Saturday, 7 April 2018

A Bear of Very Little Brain

If you think Pooh Bear is a small podgy American in a red top that doesn't fit him, you are sadly misled. He was originally called Edward Bear, but he wanted 'an exciting name all to himself' so he became Winnie-the-Pooh. Winnie was after a bear in London Zoo, and Pooh was something you could say to your favourite swan if he was ignoring you. He is soft enough to take to bed and stout enough to get stuck in Rabbit's doorway. He's not afraid of Heffalumps or Expotitions as long as Christopher Robin is with him. He is a faithful friend to Piglet and has very good manners, which makes it awkward if you think it's time for a Little Something but you don't like to ask.

Piglet understands about Pooh. When Piglet is surrounded by water in the floods, he wishes he had Pooh there. 'Pooh hasn't much Brain, but he never comes to any harm. He does silly things and they turn out right.' And in this crisis, Pooh has quite brilliant ideas. He floats away on a boat to find Christopher Robin. The boat is a jam jar - 'Sometimes it's a Boat and sometimes it's more of an Accident. It all depends.' 'Depends on what?' asks Christopher Robin. 'On whether I'm on top of it or underneath it.' He also has the quite wonderful idea of turning Christopher Robin's umbrella into a boat, and they float off together to rescue Piglet.

He is also a poet, tiddly pom. '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 those stairs.' That's a Complaining Song, because it's not easy for a short and stout person to climb a tree all the way to a bees' nest in search of hunny.

He is the Bear of the Moment. He was Christopher Robin's Bear, and so in his stories he is exactly what Christopher Robin needs him to be. One of my vicar friends once told me that he hopes God looks at him and says 'Silly Old Bear'. Me too. A Silly Old Bear is a good thing to be.

Orl cwotashuns are from Winnie-the-Pooh by A A Milne.

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