In which a house is built at Pooh Corner for Eeyore
Pooh Bear begins the chapter by finding that his day really has nothing in it, so he decides to go see whether Piglet is doing anything interesting. It is a snowy day in the forest, and Pooh is disappointed to find that Piglet is not at home - he is, not to put too fine a point on it, Out.
Just to check that Piglet is definitely Out Pooh knocks once more really loudly, and has a good old hum while he is waiting for Piglet to answer the door (unless he really is Out, in which case he won't be In to answer anything). The hum is quite a good one, describing how much it is snowing and how this affects the toes, with decorative Tiddley poms in between the lines.
Piglet really isn't In though, so Pooh decides to go home, maybe get a scarf, and then go and hum his hum and Tiddle his Tiddley poms for Eeyore. So he heads off home, and when he goes into his living room he is surprised to see Piglet sitting in his best armchair. He is so surprised that at first he doesn't quite know what is going on, and whose house he is now in.
- "Hallo, Piglet," he said. "I thought you were out."
- "No," said Piglet, "it's you who were out, Pooh."
- "So it was," said Pooh. "I knew one of us was."
It is now quite late, five to 11 o'clock (the clock has helpfully stopped at five to 11 a while ago) which means it is almost time for elevenses, and so Pooh and Piglet have a little something together, and then head off so that Pooh can hum his hum to Eeyore.
It is still snowing outside, which makes the journey over to see Eeyore rather cold, and Piglet gets extremely snowy behind the ears, because the ears of a Piglet are particularly vulnerable to this kind of thing. Indeed, poor Piglet becomes so snowy that he wonders if Pooh might not like to go home, where they could practise humming the hum indoors, and then visit Eeyore tomorrow.
But Pooh says they can practise now as they go along - perhaps he is unaware of how badly snowed Piglet is, as we don't think he would ask him to carry on if he knew he was Uncomfortable. Plus, he says it is an Outdoor Song which needs to be Sung in Snow, so that might explain it.
Piglet is still a little anxious about the atmospheric conditions, so Pooh sings him the song to put his mind at rest and show why snowy conditions are vital if the Overall Effect is to be achieved. And Pooh sings the song to Piglet, and Piglet listens carefully, and then says that it is not so much the toes that get cold in the the snow, as much as the ears.
Anyway, whether it is the toes or the ears that are colder, we are now almost at Eeyore's Gloomy Place, and Pooh and Piglet sit down on a gate, just to get out of the snow for a little while. They sing Pooh's song to keep warm, and Piglet joins in by doing the Tiddley poms.
Once they have warmed up a bit, and sung the song through six times, they start to talk about something that Pooh has realised - Eeyore has nowhere to live. Everyone else in the forest has a house, and even Rabbit's many friends-and-relations have houses or at least somethings, but Eeyore doesn't have anything. And so Pooh comes up with a great idea - they will build Eeyore a house!
Piglet, for obvious reasons, thinks that that is a fantastic idea, and they decide to build the house right there, and they will call this spot Pooh Corner. Piglet chips in helpfully to say that he saw a big pile of sticks on the other side of the forest, and this is such a useful suggestion that Pooh almost offers to call the spot Poohanpiglet Corner, only holding back because Pooh Corner sounds better. And off they go to fetch the sticks.
Over at Christopher Robin's house, Eeyore has come calling. Christopher Robin asks him how he is feeling today.
- "It's snowing still," said Eeyore gloomily.
- "So it is."
- "And freezing."
- "Is it?"
- "Yes," said Eeyore. "However," he said, brightening up a little, "we haven't had an earthquake lately."
Christopher Robin asks Eeyore what is bothering him, and it turns out that Eeyore has lost his house. And Christopher Robin seems to think that Eeyore has never had a house, and he just lived in his Gloomy Place, and Eeyore explains that he has only recently built the house, on account of icicles and three o'clock in the morning cold and so forth.
Just like Christopher Robin though, the other animals had not realised that Eeyore was feeling very cold, especially at three o'clock in the morning, perhaps because, like Eeyore says, most of them don't have brains, and some just have fluff. And so Eeyore has been standing in his field, freezing, and no-one has known about his Trouble! Poor Eeyore.
Anyway, Eeyore had tried to solve his own temperature problem by building his own house, but he had left the house this morning, and it had looked just like a house, but when he had come back it had looked more like a Nothing.
Christopher Robin is naturally horrified to hear about this turn of events, especially after feeling so sorry for Eeyore after imagining him in his freezing field with no-one Bothering About Him, and so he puts on his waterproofs and heads out with Eeyore straight away to try to find his missing house.
They go right to where Eeyore last saw his house, and he is hoping that whoever took it might have left a few bits and pieces he could use, but there is absolutely none of it leftover. Eeyore tries to look on the bright side by saying that, well, at least he still has lots of snow all to himself, but that doesn't seem to cheer anybody up.
Now, that might be partly be because Christopher Robin isn't even really listening to Eeyore, and instead he is listening to laughter, which is coming from a place nearby. Christopher Robin and Eeyore both shush and listen, and they hear a gruff voice singing and a high squeaky voice tiddly-pomming at intervals.
- "It's Pooh," said Christopher Robin excitedly...
- "Possibly," said Eeyore.
- "And Piglet!" said Christopher Robin excitedly.
- "Probably," said Eeyore, "What we want is a Trained Bloodhound."
After Christopher Robin and Eeyore have been listening for a little while, the song changes, and it goes from being a song about snow to being a song about finishing a house, a beautiful house...
Christopher Robin calls out to Pooh, and Piglet sees that Christopher Robin is over at the place where they found the big pile of sticks. Pooh and Piglet head over to join Christopher Robin, with Pooh making welcoming noises on the way. When they see that Eeyore is there too they both get very excited and start nudging each other in anticipation of how happy Eeyore will be when he sees his brand new house.
Christopher Robin tells Pooh and Piglet about the unfortunate circumstances that have befallen poor Eeyore, regarding the strange disappearance of his house. And as Christopher Robin tells more and more of the story, Pooh and Piglet's eyes get wider and wider.
Pooh asks Eeyore to clarify exactly where the house in question had been, and Eeyore says that it was exactly where they are standing now, and Pooh asks if it was made of sticks, and Eeyore says yes. And Piglet says "Oh!" nervously and then tries to mask his anxiety by putting in a few tiddley-poms at the end.
Pooh double-checks with Eeyore that they are definitely in the right place, and that it was definitely a house, and Eeyore says of course, and mutters gloomily about an inadequate supply of brain.
Christopher Robin has realised by this point that something is bothering Pooh and Piglet, and he asks Pooh what is wrong. Pooh stutters and stammers and tries to explain, but he really doesn't say anything useful, so Piglet has a go, and he blurts out that it's warmer. Christopher Robin asks what he is talking about, and Piglet says that Eeyore's house is on the other side of the wood, where it's warmer.
Eeyore doesn't believe him, and insists that his house should be right here, but Piglet says that it isn't, and Pooh backs him up by saying that there wouldn't be two houses so close together.
Piglet leads the group over to where the house is now standing, and Pooh says that the house has an inside as well as an outside. Eeyore goes in and then comes out again, and says that this definitely is his house, so the only explanation is that the wind has blown it over the wood and then left it just as good as it was before, and in some places better. (Pooh and Piglet both say that it is much better).
Eeyore stands there very proudly and admires his house, and even has a bit of a boast about how grand it is, and what brains and hard work can achieve.
And just in case you haven't realised what has happened, we should explain - Pooh and Piglet have found Eeyore's original house, mistaken it for a pile of sticks, moved it to the other side of the wood, and rebuilt it, all while Eeyore was out. And when Eeyore came home, his house had mysteriously vanished!
But it is not so bad, as Eeyore still has a lovely house, and it is now in a warmer part of the forest, so that is even better. And Christopher Robin goes off to lunch with Pooh and Piglet, who tell him about the Awful Mistake they had made, and Christopher Robin has a good long laugh about it and then they all sing Pooh's snow song (with Piglet doing the tiddley-poms).
- "And I know it seems easy," said Piglet to himself, "but it isn't everyone who could do it."