In which Pooh and Piglet go hunting and nearly catch a Woozle
We start this chapter by meeting Piglet for the very first time - hello, Piglet! Piglet, like Rabbit, doesn't seem to have a proper name, although we are told that his grandfather was called Trespassers Will, which was short for Trespassers William, and he knows this because a sign next to his beech-tree house reads Trespassers Will.
Piglet is just brushing some snow from his house when he spots Pooh, who is walking around in a circle. Piglet asks Pooh what he is doing, and Pooh says that he is hunting and tracking something, although he doesn't know quite what he is hunting and tracking, and he'll have to wait until he finds the something to find out.
The way that he is tracking the Whatever-It-Is is by following some paw-marks in the snow, and when Piglet sees the paw-marks he gets very excited. Piglet, as we shall see from later stories, is generally quite an excitable animal, and sometimes rather nervous, but he can also show bravery that belies his tiny size.
Piglet is excited because he thinks that they might be tracking a Woozle. A Woozle! That really would be exciting! Can you imagine! A Woozle! (No, I don't know what a Woozle is either, but if Piglet says that it is exciting then we shall put our faith in Piglet.)
Pooh says that it might be a Woozle, or it might not, and Piglet joins in with the tracking and walking in circles to see if they can find out for sure. And after a little while Pooh stops walking, and says that it's very funny, but there are now two sets of paw-prints, which means...well, what does that mean?
- "This...whatever-it-was...has now been joined by another...whatever-it-is... and they are now proceeding in company. Would you mind coming with me, Piglet, in case they turn out to be Hostile Animals?"
Luckily for Pooh, Piglet has nothing to do until Friday, and anyway he wants to find out whether they are really following a Woozle, or indeed, as Pooh points out, two Woozles, and so Pooh and Piglet set off together to do just that.
The Woozle, or Woozles plural, seems to be going around a little group of larch trees, so Pooh and Piglet go round the larch trees too, and Piglet tells stories about his Grandfather William, and Pooh wonders if perhaps the Woozle they are following is a Grandfather instead, or maybe two Grandfathers, and if so whether they can keep one of them.
Suddenly, there is a revelation - Pooh stops and points to the ground!
- "What?" said Piglet, with a jump. And then, to show that he hadn't been frightened, he jumped up and down once or twice more in an exercising sort of way.
What Pooh has spotted is that there are now three sets of tracks - they are now following three separate Woozles or Grandfathers! But in fact, Pooh has noticed that the new tracks are different from the old tracks, which means that they could be dealing with two Woozles and a Wizzle, or even two Wizzles and one Woozle. Who can say? They must continue to follow the tracks.
And they do so, although by now they are feeling a little worried, because of the large number of animals involved, and the possibility that one or more of them might be of Hostile Intent. Piglet rather wishes that his Grandfather was there to help them, and Pooh has a little dream about happening upon Christopher Robin, entirely by accident, and only because he is rather fond of Christopher Robin, not because they are in need of Help.
And then...Pooh stops again...for there are now four animals in front of them! Yet another Woozle has appeared! And Pooh resorts to licking the tip of his nose to try to cool himself down, because he is now so hot and bothered.
- "I think," said Piglet, when he had licked the tip of his nose too, and found that it brought very little comfort, "I think that I have just remembered something. I have just remembered something that I forgot to do yesterday and shan't be able to do tomorrow. So I suppose I really ought to go back and do it now."
So Piglet goes off to do his very important thing, very glad to be Out of All Danger, and luckily for Pooh Christopher Robin arrives right at that moment. Christopher Robin has actually been sitting up in a big oak tree and watching Pooh and Piglet as they walked round in circles.
Christopher Robin asks Pooh what he was doing, as Christopher Robin has watched Pooh walk round the trees twice by himself, and then twice with Piglet. And Pooh sits down and thinks about this for a little while, and then he tries putting his paw into one of the tracks, and then he stands up.
- "Yes," said Winnie the Pooh.
- "I see now," said Winnie the Pooh.
- "I have been Foolish and Deluded," said he, "and I am a Bear of No Brain at All."
And what has Pooh realised? Well, that he and Piglet have been following their own tracks around the tree, and there were never any Woozles, or Wizzles, or Grandfathers to be worried about.
But Pooh doesn't need to be too bothered by his revelation, as Christopher Robin assures him that he is the best bear in all the world. "Am I?" says Pooh hopefully. And then he cheers right up, and remembers that it is almost lunch time, and goes home for it.
We should note that the events of this chapter are recorded on the official Winnie the Pooh Map, where you can see the little group of trees, the paw-marks in a circle, and the label Where the Woozle Wasn't.