chapter three

In which a search is organdized, and Piglet nearly meets the Heffalump again

Pooh is in his house, counting his honey pots, when Rabbit arrives. This makes him lose count which is a bit of a Bother, as he likes to know how many pots he has, just for comfort. Pooh thinks he had counted 14, and Rabbit agrees but isn't very convincing about it, and then Rabbit says why don't they just call it 16 and leave it there.

Rabbit hasn't really come over to talk about honey - he has come over because he hasn't see one of his friends-and-relations, Small, for a long time, and he is wondering whether Pooh has seen him. Pooh doesn't think that he has seen him, and then he thinks about it for a little while, and then asks Rabbit who Small is.

Rabbit's answer is not very helpful because he just says that Small is a friend and/or relation, and Rabbit has many different sizes and shapes of friends-and-relations, which means that Small could be any sort of animal and any sort of size. We suppose that, with a name like Small, he might well be on the smaller side of things, but you never know.

Pooh confirms that he hasn't actually seen anyone today (apart from Rabbit), and certainly not anyone who he has said "Hallo, Small!" to. Rabbit says that although Small isn't really needed for anything in particular, he has organised a search to find Small, just because it's useful to know where people are and no-one has seen Small for a long time.

So Pooh and Rabbit set off to start the search, and Rabbit explains how he has organised it so that they don't all look in the same place at once, and Pooh should start looking at the Six Pine Trees. Pooh isn't really taking it in though, so he just asks if Piglet is organdized as well, and apparently he is. And Rabbit goes off and says that he will meet Pooh in about an hour.

As soon as Rabbit was out of sight, Pooh remembered that he had forgotten to ask who Small was, and whether he was the sort of friend-and-relation who settled on one's nose, or the sort who got trodden on by mistake, and as it was Too Late Now, he thought he would begin the Hunt by looking for Piglet, and asking him what they were looking for before he looked for it.

That seems to be pretty good reasoning by Pooh, and then he shows even more good reasoning by realising that Piglet won't be at the Six Pine Trees because he has been organdized somewhere else, so he will have to find Piglet's special organdized place first to find Piglet to find out who Small is, to find Small. And then he will have to find Rabbit to tell him that he has found Small, and then he will have to find Small again to tell him he has found Rabbit. Which means that the day is turning into rather a bothering one.

Unfortunately for Pooh, things very quickly get even worse, because he isn't really paying attention to his surroundings as he is walking along, and he steps on a bit of forest that has been left out accidentally, and falls a long way down with a bump. And when he stops falling he hears a squeaky "Ow!", and then a squeaky "Help!", and the only explanation Pooh can think of is that he has broken himself by falling down and he is now making squeaky noises without really wanting to.

So just to check that he can still say things in a normal voice when he does want to, he says "A Very Bad Accident to Pooh Bear", and that seems to come out fine, but then he hears the squeaky voice again...

"Pooh!" squeaked the voice.
"It's Piglet!" cried Pooh eagerly. "Where are you?"
"Underneath," said Piglet in an underneath sort of way.
"Underneath what?"
"You," squeaked Piglet. "Get up!"

Pooh immediately climbs off poor squashed Piglet, and, perhaps a little redundantly, asks Piglets if he fell on him. Piglet says he did, and Pooh says that he didn't mean to, and Piglet says that he didn't mean to be Underneath, but that he is OK really, and in fact he is very glad to see Pooh, because they have fallen into a Pit!

Piglet says that he had just been walking along when suddenly he wasn't walking anymore, and then just as he was getting up Pooh had fallen on him. Piglet is glad to see Pooh because he is worried that they might have fallen into some kind of Trap - and Pooh suddenly remembers the Pooh Trap for Heffalumps that they had built...and with a flash of inspiration he knows what has happened...they have fallen into a Heffalump Trap for Poohs!

Piglet reacts rather as you might expect to this terrifying piece of news - he begins to tremble, and asks Pooh what will happen when the Heffalump turns up to find he has caught a Pooh and a Piglet in his Trap. Pooh puts a brave face on things and encouragingly tells Piglet that the Heffalump might not even notice such a Small Animal. But Piglet, slightly less encouragingly, says that the Heffalump is bound to notice Pooh, and Pooh agrees, and says that when that happens the Heffalump will say "Ho-ho!".

Piglet is, not to put too fine a point on it, terrified at the thought of that "Ho-ho!", and in fact he is so scared that his ears start to twitch. He asks Pooh what he will say in reply to the "Ho-ho!", and Pooh thinks for a long time, but he decides that there really isn't an appropriate thing to say to a Heffalump who has just said "Ho-ho!" to you, so he tells Piglet that he will just hum a little hum.

Piglet points out that the Heffalump may well say "Ho-ho!" again, and Pooh agrees that that is probably the most likely course of events. Piglet's ears are out of control by this stage, and he has to lean against the side of the Trap to try to calm them down a bit.

Pooh bravely says that when the Heffalump says "Ho-ho!" for the second time, he will simply continue humming to him, which will Upset the Heffalump, who will be hoping for much more of a reaction, and will be thoroughly bemused to find that his "Ho-ho!"s are just being met with a hum. (Piglet sums this up nicely by saying that when you say "Ho-ho!" to a person, and the other person just hums, your "Ho-ho!"s become much less "Ho-ho!"ish.)

Piglet points out that, although Pooh's plan is a good one, the Heffalump will probably stop saying "Ho-ho!" at some point, and try saying something else instead. Pooh thinks that the Heffalump will say "What's all this?", and that will give him a Useful Opening, for he will then say that the Trap is actually a Trap for Heffalumps, and that he is waiting for a Heffalump to fall into it!

Piglet is (understandably) hugely impressed by this Thoughtful Plan, and he is convinced that Pooh has saved the day. He is so sure in fact that he starts to imagine what will be said in the conversation that will take place between brave Pooh and the terrified Heffalump. But just before he starts imagining this he thinks that it is a bit of a shame that it won't be a brave Piglet talking to the terrified Heffalump, because although he loves Pooh he does have more brain than Pooh, and he would be very proud to have stood up so grandly to a Heffalump.

And Piglet plays out the whole conversation in his head, right from the Heffalump's first gloating "Ho-ho!" (to be greeted with Piglet's careless "Tra-la-la"), to the Heffalump's dawning realisation that the trap is really to catch Heffalumps, not Piglets, to the Heffalump's rather apologetic admission of defeat, to a final, total surrender involving a mortified and eager-to-please Heffalump and a proud and victorious Piglet.

Piglet is completely lost in his little fantasy world, and Pooh is back to wondering about how many jars of honey he has at home, and so they have both forgotten that they are supposed to be looking for Small. All of the other animals of the forest are still searching for him though.

Small's real name was Very Small Beetle, but he was called Small for short, when he was spoken to at all, which hardly ever happened except when somebody said "Really, Small!". He had been staying with Christopher Robin for a few seconds, and he had started round a gorse-bush for exercise, but instead of coming back the other way, as expected, he hadn't, so nobody knew where he was.

Christopher Robin is saying to Rabbit that Small has probably just headed home, but Rabbit says that as he hadn't said Goodbye and Thank you for Having Me, or sent a polite letter saying what a nice time he had had, then he really must be Lost. So Rabbit heads off right away to continue searching.

Christopher Robin goes to see Pooh, and on his way to Pooh's house he comes across the Pit. He looks down into the Pit and spots Pooh and Piglet, who are both lost in their own wonderings. But they are about to be rudely awakened from their wonderings, because Christopher Robin decides to say hello in a particularly scary fashion - he says "Ho-ho!".

Now, "Ho-ho!" is of course the sound that the Heffalump was going to make, so poor Piglet promptly jumps six inches into the air with Surprise and Anxiety. Pooh is being a little slow though and doesn't react, but Piglet is far more alert, and is trying to work out what to do now that the Heffalump has appeared.

Remembering back to his fantasy Heffalump conversation, Piglet says "Tra-la-la, tra-la-la" in as careless a way as possible, to show that he isn't in the least frightened and that he will soon have the upper hand over the Heffalump. He doesn't look straight at the Heffalump though, because sometimes it is easier to think more clearly when one isn't staring straight at a Very Fierce Animal.

Christopher Robin (the pretend Heffalump) then says "Rum-tum-tum-tiddle-um", and he says it in a voice like Pooh's, just for the fun of it. That is not what the Heffalump was supposed to say - in Piglet's little fantasy the Heffalump was supposed to just say "Ho-ho!" again, so Piglet is now completely confused, and he decides that he will have to say "Ho-ho!" as the Heffalump hasn't.

Christopher Robin asks Piglet how he got into the Pit, but Piglet is now in such a state that he doesn't really respond very well.

"This is Terrible," thought Piglet. "First he talks in Pooh's voice, and then he talks in Christopher Robin's voice, and he's doing it so as to Unsettle me." And being now Completely Unsettled, he said very quickly and squeakily: "This is a trap for Poohs, and I'm waiting to fall into it, ho-ho, what's all this, and then I say ho-ho again."
"What?" said Christopher Robin.
"A trap for ho-ho's," said Piglet huskily. "I've just made it, and I'm waiting for the ho-ho to come-come."
How long Piglet would have gone on like this I don't know...

Luckily for Piglet, Pooh gets up at this point, and moves around a little to try to scratch an itch that he seems to have developed, and while he is moving he sees Christopher Robin standing at the top of the pit. So Pooh shouts "Hallo!" to Christopher Robin, who says "Hallo!" back. Piglet looks up and sees that the Heffalump is not a Heffalump, and feels very Foolish and Uncomfortable for a moment, until he is distracted by something that is climbing on Pooh's back.

The thing that is on Pooh's back is the same thing that has been causing his itch, and Piglet then recognises the thing - it is Small! Piglet yells up to Christopher Robin that he has found Small, and Christopher Robin congratulates him on his wonderful find, and Piglet feels much better and less Foolish.

Christopher Robin helps Pooh and Piglet out of the pit, and off they go together. And a few days later Rabbit runs into Eeyore in the forest, and poor Eeyore is still looking for Small., because no-one has told him that Small has been found! Poor old Eeyore thinks that this is typical and just what would happen, and that is a woeful note to end on, so we shall remind ourselves that the chapter has really ended happily, with an escape from the pretend Heffalump and the finding of Small, so there's really no reason to be bothered.

Tiggers don't climb trees

Winnie the Pooh and friends are Trademarks of Disney. Quotes are taken from Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne.