“Where’s Winnie-the-Pooh?” asked Rabbit bustling up in an important sort of way.
“Yes!” said Tigger giving an excited bounce that accidentally landed on Piglet, “Where is Pooh? It’s his birthday!”
“I was just coming to that,” said Rabbit crossly.
“It was my birthday, the other day” muttered Eeyore, “or possibly the other week or the other month, maybe… Anyway, whenever it was, I don’t remember anybody rushing around saying: ‘Where’s Eeyore? It’s his birthday!’”
“Oh, dear,” sighed Piglet, “did we forget your birthday again?”
“Yes, little Piglet,” said Eeyore gloomily, “unfortunately, you did. But the good thing is at least you are consistent!”
“Be quiet, Eeyore!” snapped Rabbit, “This is not about you, it’s about Pooh, whose birthday it is, TODAY!”
“His eightieth birthday, if I recollect accurately,” put in Owl.
“Yes, yes,” said Rabbit, “I was coming to that, too!”
“Which,” went on Owl, not taking the least notice of Rabbit, “is a remarkable age for a bear of so little brain that it might as well be no brain at all…”
“Still, he is very good at hums,” said Kanga in a kindly way, “if you like that kind of thing. And even if you don’t - which, personally, I have to say, includes me - wouldn’t it still be a nice thing to organise a Special Pooh Party for Pooh with cakes and balloons?”
“Thank you for that suggestion,” continued Rabbit in an irritated why-doesn’t-everyone-listen-to-me voice, “but the first question is where IS Pooh? Has anyone seen Pooh.”
“I have!” said Roo, delighted to be able to join in at last. “We were doing our jumping exercises yesterday and Pooh managed fifty-one but I got to---“
“TODAY!” shouted Rabbit in exasperation. “I meant, has anyone seen Pooh TODAY?”
But nobody had…
Because, after eighty years, Pooh was frankly tired of being organised by Rabbit, patronised by Owl (who, after all, couldn’t even spell his own name) and mothered by Kanga; and he was bored with getting bounced by Tigger, of having to do silly jumping exercises with Roo; listening to Eeyore’s endlessly gloomy catalogue of moans and groans and always finding Piglet on his doorstep just as he decided it was time for a little smackeral of something…
Which is why Pooh decided to celebrate his 80th birthday by doing something completely different!
[Images: Pooh sketch by E H Shepard; photograph by David Weeks]
See also today's photograph on Window Gazing.