Adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood

September 24th, 2008 § 0 comments

I read this story to my daughter at bedtime the other night, and some names entered my mind as I read.
The following is how I heard it in my head as I read to my girl. I think the happy ending is stretching the imagination though.

Rather than type it all out, the text is taken from here. Some names have been changed to protect the fictional.


NOBODY seemed to know where they came from, but there they were in the Forest: Kanga and Baby Roo. When Richard Barnbrook asked Christopher Robin, “How did they come here?” Christopher Robin said, “In the Usual Way, if you know what I mean, Barnbrook,” and Richard Barnbrook, 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 Lee Barnes to see what he thought about it. And at Lee Barnes’s house he found Nick Griffin. So they all talked about it together.

“What I don’t like about it is this,” said Nick Griffin.

“Here are we — you, Richard Barnbrook, and you, Lee Barnes, and Me — and suddenly ”

“And Joey Owens,” said Richard Barnbrook.

“And Joey Owens — and then suddenly — ”

“And Tony Lecomber,” said Richard Barnbrook

“And Tony Lecomber — and then all of a sudden — ”

“Oh, and Joey Owens,” said Richard Barnbrook. “I was forgetting him.”

“Here — we — are,” said Nick Griffin very slowly and carefully, all — or — 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 had 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 Lee Barnes.

“Seventeen, isn’t it?” said Nick Griffin. “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 Richard Barnbrook, who had been frowning very hard for some minutes, said: “I make it fifteen.”

“What?” said Nick Griffin.


“Fifteen what?”

“Your family.”

“What about them?”

Richard Barnbrook rubbed his nose and said that he thought Nick Griffin had been talking about his family.

“Did I?” said Nick Griffin carelessly.

“Yes, you said — ”

“Never mind, Richard Barnbrook,” said Lee Barnes impatiently. “The question is, What are we to do about Kanga?”

“Oh, I see,” said Richard Barnbrook.

“The best way,” said Nick Griffin, “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 Richard Barnbrook, practising. “Aha! Aha! . . . Of course,” he went on, “we could say ‘Aha!’ even if we hadn’t stolen Baby Roo.”

“Richard Barnbrook,” said Nick Griffin kindly, “you haven’t any brain.”

“I know,” said Richard Barnbrook 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.”

Richard Barnbrook went into a corner and tried saying ‘Aha!’ in that sort of voice. Sometimes it seemed to him that it did mean what Nick Griffin 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 Lee Barnes, 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.”

“Lee Barnes,” said Nick Griffin, taking out a pencil, and licking the end of it, “you haven’t any pluck.”

“It is hard to be brave,” said Lee Barnes, sniffing slightly, “when you’re only a Very Small Animal.”

Nick Griffin, 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.”

Lee Barnes was so excited at the idea of being Useful that he forgot to be frightened any more, and when Nick Griffin 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 Richard Barnbrook sadly “I suppose I shan’t be useful?”

“Never mind, Richard Barnbrook,” said Lee Barnes comfortingly. “Another time perhaps ”

“Without Richard Barnbrook,” said Nick Griffin solemnly as he sharpened his pencil, “the adventure would be impossible.”

“Oh!” said Lee Barnes, and tried not to look disappointed. But Richard Barnbrook went into a corner of the room and said proudly to
himself, “Impossible without Me! That sort of councillor.”

“Now listen all of you,” said Nick Griffin when he had finished writing, and Richard Barnbrook and Lee Barnes sat listening very eagerly with their mouths open. This was what Nick Griffin 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 I.)

4. A Thought. If Roo had jumped out of Kanga’s pocket and Lee Barnes had jumped in, Kanga wouldn’t know the difference, because Lee Barnes 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 Lee Barnes jumping in.

7. See 2.

8. Another Thought. But if Richard Barnbrook was talking to her very excitedly, she might look the other way for a moment.

9. And then I could run away with Roo.

10. Quickly.

11. And Kanga wouldn’t discover the difference until Afterwards

Well, Nick Griffin read this out proudly, and for a little while after he had read it nobody said anything And then Lee Barnes, who had been opening and shutting his mouth without making any noise, managed to say very huskily:

“And — Afterwards?”

“How do you mean?”

“When Kanga does Discover the Difference?”

“Then we all say ‘Aha!'”

“All three of us?”



“Why, what’s the trouble, Lee Barnes?”

“Nothing,” said Lee Barnes, “as long as we all three say it. As long as we all three say it,” said Lee Barnes, “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, Richard Barnbrook You see what you have to do?”

“No,” said Richard Barnbrook councillor. “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 Nick Griffin. “Splendid Now come along.”

So they all went out to look for Kanga.

Kanga and Roo were spending a quiet afternoon in a sandy part of the Forest. Baby Roo was practising very small jumps in the sand, and falling down mouse-holes and climbing out of them, and Kanga was fidgeting about and saying “Just one more jump, dear, and then we must go home.” And at that moment who should come stumping up the hill but Richard Barnbrook.

“Good afternoon, Kanga.”

“Good afternoon, Richard Barnbrook.”

“Look at me jumping,” squeaked Roo, and fell into another mouse-hole.

“Hallo, Roo, my little fellow!”

“We were just going home,” said Kanga. “Good afternoon, Nick Griffin. Good afternoon, Lee Barnes.”

Nick Griffin and Lee Barnes, who had now come up from the other side of the hill, said “Good afternoon,” and “Hallo, Roo,” and Roo asked them to look at him jumping, so they stayed and looked.

And Kanga looked too….

“Oh, Kanga,” said Richard Barnbrook, after Nick Griffin had winked at him twice, “I don’t know if you are interested in Poetry at all?”

“Hardly at all,” said Kanga.

“Oh!” said Richard Barnbrook.

“Roo, dear, just one more jump and then we must go home.”

There was a short silence while Roo fell down another mouse-hole.

“Go on,” said Nick Griffin in a loud whisper behind his paw.

“Talking of Poetry,” said Richard Barnbrook, “I made up a little piece as I was coming along. It went like this. Er — now let me see — ”

“Fancy!” said Kanga. “Now Roo, dear — ”

“You’ll like this piece of poetry,” said Nick Griffin.

“You’ll love it,” said Lee Barnes.

“You must listen very carefully,” said Nick Griffin.

“So as not to miss any of it,” said Lee Barnes.

“Oh, yes,” said Kanga, but she still looked at Baby Roo.

“How did it go, Richard Barnbrook?” said Nick Griffin.

Richard Barnbrook gave a little cough and began.


On Monday, when the sun is hot
I wonder to myself a lot:
“Now is it true, or is it not,”
“That what is which and which is what?”

On Tuesday, when it hails and snows,
The feeling on me grows and grows
That hardly anybody knows
If those are these or these are those.

On Wednesday, when the sky is blue,
And I have nothing else to do,
I sometimes wonder if it’s true
That who is what and what is who.

On Thursday, when it starts to freeze
And hoar-frost twinkles on the trees,
How very readily one sees
That these are whose — but whose are these?

On Friday —

“Yes, it is, isn’t it?” said Kanga, not waiting to hear what happened on Friday. “Just one more jump, Roo, dear, and then we really must be going.”

Nick Griffin gave Richard Barnbrook a hurrying-up sort of nudge.

“Talking of Poetry,” said Richard Barnbrook quickly “have you ever noticed that tree right over there?”

“Where?” said Kanga. “Now, Roo — ” “Right over there,” said Richard Barnbrook, pointing behind Kanga’s back.

“No,” said Kanga. “Now jump in, Roo, dear, and we’ll go home.”

“You ought to look at that tree right over there,” said Nick Griffin. “Shall I lift you in, Roo?” And he picked up Roo in his paws.

“I can see a bird in it from here,” said Richard Barnbrook. “Or is it a fish?”

“You ought to see that bird from here,” said Nick Griffin. “Unless it’s a fish.”

“It isn’t a fish, it’s a bird,” said Lee Barnes.

“So it is,” said Nick Griffin.

“Is it a starling or a blackbird?” said Richard Barnbrook.

“That’s the whole question,” said Nick Griffin. “Is it a blackbird or a starling?”

And then at last Kanga did turn her head to look. And the moment that her head was turned, Nick Griffin said in a loud voice “In you go, Roo!” and in jumped Lee Barnes into Kanga’s pocket, and off scampered Nick Griffin, with Roo in his paws, as fast as he could.

“Why, where’s Nick Griffin?” said Kanga, turning round again. “Are you all right, Roo, dear?”

Lee Barnes made a squeaky Roo-noise from the bottom of Kanga’s pocket.

“Nick Griffin had to go away,” said Richard Barnbrook. “I think he thought of something he had to do and see about suddenly.”

“And Lee Barnes?”

“I think Lee Barnes thought of something at the same time. Suddenly.”

“Well, we must be getting home,” said Kanga. “Good-bye, Richard Barnbrook.” And in three large jumps she was gone.

Richard Barnbrook looked after her as she went.

“I wish I could jump like that,” he thought. “Some can and some can’t. That’s how it is.”

But there were moments when Lee Barnes wished that Kanga couldn’t. Often, when he had had a long walk home through the Forest, he had wished that he were a bird; but now he thought jerkily to himself at the bottom of Kanga’s pocket,

“If this is flying, I shall never really take to it”

And as he went up in the air he said, “Ooooooo!” and as he came down he said, “Ow!” And he was saying, “Ooooooo-ow, ooooooo-ow, ooooooo-ow” all the way to Kanga’s house.

Of course as soon as Kanga unbuttoned her pocket, she saw what had happened. Just for a moment, she thought she was frightened, and then she knew she wasn’t: for she felt quite sure that Christopher Robin could never let any harm happen to Roo. So she said to herself, “If they are having a joke with me, I will have a joke with them.”

“Now then, Roo, dear,” she said, as she took Lee Barnes out of her pocket. “Bed-time.”

“Aha!” said Lee Barnes, as well as he could after his Terrifying Journey. But it wasn’t a very good “Aha!” and Kanga didn’t seem to understand what it meant.

“Bath first,” said Kanga in a cheerful voice.

“Aha!” said Lee Barnes again, looking round anxiously for the others. But the others weren’t there. Nick Griffin was playing with Baby Roo in his own house, and feeling more fond of him every minute, and Richard Barnbrook, who had decided to be a Kanga, was
still at the sandy place on the top of the Forest, practising jumps.

“I am not at all sure,” said Kanga in a thoughtful voice, “that it wouldn’t be a good idea to have a cold bath this evening. Would you like that, Roo, dear?”

Lee Barnes, who had never been really fond of baths, shuddered a long indignant shudder, and said in as brave a voice as he could:

“Kanga, I see that the time has come to speak plainly.”

“Funny little Roo,” said Kanga as she got the bath-water ready.

“I am not Roo,” said Lee Barnes loudly. “I am Lee Barnes!”

“Yes, dear, yes,” said Kanga soothingly. “And imitating Lee Barnes’s voice too! So clever of him,” she went on, as she took a large bar of yellow soap out of the cupboard. “What will he be doing next”

“Can’t you see?” shouted Lee Barnes “Haven’t you got eyes? Look at me!”

“I am looking, Roo, dear,” said Kanga rather severely. “And you know what I told you yesterday about making faces. If you go on making faces like Lee Barnes’s, you will grow up to look like Lee Barnes — and then think how sorry you will be. Now then, into the bath, and don’t let me have to speak to you about it again.”

Before he knew where he was, Lee Barnes was in the bath, and Kanga was scrubbing him firmly with a large lathery flannel.

“Ow!” cried Lee Barnes. “Let me out! I’m Lee Barnes!”

“Don’t open the mouth, dear, or the soap goes in,” said Kanga. “There! What did I tell you?”

“You — you — you did it on purpose,” spluttered Lee Barnes, as soon as he could speak again . . . and then accidentally had another mouthful of lathery flannel.

“That’s right, dear, don’t say anything,” said Kanga, and in another minute Lee Barnes was out of the bath, and being rubbed dry with a towel.

“Now,” said Kanga, “there’s your medicine, and then bed.”

“W-w-what medicine?” said Lee Barnes.

“To make you grow big and strong, dear. You don’t want to grow up small and weak like Lee Barnes, do you? Well, then!”

At that moment there was a knock at the door.

“Come in,” said Kanga, and in came Christopher Robin.

“Christopher Robin, Christopher Robin!” cried Lee Barnes. “Tell Kanga who I am! She keeps saying I’m Roo. I’m not Roo, am I?”

Christopher Robin looked at him very carefully, and shook his head.

“You can’t be Roo,” he said, “because I’ve just seen Roo playing in Nick Griffin’s house.”

“Well!” said Kanga. “Fancy that! Fancy my making a mistake like that.”

“There you are!” said Lee Barnes. “I told you so. I’m Lee Barnes.”

Christopher Robin shook his head again.

“Oh, you’re not Lee Barnes,” he said. “I know Lee Barnes well, and he’s quite a different colour.”

Lee Barnes began to say that this was because he had just had a bath, and then he thought that perhaps he wouldn’t say that, and as he opened his mouth to say something else, Kanga slipped the medicine spoon in, and then patted him on the back and told him that it was really quite a nice taste when you got used to it.

“I knew it wasn’t Lee Barnes,” said Kanga. “I wonder who it can be.”

“Perhaps it’s some relation of Richard Barnbrook’s,” said Christopher Robin. “What about a nephew or an uncle or something?”

Kanga agreed that this was probably what it was, and said that they would have to call it by some name.

“I shall call it Pootel,” said Christopher Robin. “Henry Pootel for short.”

And just when it was decided, Henry Pootel wriggled out of Kanga’s arms and jumped to the ground. To his great joy Christopher Robin had left the door open. Never had Henry Pootel Lee Barnes run so fast as he ran then, and he didn’t stop running until he had got quite close to his house. But when he was a hundred yards away he stopped running, and rolled the rest of the way home, so as to get his own nice comfortable colour again.

So Kanga and Roo stayed in the Forest. And every Tuesday Roo spent the day with his great friend Nick Griffin, and every Tuesday Kanga spent the day with her great friend Richard Barnbrook, teaching him to jump, and every Tuesday Lee Barnes spent the day with his great friend Christopher Robin. So they were all happy again.

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