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Library: Parting

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Author: malicat
Date:Nov 11 2004

Parting
 
By A. A. Milne
 
Chapter 10 
 ...in which Christopher  Robin  and  Pooh  come to an enchanted place, and we
leave them there
 
CHRISTOPHER  ROBIN  was  going away. Nobody knew why he was going; nobody knew
where he was going; indeed, nobody even knew why he knew that Christopher
Robin was going away. But  somehow or  other everybody in the Forest felt that
it was happening at last. Even Smallest-of-all, a friend-and-relation  of 
Rabbit's who  thought  he  had  once  seen Christopher Robin's foot, but
couldn't be quite sure because perhaps it was  something  else, even  S.  of 
A.  told  himself  that  Things  were going to be Different; and Late and
Early, two other friends-and-relations, said, "Well, Early?" and "Well, Late?"
to each other in such  a hopeless  sort  of  way  that  it  really  didn't
seem any good waiting for the answer.
 
One day when he felt that he couldn't wait any  longer, Rabbit brained out a
Notice, and this is what it said:
 
"Notice  a  meeting of everybody will meet at the House at Pooh Corner to pass
a Rissolution By Order Keep to the  Left Signed Rabbit."
 
He had  to write this out two or three times before he could get the
rissolution to look like what he thought  it  was going  to  when  he began to
spell it; but, when at last it was finished, he took it round to everybody 
and  read  it  out  to them. And they all said they would come.
 
"Well,"  said  Eeyore  that afternoon, when he saw them all walking up to his
house, "this is a surprise.  Am  I  asked too?"
 
"Don't  mind Eeyore," whispered Rabbit to Pooh. "I told him all about it this
morning."
 
Everybody said "How-do-you-do" to  Eeyore,  and  Eeyore said that he didn't,
not to notice, and then they sat down; and as soon as they were all sitting
down, Rabbit stood up again.
 
"We  all  know  why  we're  here," he said, "but I have asked my friend
Eeyore--"
 
"That's Me," said Eeyore. "Grand."
 
"I have asked him to Propose a Rissolution." And he sat down again. "Now then,
Eeyore," he said.
 
"Don't Bustle me,"  said  Eeyore,  getting  up  slowly.
 
"Don't  now-then  me." He took a piece of paper from behind his ear, and
unfolded it. "Nobody knows anything  about  this,"  he went  on. "This is a
Surprise." He coughed in an important way, and began again: "What-nots and
Etceteras, before I  begin,  or perhaps I should say, before I end, I have a
piece of Poetry to read  to  you.  Hitherto--hitherto--a  long word
meaning--well, you'll see what it means directly--hitherto, as I  was  saying,
all  the  Poetry in the Forest has been written by Pooh, a Bear with a
Pleasing Manner  but  a  Positively  Startling  Lack  of Brain. The Poem which
I am now about to read to you was written by  Eeyore, or Myself, in a Quiet
Moment. If somebody will take Roo's bull's-eye away from him, and wake up Owl,
we  shall  all be able to enjoy it. I call it--POEM." This was it:
 
Christopher Robin is going
At least I think he is
Where?
Nobody knows
But he is going--
I mean he goes
(To rhyme with knows)
Do we care ?
(To rhyme with where)
We do
Very much
(I haven't got a rhyme for that
"is" in the second line yet.
Bother.)
(Now I haven't got a rhyme for
bother.. Bother.)
Those two bothers will have
to rhyme with each other
Buther
The fact is this is more difficult
than I thought,
I ought--
(Very good indeed)
I ought
To begin again,
But it is easier
To stop
Christopher Robin, good-bye
I
(Good)
I
And all your friends
Sends--
I mean all your friend
Send--
(Very awkward this, it keeps
going wrong)
Well, anyhow, we send
Our love
END


 
"If  anybody  wants  to  clap," said Eeyore when he had read this, "now is the
time to do it."
 
They all clapped.
 
"Thank you," said Eeyore. "Unexpected  and  gratifying, if a little lacking in
Smack."
 
"It's much better than mine," said Pooh admiringly, and he really thought it
is.
 
"Well,"  explained  Eeyore  modestly,  "it was meant to be."
 
"The rissolution," said Rabbit, "is that  we  all  sign it, and take it to
Christopher Robin."
 
So it was signed PooH, WOL, PIGLET, EOR, RABBIT, KANGA, BLOT, SMUDGE,  and 
they  all  went  off to Christopher Robin's house with it.
 
"Hallo, everybody," said Christopher Robin--
 
"Hallo, Pooh."
 
They all said "Hello," and  felt  awkward  and  unhappy suddenly,  because  it
 was a sort of goodbye they were saying, and they didn't want to think about
it. So they  stood  around, and  waited  for  somebody  else to speak, and
they nudged each other, and said "Go on," and gradually Eeyore was nudged to
the front, and the others crowded behind him.
 
"What is it, Eeyore?" asked Christopher Robin.
 
Eeyore swished his tail from side to  side,  so  as  to encourage himself, and
began.
 
"Christopher  Robin,"  he  said,  "we've come to say-to give you-it's
called-written by-but  we've  all--because  we've heard,  I mean we all
know--well, you see, it's--we--you--well, that, to put it as shortly as
possible,  is  what  it  is."  He turned  round angrily on the others and
said, "Everybody crowds round so in this Forest. There's no Space. I never saw
 a  more Spreading  lot  of  animals  in  my  life, and all in the wrong
places. Can't you see that Christopher Robin wants to be alone? I'm going."
And he humped off.
 
Not quite knowing why, the others  began  edging  away, and  when  Christopher
Robin had finished reading POEM, and was looking up to say "Thank you," only
Pooh was left.
 
"It's  a  comforting  sort  of  thing  to  have,"  said Christopher  Robin,
folding up the paper, and putting it in his pocket. "Come on, Pooh," and he
walked off quickly.
 
"Where are we going?" said Pooh,  hurrying  after  him, and   wondering  
whether   it  was  to  be  an  Explore  or  a What-shall-I-do-about-you-know-wh
at.
 
"Nowhere," said Christopher Robin.
 
So they began going there, and after they had walked  a little way Christopher
Robin said:
 
"What do you like doing best in the world, Pooh?"
 
"Well,"  said Pooh, "what I like best?" and then he had to stop and think.
Because although Eating  Honey  was  a  very good  thing  to do, there was a
moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were,
but he didn't  know what  it  was  called.  And  then  he  thought  that being
with Christopher Robin was a very  good  thing  to  do,  and  having Piglet 
near was a very friendly thing to have: and so, when he had thought it all
out, he said, "What I like best in the whole world is Me and Piglet going to
see You, and You  saying  'What about  a  little  something?' and Me saying,'
Well, I shouldn't mind a little something, should you, Piglet,' and  it  being
 a hummy sort of day outside, and birds singing."
 
"I  like that too," said Christopher Robin, "but what I like doing best is
Nothing."
 
"How do you do  Nothing?"  asked  Pooh,  after  he  had wondered for a long
time.
 
"Well,  it's when people call out at you just as you're going off to do it
'What  are  you  going  to  do,  Christopher Robin?' and you say 'Oh,
nothing,' and then you go and do it."
 
"Oh, I see," said Pooh.
 
"This is a nothing sort of thing that we're doing now."
 
"Oh, I see," said Pooh again.
 
"It means just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and
not bothering."
 
"Oh!" said Pooh.
 
They   walked  on,  thinking  of  This  and  That,  and by-and-by they came to
an enchanted place on the  very  top  of the  Forest called Galleons Lap,
which is sixty-something trees in a circle; and Christopher Robin knew that it
 was  enchanted because  nobody  had  ever  been  able  to count whether it
was sixty-three or sixty-four, not even when he  tied  a  piece  of string  
round  each  tree  after  he  had  counted  it.  Being enchanted, its floor
was not like the floor the  Forest,  gorse and  bracken and heather, but
close-set grass, quiet and smooth and green. It was the only place in the
Forest where you  could sit  down  carelessly,  without getting up again
almost at once and looking for some where else. Sitting there they  could  see
the  whole  world  spread  out  until  it  reached the sky, and whatever there
was all the world over was with them in Galleons Lap.
 
Suddenly Christopher Robin began  to  tell  Pooh  about some  of  the  things:
 People  called  Kings  and  Queens  and something called Factors, and a place
 called  Europe,  and  an island  in  the  middle of the sea where no ships
came, and how you make a Suction Pump (if you want to), and when Knights were
Knighted, and what  comes  from  Brazil.  And  Pooh,  his  back against one of
the sixty-something trees and his paws folded in front  of  him, said "Oh!"
and "I didn't know," and thought how wonderful it would be to have a Real
Brain which could tell you things. And by-and-by Christopher Robin came to an
end  of  the things,  and  was silent, and he sat there looking out over the
world, and wishing it wouldn't stop.
 
But Pooh was thinking too,  and  he  said  suddenly  to Christopher Robin:
 
"Is  it a very Grand thing to be an Afternoon, what you said?"
 
"A what?" said Christopher Robin lazily, as he listened to something else.
 
"On a horse," explained Pooh.
 
"A Knight?"
 
"Oh, was that it?" said Pooh. "I thought it was a--  Is it  as Grand as a King
and Factors and all the other things you said?"
 
"Well, it's not as grand as a King,"  said  Christopher Robin, and then, as
Pooh seemed disappointed, he added quickly, "but it's grander than Factors."
 
"Could a Bear be one?"
 
"Of  course  he  could!"  said Christopher Robin. "I'll make you one." And he
took a stick  and  touched  Pooh  on  the shoulder,  and  said, "Rise, Sir
Pooh de Bear, most faithful of all my Knights."
 
So Pooh rose and sat down and said "Thank  you,"  which is  a proper thing to
say when you have been made a Knight, and he went into a dream again, in which
he and Sir  Pump  and  Sir Brazil  and  Factors  lived  together  with  a 
horse, and were faithful Knights (all except  Factors,  who  looked  after 
the horse)  to  Good King Christopher Robin . . . and every now and then he
shook his head, and said to himself, "I'm  not  getting it right." Then he
began to think of all the things Christopher Robin would want to tell him when
he came back from wherever he was  going  to, and how muddling it would be for
a Bear of Very Little Brain to try and  get  them  right  in  his  mind.  "So,
perhaps,"  he  said  sadly to himself, "Christopher Robin won't tell me any
more," and he wondered if being a Faithful Knight meant that you just went on
being faithful without being told things.
 
Then, suddenly again, Christopher Robin, who was  Still looking  at  the 
world  with his chin in his hands, called out "Pooh!"
 
"Yes?" said Pooh.
 
"When I'm--when-- Pooh!"
 
"Yes, Christopher Robin?"
 
"I'm not going to do Nothing any more."
 
"Never again?"
 
"Well, not so much. They don't let you."
 
Pooh waited for him to go on, but he was silent again.
 
"Yes, Christopher Robin?" said Pooh helpfully.
 
"Pooh, when I'm--you know--when I'm not doing  Nothing, will you come up here
sometimes?"
 
"Just Me?"
 
"Yes, Pooh."
 
"Will you be here too?"
 
"Yes,  Pooh,  I  will  be  really. I promise I will be, Pooh."
 
"That's good," said Pooh.
 
"Pooh, promise you won't forget  about  me,  ever.  Not even when I'm a
hundred."
 
Pooh thought for a little.
 
"How old shall I be then?"
 
"Ninety-nine."
 
Pooh nodded.
 
"I promise," he said.
 
Still  with his eyes on the world Christopher Robin put out a hand and felt
for Pooh's paw.
 
"Pooh," said Christopher Robin earnestly, "if I--if I'm not quite" he stopped 
and  tried  again  --".  Pooh,  whatever happens, you will understand, won't
you?"
 
"Understand what?"
 
"Oh, nothing." He laughed and jumped to his feet. "Come on!"
 
"Where?" said Pooh.
 
"Anywhere," said Christopher Robin.
 
So they went off together. But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them
on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest a little boy and
his Bear will always be playing.
 
While this is not my work, I would like very much for people to remember me by
this very small story.  Sometimes being a very small animal is a good thing,
and sometimes it is a scary thing.  Right now it is a scary thing for me to be
a very small animal in a very big world.  But I will survive the scary thing! 
I love you all my friends, and while I may be gone, I will never forget you.
 
--Mali


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