N OBODY seemed to know where they came from, but there they were in the Forest: Kanga and Baby Roo. When Pooh asked Christopher Robin, "How did they come here?" Christopher Robin said, "In the Usual Way, if you know what I mean, Pooh," and Pooh, who didn't, said "Oh!" Then he nodded his head twice and said, "In the Usual Way. Ah!" Then he went to call upon his friend Piglet to see what he thought about it. And at Piglet's house he found Rabbit. So they all talked about it together.
"What I don't like about it is this," said Rabbit. "Here are we—you, Pooh, and you, Piglet, and Me —and suddenly—"
"And Eeyore," said Pooh.
"And Eeyore—and then suddenly
"And Owl," said Pooh.
"And Owl—and then all of a sudden
"Oh, and Eeyore," said Pooh. "I was forgetting him."
"Here—we—are," said Rabbit very slowly and carefully, "all—of—us, and then, suddenly, we wake up one morning and, what do we find? We find a Strange Animal among us. An animal of whom we have never even heard before! An animal who carries her family about with her in her pocket! Suppose I carried my family about with me in my pocket, how many pockets should I want?"
"Sixteen," said Piglet.
"Seventeen, isn't it?" said Rabbit. "And one more for a handkerchief—that's eighteen. Eighteen pockets in one suit! I haven't time."
There was a long and thoughtful silence . . . and then Pooh, who had been frowning very hard for some minutes, said: "I make it fifteen."
"What?" said Rabbit.
"What about them?"
Pooh rubbed his nose and said that he thought Rabbit had been talking about his family.
"Did I?" said Rabbit carelessly.
"Yes, you said—"
"Never mind, Pooh," said Piglet impatiently. "The question is, What are we to do about Kanga?"
"Oh, I see," said Pooh.
"The best way," said Rabbit, "would be this. The best way would be to steal Baby Roo and hide him, and then when Kanga says, 'Where's Baby Roo?' we say, 'Aha!' "
"Aha!" said Pooh, practising. "Aha! Aha! . . . Of course," he went on, "we could say 'Aha!' even if we hadn't stolen Baby Roo."
"Pooh," said Rabbit kindly, "you haven't any brain."
"I know," said Pooh humbly:
"We say 'Aha!' so that Kanga knows that we know where Baby Roo is. 'Aha!' means 'We'll tell you where Baby Roo is, if you promise to go away from the Forest and never come back.' Now don't talk while I think."
Pooh went into a corner and tried saying 'Aha in that sort of voice. Sometimes it seemed to him that it did mean what Rabbit said, and sometimes it seemed to him that it didn't. "I suppose it's just practice," he thought. "I wonder if Kanga will have to practise too so as to understand it."
"There's just one thing," said Piglet, fidgeting a bit. "I was talking to Christopher Robin, and he said that a Kanga was Generally Regarded as One of the Fiercer Animals. I am not frightened of Fierce Animals in the ordinary way, but it is well known that, if One of the Fiercer Animals is Deprived of Its Young, it becomes as fierce as Two of the Fiercer Animals. In which case 'Aha!' is perhaps a foolish thing to say."
"Piglet," said Rabbit, taking out a pencil, and licking the end of it, "you haven't any pluck."
"It is hard to be brave," said Piglet, sniffing slightly, "when you're only a Very Small Animal."
Rabbit, who had begun to write very busily, looked up and said:
"It is because you are a very small animal that you will be Useful in the adventure before us."
Piglet was so excited at the idea of being Useful that he forgot to be frightened any more, and when Rabbit went on to say that Kangas were only Fierce during the winter months, being at other times of an Affectionate Disposition, he could hardly sit still, he was so eager to begin being useful at once.
"What about me?" said Pooh sadly. "I suppose I shan't be useful?"
"Never mind, Pooh," said Piglet comfortingly. "Another time perhaps."
"Without Pooh," said Rabbit solemnly as he sharpened his pencil, "the adventure would be impossible."
"Oh!" said Piglet, and tried not to look disappointed. But Pooh went into a corner of the room and said proudly to himself, "Impossible without Me! That sort of Bear."
"Now listen all of you," said Rabbit when he had finished writing, and Pooh and Piglet sat listening very eagerly with their mouths open. This was what Rabbit read out:
1. General Remarks. Kanga runs faster than any of Us, even Me.
2. More General Remarks. Kanga never takes her eye off Baby Roo, except when he's safely buttoned up in her pocket.
3. Therefore. If we are to capture Baby Roo, we must get a Long Start, because Kanga runs faster than any of Us, even Me. (See 1.)
4. A Thought. If Roo had jumped out of Kanga's pocket and Piglet had jumped in, Kanga wouldn't know the difference, because Piglet is a Very Small Animal.
5. Like Roo.
6. But Kanga would have to be looking the other way first, so as not to see Piglet jumping in.
7. See 2.
8. Another Thought. But if Pooh was talking to her very excitedly, she might look the other way for a moment.
9. And then I could run away with Roo.
11. And Kanga wouldn't discover the difference until Afterwards.
Well, Rabbit read this out proudly, and for a little while after he had read it nobody said anything. And then Piglet, who had been opening and shutting his mouth without making any noise, managed to say very huskily:
"How do you mean?"
"When Kanga does Discover the Difference?" "Then we all say 'Aha!' "
"All three of us?"
"Why, what's the trouble, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, "as long as we all three say it. As long as we all three say it," said Piglet, "I don't mind," he said, "but I shouldn't care to say 'Aha!' by myself. It wouldn't sound nearly so well. By the way," he said, "you are quite sure about what you said about the winter months?"
"The winter months?"
"Yes, only being Fierce in the Winter Months."
"Oh, yes, yes, that's all right. Well, Pooh?
You see what you have to do?"
"No," said Pooh Bear. "Not yet," he said. "What do I do?"
"Well, you just have to talk very hard to Kanga so as she doesn't notice anything."
"Oh! What about?"
"Anything you like."
"You mean like telling her a little bit of poetry or something?"
"That's it," said Rabbit. "Splendid. Now come along."
So they all went out to look for Kanga.