Once in a while Micheline likes to post a Pooh –a Winnie-the-Pooh illustration and quote on our Facebook Page. They remind me of how much I enjoyed reading Winnie to my own boys when they were little.
Not the Disney books. I’m talking about my husband’s 1957 hardcover, The World of Pooh, a compilation of Winnie the Pooh and House at Pooh Corner. Because as delightful as the Disney books are they tend to be abridged, leaving out one of my favourite components of the stories –the dialogue and interaction between Christopher Robin and the story’s narrator.
Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it.
When Pooh gets to the bottom of the stairs Christopher Robin introduces him to the narrator and asks the narrator to tell Edward Bear, aka Winnie-the-Pooh, stories about himself (Because then it’s a real story and not just a remembering).
So begins the story most of us are familiar with, in which Pooh rolls around in mud to disguise himself as “a small black cloud in a blue sky”, and floats up to a bee hive using a balloon. Eventually Christopher Robin has to shoot him down. This is where most revised versions of the story ends.
But in the original story, the chapter ends like this:
“I didn’t hurt him when I shot him, did I?”
“Not a bit.”
He nodded and went out, and in a moment I heard Winnie-the-Pooh –bump, bump, bump—going up the stairs behind him.So the next time you want to read Winnie the Pooh to your child, consider picking up the original Winnie the Pooh or House at Pooh Corner and settle in for a real treat.