In Which Pooh Thinks Very Big Thoughts
The day was a blustery one. Little fleecy clouds raced through the sky about the Hundred Acre Woods, and leaves swirled around Pooh’s legs as he walked.
“Pooh,” Piglet said, clutching Pooh’s leg so hard he had to stop walking. “There is something in the Woods. I think it’s a Monster.”
“There is always something in the Woods, Piglet. Because if there were not something, there would be...” Pooh thought.
“What would there be, Pooh?” Piglet asked after a while, hand tightening further on Pooh’s thigh.
Pooh shook his head. “I don’t know, Piglet, but that just goes to show you, there’s always something.”
Piglet nodded, thinking how glad he was to have a friend as wise as Pooh. “But there is Something in the Woods. More than something. Something!” He pointed.
Pooh looked where Piglet was pointing. He made a sound that was kind of growly. His hand pulled Piglet snug up against his side. “Piglet, why didn’t you tell me it was Something!”
“Sorry Pooh,” Piglet said, scrunching in as tight against Pooh’s side as he could. “But...” he lowered his voice to an almost-whisper. “What is it?”
Pooh considered. “I believe it must be a dragon, Piglet.”
“A dr-dr-dragon!” Piglet’s hand clutched at Pooh’s arm. “Why ever would a dragon fly into our Woods? ”
“I don’t know. But it’s very shiny and big.” Pooh took a step closer to the Dragon, or tried to. “Piglet, you have to let go.”
Piglet shook his head furiously.
Pooh sighed. “Then you must take my hand. Because we must be brave, Piglet.”
“But I’m not brave at all,” Piglet said, half-muffled against Pooh’s side.
“That’s what you have me for,” Pooh said, taking Piglet’s hand in his. Pooh thought that it made him feel just a bit braver himself, holding his friend’s hand.
Piglet nodded and took a step forward, trembling. He could never be as brave as Pooh, but he would try.
Pooh smiled, then took a step himself. If his legs felt a little shaky, no one was the wiser.
They crept closer and closer to where the Thing lay.
“Is it wounded, Pooh?” Piglet asked.
“It must be. It is very un-dragonish to simply lie about a Woods. That is quite obvious, Piglet.”
“If it is un-dragonish, does that mean it won’t hurt us?” Piglet whispered. Piglet thought perhaps an un-dragon might be nicer to Very Small Animals than a not-un-dragon.
Just then, before Pooh could answer, the Dragon made a sudden, loud, hissing sound. Pooh grabbed Piglet up into his arms and held on tight, but because he was a Very Brave Bear -- Christopher Robin had told him that himself -- he did not run away, even though his heart was hammering fast in his chest.
Piglet buried his face in Pooh’s chest and left it there. Seeing that the dragon made no movements, Pooh took a cautious step closer, then another. The dragon was even larger than Pooh had first thought; huge and shiny, with a massive round head rising up above the rest of it, taking up the whole space between two of his favorite giant pines. He thought sadly of the honey that lay nearby. If the dragon was going to live here now, Pooh probably would be sorely lacking in honey come spring.
“What is it, what is it, what is it?” a voice boomed right next to Pooh’s ear. Pooh jumped so hard he barely managed to keep hold of Piglet.
“You shouldn’t sneak up on people like that,” Pooh admonished.
“I know,” Tigger said, looking at his feet. “But I just can’t stop!”
“It doesn’t matter, anyway,” Eeyore said, cresting the little rise behind them. “If it’s the end of the world, nothing matters.”
“End of the world?” Piglet squeaked, pulling his face out of Pooh’s chest for the first time in a while. Piglet thought perhaps the end of the world might be even worse than being not-eaten by an un-dragon, though it was all getting a bit confusing.
“It’s not the end of the world,” Pooh comforted. “It’s only a dragon.”
“That is no dragon,” Eeyore said sadly. “I wish it were a dragon. Being eaten really doesn’t hurt much, I don’t think. Not after the first few minutes, anyway.”
“But, why do you think it’s the end of the world?” Piglet asked, in his most-brave voice, chin quivering only slightly.
“Things falling from the sky,” Eeyore said, sounding almost happy. “I saw it from my thistle patch. I’m surprised anyone survived. There was smoke.”
“Dragons come from the sky,” Pooh answered back immediately. “And make smoke.”
“But they don’t sound like this when you bang on them!” Tigger said, from right next to the Something, then leaned down and banged again. The sound it made was loud and clanging.
“Dragons have scales that are hard,” Pooh defended. “I read it in a book.”
“You can’t read,” Eeyore said. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Reading doesn’t get you thistles.”
“Christopher Robin read it to me! It’s the same thing,” Pooh said, ending the argument decisively.
“Pooh,” Piglet said in his smallest voice..
“I’m glad I’m with you, if it’s the end of the world.”
“Me, too, Piglet,” Pooh said, hugging Piglet in close. They both felt a little warm inside, despite everything.
“Well, I suppose if it has to be the end of the world, I might as well spend it with all of you,” Eeyore said.
“I found you a new thistle patch,” Piglet volunteered. “I was going to show you later.”
Eeyore might possibly have felt a little warm inside, too.
Just then, Christopher Robin appeared. He strode right up to the Thing that Fell From the Sky, looking very dashing in his big boots and coat. He tapped at it gently with his umbrella, with an expression on his face that Pooh didn’t think he had seen before.
Tigger was the first to reach him, having been bouncing in circles around the Thing this whole time.
“Isn’t it something!” Christopher Robin asked him.
Tigger nodded excitedly. “Will it eat us?”
Christopher Robin laughed. “No. Who told you that?”
“It wasn’t me,” Eeyore said gloomily. “I told them it was the end of the world and no one was going to be eating them.”
“Well,” Christopher Robin said. “That was very cheerful and optimistic of you, Eeyore.” He glanced at Pooh and Piglet. “It was you, then, Pooh?”
“Well, I didn’t say whether it was the eating type of dragon.”
Christopher Robin smiled. “Of course you didn’t. But, silly old bear, it’s not a dragon, it’s a weather balloon!”
Pooh knew what balloons were. “I love balloons,” he said, thinking of his grand adventure. “So long as there aren’t too many of them.”
“I know you do,” Christopher Robin said. “This is just like that. Only this part, here”-- he tapped at the silvery Something -- “has equipment in it -- things in it,” he clarified -- “that sort of, talk to people and tell them what it’s like” -- he pointed up to the sky with his umbrella -- “up there.”
Everyone was quite impressed with Christopher Robin. Including Christopher Robin, who preened a bit at their admiration. “You see,” he explained, “I want to be a scientist one day.”
They all nodded, not having the least idea what a scientist was, but knowing it was something very grand.
“I hope to be a person sending these up into space one day, or even...” his eyes lost their focus.
“Even...?” Piglet finally asked, after they had all been staring quietly at Christopher Robin for some time.
“Even go up there. Because despite what everyone says, I’m sure we will go up there. One day.” He shook himself and looked at his rapt audience, then laughed. “But it’s nothing to think about now. Now, we will just go tell the right people about this so they can retrieve it -- that means put it back where it belongs,” he explained to Piglet, who after all did not know as many big words as Pooh.
“Are you sure the world isn’t ending?” Eeyore asked gloomily.
Christopher Robin shook his head. “Well, not right now. There’s always hope, I suppose.”
Eeyore perked up a bit. “That’s very true. Well then, come on, Tigger. I am to deliver you to your mother soon.”
Tigger bounded to Eeyore in one leap. “We can tell her everything! About the Monster and the Dragon and the Weath-Weath--”
“Weather Balloon,” Pooh said carefully, for he was a good listener. “It has to do with the weather, you see.”
Christopher Robin beamed at Pooh and patted his head. “You are a bear of very little brain, but very much heart, Pooh.”
Pooh felt warmish. He thought about what Christopher Robin had said. “If you go up there, will you come back?”
“I will always come back to you, Pooh bear. And you too, Piglet, of course,” Christopher Robin added quickly.
Pooh took Christopher Robin’s hand, but kept Piglet snug in the crook of his other arm, since Piglet still seemed a little shaky. “Do you suppose when it fell from the sky it broke open a secret store of honey in one of those trees?”
Christopher Robin looked at the clearing and the swathe of broken tree branches. “You know, it just might have,” he said. “I think you had better investigate.”
Pooh did, and it had.
Later, snug in his tree with Piglet sleeping over, since it had been a Very Eventful Day, Pooh licked the last of the honey off his lips and thought about things flying in the sky. Christopher Robin had explained to them as they walked back about how the sky went up and up until there were other places with their own skies.
“Do you think that’s all real?” Piglet murmured, almost asleep by the fire.
Pooh considered. “As real as we are, I suppose.”
Piglet grabbed at Pooh’s hand, and Pooh squeezed and then held on. Because if that was all real, it was rather a Big and Wondrous Thing. Maybe not quite as Wondrous as Piglet being his friend, but very Wondrous indeed.