chapter seven

In which Tigger is unbounced

Rabbit and Piglet have come round to Pooh's house, and they are sitting with Pooh just outside his front door, listening to Rabbit talking about something or other. Well, they are trying to listen to Rabbit, but Pooh is having a little trouble, so he has got himself into a comfortable position for not listening to Rabbit, and he isn't, although from time to time he makes encouraging sounds such as "Ah!" to let Rabbit know that he is still there.

Eventually, Rabbit comes to the point, and his point is this - Tigger has been even more bouncy than usual of late, and therefore he should be taught a lesson. Piglet agrees that Tigger's bounciness is rather out of control. Pooh agrees in a sort of vague manner, because of course he wasn't listening and so doesn't really know what's going on.

After a period of Pooh-related confusion, Piglet realises that Pooh hasn't been listening to a word Rabbit said, and tells him off gently, and Pooh explains that he was listening really but it was hard to listen through the piece of fluff that had settled in his ear, and could Rabbit go through it again please.

Rabbit is only too pleased to go through it again, but he makes the mistake of asking Pooh where he should begin from, and Pooh says he should begin from the moment the fluff got in his ear, and Rabbit asks when that was, and Pooh says that he doesn't know because he couldn't hear through the fluff in his ear, and luckily Piglet puts us out of our misery by saying that what they are trying to do is make Tigger less bouncy, and Pooh finally understands.

Rabbit says that what they should do is take Tigger on a long walk to somewhere where he won't know where he is, and then leave him there, and when they go back to find him the next morning he will have learnt his lesson and been unbounced. Pooh wants to know how he will have learnt his lesson, and Rabbit says it will be because he will be humbled, and sad, and he will have changed from a Very Bouncy Tigger into a Melancholy Tigger, an Oh-Rabbit-I-am-glad-to-see-you Tigger.

Now, on the face of it this does not seem to be a terribly kind plan for poor old Tigger. Yes, he may well be on the bouncier side of things, and yes, he did bounce Eeyore into the river in the last chapter, and that's not the sort of thing that should be applauded, but still...

We can't help thinking of the chapter where the animals tried to get Kanga and Roo to leave the forest by stealing little Roo, and in the end that plan rather backfired and the animals learnt to accept Kanga and Roo for who they are, family-carrying pockets and all. Perhaps there will be a similar lesson here about the bounciness of Tiggers?

Anyway, the plan might not be quite as unkind as it sounds, for Rabbit explains that Tigger won't be sad for very long, and Tiggers get over these things with Astonishing Rapidity, or at least that's what Owl had said when he asked him about it. Piglet is a little worried still, but Rabbit further reassures him by saying that even Christopher Robin would think that this was a good plan, and he would thank Piglet for carrying it out, and this persuades Piglet that this is the Right Thing To Do.

Now that they have all agreed on the plan, they need to decide where they are going to lose Tigger. Rabbit says that the best place would be the North Pole, because that took them ages to find, and so Tigger wouldn't be able to find his way home without their help.

So, the plan is in place, and they decide to put it into practice tomorrow morning, after Rabbit has casually asked Tigger if he is doing anything tomorrow and whether he would like to go on an explore.

Tomorrow turns out to be a bit of a misty and cold day, and Pooh is worrying about the bees that won't be making honey, and Piglet is worrying about Tigger being left out alone in all of this weather. When they get to Rabbit's house though Rabbit says that it is the perfect day for unbouncing Tiggers, because Tigger always runs ahead of the others, and when he runs ahead today they will just leave him there by himself.

The animals go to Kanga's house (where Tigger has been living), and Roo is waiting there too, which is Awkward, but Rabbit says he will take care of it.

"I don't think Roo had better come," he said. "Not today."
"Why not?" said Roo, who wasn't supposed to be listening.
"Nasty cold day," said Rabbit, shaking his head. "And you were coughing this morning."
"How do you know?" asked Roo indignantly.
"Oh, Roo, you never told me," said Kanga reproachfully.
"It was a biscuit cough," said Roo, "not one you tell about."

Kanga says that Roo is going to have to stay at home, so Roo asks if he can go out tomorrow, and Kanga says "We'll see", which as we all know means no. Poor Roo.

The animals (minus Roo and Kanga) all head off into the misty day. At one point Pooh and Piglet and Rabbit all walk together, and Tigger runs rings around them, and then Pooh and Rabbit and Piglet walk one after the other, and Tigger runs oblongs around them, and then Tigger runs back and forth in front of them, bouncing into Rabbit at intervals.

The mist gets thicker and thicker as they walk, and Tigger keeps disappearing into the mist and then reappearing out of it. Rabbit decides that the time has come to put their plan into action, and so he says "Now!", and the animals all jump down into a hollow by the side of the path and hide in the undergrowth, listening.

And there's silence...and then a pattering noise...and then silence.

"Hallo!" said Tigger, and he sounded so close suddenly that Piglet would have jumped if Pooh hadn't accidentally been sitting on most of him.
"Where are you?" called Tigger.
Rabbit nudged Pooh, and Pooh looked about for Piglet to nudge, but couldn't find him, and Piglet went on breathing wet bracken as quietly as he could, and felt very brave and excited.

Tigger doesn't understand what is happening, and he goes off in another direction to try to find the others. Pooh and Piglet and Rabbit wait for a bit longer in their hollow, and then they get up, and Rabbit leads the way home.

Piglet thinks that they are going in the wrong direction, and that home is more to the right, and what do you think Pooh. Pooh is having trouble telling his left paw from his right paw, although he knows that when you have identified one paw you have usually solved the problem of the other one.

Rabbit takes charge again and says he knows which way it is, and they go that way for 10 minutes, and stop again. Rabbit is beginning to show signs of nervousness, and they go another way for 10 minutes, and Rabbit says "Here we are," and then, "No we're not" , and then they go another way for 10 minutes, at which point Rabbit asks Pooh if he has noticed that everything looks much the same in a mist, and Pooh says yes, he had noticed that.

Rabbit, despite his bravado, is clearly worried by this stage, as he begins to laugh in a careless manner in order to show that he knows exactly where they are, and once rabbits start laughing in a careless manner in order to show that they know exactly where they are, you know that they don't.

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
"Pooh!" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you."

Meanwhile, Tigger has got bored out in the forest on his own, and has simply headed on home to Kanga's house. Kanga gives him his Strengthening Medicine, and then Tigger and Roo play around for a little while until they become a bit rambunctious, and then Kanga tells them to go outside and collect fir cones for her.

So Tigger and Roo go outside and throw fir cones at each other, and then they go back home for dinner. Christopher Robin comes round just as they are finishing dinner, and he asks them if they know where Pooh is. Tigger tells Christopher Robin what happened earlier, and Roo explains about his Biscuit Cough, and once Kanga has told them both to stop talking at once, Christopher Robin realises that Pooh and Piglet and Rabbit are still lost in the mist. (Tigger explains to Roo that Tiggers never get lost.)

Christopher Robin says that they will need to go and find the others, so he and Tigger do just that (Roo isn't allowed to go because Kanga has said "We'll see").

Back with Rabbit and Pooh and Piglet, Rabbit is rather stating the obvious by telling Pooh and Piglet that he thinks they have got a bit lost.

They were having a rest in a small sand-pit on the top of the forest. Pooh was getting tired of that sand-pit, and suspected it of following them about, because whichever direction they started in, they always ended up at it, and each time, as it came through the mist at them, Rabbit said triumphantly, "Now I know where we are!" and Pooh said sadly, "So do I," and Piglet said nothing...
"Well," said Rabbit, after a long silence in which nobody thanked him for the nice walk they were having, "we'd better get on, I suppose. Which way shall we try?"

Pooh comes up with a plan to help them out of their Situation - he decides that what they should do is walk until they can't see the sandpit anymore, and then immediately try to find the sandpit again. The logic of this is clear  - they have been trying very hard not to find the sandpit, so if they try very hard to actually find the sandpit, they might not find it, and they might find Home instead.

Rabbit says that there isn't much sense in that plan, and Pooh agrees with Rabbit's assessment, although he says that there was more sense in it when he had begun thinking about it than when he had finished, and it was just that something Unfortunate had happened to the plan inbetween times.

Piglet says that they should try the plan anyway though, and Rabbit, hoping to prove the general futility of the exercise, goes walking off into the mist...and doesn't come back.

Pooh and Piglet wait around for him for a little while, and then Pooh says that they should go home, at which point Piglet becomes very excited because it sounds like Pooh knows which way to go. Pooh doesn't really know which way to go, but he does know that there are 12 pots of honey in his cupboard which are calling to him, and now that Rabbit has stopped talking, due to his Absence, he can hear them much better, and they will just have to walk towards the sound.

They set off, and Piglet begins to get excited again because he thinks he recognises things on the way, and then he is almost positive that he recognises things, although he doesn't want to tell Pooh in case he drowns out the sound of the honeypots, but then Christopher Robin appears anyway, and they are Found!

So Pooh, Piglet and Christopher Robin go to Pooh's house for a little something. And while they are having their something, Tigger is out in the forest looking for poor old Rabbit, who is now a Small and Sorry Rabbit. And when poor Rabbit hears Tigger's yapping he rushes towards him, and he is so thrilled to see him that he sees all of a sudden that Tigger in fact bounces in just the way that a Helpful, Rescuing Tigger ought to bounce.

Piglet does a very grand thing

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.