chapter four

In which it is shown that Tiggers don't climb trees

We are with Pooh again, who has decided to go and see Eeyore, because he hasn't seen him since yesterday. He sets off, but he is obviously in a rather indecisive frame of mind because he then decides to see Owl instead, because he hasn't seen Owl since the day before yesterday, which is longer.

And then he remembers that he hasn't seen Roo for a long time, and so another possibility is thrown into the equation. And Pooh is now a little overwhelmed by all the variables, so he has a little sit down and a big sing for a while. After his sing he remembers Rabbit, so there is yet another possibility for him to ponder.

"Rabbit," said Pooh to himself. "I like talking to Rabbit. He talks about sensible things. He doesn't use long, difficult words, like Owl. He uses short, easy words, like 'What about lunch?' and 'Help yourself, Pooh'."

Pooh invents another verse of his song, all about Rabbit, and then he makes up his mind and sets off to Rabbit's house. Unfortunately for Pooh he is still having trouble with the decision-making process, and on his way to Rabbit's house he starts worrying that Rabbit might be Out, or that he, Pooh, could get stuck in Rabbit's front door all over again (especially if Rabbit's front door has shrunk, which it might have done), so he is back in his Confused Place.

And in fact, not only is he back in his Confused Place, he also finds himself back at his own front door again, because he has been wandering around while wondering, and has come right back to his house. And, rather fortuitously, it just so happens that it is 11 o'clock, which is a good time to have a little something to eat...

Half an hour later Pooh has finally made his decision, and he heads off to Piglet's house, which is of course what he really meant to do all along, he just hadn't quite realised it. As he goes along he makes up another verse of his song, this time about Piglet.

When he arrives at Piglet's house he finds that Piglet is outside already, and he is digging a small hole in the ground. Pooh says hello, and Piglet says hello too, and says that he knew it was Pooh (and Pooh knew that too). Pooh asks Piglet what he is doing, and Piglet explains that he is going to grow an oak tree by planting haycorns in the ground, and then when the oak tree is old enough to grow its own haycorns he won't have to walk such a long way to find his favourite food.

Pooh is worried that the haycorn might not grow into an oak tree, but Piglet says that has received reassurance from Christopher Robin that it will, so that is fine. Pooh says that, that being the case, he could plant a honeycomb near his house which will then grow into a beehive. Piglet is unsure of the veracity of this statement, and Pooh says that he could just bury a piece of honeycomb rather than the whole thing, but then he might just get a piece of the beehive, and maybe the piece where the bees are buzzing and not hunnying, which would be irksome. Piglet agrees that this would be a bother.

Piglet also points out that planting can be a tricky thing to do, and he demonstrates by putting the haycorn in the hole, covering it with earth, and jumping up and down on it. Pooh says that he was already aware of the difficulty of planting, because Christopher Robin once gave him a mastershalum seed which he planted near his front door. Piglet thinks that it might have been a nasturtium, but Pooh says that these ones were called mastershalums.

Anyway, Piglet has now finished planting his haycorn, so he asks what they are going to do now.

Pooh said, "Let's go and see Kanga and Roo and Tigger," and Piglet said, "Y-yes. L-let's" - because he was still a little anxious about Tigger, who was a very Bouncy Animal, with a way of saying How-do-you-do which always left your ears full of sand, even after Kanga had said, "Gently, Tigger dear," and had helped you up again.

Over at Kanga's house, Kanga is in a Wanting To Count Things type of mood, so she has sent Tigger and Roo out into the forest with some sandwiches for Roo and some extract of malt (his favourite) for Tigger. So Tigger and Roo are playing in the forest, and Roo is trying to find out what exciting special skills Tiggers might have. Roo asks if they can fly, and Tigger says that indeed, Tiggers are extraordinarily good flyers, they can even fly as well as Owl, only they don't really like flying, so they don't.

Roo also wants to know whether Tiggers can jump as far as Kangas, and Tigger says that they can when they want to. Roo says that they should have a jumping contest right now, but Tigger says that they should keep going otherwise they will be late for whatever it is they want to be in time for.

When they reach the Six Pine Trees Roo tells Tigger about the time he fell into the stream on the Expotition and swam, and Tigger says that Tiggers can swim too, because they can do everything. Roo asks if they can climb trees better than Pooh can, and Tigger says that climbing trees is what Tiggers do best, and they do it much better than Poohs.

Roo is so excited by this news that Tigger offers to climb a nearby tree with Roo on his back so he can watch. So off they go up the tree, with Roo making excitable squeaking noises, and Tigger saying "Up we go!" in a proactive, happy sort of voice. As they get higher and higher, Tigger begins to sounds slightly less sure of himself though, and he starts to talk about the probability that they will need to climb down the tree after they have climbed up it, which is a whole different thing altogether, and could be tricky, unless they fell down the tree, which would be easy...

And just as Tigger is saying this the tree branch breaks, and Tigger has to cling on tight to another branch before he falls, and he just about manages to pull his whole body onto the branch so that he is sitting on it and wishing he had gone swimming instead.

Roo climbed off, and sat down next to him.
"Oo, Tigger," he said excitedly, "are we at the top?"
"No," said Tigger.
"Are we going to the top?"
"No," said Tigger.
"Oh!" said Roo rather sadly. And then he went on hopefully: "That was a lovely bit just now, when you pretended we were going to fall-bump-to-the-bottom, and we didn't. Will you do that bit again?"
"NO," said Tigger.

Roo suggests that they eat their sandwiches, but the sandwiches are still at the bottom of the tree, so Tigger says that maybe they won't eat them right now.

After Roo and Tigger have been in the tree for a while, Pooh and Piglet happen to come along. Pooh is having a little singalong, and Piglet is thinking about the haycorn that he planted and wondering how long it will take to grow.

Piglet suddenly spots something up in the tree - an Animal! He tells Pooh about it, while also taking hold of Pooh's arm, just in case Pooh is frightened (this is very considerate of Piglet). Piglet asks Pooh if he thinks the Animal is one of the Fiercer Animals, and Pooh says yes, and in actual fact he has already recognised the Animal - it is a Jagular! Pooh says that Jagulars hide in trees and then wait for other animals to walk underneath the tree before dropping on their heads.

Piglet says in that case they probably shouldn't walk underneath the tree, because the Jagular might drop down and hurt himself (further consideration shown by Piglet, who is clearly a Sensitive and Caring Friend). Pooh says that Jagulars don't really hurt themselves because they are so good at dropping, but Piglet is still unsure, and he is just about to head home when the Jagular yells out "Help! Help!".

Pooh thinks that this is a very interesting development, and explains to Piglet that Jagulars always call out "Help! Help!" to make you look up just before they drop on you. Piglet states quite categorically that he is looking down, to avoid an Unfortunate Misunderstanding.

Roo hears Piglet's statement and yells out to let Pooh and Piglet know he is there, and Piglet immediately realises that it is Tigger and Roo in the tree rather than a Jagular (or a Jagular and another Jagular).

Roo says that they are in the tree because they can't get down and expresses his excitement at the situation, especially the bit where they will live in the tree for ever and ever and the fact that they can see all the way to Piglet's house, unless they go higher, although Tigger interrupts here to say they probably won't go higher as they wouldn't be able to see Piglet's house if they did.

Roo also tells Piglet how he got up there in the first place - on Tigger's back - and explains that he can't get down the same way because Tiggers can only climb upwards, as their tails prevent them from climbing downwards.

Hearing all of this, Pooh and Piglet try to formulate a plan to Help, and Pooh starts by eating Tigger and Roo's sandwiches and telling Piglet that he could climb up the tree himself and carry Roo down, but he wouldn't be able to carry Tigger, so they will need to come up with something cunning.

Just as Pooh and Piglet are trying to think of something, Christopher Robin and Eeyore happen to arrive. Eeyore is just telling Christopher Robin that he is expecting it to hail tomorrow, possibly as part of a blizzard, when Christopher Robin spots Pooh and says hello. Pooh is of course relieved to see him, as Christopher Robin always knows what to do in tricky situations such as this.

Pooh lets Christopher Robin know exactly what the problem is, what with Tigger and Roo stuck up the tree, and Christopher Robin tries to think of a solution.

"I thought," said Piglet earnestly, "that if Eeyore stood at the bottom of the tree, and if Pooh stood on Eeyore's back, and if I stood on Pooh's shoulders -"
"And if Eeyore's back snapped suddenly, then we could all laugh. Ha Ha! Amusing in a quiet way," said Eeyore, "but not really helpful."
"Well," said Piglet meekly, "I thought -"
"Would it break your back, Eeyore?" asked Pooh, very much surprised.
"That's what would be so interesting, Pooh. Not being quite sure till afterwards."

Obviously nobody wants to break Eeyore, so they start thinking again, and Christopher Robin manages to come up with a new plan - he will stretch out his coat, and each animal will hold a corner, and then Tigger and Roo can jump down and land on it without hurting themselves (Eeyore asks Piglet to pay close attention to the part about not hurting anybody).

Piglet, though, is far too distracted to listen to Eeyore's mutterings, because he has been completely floored by the fact that he will be seeing Christopher Robin's blue braces again...He had seen them once before, and got rather over-excited, and ever since that day he had wondered about them...

And Christopher Robin takes off his coat and there they are! And Piglet is so thrilled that he doesn't even mind Eeyore's mutterings (Eeyore is now saying that there might still be an Accident, despite the Cunning Plan, because Accidents are the type of thing that arrive Without Warning).

The animals outline the plan to Roo, who is extremely excited by the thought of jumping out of a tree, and he is so excited he jumps right away, and lands right in the middle of the coat, and bounces up and down for quite a long time, and then settles down.

So Roo is finally safe, and that just leaves Tigger in the tree. Tigger is slightly more reluctant to jump however, and is holding onto his branch quite carefully. Christopher Robin tries to encourage him, but Tigger is a little nervous, and thinks he might have a little bit of bark in his eye.

As Tigger shuffles slowly along his branch, there is a sudden SNAP, and Tigger's branch breaks and he is plummeting down to the ground, and everyone ends up in a Confused Heap.

Christopher Robin and Pooh and Piglet manage to work out which way is up and recover themselves, and then they help Tigger up as well, and then they find Eeyore squashed underneath everybody else.

The animals anxiously check that Eeyore is all right, and help him onto his feet. Eeyore is silent for rather a long time, and he asks for Tigger, who has recovered nicely from his ordeal and is already feeling quite Bouncy. And Eeyore thanks Tigger. And that is the end.

Rabbit's busy day

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.