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Lunch in the Garden

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One fine morning Pooh decided to visit his friend Rabbit. Normally he would have visited Piglet, but when he went over to Piglet’s no one was in so instead he decided to follow the stream and in due course he arrived at Rabbit’s, at which point he realised that was who he had planned to visit all along.

It had taken him some time to walk all that way and he was feeling a little hungry, so when Rabbit answered his door, Pooh asked politely, “I don’t suppose you would be having a spot of lunch?”

“No,” said Rabbit, “not when it isn’t yet lunch-time.”

“Oh, isn’t it?” Pooh was surprised. It seemed a very long time since the bread and jam he had had for breakfast.

“No, Pooh,” Rabbit explained. “It is only 11:00 o’clock.”

“Time for elevenses, then,“ said Pooh hopefully.

Rabbit pulled thoughtfully on his whiskers for a few seconds. "I did have plans of my own Pooh." But as Pooh continued to look hopeful, Rabbit sighed a deep sigh and invited Pooh inside.

“Come with me,” he said, and beckoned Pooh down a long passage. It twisted and turned and there seemed to be rather a lot of side-passages (and at points it was so very dark Pooh would have felt a little bit scared except for the fact Rabbit held his paw). Eventually, w-a-y off in the distance, Pooh saw some light and as they walked steadily up toward it he realised the tunnel was getting wider and outside the tunnel was the Sandy Pit where Roo plays and the wide bright blue sky overhead.

Pooh was very hungry after all that walking. It had been such a long way he was sure it must be lunchtime now. But Rabbit did not slow in the slightest as he marched across the sand. Presently Roo joined them, hopping and chattering excitedly.

“See, Rabbit, see!” Roo called. “I can jump big steps now – just the way you taught me!”

“Yes, dear,” said Kanga, as she hopped beside them. “But do take care how you land so you don’t bump people so.”

Pooh looked hopeful when he heard Kanga’s voice. She quite often had a picnic basket with her. But no this was a shopping basket, she explained, and empty until she had collected vegetables for a nice vegetable stew for later. Pooh looked crestfallen after he heard this and resigned as he trudged toward a copse he could see in the distance.

Rabbit just sighed and muttered something under his breath about rambunctious children and privacy, or the lack thereof (which Pooh, a bear of very little brain, did not really understand).

Pooh was feeling very tired by the time they reached the copse, and even a little faint from hunger, so as soon as they came to the closest tree he sat down abruptly under it and leaned against the trunk.

“Worraworraworraworraworraworra” howled Tigger as he bounced around from the other side of the tree and leapt over Pooh.

“There you are,” said Rabbit, “we’ve been looking for you.”

“Hullo, Pooh!” Tigger greeted his friend warmly.

“Hullo Tigger,” said Pooh faintly. He tried to be positive but it was hard when he felt so hungry. Tigger was difficult enough to cope with when a bear wasn’t hungry.

“Pooh has come to lunch with us today,” Rabbit said.

Pooh perked up as he listened.

“I thought you would like to show him how well your garden is growing.” Rabbit explained, “Tigger wanted to make reparations for trampling over my garden so we agreed he should grow his own garden. He’s been studying how to do this with me for the last year.

“Repar…perash…para…?” Pooh tried.

“Amends,” Rabbit smiled kindly at the puzzled bear.

“Oh,” said Pooh, still confused.

“Oh!” cried Tigger, “oh, how wonderful! You can tell me how much you like my carrots and lettuces!” He bounced away but was back a moments later with two large burlap sacks. The first he gave to Kanga who opened hers and checked over the onions, turnips and cabbages inside. The second he laid at Pooh’s feet.

Pooh looked at it glumly. He supposed it would have been too much to hope for a nice pot of honey.

Irrepressible Tigger cried, “do try my carrots!” He held out a bunch of nice fat orange vegetables topped with leafy green stalks. “Rabbit says my carrots are some of the best he’s ever tried!”

Pooh stared solemnly at the proffered food, before he took a deep breath and bravely pulled one small carrot from the bunch and nibbled the tip.

“Very nice,” he said politely, “for a carrot. The trouble is, Pooh-bears aren’t able to eat too many carrots, you know, or they suffer from constipation.”

“Oh,” said Tigger, looking momentarily crestfallen. But he perked up quickly and offered Pooh a head of lettuce instead.

Once again Pooh looked solemn, but politely nibbled a leaf, before he laid the rest aside, explaining sadly that Pooh-bears have an unfortunate habit of suffering from flatulence if they eat too much lettuce.

“Floo…flaa…too...?” Tigger tried.

Pooh obligingly burped loudly.

“Oh!” said Tigger. He thought for a moment, before he rummaged in his bag and brought out a bunch of red grapes, two peaches, and four plums, which he held out to his friend.

Pooh’s eyes gleamed and he reached greedily for the sweet fruit and (I am sorry to say, but in all fairness it has to be remembered he was very hungry) stuffed all of it – all at once! – into his mouth. Sticky juices ran out of the corners and down his chin but Pooh just licked his lips and beamed with joy.

“Best I’ve ever tasted,” he said once he had swallowed.

“Did you hear that Rabbit?” cried Tigger, bouncing higher and higher in his excitement.

“Indeed, you grow a very nice garden, my dear,” said Rabbit in between bites from the lettuce and carrot Pooh had discarded. “You have been quite my best student and the garden you have grown is quite the nicest I have ever known.”

And when Tigger bounced over to sit beside him, Rabbit threw his arms around Tigger’s neck and leaned across to give him a big kiss, before he rubbed his whiskers against Tigger’s and said, “grown by quite the nicest person.”

Tigger purred with pride.