January 18, 2013


I had a hard time sleeping last night, tossing and turning, and it brought to mind poor Pooh, who had the same problem:  "But Pooh couldn't sleep.  The more he tried to sleep the more he couldn't.  He tried counting Sheep, which is sometimes a good way of getting to sleep, and, as that was no good, he tried counting Heffalumps.  And that was worse."

And when you finally get up because you can't stand to toss and turn in bed any longer, feeling rather dispirited, who better to turn to than Winnie the Pooh and friends?  They are loyal and loving, and always know how to make someone feel better.  The world is a kinder and more gentle place with Pooh and company in it, and for that I offer a big thank you to A.A. Milne, who was born on this day in 1882 in London.  Although he wrote plays and novels, including mystery and detective stories, he is of course best known for his two Pooh books about a boy named Christopher Robin (after his son, who bears the same name) and the miscellaneous characters inspired by his son's stuffed animals.  Christopher Robin's bear started life as "Edward" but was renamed "Winnie the Pooh" after a Canadian black bear named Winnie (after Winnipeg) was left to the London Zoo during WWI.  "Pooh" comes from a swan at the same zoo named Pooh.  The rest of Christopher Robin's stuffed toys, including Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Owl, Rabbit and Tigger all found their way into the stories which are set in the Hundred Acre Wood.  

The real stuffed toys owned by Christopher Robin Milne and featured in theWinnie-the-Pooh stories. They are on display in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building (formerly the New York Public Library Main Branch) in New York.

Happy Birthday, A.A. Milne! 
 His first poem about Pooh, titled Teddy Bear, was published in Punch magazine in 1924.

Teddy Bear

A bear, however hard he tries,
Grows tubby without exercise.
Our Teddy Bear is short and fat
Which is not to be wondered at;
He gets what exercise he can
By falling off the ottoman,
But generally seems to lack
The energy to clamber back.

Now tubbiness is just the thing
Which gets a fellow wondering;
And Teddy worried lots about
The fact that he was rather stout.
He thought:  "If only I were thin!
But how does anyone begin?"
He thought: "It really isn't fair
To grudge me exercise and air."

For many weeks he pressed in vain
His nose against the window-pane,
And envied those who walked about
Reducing their unwanted stout.
None of the people he could see
"Is quite" (he said) "as fat as me!"
Then, with a still more moving sigh,
"I mean" (he said) "as fat as I!"

A bear, however hard he tries,
Grows tubby without exercise.
Our Teddy Bear is short and fat,
Which is not to be wondered at.
But do you think it worries him
To know that he is far from slim?
No, just the other way about---
He's proud of being short and stout.

Thank you, Winnie the Pooh and A.A. Milne for getting my Friday morning back on track!

"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"
“What's for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting to-day?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It's the same thing,” he said.” 

No comments:

Post a Comment