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.
“Quite, quite sure,” said Pooh.
“Oh, well, then, come in.”
So Pooh pushed and pushed and pushed his way through the hole, and at last he got in.
“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.