“Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
It was a dark and gloomy day in the Hundred Acre Wood, the sky swirling dark blue with the impending rain. The colour of his fur blended with the clouds nicely but so did his mood, as per usual. Eeyore grumbled under his breath and waddled over to The House at Pooh Corner, surrounded by thistle bushes to squeeze himself between the slanted walls just as rain starts to trickle down from the clouds. It may be home, but it’s not much. He usually ends up having to spin his tail around to –
Looking behind himself as best he could, Eeyore realized why this day is so much worse than he first thought. His tail was gone, it was raining, and he was sure to catch a cold now – in fact his throat did feel rather scratchy.
“Not again… Even my tail isn’t very fond of me; I don’t blame it for getting lost,” the old donkey huffed to himself and laid down. Doing his best to curl up in his hut of sticks to keep from the freezing rain, his paws slipped out from under him and hit against a particularly wobbly stick and he is suddenly buried beneath a pile of soggy wood. Eeyore’s Gloomy Place looked more boggy and sad than usual, just like his life at this point, and the grey donkey decided he would lie down and give up. Nobody was going to come dig him up from this mess, he could feel sinus congestion building up already, and his tail hated him; his life was a miserable one. Time to wallow in self-pity until his life didn’t suck so much.
“Eeyore!” A muffled voice came from behind him, the rain casting a sort of mist in the forest and Eeyore yelped and scrabbled for purchase as he desperately tried to push the ruddy sticks off of him. His eyes were stretched wide as his name floated back to him once more through the sound of his struggles. He thought this would be his demise — and he’d never see his tail again. What a perfectly horrid way to end a perfectly horrid life.
“Eeyore? Are you home? — Oh. There you are.” The donkey cracked open one eye at the familiar sleepy tone and peered up at Pooh who was standing under his umbrella. He sighed and laid his head back down, and Eeyore continued to wallow and now also succumbed to utter humiliation. He did not need Pooh’s help, or his blatantly obvious remarks; he did not have the time. Today was just another awful day.
“What are you doing under there? That doesn’t seem like a good umbrella..,” Pooh bent over to pull a rather large stick off of the old, grey donkey whom just seemed as if he had lost all of his honey. Speaking of.., “Eeyore, would you like to go to Christopher Robin’s with me? I was in the neighbourhood visiting Tigger so I thought I might invite you to join me.” Pooh rubbed his rather large tummy and licked his lips at the prospect of honey, and then shook himself, berating his small brain for distracting him. Eeyore pushed himself up from the rubble that was once his home and mumbled,
“Okay, I guess. Thanks for noticin’ me.” He waddled after Pooh, the rain matting his inky black mane and his eyes downcast. The walk to Christopher Robin’s house was quiet, Eeyore not about to make conversation in fear of bothering the bear. Pooh’s thoughts were full of shiny pots of honey filled to the brim with gooey deliciousness and.. calories upon calories. Frowning to himself, the bear rubbed his protruding tummy and walked up the path to the large tree house.
Pooh and Eeyore knocked on the door and after a moment it flew open to reveal Rabbit, fur sticking up in odd directions, and he smiled at them and ushered them inside.
“Hullo Pooh, Eeyore. We’re having a get-together of sorts today, that I planned of course, I do hope you received your invitations? No bother, come in, come in. Make yourself at home, I’m going to check on my special carrot dish just once more..,” and he ran off in the direction of the food table, getting slightly distracted on the way there by the sets of cups and arranging them by size, then changing his mind and grouping them by colour.
Pooh and Eeyore watched this with curiosity, then looked to each other and shrugged. The bear looked around, saw Tigger bouncing in the corner while talking with Owl, Kanga and Roo sitting at the table of foods – which Pooh told himself he would stay away from at all costs – but neither Piglet nor Christopher Robin were in sight; how curious. But his sights were stuck on the long table full of various deserts and snacks. He thought to himself, he didn’t have to eat anything if he went over to it, he would just admire all of the time put into all of that lovely food. Right. So he marched over in the direction of the wafting smell of honey, and Eeyore was once again left alone, now unsure of anything but his obvious misplacement at this party. Deciding he would find a nice corner to be lonely in, he started to search for one when Tigger bounced up beside him,
“Hey Tigger Two! I didn’t knows you was here! Hey, earlier I saw somethin’ in the bushes that look’d pretty suspithious and I decided to check it out. I bounc’d an’ trounc’d and mixed ’em up, but it was just balloon again. He is a handsome little devil though…” He went on, and Eeyore wasn’t able to keep up with all of the exciting adventures Tigger had went on. His stripes were all ruffled up, and Tigger bounced off to pounce on Roo, after ward being reprimanded by Kanga for scaring her joey. The kangaroo’s arms flew into the air and her exclamations could likely be heard by everyone in the forest.
Shrugging his shoulders, Eeyore resumed his search for the perfect dark corner to brood in. Meanwhile, Pooh stood in front of the table laden with foods galore — honeysuckle, honey butter, overflowing sticky pots of honey drove the bear mad with the intense desire to consume every bit of sweetness there was. Mentally, though, Pooh saw the thousands of numbers building up along the deserts, calories pouring out of the tea pot’s spout and pouring over the side of the table.
He was horrified. He couldn’t eat a thing! His fluff bulged out of his tummy on a daily basis as it was, and his red t-shirt wouldn’t cover his seam anymore. Full with the feeling of contempt will have to be the only type of fullness he’ll feel for awhile.
As he was gathering the courage to walk away, tummy growling, there was an abrupt shaking of the table cloth that brought him from his reverie. As he stepped back, he observed this cloth. It didn’t seem alive — but maybe it was simply feeling under appreciated.
“Psst! Psst, Pooh, is that you?” A small voice was heard beyond the cloth and Pooh’s eyebrows shot up; it was a talking tablecloth! How curious! It knew his name, too, wonder how long it had been feeling neglected… A small hoof reached under the edge and peeled back the cloth to reveal the paler pink than usual, face of Piglet.
“Oh, it’s just you, Piglet. I thought you were a talking tablecloth. What’re you doing under there?” Piglet’s little hooves shook and he glanced around, making sure nobody noticed him hiding under the dining table, and motioned for Pooh to come closer. He whispered,
“I need you to help me get-get out of this re-retched place! I don’t know why I came, I must leave, right now!” Piglet gasped for breath and moved a bit farther under the table as Owl walked by, talking of his brilliance of speaking ‘Lay-tin’. Whatever that was, Pooh thought.
“You can’t stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you, you have to go to them sometimes,” Pooh reasoned. But he agreed to help sneak Piglet outside while everyone else wasn’t looking.
“B-b-but, I can’t be left al-alone outside, either! The wind might give me hyp-hypothermia!” The little pig’s voice cracked with his terror and after awhile he seemed to get light headed and woozy. It took a few moments for Pooh to convince Piglet to step out from under the table, but as soon as he did, he fainted and Pooh picked his tiny body up and snuck out the back door, setting him down in the garden.
While slowly nudging him awake, a voice, urgent and demanding, rose from the air and echoed in the bear’s ears. Everyone came running from the tree house, worried looks on their faces and –
“Christopher. Christopher, what’s going on? Talk to me.” Christopher Robin looked up from the stuffed animals laid across the floor and he looked out the window.
“They’re having a party,” he whispered to the glass, “Piglet fainted.”
“Oh bother,” the voice answered, concern etched into the wrinkles on her face. The room was small and damp, the light flickered every few minutes and Christopher’s head hung low, looking at his hands. He suddenly looked up at her,
“Why can’t you hear them, too?”