we do?”

And then this Bear, Pooh Bear, Winnie-the-Pooh, F. O. P. (Friend of Piglet's), R. C. (Rabbit's Companion), P. D. (Pole Discoverer), E. C. and T. F. (Eeyore's Comforter and Tail-finder)—in fact, Pooh himself—said something so clever that Christopher Robin could only look at him with mouth open and eyes staring, wondering if this was really the Bear of Very Little Brain whom he had know and loved so long.

“We might go in your umbrella,” said Pooh.

“?”

“We might go in your umbrella,” said Pooh?

“??”

“We might go in your umbrella,” said Pooh.

“!!!!!!”

For suddenly Christopher Robin saw that they might. He opened his umbrella and put it point downwards in the water. It floated but wobbled.

Pooh got in. He was just beginning to say that it was all right now, when he found that it wasn't, so after a short drink, which he didn't really want, he waded back to Christopher Robin. Then they both got in together, and it wobbled no longer.

“I shall call this boat The Brain of Pooh,” said Christopher Robin, and The Brain of Pooh set sail forthwith in a south-westerly direction, revolving gracefully.

You can imagine Piglet's joy when at last the ship came in sight of him. In after-years he liked to think that he had been in Very Great Danger during the Terrible Flood, but the only danger he had really been in was the last half-hour of his imprisonment, when Owl, who had just flown up, sat on a branch of his tree to comfort him, and told him a very long story about an aunt who had once laid a seagull's egg by mistake, and the story went on and on, rather like this sentence, until Piglet who was listening out of his window without much hope, went to sleep quietly and naturally, slipping slowly out of the window towards the water until he was only hanging on by his toes, at which moment, luckily, a sudden loud squawk from Owl, which was really part of the story, being what his aunt said, woke the Piglet up and just gave him time to jerk himself back into safety and say, “How interesting, and did she?” when—well, you can imagine his joy when at last he saw the good ship, Brain of Pooh (Captain, C. Robin; Ist Mate, P. Bear) coming over the sea to rescue him...

And as that is really the end of the story, and I am very tired after that last sentence, I think I shall stop there.

Chapter 10,

IN WHICH CHRISTOPHER ROBIN GIVES A POOH PARTY, AND WE SAY GOOD-BYE

ONE day when the sun had come back over the Forest, bringing with it the scent of may, and all the streams of the Forest were tinkling happily to find themselves their own pretty shape again, and the little pools lay dreaming of the life they had seen and the big things they had done, and in the warmth and quiet of the Forest the cuckoo was trying over his voice carefully and listening to see if he liked it, and wood-pigeons were complaining gently to themselves in their lazy comfortable way that it was the other fellow's fault, but it didn't matter very much; on such a day as this Christopher Robin whistled in a special way he had, and Owl came flying out of the Hundred Acre Wood to see what was wanted.

“Owl,” said Christopher Robin, “I am going to give a party.”

“You are, are you?” said Owl.

“And it's to be a special sort of party, because it's because of what Pooh did when he did what he did to save Piglet from the flood.”

“Oh, that's what it's for, is it?” said Owl.

“Yes, so will you tell Pooh as quickly as you can, and all the others, because it will be to-morrow?”

“Oh, it will, will it?” said Owl, still being as helpful as possible.

“So will you go and tell them, Owl?”

Owl tried to think of something very wise to say, but couldn't, so he flew off to tell the others. And the first person he told was Pooh.

“Pooh,” he said, “Christopher Robin is giving a party.”

“Oh!” said Pooh And then seeing that Owl expected him to say something else, he said, “Will there be those little cake things with pink sugar icing?”

Owl felt that it was rather beneath him to talk about little cake things with pink sugar icing, so he told Pooh exactly what Christopher Robin had said, and flew off to Eeyore.

“Party for Me?” thought Pooh to himself. “How grand!” And he began to wonder if all the other animals would know that it was a special Pooh Party, and if Christopher Robin had told them about The Floating Bear and the Brain of Pooh, and all the wonderful ships he had invented and sailed on, and he began to think how awful it would be if everybody had forgotten about it, and nobody quite knew what the party was for; and the more he thought like this, the more the party got muddled in his mind, like a dream when nothing goes right.

And the dream began to sing itself over in his head until it became a sort of song. It was an

ANXIOUS POOH SONG.

3 Cheers for Pooh

(For Who?)

For Pooh—

(Why what did he do?)

I thought you knew;

He saved his friend from a wetting!

3 Cheers for Bear!

(For where?)

For Bear—

He couldn't swim,

But he rescued him!

(He rescued who?)

Oh, listen, do!

I am talking of Pooh?

(Of who?)

Of Pooh!

(I'm sorry I keep forgetting).

Well. Pooh was a Bear of Enormous Brain—

(Just say it again!)

Of enormous brain—

(Of enormous what?)

Well, he ate a lot,

And I don't know if he could swim or not,

But he managed to float

On a sort of boat

(On a sort of what?)

Well, a sort of pot—

So now let's give him three hearty cheers

(So now let's give him three hearty whitches?)

And hope he'll be with us for years and years,

And grow in health and wisdom and riches!

3 Cheers for Pooh!

(For who?)

For Pooh—

3 Cheers for Bear

(For where?)

For Bear—

3 Cheers for the wonderful Winnie-the-Pooh!

(Just tell me, somebody—WHAT DID HE DO?)

While this was going on inside him, Owl was talking to Eeyore.

“Eeyore,” said Owl, “Christopher Robin is giving a party.”

“Very interesting,” said Eeyore. “I suppose they will be sending me down the odd bits which got trodden on. Kind and Thoughtful. Not at all, don't mention it.”

“There is an Invitation for you.”

“What's that like?”

“An Invitation!”

“Yes, I heard you. Who dropped it?”

“This isn't anything to eat, it's asking you to the party. To-morrow.”

Eeyore shook his head slowly.

“You mean Piglet. The little fellow with the exited ears. That's Piglet. I'll tell him.”

“No, no!” said Owl, getting quite fussy. “It's you!”

“Are you sure?”

“Of course I'm sure. Christopher Robin said 'All of them! Tell all of them. '”

“All of them, except Eeyore?”

“All of them,” said Owl sulkily.

“Ah!” said Eeyore. “A mistake, no doubt, but still, I shall come. Only don't blame me if it rains.”

But it didn't rain. Christopher Robin had made a long table out of some long pieces of wood, and they all sat round it. Christopher Robin sat at one end, and Pooh sat at the other, and between them on one side were Owl and Eeyore and Piglet, and between them on the other side were Rabbit, and Roo and Kanga. And all Rabbit's friends and relations spread themselves about on the grass, and waited hopefully in case anybody spoke to them, or dropped anything, or asked them the time.

It was the first party to which Roo had ever been, and he was very excited. As soon as ever they had sat down he began to talk.

“Hallo, Pooh!” he squeaked.

“Hallo, Roo!” said Pooh.

Roo jumped up and down in his seat for a little while and then began again.

“Hallo, Piglet!” he squeaked.

Piglet waved a paw at him, being too busy to say anything.

“Hallo, Eeyore!” said Roo.

Eeyore nodded gloomily at him. “It will rain soon, you see if it doesn't,” he said.

Roo looked to see if it didn't, and it didn't, so he said “Hallo, Owl!”—and Owl said “Hallo, my little fellow,” in a kindly way, and went on telling Christopher Robin about an accident which had nearly happened to a friend of his whom Christopher Robin didn't know, and Kanga said to Roo, “Drink up your milk first, dear, and talk afterwards.” So Roo, who was drinking his milk, tried to say that he could do both at once... and had to be patted on the back and dried for quite a long time afterwards.

When they had all nearly eaten enough, Christopher Robin banged on the table with his spoon, and everybody stopped talking and was very silent, except Roo who was just finishing a loud attack of hiccups and trying to look as if it was one of Rabbit's relations.

“This party,” said Christopher Robin, “is a party because of what someone did, and we all know who it was, and it's his party, because of what he did, and I've got a present for him and here it is.” Then he felt about a little and whispered, “Where is it?”

While he was looking, Eeyore coughed in an impressive way and began to speak.

“Friends,” he said, “including oddments, it is a great pleasure, or perhaps I had better say it has been a pleasure so far, to see you at my party. What I did was nothing. Any of you-except Rabbit and Owl and Kanga—would have done the same. Oh, and Pooh. My remarks do not, of course, apply to Piglet and Roo, because they are too small. Any of you would have done the same. But it just happened to be Me. It was not, I need hardly say, with an idea of getting what Christopher Robin is looking for now”—and he put his front leg to his mouth and said in a loud whisper, “Try under the table”—“that I did what I did—but because I feel that we should all do what we can to help. I feel that we should all—”

“H—hup!” said Roo accidentally.

“Roo, dear!” said Kanga reproachfully.

“Was it me?” asked Roo, a little surprised.

“What's Eeyore talking about?” Piglet whispered to Pooh.

“I don't know,” said Pooh rather dolefully.

“I thought this was your party.”

“I thought it was once. But I suppose it isn't.”

“I'd sooner it was yours than Eeyore's,” said Piglet.

“So would I,” said Pooh.

“H—hup!” said Roo again.

“AS—I—WAS—SAYING,” said Eeyore loudly and sternly, “as I was saying when I was interrupted by various Loud Sounds, I feel that—”

“Here it is!” cried Christopher Robin excitedly. “Pass it down to silly old Pooh. It's for Pooh.”

“For Pooh?” said Eeyore.

“Of course it is. The best bear in all the world.”

“I might have known,” said Eeyore. “After all, one can't complain. I have my friends. Somebody spoke to me only yesterday. And was it last week or the week before that Rabbit bumped into me and said 'Bother!' The Social Round. Always something going on.”

Nobody was listening, for they were all saying, “Open it, Pooh,” “What is it, Pooh?” “I know what it is,” “No, you don't,” and other helpful remarks of this sort. And of course Pooh was opening it as quickly as ever he could, but without cutting the string, because you never know when a bit of string might be Useful. At last it was undone.

Title: Winnie-the-Pooh and all,all,all
Author: Alexander Milne
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