O NE fine day Pooh had stumped up to the top of the Forest to see if his friend Christopher Robin was interested in Bears at all. At breakfast that morning (a simple meal of marmalade spread lightly over a honeycomb or two) he had suddenly thought of a new song. It began like this:
"Sing Ho! for the life of a Bear."
When he had got as far as this, he scratched his head, and thought to himself "That's a very good start for a song, but what about the second line?" He tried singing "Ho," two or three times, but it didn't seem to help. "Perhaps it would be better," he thought, "if I sang Hi for the life of a Bear." So he sang it . . . but it wasn't. "Very well, then," he said, "I shall sing that first line twice, and perhaps if I sing it very quickly, I shall find myself singing the third and fourth lines before I have time to think of them, and that will be a Good Song. Now then:"
Sing Ho! for the life of a Bear!
Sing Ho! for the life of a Bear!
I don't much mind if it rains or snows,
'Cos I've got a lot of honey on my nice new nose,
I don't much care if it snows or thaws,
'Cos I've got a lot of honey on my nice clean paws!
Sing Ho! for a Bear!
Sing Ho! for a Pooh!
And I'll have a little something in an hour or two!
He was so pleased with this song that he sang it all the way to the top of the Forest, "and if I go on singing it much longer," he thought, "it will be time for the little something, and then the last line won't be true." So he turned it into a hum instead.
Christopher Robin was sitting outside his door, putting on his Big Boots. As soon as he saw the Big Boots, Pooh knew that an Adventure was going to happen, and he brushed the honey off his nose with the back of his paw, and spruced himself up as well as he could, so as to look Ready for Anything.
"Good-morning, Christopher Robin," he called out.
"Hallo, Pooh Bear. I can't get this boot on."
"That's bad," said Pooh.
"Do you think you could very kindly lean against me, 'cos I keep pulling so hard that I fall over backwards."
Pooh sat down, dug his feet into the ground, and pushed hard against Christopher Robin's back, and Christopher Robin pushed hard against his, and pulled and pulled at his boot until he had got it on.
"And that's that," said Pooh. "What do we do next?"
"We are all going on an Expedition," said Christopher Robin, as he got up and brushed himself. "Thank you, Pooh."
"Going on an Expotition?" said Pooh eagerly. "I don't think I've ever been on one of those. Where are we going to on this Expotition?"
"Expedition, silly old Bear. It's got an 'x' in it."
"Oh!" said Pooh. "I know." But he didn't really.
"We're going to discover the North Pole."
"Oh!" said Pooh again. "What is the North Pole?" he asked.
"It's just a thing you discover," said Christopher Robin carelessly, not being quite sure himself.
"Oh! I see," said Pooh. "Are bears any good at discovering it?"
"Of course they are. And Rabbit and Kanga and all of you. It's an Expedition. That's what an Expedition means. A long line of everybody. You'd better tell the others to get ready, while I see if my gun's all right. And we must all bring Provisions."
"Things to eat."
"Oh!" said Pooh happily. "I thought you said Provisions. I'll go and tell them." And he stumped off.
The first person he met was Rabbit.
"Hallo, Rabbit," he said, "is that you?"
"Let's pretend it isn't," said Rabbit, "and see what happens."
"I've got a message for you."
"I'll give it to him."
"We're all going on an Expotition with Christopher Robin!"
"What is it when we're on it?"
"A sort of boat, I think," said Pooh.
"Oh! that sort."
"Yes. And we're going to discover a Pole or something. Or was it a Mole? Anyhow we're going to discover it."
"We are, are we?" said Rabbit.
"Yes. And we've got to bring Pro—things to eat with us. In case we want to eat them. Now I'm going down to Piglet's. Tell Kanga, will you?"
He left Rabbit and hurried down to Piglet's house. The Piglet was sitting on the ground at the door of his house blowing happily at a dandelion, and wondering whether it would be this year, next year, sometime or never. He had just discovered that it would be never, and was trying to remember what "it" was, and hoping it wasn't anything nice, when Pooh came up.
"Oh! Piglet," said Pooh excitedly, "we're going on an Expotition, all of us, with things to eat. To discover something."
"To discover what?" said Piglet anxiously.
"Oh! just something."
"Christopher Robin didn't say anything about fierce. He just said it had an 'x'."
"It isn't their necks I mind," said Piglet earnestly. "It's their teeth. But if Christopher Robin is coming I don't mind anything."
In a little while they were all ready at the top of the Forest, and the Expotition started. First came Christopher Robin and Rabbit, then Piglet and Pooh; then Kanga, with Roo in her pocket, and Owl; then Eeyore; and, at the end, in a long line, all Rabbit's friends-and-relations.
"I didn't ask them," explained Rabbit carelessly. "They just came. They always do. They can march at the end, after Eeyore."
"What I say," said Eeyore, "is that it's unsettling. I didn't want to come on this Expo—what Pooh said. I only came to oblige. But here I am; and if I am the end of the Expo—what we're talking about—then let me be the end. But if, every time I want to sit down for a little rest, I have to brush away half a dozen of Rabbit's smaller friends-and-relations first, then this isn't an Expo—whatever it is—at all, it's simply a Confused Noise. That's what I say."
"I see what Eeyore means," said Owl. "If you
"I'm not asking anybody," said Eeyore. "I'm just telling everybody. We can look for the North Pole, or we can play 'Here we go gathering Nuts and May' with the end part of an ant's nest. It's all the same to me."
There was a shout from the top of the line.
"Come on!" called Christopher Robin.
"Come on!" called Pooh and Piglet.
"Come on!" called Owl.
"We're starting," said Rabbit. "I must go." And he hurried off to the front of the Expotition with Christopher Robin.
"All right," said Eeyore. "We're going. Only Don't Blame Me."
So off they all went to discover the Pole. And as they walked, they chattered to each other of this and that, all except Pooh, who was making up a song.