“GENTLE FUN FOR ENGLISH TAOISTS” is as good a description as any of A. A. Milne’s two booksful of stories of the Hundred-Acre Wood’s most famous resident. These are not children’s tales any more than “Bullwinkle” or “Le Morte d’Arthur” are children’s tales: unless it’s for the child that reawakens in us when we read these stories. (And yes, S*TO*R*I*E*S: If you only know Pooh through Disney, you don’t know Pooh.) NOTE: That reawakened child may have difficulty getting through the increasingly nostalgic-for-what’s-lost second volume House at Pooh Corner; I personally will never read the last story again without handkerchief or, better, towel. But this excerpt is from the very first story in Winnie the Pooh, titled “Chapter One, In Which We Are Introduced to Winnie-the-Pooh and Some Bees, and the Stories Begin:”
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. And then he feels that perhaps there isn’t. Anyhow, here he is at the bottom, and ready to be introduced to you. Winnie-the-Pooh.